140 Apps and (Hopefully) Counting for i 6.1
May 20, 2008 Alex Woodie
Looking for some apps to load on your wickedly fast new JS-22 blade server running i 6.1 (formerly i5/OS V6R1)? After all, the world’s hottest server isn’t good for much without some good old RPG, COBOL, or Java to make the fans blow and the screens flicker. According to IBM‘s documentation, you have 140 applications to choose from to outfit your i 6.1 workloads, so choose wisely.
Ever since IBM started talking to business partners last year about the need to convert programs to get them to run on i 6.1, it started to become evident that the new operating system would mark the beginning of a new era for the platform. While the technical changes required to run under i 6.1 were implemented, ostensibly, to ensure that developers followed good programming and security practices, they also had the effect of cleaning the i server’s house of old programs, and starting fresh with a clean slate of modern programs and–perhaps more importantly–motivated programmers.
So here we stand, about two months after the launch of i 6.1, with what can only be called the beginning of the transition. According to IBM’s Global Solutions Directory, 140 applications have been certified to run on the new operating system.
Interestingly, the number of applications certified for i 6.1 (which must be searched for on the directory using the old name, V6R1) has actually declined from two weeks ago, when 154 applications turned up for a search for V6R1. Undoubtedly, that has to do with search engine intricacies or database housekeeping (many vendors list products separately even if they’re part of a larger suite), and doesn’t mean applications are being decertified.
In any case, the number of applications certified for i 6.1 represents a small fraction of the population of applications written for the i-i5/OS-OS/400 platform over the years. For comparison’s sake, the Global Solutions Directory search turns up 414 applications for V5R4, 1,164 for V5R3, 311 for V5R2, and 6 for V5R1, a series of numbers that roughly coincides with the operating system adoption curve of the server’s installed base.
Some developers won’t bother to certify their applications for the new operating system, even though they will run. This will hurt the developer’s ability to attract new customers, but it shouldn’t have a big impact on existing customers.
So if you’re looking for upgrade to i 6.1 from V5R4, it’s best to contact your vendors directly about OS compatibility. If you’re new to the Power Systems box and you’re disappointed in the number of supported applications, tell IBM, install V5R3 or V5R4, and then tell us about it.