OS/400 Edition
Volume 2, Number 46 -- December 17, 2002

Be Your Users' Hero with Lock Buster

by Alex Woodie

You've finally finished writing the new display fields that customer service has been on your case about for weeks. But now that you're ready to implement the change, you find that practically the whole department is logged on to the application. If you kick them off now, you'll just rile them up even more. What's a sys admin to do? Enter Lock Buster, an OS/400 utility introduced this month by Precosis that lets you recompile objects while they're in use.


Precosis, an Australian software company that has developed several other OS/400 utilities, designed Lock Buster to let system administrators make urgent changes to their OS/400 systems on their own schedule, not their users'. Instead of booting users off the system to recompile objects, or waiting until everybody has logged off, Lock Buster allows changes to be made to one copy of objects while the old objects are still available to users in another library. Users who stay logged on to the system are able to access the old objects, while users who log on after the new objects are added will see the changes.

(Precosis also offers a tool called RemoteView, which lets system administrators see what's on their users' screens and issue commands that could be used to manually exit a user in preparation for a change to the system. But this would likely result in disgruntled users, and is not conducive to peaceful administrator-user relationships.)

Lock Buster works by removing the locks placed on objects and using the REPLACE(*YES) option on compile commands, which automatically puts old objects into another library that is accessible to users, and renames the objects in the process. Users are unaware that anything has been moved or renamed because the address of that object in memory has not changed. The tool works on a range of OS/400 objects, including display and printer files; menu objects and panel groups; logical files; physical files; and message queues.

While it is normally not advisable to tamper with objects while they're in use--that's why OS/400 puts a lock on them in the first place, right?--Precosis says that Lock Buster does not adversely affect system integrity. After all, it is sometimes desirable to manually remove the locks from objects that are accessed by user jobs, and users can call programs from a command line that will remove locks placed on files. Precosis says Lock Buster achieves the same end as manual lock intervention, but it does so without requiring user assistance. Even so, the tool does restrict users from removing the locks on certain items, such as system jobs and file members locked by Open Data Paths. Precosis advises administrators to be cautious when using this tool and recommends against deleting objects that have been unlocked.

Licenses for Lock Buster 1.1 are available for $800 per processor, regardless of machine size. Precosis also has a package deal that bundles Lock Buster and the change-capable version of Remote View for $1,600 per processor (the change-capable version of RemoteView is normally $1,200 per processor). For more information, go to

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Be Your Users' Hero with Lock Buster

News Briefs and Product Shorts

Alex Woodie

Managing Editor
Shannon Pastore

Contributing Editors:
Dan Burger
Joe Hertvik
Shannon O'Donnell
Timothy Prickett Morgan

Publisher and
Advertising Director:

Jenny Thomas

Advertising Sales Representative
Kim Reed

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Last Updated: 12/17/02
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