Be warned - the following is rather long but you asked for it :)

Congratulations on the interview - it says a lot about the project to
have an interview happen.

The small business I work for uses linux as an internet gateway,
mail/pop3, http, ftp, firewall, DNS, NFS, and SMB.  The AS/400 didn't
even do these things until recently - and from what I have seen its
performance in these areas is poor.  Our business is based on providing
companies with reliable database access and customized apps for their
needs.  As these companies have expanded the AS/400 has not been able to
satisfy their non-database needs, particularly in network related
services.  While the AS/400 does (in very recent releases) support these
services now the quality of use (IMHO) is not as good as something UNIX
based.  For our business: the AS/400 is good for database access and
db-applications but that is where it ends.  Our business could not
function without something else to provide network services.

Here is a concrete example:
One of our customers needed to enable AS/400 access from the store in
Alaska to their headquarters in Salt Lake City.  Simple we thought -
just stick a modem on the AS/400 and use SLIP to connect to an ISP, get
a static IP address and POW! you're in business. We were wrong.  V3R7
does not work with the modem recommended by IBM for doing SLIP.  We
could not (even after spending a lot of time with IBM tech support) make
SLIP work.  I don't even know why they put SLIP on there if it doesn't
work.  So I suggested we salvage an old PC and dump slackware on there. 
A few hours later we were in business.  With proxy arp and routing
entries we were communicating.  Linux saved the day (and our company's

Unfortunately the other employees at this small business have no UNIX
(or NT) experience.  They have been for years strictly an IBM shop,
starting on system34 then 36 then 38 then AS/400.  So linux has been
slow to gain acceptance as they don't know how to admin a system.  With
a background in isolationist AS/400 topology (twinax and dial-up
passthru were the definitive way to connect anything together) they
never had to learn IP, DNS, or any other network services.  They didn't
have to and couldn't have anyway - the AS/400 didn't support such
things.  So linux has been slow to gain acceptance.  So far no one but
me uses tn5250 - but I like much more than client access.  It is fast,
doesn't have useless features that get in my way, and *runs on my linux

The biggest drawbacks with tn5250 are incomplete emulation (I still
don't know how to get the newline key), crashes, and portability.  I
would like to run tn5250 on SCO openserver 5.  I tried to compile it on
one of these but no go.  Same with IRIX.  We have a customer with 6
stores that need AS/400 access and only have SCO openserver.  Of course
I could get to work and start porting it but the suits would say "just
use windows - let's not take time to do the port".  I also can't get it
to compile on libc5 machines.  I must say that the latest release has
been very stable for me and I am very pleased with it.  tn5250 (or more
specifically xt5250) is exactly the application I have needed.

The biggest benefits of tn5250 are fast execution, it does not contain
useless features I will never use that just cause problems, and it runs
on my linux box.  I can run tn5250 in a telnet session or I can use the
remote display abilities of X to run it graphically anywhere I may be. 
Problems are fixed in a timely manner.  I remember waiting forever for
IBM to fix early versions of client access.  Client access was an awful
program in its early stages and still bogs down the machine and user
with useless junk and hassle.  What's with this stupid connection
wizard?  Why should I have to define a new connection to every AS/400
that I use?  It is so simple to instead use 'tn5250'
and be done with it.  Common hosts could even be put in an rc file or
something but the simple command above is still all that's needed to
connect to any AS/400.

I suppose one of the largest hurdles has been that linux (and therefore
anything running on linux) is not made by IBM or MicroSoft.  People in
my business are very suspicious of anything not made by a major
company.  This didn't change until we got burned bad by MicroSoft and
small business server.  It cost a customer thousands of dollars and
months of work to get something that still doesn't quite work right. 
Our linux boxes have done everything we wanted them to do and have been
simple to set up.  But as linux and tn5250 mature that barrier will come
down.  Already the strongest supporter of Big Companies has had to eat
humble pie and recognize the usefulness of linux and the applications
that run on it.
James Rich                      For Linux help and information
                                please visit:
reply to:                     Linux and AS/400 admin.
| This is the LINUX5250 Mailing List!
| To submit a new message, send your mail to
| To subscribe to this list send email to
| To unsubscribe from this list send email to
| Questions should be directed to the list owner/operator:

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

This thread ...


Follow On AppleNews
Return to Archive home page | Return to MIDRANGE.COM home page

This mailing list archive is Copyright 1997-2022 by and David Gibbs as a compilation work. Use of the archive is restricted to research of a business or technical nature. Any other uses are prohibited. Full details are available on our policy page. If you have questions about this, please contact [javascript protected email address].

Operating expenses for this site are earned using the Amazon Associate program and Google Adsense.