i can

Dawn May

Dawn May

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« Is Your IBM i Ready for Daylight Saving Time? | Main | PowerHA and External Storage »

March 20, 2012


>>> It's perplexing how i gets a bad rap over it's terminal interface, but on AIX, it's viewed as expected.

As you already mentioned, nobody in their right mind (except MS guys) would prefer a GUI over a command line, for system administrative work.

In this respect, the "i" CLI is superior to anything, if you count the use cases for it, i.e. relatively simple automation tasks, in a business environment.

I don't understand why you find this perplexing. The bad rap "i" gets has to do with perception, and that is old - very old - applications still using those green screens. Nothing to do about system administration. And this should be well known. You won't see end-user applications on AIX using the character terminal.

Another diffference is that *nix systems, have a long history, and are matured in a more technical environment, not the typical business environment as the "i", and it's predecessors. A *nix CLI is not consistent, like "i", because it has a long history of different groups adding to it. Not like the "i", which is more "designed" in a controlled environment (proprietary).

Also, a big difference between *nix CLI and the "i" is that the former is much morfe powerful and richer than what you have on the "i". Shell scripting is much more powerful and versatile than CL programming on the "i". You can do a lot with a simple command line command on *nix using piping, etc. But again, the "use cases" and backgrounds of the two environments are different (i.e. historically). In a production business environment, the kind of power you have with a *nix CLI can be dangerous. Also, you need a good sys admin to make use of that power. And in this post-MS era, they are no more, or "too expensive" (i.e. not as cheap as a MS admin who not even knows what a CLI is)


I have been looking at implementing AIX as a Guest partition under iOS, your comments are very much in line with my experience. I have used a lot of other Linux/Unix derivatives and found AIX to be a real challenge especially with things like the storage management. Just trying to FTP new install objects to the system failed constantly and I had to extend the various storage spaces to get it working.

Its a pity more people with influence within IBM do not see the truth about iOS and its simplicity and yet just how robust and effective it is as a Real World OS.

I paid out for the AIX software and 3 years SWMA and I feel like it will take me 3 years to get to grips with its capabilities and strengths (It was cheap though perhaps that should have sent me a signal) My hope is to move some of the TCP/IP functions from the IBMi to the AIX environment (particularly HTTP) as IBMi is not very good at these services. I am not sure AIX will be any better but I do know Linux installations I have run it far quicker, even a hosted SuSE partition running under iOS.... I wont go into just how well the virtualization runs under iOS and the speed improvement we have seen in the hosted partition :-)


I feel your pain (as an admin) even though I've never used *nix for anything much at all.

Thank you Dawn for pointing out how great the IBM i command line and green-screens are for system administration. We need IBM to continue supporting it.

It sounds like the AIX user interface hasn't changed much since when I worked with it in the early 90's. It wasn't fun back then, either.

One thing that struck me recently was how much REST web service interfaces are beginning to pop up in prominent places. Developers then write their own user interface to evoke web services, or use a generic tool, somewhat comparable to a command line. RackSpace is one such service that exposes REST web services, where the response is generally plain text.

Love it, I went from AIX to iSeries and am coping really well. Much much easier

What worries me is that more and more applications are ported to the i they tend to not be written native, but instead rely upon stuff like PASE or QSH. These tend to have serious drawbacks. Lack of joblogs for one. Not taking advantage of the i natively is another. Adstar went to TSM which went from native to pase. That killed it because the pase tape api's were unacceptably slow. IBM dropped even that. We were forced to go to Linux.
Here's one think to consider about AIX though. A consultant did back-to-back TSM installations. One week on AIX on power at a neighboring installation. The next on Linux on power at our installation. Linux forced him to download and install so many drivers he seriously lost time. We would have financially made out by buying AIX.

Good article, Dawn.

I also am a long term "i" guy, starting with the S/38 32 years ago! I am a true believer in the the architecture, which we now refer to as IBM i on POWER.

That said, I find that working in the *nix environment on IBM i, (my favorite being running the Bash shell in PASE, or even QShell) is usually superior when dealing with files outside the QSYS.LIB (native) file system. The *nix shell scripting commands and some of the tools that are readily downloadable from several sites that offer AIX executables. Tools like grep, sed, wc can be life savers when having to inspect and modify stream files. I realize I can do many of the same things using RPG or C programs using C library functions, but it's so much easier to use the shell tools.

I honestly don't know a soul that still uses VI. Even on IBM i in a PASE/BASH shell, I might use pico or nano (full screen editors) when using the shell in a true tty session (e.g. running puTTY as the terminal emulator). Beyond that, on any *nix system I use now (mainly Linux) I am using GUI tools on my Gnome desktop. Also, I am running Eclipse (essentially the same as IBM's WDSc) as my programming IDE.

Finally, regarding system administration, I too, being a long time "i" guy, love my command line and CL. But to imply that is all anyone on *nix system use is just not true. Many folks use tools like WebMin (browser based *nix admin tool), and many administrative tools are available as X windows apps. I've used these many times in my *nix experience.

In general, it's all about using the right tool for the right job. There are good and bad things to be said about both the "i" and *nix platforms.

Hi to all ... I'm a i guy ... All that Dan said is true ... In my opinion when a administrator outside of "i" knows the "i" he loves it .. but i think they are more technicals because they should do more task (storage admin, memory, ...) because we have QPFRADJ ... and more ...

Yes, We did installation (3 I-Server) in one mnhicae AIX box. There are various types of partition you can make in AIX/Solaris boxes ..but we installed 3 I-Servers with different port numbers. The entire architecture works perfectly except in one area, when you configure subscription portal at particular instance it will ask for I-Server (Hostname) but not port number. at that stage subscription portal gets confuse and Sub-Portal wont work .if you are not using sub portal then u can install 3 I-Servers at single mnhicae with the same IP.

Technically posible Yes , but ask this qiostuen to Support and they will tell you no , as there is licesening issue with this, Also not very partical unless you have monster of a box with say large amounts of memory. Also does not server the purpose of backup or load management. You might be think you are smart to ask this in an interview. But anybody with more experience than will think you dont have lot of implementation knowledge. Sorry if you ask me this qiostuen in an interview i just decided why i dont want to work with you.

Sorry, the comment about hainvg to recompile GNOME is rubbish. Nothing in GNOME has a hard dependency on Mono. Yes, there is stuff like libbeagle. It's written in C and has no Mono actually in it.If you're using something like Fedora you just do yum remove mono-core', and the whole thing is gone.

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