• Subject: Ardent Supporters (was Re: Have you read this?)
  • From: DAsmussen@xxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2000 17:59:49 EST


In a message dated 1/10/00 2:30:45 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
rp@rogerpence.com writes:

> Does anyone else find it ironic that the AS/400's most ardent supporters are
>  the ones whose words are actually lowering it into its premature grave?

I do and, then again, do not find it surprising in the least.  I'm not a 
"systems guy" any more.  I found that in the age of Y2K it was impossible, 
unless you're doing it full time, to keep up with the latest OS/400 
improvements while keeping up with the latest application enhancements and do 
both well.  I don't install new AS/400's for a living these days, so guess 
which skill went by the wayside?

While I also ascribe to the school of "RPG isn't going anywhere soon" myself, 
that's exactly the problem, isn't it?  RPG isn't going anywhere.  Hans and 
crew do their best to keep the language moving forward, but that is mainly a 
"preaching to the choir" effort aimed at the tens of thousands of RPG-trained 
professionals and applications using the system that refuse to move on.  
HLL's are tools.  All are good at one thing or another.  RPG is good at many 
things, but it is also _BAD_ at many things.  Why do you think so many people 
wrote their subfile programs in COBOL on the S/38, while writing their batch 
programs in RPG?  The latter example is not indicative of RPG's current 
performance, but it _IS_ indicative of using "the right tool for the right 

I wish that I had kept a list of the things unavailable to me in RPG/400 when 
I came back to the IBM platform that were readily available on another 
midrange whose HLL could not even be properly written without the use of 
GOTO.  The differences elude me now, 10 years later, but one of them was 
automated record lock handling.  I was frustrated for months, but "resistance 
was futile."  The /400 was the only platform where the HARDWARE performed up 
to the standards of my previous midrange, ergo my small customers were 
well-served without hiring technical personnel full time.  The RPG language 
would just "have to do."

As little as I keep up with OS/400 (this list and COMMON are about it), I 
constantly run into shops full of "AS/400 Professionals" that don't know 
about SMP, SMAPP, ILE, TCP/IP, and the myriad other improvements that have 
occurred since I dropped OS/400 (V2R3) knowledge from my primary list of 
concerns.  I've learned much about TCP/IP, MQSeries, SMP, and others by 
virtue of the fact that I often appear to be the only person in a shop that 
knows where the <F1> key is or how to GO CMDxxx.  How can these people expect 
corporate management to continue supporting their machine when they 
themselves know so little about it?  If _I_ can learn about these things 
peripherally when they're really not of my concern, how can people claiming 
the AS/400 as a career _NOT_ do so?


Dean Asmussen
Enterprise Systems Consulting, Inc.
Fuquay-Varina, NC  USA
E-mail:  DAsmussen@aol.com

"Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length." -- Robert Frost
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