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Signs and Portents for IBM i Announcements

February 16, 2016

Remember last week’s blog? In it, I mentioned I had recently asked for topic ideas:

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Well, today’s blog is–in a way–a response to another suggestion I received in reply. But also, it’s something we planned to do anyway. I think you’ll see what I mean.

First, let me start with a comment about how things change. I’ve been at IBM now for 31 years. I’ve been in this job, as IBM i Chief Architect, for over 8 years. You’ve been in the IT business for a while now–otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this blog. So you know things have changed. In the “good old days” IBM was very secretive. Rarely would a person from systems development be traveling talking to clients about system futures, rarely would one be quoted in articles and rarely would IBM “announce” something without an official announcement happening.

But, as the song goes, “the times, they are a changin’.”

You’ve had people from development blogging for several years now. We are often quoted in articles, and we seem to be around the globe talking to clients. And, as new announcements approach, we’ve taken to blogs and Twitter and so on to let you know something is coming.

That’s me, today.

If you’ve been following our release cadence (Technology Refreshes every spring and fall) you might be expecting another TR announcement soon–and you’d be right–but you might not expect a major release for another year or two. After all, there was a four-year gap between 7.1 and 7.2.

On the other hand, if you’ve been watching closely, you might be expecting something bigger. There are signs. They might not be obvious, but they are there. And then there are things we haven’t explicitly said yet, but it’s time to do so. All these little signs might cause a person to say “Hmmmm. I better watch this space; something’s coming.” Signs. Signs and Portents.

Like what? Well, let’s start with this:

TR11 was the last Technology Refresh for IBM i 7.1. Back in October, when we announced IBM i 7.2 TR3, we also announced 7.1 TR11. Ever since the introduction of the Technology Refresh capability, we’ve had a mechanism for putting new function into any part of the OS (well, almost) and we’ve used that capability in our strategy of making it easier for customers to adopt new technology faster. We settled into a twice a year pattern for both TR-capable releases. But that was never intended to last forever on every release for as long as it’s in service. Eventually, we need to let our oldest release get closer to “fixes only” mode. On Oct. 1, 2015, 7.1 became our oldest release, when 6.1 End of Service arrived. So, there won’t be more TRs for 7.1. We might put a few enhancements back into the release, but it’s pretty well stabilized at this point.

Knowing this, you might say, “What? There’s only one release getting TRs now?” And to that I can say, “Yes. For now.”

Let’s move on to another “sign.”

The COMMON Annual Conference is coming, and the schedule is available. I always encourage people to go to conferences, and COMMON’s annual conference is one of the most comprehensive educational opportunities an IBM i user can experience. So, having me mention the conference is not news, in and of itself. Even seeing tweets from me encouraging you to attend is not unusual. But if you look at some of the titles of the sessions, you might find some which are, oh, let’s just call them “vague.” One of my sessions, for example, is called “IBM i Next Overview.” What could that possibly mean?

Perhaps that’s why, when I recently asked the Twitter/Facebook crowd to suggest topics for my blog, Pete Massiello–being a well-connected, in-the-know guy–replied to my solicitation for topic ideas with the following:

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You know–as if he knows there might be something to talk about. Not saying there is; not announcing anything, for sure; but just maybe. …

And, as if that’s not enough, someone poking around might see …

Web Pages. Again, I’m not announcing anything, mind you. A customer was poking around, looking in places people don’t usually go unless we point them out, and he came across a web page that doesn’t have a “12” but has a “3.” (I explained part of that above.) The same person pointed to another web page which might possibly hint at something coming. (If you want to see the web page, you should probably click on that link soon–we might have to take it down once certain people see this blog post. …)

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So, there you have it. Without actually announcing anything, I am telling to you to watch this space. And I am also encouraging you to look for opportunities–such as COMMON’s Annual Conference in New Orleans in May–to spend some time learning about new stuff this year.

Event notes: Before I leave you today, let me mention that next week, February 22-25, I will be in Nashville (2/22), Atlanta (2/23), Memphis (2/24) and Dallas (2/25). For the stops in Atlanta and Dallas, I will be at user group events; when I’m in Memphis, I’ll be at the FedEx Institute of Technology doing an event connected to IBM’s Academic Initiative. I won’t be able to talk about announcements there (officially) but I look forward to seeing some of you during my whirlwind mini-tour!

P.S. Late breaking news: I’ll be at the “IBMTechU Comes to You” event in Atlanta on April 12-14.



Posted February 16, 2016 | Permalink

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