I know its not an AS400 but I am going to call it an AS400… 

 December 12, 2012

By  NickLitten

I was reading an interesting thread on Linkedin this morning, discussing another article about the much loved AS/400. The basic storyline is (a) some chap says the AS/400 is a really neat computer and he’s very pleased to have worked on it for many years (b) other chap says “its not called an AS/400” anymore (c) lots of other people discuss the merits of calling it the AS400 or the iSeries or the Silverlake or the Power Server (d) digress into muttered ramblings from all corners…

Being as I am an old-school S/34, S/36, S/38 guy from back in the Reagan/Bush days , I will still call it “the 400” , (iSeries / Series i / Power systems never caught on with me). The original “Silverlake” project started over 25 years ago, and the 400 is still cranking. I raised my children from diapers to degrees while programming on this durable box.

There have been many improvements to the 400, heck IBM even switched it from plain ugly tan to cool sleek black – but the fundamental machine is still the same. It has not tried to be something that it is not. The 400 has not been “improved” beyond what is reasonable. It has remained as steady (and ubiquitous) as the ordinary cup holder – which is pretty extraordinary these days.

Trevor Perry is a proponent of IBMi, and using the latest incarnation of IBM’s naming standards for this platform. Somewhere in the middle of the Linkedin thread he wrote a few paragraphs which align perfectly with my position:

There are so many other reasons while the platform does not rule.
1. People calling it by the ,old, name, thereby promoting something it was, not something it can be.
2. People using it like it is an AS/400, rather than a modern IBM i platform, running on the best commercial business server on the planet.
3. Enemies of the platform using our AS/400 name stubbornness to prove we are all out of date and should move to another platform

But seriously, how about these:
1. The platform requires less support and maintenance than other systems, therefore consulting companies don’t support it, since they won’t make money from it
2. The platform has built in database and security, high reliability, fantastic scalability, and therefore the TCA is little higher, but the competitors don’t mention TCO, so companies are fooled into buying bad imitations.
3. Same as 2, but nobody believes it could be true.

Really, though.
1. The proponents of the platform think it works and acts like it did when it came out in 1988, so they spread the word rabidly and ignorantly, and no one else will go near such an old POS.

Tell me what you want to promote?
An AS/400 that includes everything you could ever want in a business server, reliable, scalable, secure, but stuck in 2000 (when it was replaced).
An IBM i system scalable, secure, and modern, running on Power Systems, the best, fastest and most reliable business server on the planet?

It’s weird that there is a gaggle of stubborn Software Developers who simply refuse to use the correct name for the machine they work on.

My first car was a Datsun 120Y – but now years later I drive a modern car which I (obviously) wouldnt continue to calla 120Y.

Why would you use the same name for an old model and do that with the computer system you use?




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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