IBM Comments on iSeries Access and Windows Vista
October 9, 2007 Linda Hirsch
IBM‘s iSeries Access (now called “System i Access” but still commonly called “Client Access”) added support for Windows Vista in the Windows client in December of 2006. Alex Woodie’s September 18 Four Hundred Stuff article, “Windows Vista Poses Challenges to Emulation Vendors”, listed the various problems and restrictions that System i Access had documented at the time of the article. Since then, the documentation has been updated. Here is the current status of System i Access for Windows on Vista.
Alex’s article compared 5250 emulation packages. The PC5250 emulator in System i Access for Windows is fully supported on Vista. The known problems that were formerly listed in the Vista informational APAR, (II14239) are resolved with Service Pack SI27741, available July 2007.
PC5250 is the most popular component of System i Access for Windows, and there are many other components in the product. While some of the problems have been resolved in these other components, there are a few remaining restrictions. For example, for Operations Console users, while LAN Console is supported on Vista, Direct Console will not be supported. This is a permanent restriction because Vista does not support the SLIP protocol that is required by Direct Console. Also, Access for Windows currently does not plan to support the SCS printer drivers. Another restriction which remains from the earlier documented restrictions is that Check Version will not run automatically on Vista. It must be run manually. This is a restriction on V5R4 but not in the next release. In addition, the Windows Help (WinHlp32.exe) program that is required to view help text on System i Access for Windows is not included with Vista. Therefore, you must download WinHlp32.exe from Microsoft in order to view help text. A link to the Microsoft knowledge base article which has the WinHlp32.exe download information is included in II14239. Also, for the iSeries Navigator component, some of the help text requires WinHlp32.exe and some has additional authority requirements listed in the info APAR.
The link for the Vista info APAR II14239, along with all support statements for System i Access for Windows on Microsoft operating systems, can be found at http://www.ibm.com/systems/i/access/windows/supportedos.html.
At this time, IBM does not intend to acquire certification for System i Access for Windows on Vista. Historically, we have not certified our “Client Access for Windows” products on the various Microsoft operating systems because this certification of our product has not been critical to our midrange customers. Customers require that System i Access for Windows is tested and supported, but certification has not been a necessity. If Vista certification of System i Access for Windows is important to your business, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To summarize the System i Access for Windows support, the PC5250 emulator is supported and fully functional on Vista. Users of SCS printer drivers and Direct Console will not use Vista but stay on other supported Microsoft operating systems. When you are ready to roll Vista out in your business, check the info APAR to see whether your users need the other components listed, and if so, whether extra steps are required.
If you’d like to get away from the desktop administration required with System i Access for Windows, consider this. System i Access Family added System i Access for Web, the browser based product which is completely independent of the desktop operating system. Since the product runs on the System i and only requires a browser on the desktop, the end user could be running any Linux, Mac, or Microsoft operating system, or even a wireless device where a browser is enabled. There is a 5250 emulator available with System i Access for Web. Although the PC5250 emulator in System i Access for Windows has full function and is intended for keyboard intensive, data-entry personnel, the 5250 emulator in System i Access for Web may be a viable option for users in your business. In addition to the 5250 emulator, System i Access for Web has a web interface available for other i5/OS functions, like working with spooled files, jobs, messages; converting spooled files to PDF; building and running queries; and more. Refer to www.ibm.com/systems/i/software/access/web. If you’d like to see a demo of this product, contact me.
Linda Hirsch is in System i Access Development in the IBM Rochester Lab. Linda can be reached at email@example.com.