The i OS is very different than UNIX and this book was quite enlightening to me. Some of the stuff done is quite visionary. The hardware micro-architecture has fundamentally changed four times, but the upper OS and users doesn't care.
Rarely are the OS level issues -- almost all of our issues have been hardware (hdd's failing, not surprising though), or our vendor app messing up (too frequent to be happy about, but hey, it's written in RPG V, so can't complain too much).
The problem with learning to work with an AS/400 system is that they are ludicrously expensive to get your hands on -- So I am very glad to see something like this out there in the wild.
EDIT: Sorry, that's a link to an OS/390 VM, not AS/400. That was how I originally read your post, that you wanted a z/OS VM to play with. But, it's a useful link nonetheless ;)
I have to say, that was a simultaneously challenging and frustrating experience. It soured me on being a programmer of any sort, and I ended up shifting to network administration as a field of study. I'm glad I did.
All that said, this seems like a generous and handy service for those who need it.
"I have experience with 50 year old software" is kind of like the resumes people send me saying they know Office XP and Word Perfect.
Sure if you can fix the things nobody else can you can charge top dollar, but eventually the last of those things come out of service.
In an ideal work I'll probably take that job, ask for 80% part-time and use the remaining 20% of the time to maintain my brain active :)
BTW in my previous companies (banks) we were using banking software running on AS/400 (and DB2) and interfacing from IIS/SQL Server via OLEDB for querying the data / executing stored procedures. Actually the service was hosted, but I'm quite sure the AS/400 developers were taking 1/10 of that amount... ;)
I don't believe a significant proportion will have been retired since.
Languages never die - they just keep running...
Updating old RPG terminal based code to Java web based stuff was interesting. Simple CRUD interfaces port easily.
And once you're running Java stuff on OS/400 it's also easy to port to the linux environment. And from there is just an argument over databases to bye-bye proprietary hardware.
The company paid IBM $100k to upgrade a single server and this shit is locked with licences for cores and memory. It's not even that fast.
The problem is they are too deep in it now but this shit needs to die.
I suppose those jobs earn well (think of AS 400 as watching the Matrix in code (black screen, green letters) and Neo is losing the fight )
(My dad is an AS/400 programmer. There's a lot of competition and not much work.)
The AS/400 also runs something like bytecode, rather than directly on the hardware. This has given IBM the flexibility to change the underlying architecture in fairly radical ways. (new CPU ISAs, etc.)
Historically, the AS/400 has some significance to IBM beyond the fact that it's been a commercial success. After IBM did so well with the System/360, they started work on the next big thing: IBM Future System. The idea was that FS was something only IBM could do, because only IBM had the research budget and staff to pull it off. As these things often go, FS didn't achieve its grander goals, but it did spin off several technologies that IBM did commercialize. In addition to several System/370 processors, the Future System work also ultimately resulted in the AS/400.
¹Levy, Henry M. (1984). Capability-based computer systems. http://homes.cs.washington.edu/~levy/capabook/index.html Chapter 8 covers the IBM System/38.
Brian Kelly was an IBM Midrange Systems Engineer for 30 years, and has spent nearly a decade as a System i5 consultant based in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He is also author of thirty AS/400, iSeries, and System i5 books and he serves as an assistant professor at Marywood University, which uses the OS/400 and i5/OS platform and teaches courses in the box as well.
My point was that the S/38 used some of the detritus from Fort Knox not, directly, the AS/400.
Quite a lot of work went into the AS/400 so it wasn't just a renamed S/38, but any discussion of the AS/400 should recognize its origins.
Does it have a fancy UI? No. It's designed for line-of-business applications where there's heads-down data entry and reporting.
The AS/400 (I refuse to call it "iSeries") is one of the best parts of IBM. I am in dread of how Ginni will fuck up the division.