On Jan 1, 2020, at 6:47 PM, Patrik Schindler <poc@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Am 30.12.2019 um 22:56 schrieb Booth Martin <booth@xxxxxxxxxxxx>:
Maybe if we decided to see what we can actually do with 5250 and apply some 21st Century design goals to the use of 5250 we might find that 5250 isn't as old and clunky as we think it is?
Thank you. That comment made my day. :-)
My go-to example on this is the subfile and scroll bar. Our email can be sorted by columns, filtered by columns, and just about everyone understands how to work with it. Say "how about sortable and filterable 5250 subfiles with scroll bars?" and heads around here explode. Why?
LOL! To me it seems that some people think the general perception of IBM i (what?) — AS/400 (ah, I know that!) "outside" is to be outdated and obsolete and the main culprit of that is the "ancient" text interface. I think this opinion is based on simplified assumptions about "the user" and "outside".
Outside perception of old, outdated seems to me because these machines run for decades without too much attention, so they really tend to be old. It's unlikely to find Wintel Server Hardware lasting as long. Either for technical reasons (too slow, lack of disk space), or because some consultant tells the CxO it's time for something new. Or simply want to make money fast. IBM i is not mainstream as Windows and Vmware is today. Not mainstream means, it has to be eliminated. Most consultants either don't/won't know better. That's what I learned about the outside perception from tech consultant colleagues.
If the CxO just does his job, he'll listen for that advice, kick out the old iron, pay a good amount for migratory labour compensation and that's about it. Another i gone, everybody's more or less happy and the company can continue to exist.
If the CxO cares beyond IT than "it only costs money and gives nothing", and maybe likes the IBM i because of it's uniqueness and the 30 year old, heavily customized and extended business solution programs collection just works fine and scales well with company growth, he'll not just listen to some consultant but will challenge him with questions regarding business continuity and secondary costs such as training, amongst other delicate questions.
(Here comes an important point. There seems to be just continuity but no really new stuff. IBM i is sold mainly because there once was an AS/400 running. Maybe also that is contributing to the general perception of old and outdated.)
Naturally, in my native work environment, I also work with other Linux guys to some extent. They're happy to grep-awk-sed though files for finding stuff in log files, wade directory trees by command line and tab key, and happily edit config files with vim. But once they see the distinct screen appearance of the AS/400 or IBM i or whatever, many are like "uuuh, old shit!"
Maybe the "old" perception isn't the main culprit, but the environment where IBM i is usually doing work. There's mostly boring stuff: shuffling numbers, printing invoices and whatnot. No cool whatever the latest hype is just now going through online media as the next best thing since the invention of sliced bread, just for displaying a website. (Yes, I admit that's an oversimplification on my side.)
Users… that's another thing. People don't like changes they can't control. Long standing users somehow call their everyday input masks and whatnot "the AS/400", are blazingly fast in what they do because they can do all with the keyboard. No time consuming mouse-keyboard-movement. Unfortunately, these users vanish into retirement and death.
Not a strict IBM i perception but more general… many jobs nowadays require the interaction with a computer. Be it digital x-ray in healthcare, be it a carpenter modeling something for the highly automatic miller, be it just a tiny shop selling electrical equipment also on eBay for increasing sales. I think, today, the computer is pervasive. Yet, some people don't understand it as a tool to help with daily tasks, but something nasty, unwelcome, time consuming and overly complicated. Are you hating your screwdriver? No? Your drill machine? No? Why do you hate the computer? They refuse to learn about how to make use of that tool, for reasons which I don't understand. Instead they're constantly complaining about the f*cking computer acting up again. I know some people in healthcare myself who are completely lost if for any reason the icon for their main application is missing from the desktop, they're completely helpless. As if they never used the Start menu to open another application at home. It's completely ridiculous. It's plain ignorance.
These (often comparably young) people will panic when they see no mouse on the desk and just text on the screen. OMG, then they need to read what's upon there! No eye candy!
Some are receptive for advice and for background explanations. And if shown properly how fast you can be when typing and not constantly moving between mouse and keyboard. This isn't exactly a text screen thing. I have seen many users, clicking the text insert mark from field to field, with intricate aiming to not miss the exact field beginning. If you show them patiently and with a positive attitude, some (not too ignorant) of them will understand and try themselves to be better because you changed their point of view.
IBM was very successful in hammering "modernize, move everything into the browser" in some people's heads. To me, the greatest value IBM i provides is that it's extremely easy (compared to Linux vs. libncurses programming) to have a small database editor hacked together in no time. A friend of mine said, it's even less labour than coding something similar in PHP, from scratch, for running in a browser.
If everything's running in PASE, with all the stuff known from Linux ported by IBM to IBM i via AIX, what's the point of even using IBM i? It slowly tries to become yet another Linux but since many concepts are so fundamentally different compared to anything non-IBM, for the average sysadmin it's very hard to manage i properly.
A while ago there was a guy asking for upgrading to the latest version of OpenSSL. In most Unices and Linux, it's just the usual configure-make-make install triplet. In IBM i? No chance.
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