Time for the Community to take action

We are working on the intERPrise Open Source project and need the IBM i community to stand up and be counted! For us to deliver this project we need to make sure that we develop it using the latest tools and technology.
We are already struggling because people do not have access to a free development IBM i with the compilers installed. Another issue is the IDE, we know there are Community provided IDE’s which are either ‘Free’ or relatively cheap to purchase but we ‘NEED’ IBM to step up to the plate on RDi.

IBM used to deliver WSDc for ‘Free’ when you purchased the IBM compilers, they stopped this when they moved to RDi and started charging for it. We still pay for the compilers which provide PDM, SEU Free of charge (IBM intends to remove at sometime I believe and have already stated that it will not be improved) yet IBM and anyone who develops seriously on the platform knows these are very poor development environments.
The excuse we hear a lot as a reason for RDi being chargeable is WSDc was ‘Free’ and yet no one used it (well I did) so making RDi ‘Free’ will not mean it is used more. I strongly disagree with that for the following reasons.

  1. IBM now allows IFS based Source,
  2. A source code line is no longer limited to 80 characters.
  3. Free Format is now available and requires modern layouts and prompting.
  4. RDi is much better than WSDc ever was.
  5. PC’s are far more capable and networks are a lot faster.
  6. New programmers need new tooling
  7. We are not just using 5250 for application interfaces
  8. Developers need one tool that meets all of their needs.
I remember sometime ago that an RFE was raised with IBM asking for a RDi Lite version which did not have all the bells and whistles of the full RDi version we see today. That RFE was closed as delivered by IBM and therefore cannot be re-opened for reconsideration. Did they deliver? NO they delivered an extended trial and made note that ‘SOME’ customers can get discounted versions of RDi. I am an IBM ISV and I was not able to get a discounted version even though we do get discounts on hardware and software for the IBM i as part of the Partner World Program even though we went through IBM for the licenses. (Just as a note I purchased new copies of the latest release even though I had the previous release which did everything I needed as a ‘C’ programmer. Therefore I am not asking for this for my own personal gain!)

So what I would like is for anyone who reads this to lobby IBM into looking more closely a the RDi product and its pricing practices. We need the tools to develop new and modern applications for the IBM i and we need to do that as Open Source otherwise IBM i will continue to reduce its install base. At the very least start adding notes to the closed RFE asking for it to be re-opened for reconsideration. Here is a copy of the note I have added already.

IBM did not deliver this RFE! Why has it been classified as being delivered when no ‘Free’ version of RDi has been delivered other than an extended free trial? IBM wants the community to be involved in Open Source activity for the platform yet still insists on charging for tools required to deliver it. If you look at all other platforms of any significance they provide ‘Free’ non restricted development tools to the developers without any restriction or time limit. You even get access to updates for ‘Free’. IBM is already charging for the compilers as part of the OS, delivering a modern tool to allow modern development practices should not be something IBM sees the need to charge for! A stripped down version would cause IBM some internal licensing issues and we know that is not a simple task. However WSDc ‘WAS’ provided to the users FOC when the compilers were purchased, the ridiculous comment that being ‘Free’ did not encourage use and therefore charging is ‘OK’ is one which does not make sense.I would vote for this to be re-opened for reconsideration but because the status is delivered it cannot be.
Here is a link to the RFE

https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/rfe/execute?use_case=viewRfe&CR_ID=108558

I don’t think we are asking for much, other platforms see the benefit of providing ‘Free’ development tools to the community in terms of the number of applications and tools people provide. Maybe we will never have the same impact because we have a restriction due to the cost of a platform to do this one, but adding to this by charging for the IDE is not helping.

Share this link with all of your contacts and push around social media, maybe if we raise enough noise IBM will listen and provide us with the tools we need?    

Chris…