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Navigator for i vs System i Navigator Historical Perspective



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Some of you may have been around the platform long enough to remember Twinax terminals. We loaded no software period then. We didn't even have cut and paste.

Then we got emulator boards of various flavors and had to load some software to get the 'green screen' up. Optionally there were some bits that gave us 'shared folders' by essentially using the Twinax as a network.

Then along came windows 3.1 (whatever did happen to Windows 1 and 2 and 3.0? Probably lost with IPV1, IPV2 and IPV3... But I digress) IBM provided "Client Access for Windows." It didn't support much and it was slow and some bits were cranky. The hue and cry abut how crappy, slow, and function free it was, was loud. To a degree it was that. BUt it was new and incomplete and IBM said so.

And we had a client for OS/2 that was better, a LOT better. Except it came in the form of a door stop brick of diskettes. (which I still have, still wrapped, still works.) And then they killed that and soon OS/2 died as well, coincidence? I think NOT!

The apple version was nice. Not a single error, or function either. Sorry.

Linux? Yeah there's an emulator for that, well some versions anyway. Not much else.

Itanic users? Too bad your version got removed (for both of you!)

8 Bit to 16 bit to 32 Bit to 64 Bit. Conversions at every step.

Over the years many versions came along some as required to match windows versions. From 3.1 to 3.11 to 95 to 98 to CE ME NT 2000 XP Vista 7 8 8.1 and what's next? Of course a LOT of new function was added in there at various points and whether the code got faster or the PCs did (or both.) At some point along the journey there reached a tipping point. Most of us (sure some still don't) decided it performed pretty well. It got to the point where we loved it (again most of us did) and used it all day, every day. Despite its humble beginnings its 'ours' now. "DON'T MOVE OUR CHEESE!"

However, A few releases back IBM introduced the new web based 'IBM Navigator for i.' It wasn't called that then and it didn't support much and it was slow and some bits were cranky. The hue and cry abut how crappy, slow, and function free it was, was loud. To a degree it was that. BUt it was new and incomplete and IBM said so.

But there is a difference. This time the direction is clear. This time there is no Windows vs OS/2 battle vs Apple vs Linux to divide the developers. This time no Itinium vs XEON vs ARM vs whatever in the processor space. There is no 32 to 64 to ?? conversion in the works. This time it's all running where IBM can control it, on IBM i. This time they do ONE set of development and it runs on IBM i 6 and 7. The only pieces NEEDED to run on the desktop are in Java (Read Apple, Linux, Windows, ???) and those are mostly the Emulator. Oh and how about having to update 1000 desktops in your enterprise? Notanymore! PTFs on i and you're done.

The updates are frequent and SIGNIFICANT. Troubleshooting tools are better. Performance of the latest i 7.1 version is pretty darn good even on POWER5 servers with less than a full core. Things work and they keep getting better. It already has happened for some and for many more the tipping point will be here again soon. We will like it.






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