First Open Source Conference For IBM i Shops Planned
November 2, 2015 Dan Burger
IBM midrange shops have a distinction and a notoriety for being do-it-yourselfers. They like to invent, construct, and organize according to the individual characteristics of their business environments. They prefer tailor-made to off the rack. That’s why it seems open source development is well suited for the IBM i community. That and the fact that open source allows pilot testing without a purchase approval process. That’s important, too.
Getting a grip on a project without the financial investment of buying software and signing service contracts appeals to some shops that prefer to keep their business an internal affair. And there are those that keep close watch on their expenses–a good policy whether the option is open source or off the shelf software and service contracts. Assume there will be time spent researching testing tools under consideration regardless of whether they are open source or commercial.
Open source awareness in the IBM i community is compiling. It’s gone beyond what’s available and ventured into the area of what can be accomplished as more IBM i developers get hands-on experience.
Like many IT responsibilities, the ability to devote time toward gaining experience with open source tools is constrained.
“After awareness is generated and people become ‘sold’ that open source is worthy of pursuit, we also hear people say, ‘But how do I find the time? There’s so much to learn,'” says Aaron Bartell, an open source frontiersman in the IBM i community. There remains a segment of the community that doesn’t install all the tools and languages on their IBM i because of traditional fear, uncertainty, and doubt. But he and others are erasing some of that with sessions at conferences and user group meetings and articles in the IBM i-focused media.
Bartell, the director of innovation at Krengel Technology, is one of three open source experts involved in a two-day conference hosted by the COMMON user group. Also making presentations at this event are Kevin Adler, an IBM software engineer, and Pete Helgren, a Java team supervisor at Bible Study Fellowship International, an organization that runs on IBM i. The Open Source Conference is scheduled for December 2 and 3 in Chicago, Illinois.
“IBM and COMMON are embracing open source as a top priority,” Bartell says. “COMMON is expending resources to put together a brand new conference dedicated specifically to open source. As for IBM, they’ve never been more vocal about supporting open source. Tim Rowe, IBM i business architect for application development and systems management, has been giving sessions about open source around the world. (He was in Europe last week and will be in China soon. He also talks on open source topics during COMMON webcasts, ISV meetings, and at gatherings of the Large User Group as well as local IBM i user groups.) In similar fashion, you see IBM i IBM’ers like Jesse Gorzinski, an IBM software engineer, and Kevin Adler, a member of the IBM i Emerging Solutions team, also doing sessions.”
The Open Source Conference will have individual educational tracks focused on Ruby, Python, and Node.js. The individual sessions include an introduction and basics class, a presentation on connecting to the DB2 for i database, a detailed explanation for calling RPG programs and accessing IBM i objects, and an application building class.
Sessions for all attendees include topics such as compiling open source software on IBM i, downloading and installing AIX binaries (these tools run in the PASE environment, which is an AIX runtime), and using open source version control.
A session schedule with details of each session is available online.
The conference is being held at the DePaul University O’Hare Campus located at 8770 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue.
The Hilton Garden Inn O’Hare is the host hotel. It is located at 2930 South River Road in Des Plaines.