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10/03/2012

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Steve, I've been waiting for USB devices for years! Thank you!!! Where can are read more?

Bob, thanks for the comment. We know some people have been quite anxious for IBM i to have USB I/O, so it's good to hear you're excited.

New I/O support is part of the Technology Refresh. The Technology Refresh information is in developerWorks. The base link for that is in the blog.

In particular, the new I/O support is described in the Summary and Details, with these two links:

Summary: https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/mydeveloperworks/wikis/home/wiki/IBM%20i%20Technology%20Updates/page/IBM%20i%20IO%20Support%20Summary?lang=en

Details: https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/mydeveloperworks/wikis/home/wiki/IBM%20i%20Technology%20Updates/page/IBM%20i%20IO%20Support%20Details?lang=en

And the RFA for the whole batch of enhancements is http://bit.ly/ibmiTR5

Specific links for the other blogs from my tweets:

Dawn May talks about Performance Data Investigator enhancements in "i Can" today. bit.ly/SEQU4Y #IBMi #Oct3

Tim Rowe's blog for #IBMi TR5 Announcements is live: bit.ly/PSZBJh He covers Navigator, #WebSphere install, HTTP & XML Services.

Mike Cain's #DB2 blog for #IBMi TR5 Announcement: bit.ly/PT0stv New Query optimization for EVIs, Create Local Table from Remote Query

Why the excitement about USB on the i?

Unfortunately, it points to a typical IBMi problem.

USB technology was introduced in 1998. It took IBM 14 years to bring it to the AS/400 (i).

It also took many years, for CD/DVR technology to be integrated into the platform.

When nobody wants to consider developing green screen applications, IBM finally came out with a working/usable Screen Designer module for RDPi.

There are many more examples but what's the use?

Our AS/400 system has served us well for about 20 years, but ownership has signed a contract for a new software package that will run on a different platform. Can you blame them (and many many others) that perceive the AS/400 (or whatever its' current name) as an ancient relic? Younger people are starting to take over ownership and IT management positions and wouldn't even consider an IBMi as a viable contender.

I don't think any new developer would today consider creating software for the i.

Sorry to be so negative about a platform I grew up with and really love, but IBM treats it as an albatross they have to tolerate to mollify their IBMi base.

I wish it were different.

Harry Daum has a valid point about IBM's lack of response to USB technology, until now. But I doubt that it was a factor in their organization's decision to license a new package and retire their "ancient relic".

I also doubt that the "ancient relic" that he referred to was an IBM i on Power System. More likely than not, it was either a home-grown or heavily-customized business package that was maintained by the organization; perhaps by Harry alone.

If that's the case, it doesn't make a lot of sense to blame IBM for the migration off the platform.

In cases where organizations are developing, customizing, and maintaining their own business applications, it's likely that their investment in employee and contractor time vs. their investment in platform is a factor of 8 to 1, or higher. The portion of the overall investment going to IBM is comparatively small.

As a hypothetical, let's say that the organization is paying Harry eight (8) times more per year than they are paying IBM for the overall solution. I don't want to take the time to list the improvements that IBM has made to the platform over the past say 6 years, but suffice it to say that the value of the platform as risen significantly while the cost has gone down.

The real question is how has Harry's part of the package improved? And were those improvements offset by business value that would justify the eight (8) to one (1) investment ratio?

Did Harry incorporate improvements in the the IBM i database into the package? Most legacy applications would benefit significantly from the use of DDL, SQL, and referential integrity constraints. Were they incorporated? Most database layouts need to change as business processes change. That's not IBM's responsibility. Was Harry responsive to changes in business processes?

What about incorporating browser user interfaces, support for web service clients, and support for new client devices?

IBM i provides exceptional support for JEE, PHP, CGI, Rational Open Access, and other client interfaces. Actually the choices are so extensive that it's hard to select from the many options. One can change the perception of a package from "ancient relic" to "modern" by changing the user interface. Is it IBM's responsibility to select one for Harry?

@Harry. Quite agree with you.
However, the IBMi was potentially cloudy: multi-user, multi-tenant, the only one able to manage natively persistence.
It's a big mess for all the industry and customers.
Emerging countries will never know the IBMi and existing IBM mainframes will be attacked by Oracle.
-) In the future, 80% of applications will be developed for browsers.
We don't need to modernize but to be modern.

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