You and i

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> Even better was that that growth was in part fueled by IBM i software sales, which grew even faster at 19%. That’s right. IBM i grew faster than the platform itself. And, in fact, that makes four consecutive quarters of growth for IBM i.

My thought (and hope) is that IBM i software sales (specifically the OS sales) will increase at a faster pace than hardware because that *could* mean that "IBM i in the cloud" is taking off quite well.

Over the past 8 years we ( have gradually moved the majority of our servers (Linux/Windows) into the cloud via third parties (i.e. Our IBM i is the last bit we hope to get into the cloud. Been a long time coming, but the outlook is VERY promising.

I think 2012 and 2013 stand of a good chance of IBM i re-entering the mainstream market in a big way. By that statement I mean that traditionally non-IBM i companies and trade rags will start talking more about it and considering it much more as a viable platform.

Dreaming in color,


This is positive and encouraging news. Thanks for the update. I have a significant financial investment in IBM i. I spend a fair portion of my time evangelizing it. And count on it being successful.

I've been considering the idea of initiating a topic on Linkedin to discuss what people think led to or caused these positive results.

Even though some of the responses may be speculative or indicative of people's individual circumstances, I think there would be some good insights.

Before doing that, would you be able to clarify what IBM i software is included in the sums that you're referring to? The software listed under Option 11 of the LICPGM menu, for example?

And can you assure people that the basis for the measurement is consistent over time? Assure us that what gets included in the measurement is essentially the same from quarter to quarter, year to year?

Thanks again,


I have good news too for Steve and Aaron. In France, when I call former as/400 clients who have leaved the platform five years ago or so for Microsoft, they regret this migration. They say that their management would be ready to return to IBMi the day it has got simple native GUI for persistent business applications. The only one problem, they say, is the long term investment from IBM regarding the native IBM operating system.

Aaron - I am always happy to bring you good news! And I, too, am excited for the direction we're headed.

Nathan - First of all, the comparisons from year to year are definitely consistent. It's hard to compare them with results very much before the Power Systems consolidation, but in the years since 2007, it's easy to be consistent.

As to what software is included in the IBM i growth: it covers all software revenue directly attributable to IBM i in Power Systems -- so, the operating system, the products from Power Systems such as WebQuery and Application Runtime Expert and so on. But it does not include, for example, revenue from WebSphere, Lotus or Rational products which run on IBM i. The details get confusing, but the point is that the core OS and its associated products have delivered more revenue each quarter than they did the same quarter of the prior year. And it's mostly the OS -- it's the largest contributor by far.

Jean - while we are all disappointed when people leave the platform, it is good to hear that there is some regret. I hope it opens the opportunity for a "win-back." I hear quite a few stories where we displace x86; I'd love to know if any of them are business we lost once, and then won back.

I am curious to hear that "The only one problem is the long term investment from IBM." I wonder how best to answer this one. Since the time those customers left, they have been less satisfied with the replacement. In that same time period, we have delivered new capabilities, representing continued investment from IBM. I talk to clients all the time telling them about our future.

"Simple native GUI for persistent business applications" is an interesting phrase. The application vendors who are thriving on IBM i are, in fact, creating "simple native GUIs." There is nothing stopping them. There are many, many examples. Even better, there are ISVs out there who are making a living helping other ISVs create "simple native GUIs" if the business application ISV does not have the resources to do it themselves.

@Aaron I quite agree with you. Unfortunately, for managers who invest on long term, the only one investment to consider is the IBM ones. For managers ISVs are not IBM the same way ISVs are not Microsoft regarding native GUI over the DOS. The problem for them is not "to modernise" but to be or not to be modern: that's the question.

Jean -- just to make it clear -- the person who responded to you is me, Steve Will, the author of this blog, the Chief Architect of IBM i. I was talking about investment IBM has made in IBM i.

I mentioned ISVs, because the interface into "persistent business applications" are written by ISVs, and other developers who write in-house applications.

It is my job, as a technologist within IBM i, to give developers everything they need to create "simple native GUIs." I believe we continue to do so, and that is a big part of the continued investment -- by IBM -- in IBM i.

@Steve Thanks I really appreciate.


Concerning the "simple native GUIs", you need to bark up the Rational tree instead of the IBM i OS tree. Steve is correct in saying he has given us, and continues to give, a modern integrated system on which to build business apps.

The Rational folks are in charge of RPG along with EGL (and a variety of other frameworks/languages/utilities). EGL is what IBM provided based on exactly what you asking. The issue RPG shops have with IBM's implementation of the solution we asked for is that it doesn't focus on RPG (it added another server-side language) and isn't as integrated as *DSPF objects.

The person you should instead voice your concerns to is William Smith who took over for George Farr and is the new "Product Manager for Rational tools for IBM Power Systems". I have talked to him a number of times and he's a great guy.

On the topic of EGL, I was recently approached by William Smythe (Product Manager of EGL) who wanted to give me an update on where EGL is currently at. I sat in on a webinar with him and Tim Wilson (EGL lead developer, I believe) and they gave me a tour of EGL's many features.

I must say I was quite surprised/impressed by a number of features that I believe are much needed for the next generation of application development, and nobody else has these features (that I know of). Of course after the meeting I was still wishing in my head "only if they had done this for RPG".

If you didn't know, EGL is now open source/free and is "owned" by the Eclipse foundation: IBM making this move gave EGL the chance to survive (amongst all the other Java tooling out there). It will be interesting to see what unfolds. Stay tuned for a more thorough review via an article of what I saw in EGL that I thought was interesting.

Aaron As you know, 80% of the business applications are persistent and only 20% stateless. I have a tool to generate automatically 5250 persistent applications. I also have another tool in France to generate stateless applications using CGIDEV2. All of that to say that I already know RPGIV, DSPF, PRTF, CL but also HTML, css, some JavaScript and CGIDEV2. The only similar Web designers I already know are Kompozer, FrontPage and DreamWeaver for static HTML pages.
Hearing from our prospects and clients, simple native Web pages for persistent applications are still missing to have our native IBM i GUI interfaces.
So, RPGOA is good for stateless applications but must be completed by a middleware in order to simulate the 5250 controller because business applications are persistent. If I understand you : Steve Will has RPGOA, probably the appropriate middleware to simulate a Web controller, but not the designer which is under the responsibility of Rational because IBM wants to reuse parts of EGL.
To be clear I think that the main goal of Rational is or was a migration of IBM i to WebSphere/Java, which means to kill slowly but surely the best part of the IBM i and the investments clients have made for years. If I understand Aaron, Rational is not under the control of Steve Will who is the Chief Architect of IBM i. William Smith and Tim Wilson from Rational are now working for EGL which is now a free tool. I just notice that Rational and Rochester have or had an opposite vision of the future of the platform.
Hearing from you, I suppose that IBM has a kind of organization problem over a technical problem to be solved.
However, I stay tune about EGL to see what unfolds. Aaron I am waiting for your article trying to anticipate something according to the Web technology I already know. We all need to dream in color. As a Japanese proverb says: “Clouds in the sky, water in the bottle”. Like clouds and water, dream and reality are of the same composition and we need both for a living. Thank you Aaron.

I Think that IBM should push and promote the platform with the all new existing technologies.
The problem is that IBM do nothing.
Do you remember the last time IBM advertise the platform ???
Today I'm selling moderniztion projects using the PHP technology.
I think PHP is the most mainstream and open minded for our clients

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