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Thankful for i and for Dr. Frank Soltis

November 25, 2008

It's Thanksgiving this week in the U.S. We're double dipping this year--we celebrated our Canadian Thanksgiving in October and we're in the U.S. this week to celebrate again! With all of those Thanksgiving celebrations going on, we got to thinking about some of things we're thankful for.

Last week we attended our local user group meeting--TUG, the Toronto User Group. (There is a connection here - we'll get to that in a moment.) The meeting was in conjunction with an IBM i road show. There were some great presentations on 6.1 and IBM Director and one of our favorite subjects, PHP. But when thinking this weekend about the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday we were reminded of something that the last speaker on the agenda that night said.

That speaker was Dr. Frank Soltis. There's nothing unusual about Frank addressing a group of i enthusiasts--we've seen him wow audiences countless times. In fact Frank's appearance as part of this road show was probably responsible for a sizable part of the crowd at the TUG meeting.

What was unusual about this appearance is that it was the last chance we'll have to see him before he retires from IBM at the end of this year. We sincerely doubt it will be the last time we get a chance to hear Frank--we feel sure (or at least hope!) that he will still be around helping spread the word about the power of  i for a long time to come. After all, he may be ready to retire from IBM, but we’re guessing he’s not ready to retire from i just yet.

Frank mentioned during the question and answer portion of the session that he has been lucky enough to work throughout his entire IBM career on the system that he was instrumental in creating--the system that started out as the System/38 and grew into the AS/400, iSeries, System i, System i5 and now Power Systems running IBM i. Since IBM is now organized around Power Systems and not oriented specifically on the system that he architected, it seemed an appropriate time for him to finally retire after 45 years of service to IBM--and to all of us in the i world. That’s right-–Dr. Frank has been eligible for retirement from IBM for 15 years now! 

Frank was clearly thankful to have been able to build a long and successful IBM career on this system we now call i. Despite many interesting offers, he never wanted to work on any other system. We're with you on that, Frank!

Likewise, we're equally thankful that Frank and the rest of the team went out on that limb back in the '70s and produced a system that dared to be different--very different--from all other computer systems then and now. It has not only survived well into the 21st century, but thanks to the flexibility architected into it, it's still the best and most powerful business system. And still the only system we want to work on, too!

So, when we sit down to our Thanksgiving meal this week, we’ll be adding thanks to Dr. Frank. Thanks for his inspiration and leadership all these years.

Posted November 25, 2008| Permalink

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