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RSE Trials (and Tribulations?)

February 26, 2014

In our latest EXTRA article we wrote about our favorite tool for developing RPG/COBOL/CL/DDS code--RSE, which is currently packaged in RDi, previously in RDP and WDSC.

In that article, we pointed out that there is a 60-day free trial for RDi. We've heard of some issues users have had related to downloading the trial and then turning the trial into a licensed program. Of course, the second part assumes, as we anticipate, that you will be sold on the value of the tool by the end of the trial period. So we thought we'd point you to a few hints and tips that we've found on both of those processes.

Downloading the trial code. The download page is easy enough to find here. There are a few things to keep in mind.


  • You will need an IBM ID to do the download. It's free but a step you'll need to take before you can complete the download. You won't need your IBM customer number or anything so it's relatively painless to get an ID if you don't already have one.
  • Later you'll see that there are two different ways to download--via Download Director or http. A link on the page describes some of the differences. Download Director seems to have better recovery options if you encounter problems during the download but your mileage may vary on that.
  • Next you'll see that there are four different zip files (disk images) to be downloaded, each is more than 1500 MB. We've heard widely varying experiences of how long it takes to do the downloads. Suffice it to say that many (but not all) have found the download to be measured in hours rather than minutes. A couple folks' downloads have taken days! So be prepared for a wait. If you're just loading the base RPG/COBOL tools then you can install with only the first two disk images. However, when you go to apply Fix Packs, it may ask for the other two images because there may be fixes for those options. So although you will probably need all four disk images eventually, you can do your initial install once you have the first two. If you need help with what to do after downloading the disk images, take a look here. Choose Installing > Installing Rational Developer for i > Installing from an electronic image: task overview.
  • It's also possible to install it via the internet without requiring a download of the disk images. This is the way we installed trials of earlier releases but this time the trial download page doesn't mention that. It does require a bit of manual intervention so if you want to try that option, take a look at the helpful guide, which was helpfully provided by Eric Simpson on the IBM developerWorks site. Jump down to the update on June 19, 2013, on that page for the details. You may find this faster if you're just looking to install RDi on one workstation rather than several.
  • Next, let's say you have the trial installed and, perhaps with the help of our "RSE Quick Start Guide," you get started using it and get hooked. So you purchase a license to RDi. The license can be purchased in two says--via Passport Advantage (aka the software channel) or through the same way you order your hardware and operating system, probably from an IBM business partner (aka the hardware channel). We won't attempt to explain why you might buy it one way vs. the other because we're not really clear on that question ourselves. (If any of our readers can help answer that from your own experience, feel free to comment below.)
  • Once you purchase your license, you will need to get a file that contains something called an Activation Kit. Once you get your Activation Kit, it's pretty straightforward how to use it. If you need guidance, the same link we referenced for help with the installation process has a section on "Activating your product." Getting the file containing the Activation Kit can sometimes be more challenging. Once again, a helpful IBMer, Edmund Reinhardt, this time, provided some documentation on that subject on developerWorks.

After you have installed and successfully activated RDi, enjoy the great features you find there. And if there are features you think it really needs that you don't find there, consider putting in an RFE (Request for Enhancement), as we blogged about some time ago.

Posted February 26, 2014 | Permalink

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