IBM Sort Of Clarifies Plans for S/36 and S/38 Environments
April 3, 2006 Timothy Prickett Morgan
As part of the January refresh of the OS/400 platform with the launch of the Power5+ System i5 machines, IBM dropped a little hint at the back of the i5/OS V5R4 announcements that caused some anxiety among many OS/400 shops. IBM said that support for certain compilers that were created for the System/36 and System/38 predecessors to the AS/400-iSeries-System i line were on the way out. Since we published that story in early February, I have been trying to get some clarification on what exactly the deal is, to no avail. Last week at COMMON, IBM briefly shed a little light on the situation.
Back in January, IBM put out a statement of direction that said WebSphere Development Studio for iSeries V5R4 will be the last release to ship with the RPG II and COBOL compilers that are compatible with the System/36 and the RPG III and COBOL compilers that are compatible with the System/38. IBM recommended that customers who have deployed System/36 and System/38 applications in the S36EE or S38EE emulation environments to switch to ILE RPG. IBM did say that these old compilers would be available as a non-warranted PRPQ in the next release of i5/OS, but this is not a place you want to go.
Of course, this announcement begged this question: if the compilers don’t support these environments, will the operating system itself? Jim Herring, director of product management and business operations for the System i line at IBM, said that IBM had no plans to discontinue the S36EE emulation environment. This seems to imply–as I suggested last summer when a rumor was going around that IBM would kill off the S36EE and S38EE environments–that IBM is not going to stop old applications from running. But, Herring said nothing about the S38EE at the show. I am hoping to hook up with George Farr, technical development manager for System i development tools at IBM’s Toronto software labs, to get a more precise answer.
And if IBM doesn’t support S/36 and S/38 code inside WDSc, by the way, I think there is a great opportunity for some intrepid tool maker to create an Eclipse snap-in that does.