Here I am – a huge advocate of IBM i technology. I’ve grown up through the ranks of IBM System 3x systems and evolved alongside IBM through the AS400 and ‘i’ years. I’ve excitedly played with the quiet, yet groundbreaking changes in hardware and software that came with the iSeries/eServer range of Servers. I’ve scratched my head slightly at the i5 branding. I’ve shook my head at the weirdly blurred focus on Linux. I’ve cheered at the Power5 Processor range and final (hopefully) name consolidation of the Power Server Hardware and IBMi software. I’m an i-vangelist in the strongest sense. I love programming (RPG, JAVA and CL) on the IBM i Server range… but it feels like IBM are trying to unfriend me. Aaaaargh!!!!
“But Nick, whats the problem old Chap?” I hear you ask
Last year I landed myself an eBay scoop… and now own 2 iSeries myself. Long story short… two brand new smaller model 220 IBM iSeries (AS/400e) machines were shipped somewhere ten years ago, were never delivered and spent a decade lurking at the back of a Fedex warehouse unclaimed and unwanted. I luckily spotted them being cleared out over ebay, when the warehouse owners through they were just two strange looking black windows servers. End result was I got two iSeries Servers, brand new (if a little dusty) for under a grand! Huzzah! I suspect there are not a lot of IBM iSeries running in peoples houses just for their own amusement.
Well, now I can use my own machines for playing with networking, simulating disaster recovery scenarios and coding/developing PROJEX4i and learning new stuff which I can’t necessarily play/learn/experience when working on IBM i at client sites.
I’m excited and ready to load IBM i Version 5.4. Unfortunately the iSeries Model 220 can’t run the latest v6+ of IBM i. i wold love to install V7 but the hardware cant handle it. But v5r4 is so similar it will let me do everything and help me promote this terrific machine.
Should be simple right?
But, six months after buying my iSeries machines, they’re still sitting there trying to find anyone who can supply me with IBMi v5.4 for less than the price of pre-owned family car.
I am an IBM i Consultant, RPG Programmer, Web Enthusiast, Blogger and Advocate for IBM technology and business solutions. But, I am most definitely not an advocate of IBM’s customer support policies. Not this morning anyway.
I’m really starting to get so pissed of IBM’s derogatory view of me as an individual ‘AS400 Programmer’ – Yes, I really had to describe myself as that to an IBM Customer Representative on the phone because she didn’t understand when I said I was a freelance IT Consultant who wanted to buy a personal copy of IBMi Version 5.4 :/
Let me take a breath and review how I got here.
Microsoft – is on my Smile list 🙂
I’m typing this on my Home Server:
Total Cost = Hardware ($700) Software ($250) = $950 for the lot.
I’m using Windows 7 Ultimate on my server, with the full Office 2010 desktop suite and this is rolled out across my family desktop and laptops. I prefer Google Browser and email packages () and opt for the wonderful Open Source Drupal Website solution (). I download lots of cheap and/or free software and play with IT stuff every day of my life. I am delighted to pay $250 a year for the full Microsoft Developer Suite – this gives me access to every single piece of Microsoft software under my *developers* license. An absolute bargain and huge thumbs up to the Microsoft gang.
IBM – is on my Frown List 🙁
I have two dead IBM Servers which I cant run. All I want is the latest operating system and RPG compilers.
I want it on both my little home servers so I can learn to network them, configure the web servers and play with RPG and PHP. When I go out and sell my IBM i skills this raises the profile for IBM i and this wonderful platform.
As an RPG programmer I pay the bills by working on this great platform most days.
All of us IBMi guys want to stay current and, just like our laptops, we want an IBM Server at home so we can write RPG code, practice new techniques, learn, experiment and grow. I can’t afford to spend tens of thousands on a new server so I go off and buy myself the hardware pre-owned. There are lots of second-hand iSeries and Systemi out there in internet land. For around $300-500 you can find a decent tower size iSeries Server and have it shipped to your home all ready for any self respecting IBMi Programmer to ply his trade.
It’s so frustrating the IBM is actively preventing me from doing this I’m getting a bit Aaaaargrhgrhrgrhgrhrg!
OK – Deep Breath.
I foolishly started this adventure thinking IBM would be the good guys and my journey would be short…. Oh how wrong I am.
IBM Customer Support – what the %$”&#!!!
Months back I thought that by calling IBM and explaining that I was an independent IT Contractor and I wanted to buy a small iSeries Server and run the latest version of IBMi with all the licensed programs on it (trying to get to IBM’s equivalent of Microsofts MSDN setup). After more than an hour on hold, being passed to 6 different customer support agents and finally the seventh one being the guy that I had originally spoken to (back in India I hesitate to add) I realised that IBM are just not interested in helping me.
I think they are not interested in selling me the latest version of IBMi because IBM DOESNT VIEW ME AS A PROPER CUSTOMER… I am just a programmer… I’m one of the little guys… I do not exist on IBM’s radar. 🙁
They just couldn’t give me a firm price but indicated it could be around $5500!!!! Yes, FIVE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS for a SINGLE LICENSE FOR ME. When I explained “but the server hardware cost $300 and I just want to be able to write and compile code” I was told to talk to an IBM Business Partner. I explained that *I* am an IBM Business partner and my freelance LLC company is already registered as one. I was put on hold and transferred back to the original guy I spoke to.
Complete 100% fail for IBM Customer Support. Big FROWN face. 🙁
IBM – Can you hear me?
Can I give you some money to put IBMi on my poor little IBM server that is sitting at home?
I know that IBM needs to turn a profit, but it is us Developers that market and promote your machine.
If there are No developers this means there is nobody to create and support the thousands of business out there running IBM-i applications. With no developers to support the software. I can guarantee that the installed customer base will migrate to other platforms which have squillions of people just waiting to support their business critical applications.
IBM should be looking after us developers and marketing this brilliant machine. Instead it is us developers who are marketing the machine and fighting for the right to work on it.
It’s so screwed up its making my blood boil.
IBM – How about a developer’s license?
/me thinks I am just waiting for a sad ECHO..Echo… echooooo…
IBM i Software Developer, Digital Dad, AS400 Anarchist, RPG Modernizer, Alpha Nerd 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 in the words of the most interesting man in the world: Stay thirsty my friend.
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