Angus: Community leaders! Step UP, not back…

To {your-name-here}, a community leader,

Would you consider assisting some of the rest of us in the community? We are trying to make a move from the old branding. Several years ago, we asked the manager/s of AS/400 Professionals LinkedIn group to upgrade the name of the group, and they flat out refused. All efforts since then, by various people, have failed to raise awareness of the fact that the platform is IBM i and runs on a new hardware server.

Our concern is that while some of our community doggedly stick to the old naming, those people also stick to old techniques of development and methodology. This leads to a perception in companies that our technology is outdated, and leads to more replacement of IBM i with non-IBM i solutions. Our efforts are to encourage the community to overcome their stubbornness and realize that the future of our platform is IBM i. Our efforts are to get those who see it as an AS/400 or iSeries, to see the platform in its current form – an OS that supports their OS/400 and i5/OS applications, but does so much more. A simple example is Live Partition Mobility – not something that can be done on an AS/400, and is one of the many amazing things that can be supported with IBM i.

To raise awareness of this, we have a quandary. Vendors specifically, need access to as much of their constituency as they can. AS/400 Professionals has almost 15,000 members. IBM i Professionals has more than 4,500 members, and both are growing around the same amount each week. Vendors need access to the “extra” 10,000 (or maybe 12,000 who don’t overlap?), so they want these people to listen to them. IBM wants to talk to them. Yet, most of them don’t see the platform as IBM i – thus, the quandary.

So, we need to make the AS/400 Professionals members aware that IBM i is our future. There have been various attempts to do so, but each of them has reached a complete pushback and negative reaction from the noisy members, those stuck far back in the AS/400 cave. One of the methods proposed is to leave the group in droves – but as I said, vendors feel they cannot, so the membership is growing. Another of the methods is to stop posting in the group – that appears to have failed also. The third way has been a little more successful, but needs to gain traction – someone posts an article or discussion in another group, and in AS/400 Professionals, posts a link to the discussion in the other group. That tends to have some more members join the other groups, so it works for awareness. In the long run, of course, we would simply like the AS/400 Professionals group to be renamed, and since they won’t, it needs to fade into history. And, as you are a proponent of our platform, surely you have some other ideas?

Unfortunately, there are prominent members of our community who continue to answer questions and contribute to discussions in the AS/400 Professionals group. You are one of them. You are visible, and you are regularly commenting in that group. The concept is, that while you continue to do so, you are promoting the thought that AS/400 is current, and that it is ok to continue to promote AS/400 (or is that de-mote?). This is not supporting the future of our platform, rather, it is telling the people who are stubbornly refusing to go beyond the AS/400 that it is ok to do so. And it simply isn’t.

Our community needs its leaders to support the future of our platform, otherwise, we simply don’t have a future. The tide is finally turning with vendors, who are now realizing that they should promote IBM i products and services, even though the audience is mixed between IBM i and AS/400 bigots. We need some people pushing forward, and that group is growing. Unfortunately, every time {your name here} posts an answer in AS/400 Professionals, it makes the rest of us have to work that much harder to combat “the name doesn’t matter” myth.

The name does matter, because it makes the world look at the platform differently. If outsiders see it as an AS/400, they won’t come. If graduates see it being used like an AS/400, they won’t come. If our own developers see it as an AS/400, they won’t move forward, and we will lose more. We need the community to promote IBM i and its future, and we need your help.

Can you assist in moving the perception of our platform from AS/400 to IBM i? It is time…


Holger SchererApril 21st, 2013 at 1:31 pm

As400 is the future! It is the better name to remember than an i which is hard to spell in discussons and will never make a good term to search for.
We tell our friends and customers about the features of as400 and aix servers, sometimes about an ibm power server, but not about an i or a p server…

AngusApril 21st, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Holger, this is so disappointing. One of the most difficult things is to educate our community, and it is obvious you have not paid attention.

In 2008, IBM replaced System i (the follow on to the iSeries, which followed the AS/400) and System p with a completely NEW hardware platform, named Power Systems. At the same time, they upgraded the OS for our community, and rebranded it IBM i. This was FIVE years ago, a lifetime in the IT world.

Moving forward, all your AS/400 applications can run on IBM i. The investment in IBM i is strong, and IBM sees it as a strategic platform. All of this is available when you search on the internet for “IBM i”.

If we continue to wallow in the AS/400 cave, we will lose more customers. IBM i is quite amazing, and does far more than the AS/400 could ever do. If a customer buys an upgrade from IBM to their AS/400, iSeries, or System i, they will be purchasing IBM i running on Power Systems.

All you are doing is adding confusion to the industry. And, it seems, because you don’t like the name. Which, is quite backward thinking, when the old name represents backward and out of date thinking. It is time to step up, and stop the complaining. If you are promoting IBM i and its future, you are part of a community moving forward. If you remain stubborn, and insist on living in the past, you hurt the platform. Please, please stop.

Vern HambergApril 21st, 2013 at 6:59 pm

As a your-name-here – I think one thing I can do is, while replying even in the other list, to mention all I can the current name. BTW, I hope Holger had his tongue firmly in cheek! But it was hard to tell.

I’m in a new position, and everyone (users) speaks of the”AS/400″ – some disparagingly or at least hoping it will be replaced, others just because it is what they know.

I was hired partly because of my obvious enthusiasm for the modern nature of this system, and for what my boss called a willing to be bendable – not exactly sure what that meant, but it’s supposed to be a good thing!

So I see that part of my job is to show what this system can do now – people actually do listen. Folks that want better, more-easily usable presentation of data are interested to know about dashboards and drill-downs and all. It will be a bit of a viral approach – this is a 40,000-employee company with many parties involved. There is a corporate IT sector, and there is our division’s IT group, that has some independence.

So, as one boss says, we can make a report or the like, and if others see it, they’ll ask, where’d that nice summary come from? I’ve been encouraged to work in this direction, while we also try to get back to normal after a pretty intense centralization project.

So even using the current name – well, I do mention it when I can. There is an inertia here, against which I have little power to mandate. But I do make a point of saying to people, we just don’t know what can be done with the platform, and let’s keep talking, to see if there are business needs I can discuss with them and show them a new way.

AngusApril 21st, 2013 at 9:22 pm


The point of avoiding posting to the AS/400 Professionals group is many-fold. However, would you profess to the world that you are a Windows 3.1 programmer in a Windows 8 world? Mentioning the new branding consistently is a small small step, but it is 2013 – AS/400 has been dead now 13 years, and it is time to take a bigger step.

As for users, should it not be time to take hardware out of their vernacular? Rather than ~upgrade~ the user’s vocabulary, why not simply swap the paradigm. 21st century work is accessed via applications (ie, apps), so why is a user still using the name of the hardware instead of the application they need to access.

It is really quite sad that it is taking this long for our community to get up to speed with the platform – what it is, what the branding is, what it can do, what development can be done. By wallowing in the old names, by commenting in the old-branded forums, it simply means you are helping keep the community in the dark ages.

Go post this picture on your office/cubicle wall, and tell them this is the real AS/400×1200/wallpaper_01.htm

Then go get a few of these, and stick them all over.

It really is easy. IBM i on Power is SO much better than AS/400, yet we are still promoting the old, outdated, past?

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