Wednesday, June 21, 2023

35th anniversary of IBM i

There has been lots of publicity in the build up to today, and I thought I would add my thoughts on the 35th anniversary of IBM i. That is a little misnomer as the server that was launched on June 21, 1988, was called AS/400, IBM Application System/400, which ran the OS/400, Operating System/400, operating system. Over the intervening years both the server and the operating system have been enhanced to be so much more than AS/400 / OS/400, becoming a thoroughly modern server, IBM Power, and operating system, IBM i.

As this is an anniversary I am not going to talk about the future of IBM Power and IBM i, which is "golden", I am going to write about the history of this.

Ten years ago, on the 25th anniversary I write a post describing what the PCs of the era were like. You can read that here. How much has improved!

You might also like this, which is the Family tree of the IBM Power.

I also found these videos. The first is the announcement of the AS/400 in the United Kingdom:

Alas, I cannot find a video of the USA announcement.

Then there are these IBM TV advertisements featuring the cast of M*A*S*H.

What of the future? The diagram, below, shows IBM’s plans for IBM i. As you can see it will still be around for its 45th anniversary, in 2033.

Raise a glass of your favorite beverage and make a toast to the AS/400 and OS/400 for being the first, IBM Power and IBM i for being the current, and for whatever exciting new things IBM will bring to us in this operating system in the future.

Photos from our birthday party



  1. And to have been around for all 35 years plus it's predecessors, 34, 36, 38. I'm getting old.....

  2. I loved working on the IBM Series I. I started on an IBM 360. I them migrated to the System 3. In 1983 I moved to a new employer when I moved the applications over to the IBM System 38. After a few years we moved from System 38 to the AS/400, then over several years upgrading to various configurations of that platform which eventually was renamed to the I series. All in I worked about 40 years on that foundation writing RPG, COBOL, and later web integrated application in that environment. IBM developed such a wonderful and solid system and it was a great experience for me. I’m retired now but enjoyed working through that environment.

  3. I was working for ABS (Apparel Business Systems). It was their annual user meeting which was held in the new IBM building in downtown Philadelphia. At one point the screen came alive wth all the usual suspects (John Sears, Skip Marchesani, Dr. Frank, etc). And the Application System was born.
    The night before, the techies from ABS got to 'play' for 5 minutes. Of course we all went over and keyed in 'DSPACTJOB' which didn't work.
    Neither did 'DSPOUTQ'
    Nether did F7.
    And uh, what the happened to the programmer's menu?
    We had a lot to learn about this new machine.

  4. Hello Simon, Thx for this blog, helping us to keep the 'AS400 farms' alive.
    Been working around them for 23 years now and I still feel as a rookie. Cheers!


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