TechTip: Join the IBM i Revolution! PDF Print E-mail
Analysis - Analysis of News Events
Written by Jeff Olen   
Friday, 18 September 2009 00:00

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It's time for us in the U.S. to step up to the plate.


I've been developing applications on IBM midrange systems for over 20 years. I started on the System/34 and progressed through all the incarnations up to and including IBM i (or whatever it's being called today). In all that time, two things have remained consistent. First, IBM has always under-marketed IBM i and under-estimated the midrange market. Specifically,  IBM i, under all its various names, seems to have been left floundering while other systems were marketed to death (lesser systems in this author's opinion). Second has been the almost fanatical loyalty of the IBM i users, including me. While IBM seems content to allow IBM i to ride off into the sunset, we, the users, are decidedly not. But are we willing to do anything about it?


Apparently, we are. Early this year in Japan, a group of 71 IBM i vendors, resellers, and ISVs joined together and created the IBM i Manifest (now being called the iManifest). In it, these members commit to the following three objectives:


  1. To assure IBM i customers, resellers, and ISVs that the IBM i will not only survive, but continue to thrive.
  2. To inform the wider IT community of the value proposition of the IBM i.
  3. To revitalize the IBM i market in Japan and increase the customer base.


Wait a minute. Did I hear that right? New IBM i customers? There's a revolutionary idea. Just in case you thought "committing" to those three objectives wasn't enough, the IBM i Manifest members also placed a full-page ad in one of Japan's most influential newspapers, the Nikkei. I have just two things to say to these rogue companies that are taking matters into their own hands to turn the Big Blue tide: What took you so long? And what can I do to help?


Apparently, a good number of users and developers out there share those sentiments because the iManfest initiative has spread to the European Union as well. In July, Martin Fincham, General Manager of LANSA EMEA, put out an invitation to get a group of at least 50 IBM i vendors from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa to be founding members of "iManifest EMEA." Thus far, the response has been very favorable from the IBM i communities there. I wish Fincham and iManifest EMEA nothing but success. To keep informed of the latest developments with iManifest EMEA, check out their Web site at


Which brings us to the reason I am spending my off hours writing this article: Why aren't we in the U.S. leading the charge? Why are we not creating our own iManifest? To be blunt, it's time for us to step up to the plate. If everyone has been waiting for someone else to get the ball rolling, then we need wait no longer. The iManifest U.S. initiative has already started and is gaining momentum.


Before I discuss the formation and structure of iManifest U.S., I need to convey my thanks to Martin Fincham at LANSA for getting things rolling in Europe and doing the "heavy lifting" for me. The iManifest U.S. is similar to the initiative proposed by Fincham for EMEA. We need to have both small and large IBM i companies as members. Having this diversity will provide both sound financial backing and industry clout. The plan is to start in the same manner as our Japanese counterparts. First, the founding members will draft their own version iManfest declaration, using the Japanese version as a guide. Once the declaration is complete, we will place our own full-page ad. The ad will be placed in the Sunday edition of the Wall Street Journal; the cost of the ad comes to $150,100. The founding members will be divided into three categories, and each category must include the minimum number of members in order to launch the media campaign. The first category will be those companies that are willing to commit 8 percent of the ad cost; we will need at least four of these. The second category will be those companies willing to commit 4 percent of the ad cost; we will need at least eight of these. Last but certainly not least are the companies willing to commit 1 percent of the ad cost; we will need at least 36 of these.


We have taken the first steps and created a Web site and a group to exchange ideas and communicate with other members and with the public at large. The LinkedIn group will also give the members a place to draft the U.S. version of the IBM i Manifest. If you want to join iManifest U.S. or want to know how you can help, join the LinkedIn group and post a comment or email me directly at


Join the revolution!


Note: Press inquiries about iManifest U.S. should be sent to



Jeff Olen
About the Author:

Jeff Olen has over 20 years of development experience on a wide range of systems. He spent many of those years developing applications on IBM midrange systems. He is currently one of the developers at Notch8, a San Diego–based consultancy that develops cutting edge web and mobile applications using a wide range of tools, including Ruby on Rails, AngularJS, Cordova, and RubyMotion. Remaining true to his roots, Jeff continues to push the boundaries of open-source and cutting-edge technologies on the IBM i. Jeff can be reached at



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