What is a 5250 Emulator?
In a previous blog about 5250 Emulators:
The IBM i System (sometimes incorrectly called the iSeries or AS/400) uses something called 5250 to stream its data to a terminal, often called a green screen. You've seen these clunky old terminals in black and white sci-fi movies. We still use them... sort of... we use terminal emulators (software that emulates the functions of those old terminals) to type commands into a command-line interface using windows/linux/mac whatever.
Me. Yonks Ago.
Is this just TELNET?
5250 is a protocol that runs over TELNET. The 5250 display protocol, used by IBM i enhances vanilla telnet adding control codes, keys, and services used by our IBM i System. You can simply telnet onto any IBM i system, but things like functions will not work...
Simply Put - a 5250 Emulator is an application that acts like it's a terminal on your IBM i System.
In years gone by, the KING OF THE HILL was IBM's own CLIENT ACCESS - this notorious piece of software was buggy, laggy and often caused much swearing from software developers and users alike. This led to many competitors writing their own 5250 emulators, some premium and many free or opensource.
Before we get to evaluating 5250 Emulators - both premium and opensource - let's talk about what Emulators are, and which 5250 Emulators we will look at:
What are the best Premium / Free 5250 Emulators?
My preferred emulator is the IBM i Access Client Solutions application. It's free, written in Java (so it runs everywhere). Having said that, there are so many emulators in this space I'm going to spend a few minutes evaluating each one. I will record and upload the video reviews as I download, install and test each and every 5250 Emulator I recommend... and even those I don't 😉
If you have one that you like, please leave let me know and I will try it out.