Let’s Celebrate The Diamond Jubilee Of COMMON Europe
June 13, 2022 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Europe is a collection of countries that, over centuries of commerce, cultural exchange, and war have learned to come together and create a community of common interest. And so it is not a surprise at all that COMMON Europe, which is celebrating its 60th year – it’s Diamond Jubilee – and that is something that very few organizations in the world ever attain.
And so, as the COMMON Europe Congress gets underway today in Alicante, Spain, we wanted to offer our congratulations and celebrate that longevity and continuity. (If you have a hankering to travel this week, you can register here.)
None of us here at The Four Hundred have ever been to COMMON Europe Congress, but we have participated in virtual events when the conference was held online because of the coronavirus pandemic. But we have always been grateful for the information that comes out of the various COMMON organizations in Europe, which are independent by country, and even more so for the way that the COMMON Europe Advisory Council keeps the heat on Big Blue when it comes to enhancements to and practices with the IBM i platform. As far as we are concerned, the education about the platform that both COMMON in the United States and COMMON Europe on the other side of the pond, and their respective advisory councils are the best we have seen for any other platform across time and space. This is an active, intelligent, and thoughtful community, and always has been, and no doubt because of the civilizing influences of modern Europe. We are not going to bring up the 500 years of war in Europe before that. . . . But clearly, World War II transformed all kinds of things and made the idea of compromise and cooperation more palatable.
We have always had strong ties to Europe, nonetheless. The Four Hundred was founded in July 1989 and I was hired at that time to be its editor, precisely because a division of Reed-Elsevier, the huge media and data British-Dutch conglomerate that owns LexisNexus and myriad trade publications, invested in The Four Hundred and launched the United Kingdom edition of it alongside the U.S. edition published by Technology News. Processeur magazine in France then did an edition in French, and then an Italian colleague in the computer leasing business, who used to peddle iron at Europe Computer Systèmes from offices in Milan, decided to do an Italian edition. (We also had Nikkei doing a Japanese edition for many years, and for the past five years we have had reseller Bell Data picking up some of our content and using it to create its own newsletter for IBM i customers in Japan.) Suffice it to say, thanks to the relative universality of English in Europe, we have a pretty strong readership in the European Union and Great Britain (which is mystifyingly not part of the EU anymore for reasons that will never make sense), roughly in proportion to the utilization of big IBM i platforms. Europe has many smaller platforms than does the United States, and therefore fewer people who are interested in news and strategic analysis because for them, the AS/400 and IBM i has always been this system that runs their applications. They don’t need to think about it the way that you do, or that COMMON Europe, COMMON, or we teach you how to think about it.
Suffice it to say, we are grateful for Europe, and COMMON Europe by extension, and look forward to the decades ahead. Because if we are convinced of anything, it is that the IBM i platform will have a very, very long useful life, and that means user groups and publications will be around for a long, long time.