IBM Clarifies IBM i 6.1.1 And Support Withdrawal
September 29, 2014 Timothy Prickett Morgan
The IBM i 6.1.1 release of the midrange operating system that this newsletter is dedicated to was, like many prior releases of the OS/400 and its progeny, a stop-gap release to add support for Virtual I/O Server and was pretty thin as releases go. As we reported several weeks ago, IBM is set to withdraw IBM i 6.1 from marketing on December 9 and stop supporting it on September 30, 2015. But there was not perfect clarity on what would happen to its tweaked follow-on, IBM i 6.1.1.
As we previously reported, IBM withdrew IBM i 6.1 and its related licensed program products (LPPs) on September 9, and because I am diligent, I looked in the IBM online sales manual when I was trying to figure out what the fate of IBM i 6.1.1 was. And here is what I saw:
Yup, that’s two distinct variants of a release with the same product number but as you can see, as far as the sales manual is concerned, IBM i 6.1.1’s future is still wide open. And so I wrote exactly what seemed to be the case. To quote me (which is weird): “It was not clear if both of these releases–IBM i 6.1 and IBM i 6.1.1–were included in the winding down of support, and you might suspect that they are both being sunsetted since, for all intents and purposes, 6.1 and 6.1.1 are the same animal with some relatively minor tweaks. If you drill around the IBM sales manual, however, only IBM i 6.1 is being withdrawn from marketing on December 9, 2014 and only IBM i 6.1 is having its standard service discontinued on September 30, 2015. IBM i 6.1.1 is still an unknown, and if history is any guide, it will live for approximately a year longer.”
Anyway, Alison Butterill, product offering manager for IBM i, sent me this clarification and was unaware that the online sales manual was not correct. “This paragraph makes it sound like IBM i 6.1 and IBM i 6.1.1 are two separate releases and therefore the withdrawal of IBM i 6.1 does not include 6.1.1. Actually, that’s not correct. IBM i 6.1.1 will be withdrawn at the same time as its parent release, IBM i 6.1.”
So there you have it. The sales manual is wrong and to my thinking announcement letter 914-181 describing the sunsetting of IBM i 6.1 should have been more explicit about whether or not it included the IBM i 6.1.1 sub-release as well.
And just to be superclear, I talked about IBM i 6.1 and the licensed program products being withdrawn in two separate paragraphs, and Butterill misconstrued that I might mean these were two separate events and sent this clarification along, too: “When IBM announces the withdrawal of an Operating System level, it includes the Licensed Program Products that are at the same version and release as the underlying Operating System. IBM i 6.1 is withdrawn, so are the Licensed Program Products that require IBM i 6.1.”
I did not mean them to be two separate events, but having talked about them separately, I can see how that might be misread.
As someone who slings words for a living, and who sometimes misses the target, none of this story is me throwing stones in a glass house so much as marveling about the nature of human communication and wondering at its fragility. In fact, wondering that it works as well as it does. Except when it doesn’t.