I used to be an AS400 programmer

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February 26, 2006

OK, so just what the heck DO we call The AS400 nowadays? On a few blogs and forums this topic is frequently raising its head. It seems to be a bone of contention with virtually every IBM ‘thingie’ System developer out there. The HERD continues to call this machine an AS400, a few confuse it further by calling it the iSeries but I am coming to the realisation that the machine has changed. The times have changed. Sadly, I havent changed with them. Time to get myself in order.

AS400 Rehab

Personally, I’m having a tough job getting away from calling it ‘The 400′. The Application System/400 was born hot on the tails of the System/38. Bit of a boring name for such a great computer server, but Hey – it was easily shortened to the 400 and the name made sense!

Then came various incarnations of eServers, followed by the nSeries denominations. I’ve tried calling it the iSeries for a long time now but it… just… doesnt… work for me. Here I am, struggling to stop myself saying mentioning that dreaded word that is 1 higher than 399, getting used to saying The iSeries (or occasionally, on rare flamboyant moments, the System i) and I’ve just been corrected by some young IBM i whippersnapper.

I used to be an AS400 programmer

/me sighs and admits defeat

I guess I have to face the fact that it’s been re-branded again, by the brain-boxes at IBM (as if they havent diluted the brand enough already) and now it’s an IBM i, or System i, or sometimes a Power System. Clearly the old frustrating level of brand confusion just wasnt enough.

Whats it called now then? [I hear you gasp]

Well, according to the IBM pointy heads we basically have a super server (the IBM i) which does lots of different things:

IBM iPower Systems (IBM i, AS/400, iSeries, System i, AIX and Linux)

IBM Power Systems unifies IBM’s highly successful integrated platform, System i, with its fast growing UNIX operating systems platform, System p. IBM is also introducing IBM i, the new name for i5/OS operating system, featuring the newest release IBM i 6.1. With Power servers, you can take advantage of this single platform for all your IBM i, AIX and Linux applications. Learn more about IBM Power Systems

My problem is not the name in itself, not even with how often it has changed – but the problem is the name has changed beyond all recognition: Everybody knows that Vista, XP, NT, 95 etc are all Windows products because its Windows Vista, Windows XP etc..

Why couldnt IBM have capitalized on the excellent market reputation of the AS400 and just kept one part of the name the same as it’s evolved. I guess I’m just venting now, but still wish they had chosen a name and stuck with it.

But, your honour, I promise to refer to this machine that has been my professional life as the IBM i from this point forward… probably…. 😉


IBM i Software Developer, Digital Dad, AS400 Anarchist, RPG Modernizer, Shameless Trekkie, Belligerent Nerd, Englishman Abroad and Passionate Eater of Cheese and Biscuits. Nick Litten Dot Com is a mixture of blog posts that can be sometimes serious, frequently playful and probably down-right pointless all in the space of a day. Enjoy your stay, feel free to comment and remember: If at first you don't succeed then skydiving probably isn't a hobby you should look into.

Nick Litten

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