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A More Complete View of the Machine Interface of IBM i

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Learn a creative technique that Gene Gaunt invented to retrieve all system built-ins supported by your IBM i.

 

Since System/38, as a high-level machine interface, the Original Machine Interface (OMI) instruction set described a complete, elegant object-based architecture of the system. The OMI instruction stream, along with other components (e.g., the object definition table (ODT)) stored in the program template of an MI program object, allows the MI program to be translated for future hardware platforms with no need of re-compilation.

 

In V2R3, a new machine instruction set, the New MI (NMI) was introduced to AS/400 along with the Integrated Language Environment (ILE), which leads to a new (ILE) program model, a new (ILE) process model, and a series of new (ILE) compilers. Just like the OMI program template stored in an OMI program object, an NMI program template can be stored in an ILE program object, which allows the ILE program to be translated for future hardware platforms. An NMI program template is composed of components such as the Module Dictionary Component and the Module Instruction Component, which contains the NMI instruction stream.

 

If you scrutinize the NMI instruction stream in the System Service Tools (SST) dump of an ILE program object or module object, you will find that it is hard to find NMI instructions directly related with the object-based architecture of IBM i except the Call Program (CALLPGM) NMI instruction. It seems that almost all of the NMI instructions are platform-neutral. So where did the IBM i-specific instructions go? The answer is the CALLBI (Call Built-in Function) NMI instructions in the NMI instruction stream generated for an ILE program or module object. The CALLBI NMI instruction calls are what IBM documentation refers to as "MI instructions that are supported in Bound Programs"in other words, the system built-ins. The CALLBI NMI instruction takes four operands, the third of which is referred to as the "built-in number" in IBM-provided MI documentation. For example, the NMI instruction equivalent to an OMI instruction GENUUID uuid-return-template; might look like the following (the value of operand-3 461 is the system built-in number of the GENUUID instruction):

 

OFFSET           00000A40       OPCODE           CALLBI        

OPERAND 1       88

OPERAND 2       1            

OPERAND 3       461            

OPERAND 4       0

 

In NMI, the majority of the complex MI instructions become invocations to system built-ins via the CALLBI NMI instruction.

 

Although it's hard to find public documentation about how programs written in ILE high-level languages (HLLs) are compiled into NMI program templates and finally translated into PowerPC machine code, you can discover the following facts through the discussion threads in the MI400 mailing list (for example, by searching for the "optimizing translator" and "MI transformer" keywords):

  • Today, there is only one MI translator. The NMI translator (aka the Optimizing Translator) accepts the NMI program template and translates it into the final PowerPC machine code.
  • OMI program templates are converted into NMI program templates by the MI transformer and then passed to the NMI translator. Note that the program template stored in an OMI program compiled by an OPM HLL compiler is an OMI program template, which reserves the possibility for the OMI program to be re-translated and run on an earlier AS/400 VRM (or even the System/38) that doesn't know NMI. Nowadays, newly added MI instructions are only available as system built-ins. It seems that the MI transformer has not been maintained for newly added MI instructions. Please refer to the "What's new" section in the MI documentation for different VRMs. For example, What's new for IBM i 7.1.
  • From a post in the MI400 mailing list (back in 1999)by MI guru David McKenzie , we know that the QSYS/QWXCRTMD program accepts W-code generated by ILE HLL compilers for a module object, yields the NMI program template, invokes the NMI translator to translate the NMI program template into PowerPC machine code, and finally encapsulates the NMI program template and the PowerPC machine code into the resulting module object.

   As far as I can tell, what happens when you compile a module is

   that the compilers generate _object_ W-code (in binary form, as

   opposed to human-readable source), which they pass to a pgm called

   QWXCRTMD, which translates to object NMI and calls the translator

   (which is in SLIC) to create the PowerPC machine code. This is in

   contrast to the OPM compilers. They generated _source_ MI and

   passed it to the MI "assembler", QPRROOTP. That's why we can have

   the QPRCRTPG API--it's just a front-end to the same sourcecode

   "assembler" that the compilers use. However, it appears that a

   sourcecode assembler for NMI doesn't exist on the system. To have

   one, we'd have to pay IBM the $1M or write it ourselves. Anyone

want to dust off YACC or Bison?

 

Obviously, the QWXCRTMD program knows all the system built-ins, since it is responsible for generating calls to system built-ins in the form of the CALLBI NMI instructions with the corresponding system built-in number.

 

Also a sad fact is that the current publically documented MI instructions are only a small part of the entire MI. Simon Coulter said in a post in the MIDRANGE-L mailing list:

 

   > Lets say you wanted to write your own operating system to

   > replace OS/400. What kind of hoops would you have to jump

   > through to get THAT kind of info from IBM? Or couldn't get get

   > them at all?

 

   This was certainly possible on the S/38 where documentation in the

   form of the S/38 Functional Concepts manual, S/38 Functional

   Reference Vol 1, and S/38 Functional Reference Vol 2 would have

   provided most, if not all, you need to know about the MI level.

   The proviso is that you would build your OS on top of the LIC.

 

   It is harder on the AS/400 because Rochester have blocked the MI

   instructions they feel we don't need to know about (e.g.,

   source/sink instructions so that pretty much buggers up any I/O

   routines) and provide only an expurgated version of the MI

   reference.

 

Nevertheless, there is still one possible way to see a more complete set of IBM-supported MI instructions (system built-ins) via a technique invented by Gene Gaunt. This technique retrieves the system built-in information stored in the QWXCRTMD program. The following is Gene's post from 2005 that describes this technique via a Rexx program that prints information, such as system built-in name and system built-in number, about all the system built-ins in VRM530.

 

print ILE built-in functions, V5R3-specific

 

   * Subject: print ILE built-in functions, V5R3-specific

   * From: gene_gaunt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

   * Date: Tue, 14 Jun 2005 12:20:13 -0400

   * List-archive: <http://archive.midrange.com/mi400>;

   * List-help: <mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.;

   * List-id: MI Programming on the AS400 / iSeries <mi400.midrange.com>

   * List-post: <mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.;

   * List-subscribe: <http://lists.midrange.com/mailman/listinfo/mi400>;, <mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.;

   * List-unsubscribe: <http://lists.midrange.com/mailman/listinfo/mi400>;, <mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.;

 

As you know, my old print program for MI built-in functions no longer

works, since IBM removed the user space that contained the function names.

But, for V5R3 at least, here is my rewrite that *will* work.   Note that

beyond V5R3, the three specific values below (665, 22A0, and 3980) will

probably need changing.

 

/********************************************************************/

/* PROGRAM - PRTBUILTIN                                           */

/* FUNCTION - print the ILE built-in functions, V5R3-specific     */

/* LANGUAGE - REXX                                                 */

/* AUTHOR   - Gene Gaunt                                           */

/********************************************************************/

 

"crtsavf file(qtemp/stdin)"

"savobj obj(qwxcrtmd) ",

       "lib(qsys) ",

       "objtype(*pgm) ",

       "dev(*savf) ",

       "savf(qtemp/stdin) ",

       "updhst(*no) ",

       "dtacpr(*no)"

"ovrdbf file(stdin) ",

     "tofile(qtemp/stdin)"

"ovrprtf file(stdout) ",

       "tofile(qsysprt) ",

       "splfname(prtbuiltin)"

data = ''

do forever

   parse linein record

   if record == '' then leave

   data = data || left( record, 512 )

end

walk = c2d( substr( data, X( 75 ),       3 ))

walk = c2d( substr( data, X( 1D ) + walk, 3 ))

walk = c2d( substr( data, X( 75 ) + walk, 3 ))

walk = c2d( substr( data, X( 45 ) + walk, 3 ))

walk = c2d( substr( data, X( 665 ) + walk, 3 )) + X( 0 )

name = walk + x2d( 22A0 )

code = walk + x2d( 3980 )

do while walk < name

   AA = c2d( substr( data, walk,     4 ))

   BB = c2d( substr( data, walk + 4, 2 ))

   CC = c2d( substr( data, walk + 6, 2 ))

   DD = c2d( substr( data, walk + 8, 2 ))

   EE = c2d( substr( data, walk + 10, 2 ))

   if BB == 0 then leave

   show = left( substr( data, name + AA, BB ), 20 )

   do DD while EE == 0

     show = show ||,

             right( c2d( substr( data, code + CC * 4, 4 )), 6 )

     CC = CC + 1

   end

   say show

   walk = walk + 12

end

return

X: return x2d( 5001 ) + x2d( arg( 1 ))

 

The source of the Rexx program for VRM530, prtbuiltin.rexx, is available here. The VRM540 version of this program, prtbltin54.rexx, is available here. The output of prtbltin54.rexx is available in Appendix A, System Built-ins at VRM540, which you can download here.

 

The steps of Gene's solution are the following:

  1. Save the QWXCRTMD program into save file QTEMP/STDIN.
  2. Override the input file of the Rexx program (STDIN) to save file QTEMP/STDIN so that the Rexx program can read the content of the save file.
  3. Locate and parse the system built-in information in QWXCRTMD.

 

Now let's go through the steps of Gene's solution one by one and implement these steps in CL and RPG. As mentioned in Gene's post, some of the "specific values" probably changed from release to release due to the changes to the number of system built-ins or even the changes to the format of program objects. And the "specific values" used in this article are specific to VRM540 of IBM i.

Save the QWXCRTMD Program into a Save File

The first step is to save the QWXCRTMD program into a save file. Consider using the DTACPR(*NO) parameter when issuing the SAVOBJ command to ensure that the content of the QWXCRTMD program in the resulting save file remains unchanged. Save files allow a user to break the limitation brought by the object-based architecture of IBM i for object integrity. As an object-based system, in IBM i a user is not allowed to access the encapsulated part of an MI object except through proper MI instructions defined for that kind of MI object. However, when an MI object is saved in a save file, a user can read the content (either the encapsulated part or the possible associated spaces of it) in the manner of reading a file object. For a similar reason, save files can bring other risks. For example, MI objects saved in a save file can be read by a user who is unauthorized to the saved MI objects (providing that the user is authorized to the save file itself). However, as an offline-storage mechanism designed for backup and object replication, save files should not be blamed. What is important here is that save files can help us to "look into" the encapsulated part of the QWXCRTMD program.

 

The following couple of CL commands create a save file named CRTMD in the QTEMP library and then save the QWXCRTMD program into it. Run these commands directly or compile them into a CL program and then run the CL program.

 

   CRTSAVF FILE(QTEMP/CRTMD)

    SAVOBJ OBJ(QWXCRTMD)

           LIB(QSYS)

           DEV(*SAVF)

           OBJTYPE(*PGM)

           SAVF(QTEMP/CRTMD)

           DTACPR(*NO)

 

Read the Content of the QWXCRTMD Program from Save File QTEMP/CRTMD

In prtbuiltin.rexx, Gene overrides the input file of the Rexx program (STDIN) to the save file containing the QWXCRTMD program. We can write a simple RPG program to read the save file and write the content of the QWXCRTMD program into the User Space (*USRPSC) object QTEMP/CRTMD so that we can check the content of QWXCRTMD by dumping the CRTMD user space to a spooled file (e.g., via a DMPOBJ QTEMP/CRTMD *USRSPC command). The content of the only MI object saved in save file CRTMD is started from offset hex 5000 in the data that can be read from save file CRTMD. So we should skip the first hex 5000 bytes of data when reading save file CRTMD. Also note that only the first 512 bytes of a 528-byte save file record are valid save file data.

 

The following is the source of CRTMDR01, crtmdr01.rpgle.

 

     h dftactgrp(*no)

 

     fCRTMD     if     f 528       disk

     /copy mih-ptr

     d rec             ds

     d     rcd                       512a

     d                               16a

     d                 ds

     d oddptr                         *   procptr

     d spc16                           *   overlay(oddptr)

     d spp             s               *

     d ch512           s           512a   based(spp)

     d off             s             10u 0 inz(0)

 

     /free

           rslvsp_tmpl.obj_type = x'1934';

           rslvsp_tmpl.obj_name = 'CRTMD';

           rslvsp2(spc16 : rslvsp_tmpl);

           spp = setsppfp(oddptr);

 

           read CRTMD rec;

           dow not %eof(CRTMD);

               off += x'0200';

 

               if off > x'5000'; //   Content of QWXCRTMD

                   ch512 = rcd;

                  spp += 512;

               endif;

 

               read CRTMD rec;

           enddo;

           *inlr = *on;

     /end-free

 

Call the Create User Space (QUSCRTUS) API to create the CRTMD *USRSPC in library QTEMP.

 

   CALL PGM(QUSCRTUS)

         PARM('CRTMD     QTEMP'

             'CRTMD'

             X'00200000'       /* Size of space */

             X'00'

             '*ALL'

             'Content of *PGM QWXCRTMD')

 

Then call CRTMDR01 to read the content of the QWXCRTMD program from the save file and write it into the CRTMD space. Now, with the help of the save file trick, we've copied the content of the QWXCRTMD program (including its encapsulated part, which is usually not accessible by a user or program) to a user space object.

Locate and Parse the System Built-in Information in QWXCRTMD

The system built-in information is stored in one of the prototype strings (with index number 69) in the NMI program template of QWXCRTMD. For simplicity, we will refer to the prototype string that contains the system built-in information as PSTR-69.

 

The following table describes the steps by which the Prototype String Desc Sublist component can be located within the encapsulated part of an ILE program. The contents shown below are extracted from the SST dump of the QWXCRTMD program at VRM540.

 

100213JunleiFig1

Figure 1: Locate the prototype string Desc Sublist Component in the encapsulate part of QWXCRTMD. (Find more code here.) 

 

The Steps

  1. Locate the 8-byte Single-Level Store (SLS) address of the Program Header via the OSG field in the EPA header. The EPA.OSG field is at offset hex 50 from the beginning of the EPA header.
  2. Locate the 8-byte SLS address of the Activation Header via the ACT HDR PTR field (address of the Activation Header) in the Program Header (at offset hex 18).
  3. Locate the address of the Program Static Storage Frame List via the FRAME LIST PTR field (at offset hex 70) in the Activation Header.
  4. Locate the address of the Prototype String Desc Sublist via the PROTO STR PTR field (at offset hex 40) in the Program Static Storage Frame List.

 

Following these steps, we can finally locate the Prototype String Desc Sublist of the QWXCRTMD program.

 

Note that the OSG field in the EPA header for most types of MI objects is the object address (aka the address of the base segment of the MI object); however, the EPA.OSG field for an MI program object (a hex 0201 program, a hex 0202 SQL package, a hex 0203 service program, or a hex 0250 Java program) is the address of the program header of the program object.

 

The Prototype String Desc Sublist is filled with 24-byte entries that describe each prototype string in the following format:

  • 8-byte address of the prototype string
  • BIN(4) length of the prototype string
  • BIN(4) MSSF OFFSET
  • CHAR(8) Reserved (hex 00)

 

So the offset of PSTR-69 from the beginning of the Prototype String Desc Sublist of the QWXCRTMD program can be calculated via the following formula:

 

   Offset-PSTR-69 = 24 * (69 - 1) = 1632 =   hex 660

 

Now we have enough information to locate PSTR-69 in the encapsulated part of QWXCRTMD. Procedure locate_pstr69 in the example RPG program crtmdr02.rpgle (shown below) implements the above-shown steps.

 

After locating PSTR-69, let's investigate the system built-in information stored in it. PSTR-69 consists of three sections: offset/length, name (containing the system built-in names), and code (composed of 4-byte code values, up to 5 code values for an individual system built-in). At VRM540, the lengths of these sections are hex 22B0 bytes, hex 16F0 bytes, and hex 3504 bytes, respectively. I don't know how to determine the length values of these sections programmatically. I obtain these length values at VRM540 by checking the content of PSTR-69 in the SST dump of the QWXCRTMD program.

 

The format of each 12-byte entry in the offset/length section is the following:

  • BIN(4)Offset of the system built-in name in the name section
  • BIN(2)Length of the system built-in name
  • BIN(2)Offset (in 4-byte units) of the code values of the system built-in in the code section. There can be up to 5 code values of a single system built-in.
  • BIN(2)Number of code values for the system built-in
  • BIN(2)Gene named this field EE in his original Rexx program

 

An example RPG program, crtmdr02.rpgle, locates PSTR-69 in the content of the QWXCRTMD program stored in user space QTEMP/CRTMD, parses the system built-in information in PSTR-69 following the above-described format of PSTR-69, and finally writes the parsed system built-in information to a spooled file.

 

Call CRTMDR02, and the output is shown as in Appendix B, System Built-ins at VRM540, which you can download here (retrieved via CRTMDR02). As an example, I extracted the Resolve Data Pointer instructions and the Resolve System Pointer instructions from the output of CRTMDR02 as the following:

 

Built-in Name         Code-1 Code-2   Code-3 Code-4 Code-5   CC   EE(Hex)

_RSLVDP1               00097   00000     00000   00385   00006

_RSLVDP2               00097   00000     00000   00385   00004

_RSLVDP3               00097   00000     00000   00385   00000

_RSLVSP1               00097   00000     00000   00030   00014

_RSLVSP2               00097   00000     00000   00030   00012

_RSLVSP3               00097   00000     00000   00030   00010

_RSLVSP4               00097   00000     00000   00030   00008

_RSLVSP5               00097   00000     00000   00030   00006

_RSLVSP6               00097   00000     00000   00030   00004

_RSLVSP7               00097   00000     00000   00030   00002

_RSLVSP8               00097   00000     00000   00030   00000

 

Note that the Code-4 code value of a system built-in is the system built-in number. The built-in number is available in the "Bound program access" box in IBM's MI documentation. Code-4 is also useful for telling which actual MI instruction (system built-in) is invoked by a CALLBI NMI instruction. As mentioned, The CALLBI NMI instruction takes four operands, the third of which is the system built-in number of the system built-in to invoke. The Code-5 code value is also related with the CALLBI NMI instruction. It is specified as the fourth operand (operand 4) of a CALLBI NMI instruction to uniquely determine which system built-in to invoke in combination with the system built-in number (operand 3 of CALLBI). For example, the built-in numbers of all the Resolve System Pointer system built-ins (_RSLVSP1 to _RSLVSP8) are 30; however, their Code-5 values (specified as operand 4 in the generated NMI CALLBI instructions) are different. The following is a simple ILE C procedure that invokes _RSLVSP1 and _RSLVSP4:

 

# pragma linkage(_RSLVSP1,   builtin)

void _RSLVSP1(void**);

# pragma linkage(_RSLVSP4,   builtin)

void _RSLVSP4(void**,   void*, void**);

 

void *p = NULL;

void *q = NULL;

void *c = NULL;

 

void f() {

_RSLVSP1(&p);

_RSLVSP4(&p, q, &c);

}

 

The NMI CALLBI instructions generated for invocation to _RSLVSP1 and _RSLVSP4 are the following (note operand 3 and operand 4 of the CALLBI instructions):

 

# CALLBI instruction   generated for _RSLVSP1

OFFSET           000000CC       OPCODE           CALLBI    

OPERAND 1       5

OPERAND 2       1            

OPERAND 3       30              

OPERAND 4       14

# CALLBI instruction   generated for _RSLVSP4

OFFSET           0000013C       OPCODE           CALLBI

OPERAND 1       8

OPERAND 2       3            

OPERAND 3      30              

OPERAND 4       8

 

Gene's prtbuiltin.rexx program does not process the system built-ins whose EE field is hex 0000. From the output of crtmdr02.rpgle (Appendix B below, System Built-ins at VRM540 (retrieved via CRTMDR02)), you can find out that there are 55 of this kind of system built-ins. The common features of the offset/length fields of these system built-ins are:

  • The num_codes (number of code values) field is zero.
  • The code_offset field is used to record an index value for all system built-ins whose EE field is not hex 0000.

In Appendix B, the index value and the value of the EE field of these system built-ins are listed in column CC and EE(Hex).

 

Additional investigation seems to indicate another feature of this kind of system built-ins: Unlike common system built-ins that are translated into NMI CALLBI instructions, these system built-ins are inlined in the result NMI instruction stream. (I didn't test all of those 55 system built-ins.) For example, compile the following ILE C procedure and check the NMI instruction stream in the SST dump of the resulting module object or program object:

 

# pragma linkage(_min4,   builtin)

int _min4(int, int);

 

static int a = 1, b = 2, c   = 0;

void f() {

c = _min4(a, b);

}

 

You'll find that the NMI instructions generated for the C statement c = _min4(a, b); might look like the following:

 

OFFSET           000000AC       OPCODE           LOD1

OPERAND 1       1

OFFSET           000000B4       OPCODE           LOD1      

OPERAND 1       2

OFFSET           000000BC       OPCODE           MIN

OFFSET           000000C0       OPCODE           STR1          

OPERAND 1       3

Change the Program Logic by Modifying the NMI Instruction Stream

I greatly appreciate Gene's creative technique that allows me to see a more complete machine interface of the IBM i. The output of the technique will definitely help the developers who love this platform and are eager to understand this platform . At the end of this article, I will demonstrate a tiny experiment that is dependent on the system built-in numbers retrieved by Gene's techniquechanging the invocation of system built-in _XORSTR to system built-in _ANDSTR in a program by modifying the NMI instruction stream.

 

Look at the following ILE C program, ii403.c, that XORs (exclusive or) two EBCDIC character strings and prints the resulting string in hexadecimal form.

 

# include <stdlib.h>

# include <stdio.h>

 

# pragma linkage(_XORSTR,   builtin)

void _XORSTR(void*, void*,   void*, unsigned);

 

static char *_a =   "ABCD"; /* hex C1C2C3C4 */

static char *_b =   "abCd"; /* hex 8182C384 */

static char *_c =   "   ";

 

void i_proc() {

_XORSTR(_c, _a, _b, 4);

}

 

int main() {

i_proc();

printf("Result string (hex): %08X\x25", *(int*)_c);

return 0;

}

 

The output of II403 is as we expected (XOR hex C1C2C3C4, hex 8182C384 = hex 40400040):

 

   Result string (hex): 40400040

 

In the SST dump of program object II403, locate the CALLBI NMI instruction generated for the system built-in _XORSTR in the Module Instruction Component. (The operand 3 of the CALLBI NMI instruction (built-in number) is 453.)

 

OFFSET          000000F8       OPCODE           CALLBI  

OPERAND 1       6

OPERAND 2       4            

OPERAND 3       453          

OPERAND 4       0

 

Follow the offset value hex 000000F8 into the NMI instruction stream. You find out that the address of operand 3 of the CALLBI instruction is 15FC166401 001894.

 

15FC166401 001860

+00E0   000000020000001B 0000000300000071  

0000000500000002 0000001B00000046

15FC166401 001880

+0100   0000004D00000004 0000006100000006  

00000004000001C5 0000000000000012

 

Change the 4-byte built-in number from hex 0000001C5 (453) to the system built-in number of _ANDSTR, hex 000001C2 (450). Start the SST session and select the following menu items one by one:

 

     1. Start a service tool

     4. Display/Alter/Dump

     1. Display/Alter storage

     5. Starting address

 

In the Specify Address display, enter 15FC166401 001894 and press Enter. In the Display Storage display, change the 4-byte value at address 15FC166401 001894 from hex 0000001C5 to hex 000001C2 and press function key F11 twice.

 

After changing the NMI instruction stream of program II403, the last step is to let the program object be translated again according to the newly changed NMI program template. To achieve that, simply issue a Change Program (CHGPGM) command with the USRPRF parameter set to a value different from the value specified when the II403 program was created in order to let the system translate the NMI program template stored in II403 into machine code and re-create the program object. Assume that II403 was created with a CRTBNDC ... USRPRF(*USER) command. You can now issue a CHGPGM II403 USRPRF(*OWNER) command.

 

Now call II403 to check the result of our tiny experiment. The output of the changed II403 would look like the following:

 

   Result string (hex): 8182C384

 

That's the expected result of our experiment: AND hex C1C2C3C4, hex 8182C384 = hex 8182C384.

 

Junlei Li

Junlei Li is a programmer from Tianjin, China, with 10 years of experience in software design and programming. Junlei Li began programming under i5/OS (formerly known as AS/400, iSeries) in late 2005. He is familiar with most programming languages available on i5/OS—from special-purpose languages such as OPM/ILE RPG to CL to general-purpose languages such as C, C++, Java; from strong-typed languages to script languages such as QShell and REXX. One of his favorite programming languages on i5/OS is machine interface (MI) instructions, through which one can discover some of the internal behaviors of i5/OS and some of the highlights of i5/OS in terms of operating system design.

 

Junlei Li's Web site is http://i5toolkit.sourceforge.net/, where his open-source project i5/OS Programmer's Toolkit (https://sourceforge.net/projects/i5toolkit/) is documented.

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    DDL SystemsDownload the technical whitepaper on MANAGING YOUR IBM i WIRELESSLY and (optionally) register to download an absolutely FREE software trail. This whitepaper provides an in-depth review of the native IBM i technology and ACO MONITOR's advanced two-way messaging features to remotely manage your IBM i while in or away from the office. Notify on-duty personnel of system events and remotely respond to complex problems (via your Smartphone) before they become critical-24/7. Problem solved!

    Order your copy here.

  • DR Strategy Guide from Maxava: Brand New Edition - now fully updated to include Cloud!

    SB Maxava PPL 5476PRACTICAL TOOLS TO IMPLEMENT DISASTER RECOVERY IN YOUR IBM i ENVIRONMENT

    CLOUD VS. ON-PREMISE?
    - COMPREHENSIVE CHECKLISTS
    - RISK COST CALCULATIONS
    - BUSINESS CASE FRAMEWORK
    - DR SOLUTIONS OVERVIEW
    - RFP BUILDER
    Download your free copy of DR Strategy Guide for IBM i from Maxava today.

     

  • White Paper: Node.js for Enterprise IBM i Modernization

    SB Profound WP 5539

    If your business is thinking about modernizing your legacy IBM i (also known as AS/400 or iSeries) applications, you will want to read this white paper first!

    Download this paper and learn how Node.js can ensure that you:
    - Modernize on-time and budget - no more lengthy, costly, disruptive app rewrites!
    - Retain your IBM i systems of record
    - Find and hire new development talent
    - Integrate new Node.js applications with your existing RPG, Java, .Net, and PHP apps
    - Extend your IBM i capabilties to include Watson API, Cloud, and Internet of Things


    Read Node.js for Enterprise IBM i Modernization Now!

     

  • 2020 IBM i Marketplace Survey Results

    HelpSystems

    This year marks the sixth edition of the popular IBM i Marketplace Survey Results. Each year, HelpSystems sets out to gather data about how businesses use the IBM i platform and the IT initiatives it supports. Year over year, the survey has begun to reveal long-term trends that give insight into the future of this trusted technology.

    More than 500 IBM i users from around the globe participated in this year’s survey, and we’re so happy to share the results with you. We hope you’ll find the information interesting and useful as you evaluate your own IT projects.

  • AIX Security Basics eCourse

    Core Security

    With so many organizations depending on AIX day to day, ensuring proper security and configuration is critical to ensure the safety of your environment. Don’t let common threats put your critical AIX servers at risk. Avoid simple mistakes and start to build a long-term plan with this AIX Security eCourse. Enroll today to get easy to follow instructions on topics like:

    • Removing extraneous files
    • Patching systems efficiently
    • Setting and validating permissions
    • Managing service considerations
    • Getting overall visibility into your networks

     

  • Developer Kit: Making a Business Case for Modernization and Beyond

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.

    Having trouble getting management approval for modernization projects? The problem may be you're not speaking enough "business" to them.

    This Developer Kit provides you study-backed data and a ready-to-use business case template to help get your very next development project approved!

  • What to Do When Your AS/400 Talent Retires

    HelpSystemsIT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators is small.

    This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn:

    • Why IBM i skills depletion is a top concern
    • How leading organizations are coping
    • Where automation will make the biggest impact

     

  • IBM i Resources Retiring?

    SB HelpSystems WC GenericLet’s face it: IBM i experts and RPG programmers are retiring from the workforce. Are you prepared to handle their departure?
    Our panel of IBM i experts—Chuck Losinski, Robin Tatam, Richard Schoen, and Tom Huntington—will outline strategies that allow your company to cope with IBM i skills depletion by adopting these strategies that allow you to get the job done without deep expertise on the OS:
    - Automate IBM i processes
    - Use managed services to help fill the gaps
    - Secure the system against data loss and viruses
    The strategies you discover in this webinar will help you ensure that your system of record—your IBM i—continues to deliver a powerful business advantage, even as staff retires.

     

  • Backup and Recovery Considerations for Security Data and Encrypted Backups

    SB PowerTech WC GenericSecurity expert Carol Woodbury is joined by Debbie Saugen. Debbie is an expert on IBM i backup and recovery, disaster recovery, and high availability, helping IBM i shops build and implement effective business continuity plans.
    In today’s business climate, business continuity is more important than ever. But 83 percent of organizations are not totally confident in their backup strategy.
    During this webinar, Carol and Debbie discuss the importance of a good backup plan, how to ensure you’re backing up your security information, and your options for encrypted back-ups.

  • Profound.js: The Agile Approach to Legacy Modernization

    SB Profound WC GenericIn this presentation, Alex Roytman and Liam Allan will unveil a completely new and unique way to modernize your legacy applications. Learn how Agile Modernization:
    - Uses the power of Node.js in place of costly system re-writes and migrations
    - Enables you to modernize legacy systems in an iterative, low-risk manner
    - Makes it easier to hire developers for your modernization efforts
    - Integrates with Profound UI (GUI modernization) for a seamless, end-to-end legacy modernization solution

     

  • Data Breaches: Is IBM i Really at Risk?

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIBM i is known for its security, but this OS could be more vulnerable than you think.
    Although Power Servers often live inside the safety of the perimeter firewall, the risk of suffering a data leak or data corruption remains high.
    Watch noted IBM i security expert Robin Tatam as he discusses common ways that this supposedly “secure” operating system may actually be vulnerable and who the culprits might be.

    Watch the webinar today!

     

  • Easy Mobile Development

    SB Profound WC GenericWatch this on-demand webinar and learn how to rapidly and easily deploy mobile apps to your organization – even when working with legacy RPG code! IBM Champion Scott Klement will demonstrate how to:
    - Develop RPG applications without mobile development experience
    - Deploy secure applications for any mobile device
    - Build one application for all platforms, including Apple and Android
    - Extend the life and reach of your IBM i (aka iSeries, AS400) platform
    You’ll see examples from customers who have used our products and services to deliver the mobile applications of their dreams, faster and easier than they ever thought possible!

     

  • Profound UI: Unlock True Modernization from your IBM i Enterprise

    SB Profound PPL 5491Modern, web-based applications can make your Enterprise more efficient, connected and engaged. This session will demonstrate how the Profound UI framework is the best and most native way to convert your existing RPG applications and develop new modern applications for your business. Additionally, you will learn how you can address modernization across your Enterprise, including databases and legacy source code, with Profound Logic.

  • Node Webinar Series Pt. 1: The World of Node.js on IBM i

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.

    Part 1 will teach you what Node.js is, why it's a great option for IBM i shops, and how to take advantage of the ecosystem surrounding Node.

    In addition to background information, our Director of Product Development Scott Klement will demonstrate applications that take advantage of the Node Package Manager (npm).

  • 5 New and Unique Ways to Use the IBM i Audit Journal

    SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericYou must be asking yourself: am I doing everything I can to protect my organization’s data? Tune in as our panel of IBM i high availability experts discuss:


    - Why companies don’t test role swaps when they know they should
    - Whether high availability in the cloud makes sense for IBM i users
    - Why some organizations don’t have high availability yet
    - How to get high availability up and running at your organization
    - High availability considerations for today’s security concerns

  • Profound.js 2.0: Extend the Power of Node to your IBM i Applications

    SB Profound WC 5541In this Webinar, we'll demonstrate how Profound.js 2.0 enables you to easily adopt Node.js in your business, and to take advantage of the many benefits of Node, including access to a much larger pool of developers for IBM i and access to countless reusable open source code packages on npm (Node Package Manager).
    You will see how Profound.js 2.0 allows you to:

    • Provide RPG-like capabilities for server-side JavaScript.
    • Easily create web and mobile application interfaces for Node on IBM i.
    • Let existing RPG programs call Node.js modules directly, and vice versa.
    • Automatically generate code for Node.js.
    • Automatically converts existing RPGLE code into clean, simplified Node.js code.

    Download and watch today!

     

  • Make Modern Apps You'll Love with Profound UI & Profound.js

    SB Profound WC 5541Whether you have green screens or a drab GUI, your outdated apps can benefit from modern source code, modern GUIs, and modern tools.
    Profound Logic's Alex Roytman and Liam Allan are here to show you how Free-format RPG and Node.js make it possible to deliver applications your whole business will love:

    • Transform legacy RPG code to modern free-format RPG and Node.js
    • Deliver truly modern application interfaces with Profound UI
    • Extend your RPG applications to include Web Services and NPM packages with Node.js

     

  • Accelerating Programmer Productivity with Sequel

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic

    Most business intelligence tools are just that: tools, a means to an end but not an accelerator. Yours could even be slowing you down. But what if your BI tool didn't just give you a platform for query-writing but also improved programmer productivity?
    Watch the recorded webinar to see how Sequel:

    • Makes creating complex results simple
    • Eliminates barriers to data sources
    • Increases flexibility with data usage and distribution

    Accelerated productivity makes everyone happy, from programmer to business user.

  • Business Intelligence is Changing: Make Your Game Plan

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIt’s time to develop a strategy that will help you meet your informational challenges head-on. Watch the webinar to learn how to set your IT department up for business intelligence success. You’ll learn how the right data access tool will help you:

    • Access IBM i data faster
    • Deliver useful information to executives and business users
    • Empower users with secure data access

    Ready to make your game plan and finally keep up with your data access requests?

     

  • Controlling Insider Threats on IBM i

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericLet’s face facts: servers don’t hack other servers. Despite the avalanche of regulations, news headlines remain chock full of stories about data breaches, all initiated by insiders or intruders masquerading as insiders.
    User profiles are often duplicated or restored and are rarely reviewed for the appropriateness of their current configuration. This increases the risk of the profile being able to access data without the intended authority or having privileges that should be reserved for administrators.
    Watch security expert Robin Tatam as he discusses a new approach for onboarding new users on IBM i and best-practices techniques for managing and monitoring activities after they sign on.

  • Don't Just Settle for Query/400...

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericWhile introducing Sequel Data Access, we’ll address common frustrations with Query/400, discuss major data access, distribution trends, and more advanced query tools. Plus, you’ll learn how a tool like Sequel lightens IT’s load by:

    - Accessing real-time data, so you can make real-time decisions
    - Providing run-time prompts, so users can help themselves
    - Delivering instant results in Microsoft Excel and PDF, without the wait
    - Automating the query process with on-demand data, dashboards, and scheduled jobs

  • How to Manage Documents the Easy Way

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericWhat happens when your company depends on an outdated document management strategy?
    Everything is harder.
    You don’t need to stick with status quo anymore.
    Watch the webinar to learn how to put effective document management into practice and:

    • Capture documents faster, instead of wasting everyone’s time
    • Manage documents easily, so you can always find them
    • Distribute documents automatically, and move on to the next task

     

  • Lessons Learned from the AS/400 Breach

    SB_PowerTech_WC_GenericGet actionable info to avoid becoming the next cyberattack victim.
    In “Data breach digest—Scenarios from the field,” Verizon documented an AS/400 security breach. Whether you call it AS/400, iSeries, or IBM i, you now have proof that the system has been breached.
    Watch IBM i security expert Robin Tatam give an insightful discussion of the issues surrounding this specific scenario.
    Robin will also draw on his extensive cybersecurity experience to discuss policies, processes, and configuration details that you can implement to help reduce the risk of your system being the next victim of an attack.

  • Overwhelmed by Operating Systems?

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIn this 30-minute recorded webinar, our experts demonstrate how you can:

    • Manage multiple platforms from a central location
    • View monitoring results in a single pane of glass on your desktop or mobile device
    • Take advantage of best practice, plug-and-play monitoring templates
    • Create rules to automate daily checks across your entire infrastructure
    • Receive notification if something is wrong or about to go wrong

    This presentation includes a live demo of Network Server Suite.

     

  • Real-Time Disk Monitoring with Robot Monitor

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericYou need to know when IBM i disk space starts to disappear and where it has gone before system performance and productivity start to suffer. Our experts will show you how Robot Monitor can help you pinpoint exactly when your auxiliary storage starts to disappear and why, so you can start taking a proactive approach to disk monitoring and analysis. You’ll also get insight into:

    • The main sources of disk consumption
    • How to monitor temporary storage and QTEMP objects in real time
    • How to monitor objects and libraries in real time and near-real time
    • How to track long-term disk trends

     

     

  • Stop Re-keying Data Between IBM I and Other Applications

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericMany business still depend on RPG for their daily business processes and report generation.Wouldn’t it be nice if you could stop re-keying data between IBM i and other applications? Or if you could stop replicating data and start processing orders faster? Or what if you could automatically extract data from existing reports instead of re-keying? It’s all possible. Watch this webinar to learn about:

    • The data dilemma
    • 3 ways to stop re-keying data
    • Data automation in practice

    Plus, see how HelpSystems data automation software will help you stop re-keying data.

     

  • The Top Five RPG Open Access Myths....BUSTED!

    SB_Profound_WC_GenericWhen it comes to IBM Rational Open Access: RPG Edition, there are still many misconceptions - especially where application modernization is concerned!

    In this Webinar, we'll address some of the biggest myths about RPG Open Access, including:

    • Modernizing with RPG OA requires significant changes to the source code
    • The RPG language is outdated and impractical for modernizing applications
    • Modernizing with RPG OA is the equivalent to "screen scraping"

     

  • Time to Remove the Paper from Your Desk and Become More Efficient

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericToo much paper is wasted. Attempts to locate documents in endless filing cabinets.And distributing documents is expensive and takes up far too much time.
    These are just three common reasons why it might be time for your company to implement a paperless document management system.
    Watch the webinar to learn more and discover how easy it can be to:

    • Capture
    • Manage
    • And distribute documents digitally

     

  • IBM i: It’s Not Just AS/400

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic

    IBM’s Steve Will talks AS/400, POWER9, cognitive systems, and everything in between

    Are there still companies that use AS400? Of course!

    IBM i was built on the same foundation.
    Watch this recorded webinar with IBM i Chief Architect Steve Will and IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington to gain a unique perspective on the direction of this platform, including:

    • IBM i development strategies in progress at IBM
    • Ways that Watson will shake hands with IBM i
    • Key takeaways from the AS/400 days

     

  • Ask the RDi Experts

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericWatch this recording where Jim Buck, Susan Gantner, and Charlie Guarino answered your questions, including:

    • What are the “hidden gems” in RDi that can make me more productive?
    • What makes RDi Debug better than the STRDBG green screen debugger?
    • How can RDi help me find out if I’ve tested all lines of a program?
    • What’s the best way to transition from PDM to RDi?
    • How do I convince my long-term developers to use RDi?

    This is a unique, online opportunity to hear how you can get more out of RDi.

     

  • Node.js on IBM i Webinar Series Pt. 2: Setting Up Your Development Tools

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. In Part 2, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Attend this webinar to learn:

    • Different tools to develop Node.js applications on IBM i
    • Debugging Node.js
    • The basics of Git and tools to help those new to it
    • Using NodeRun.com as a pre-built development environment

     

     

  • Inside the Integrated File System (IFS)

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericDuring this webinar, you’ll learn basic tips, helpful tools, and integrated file system commands—including WRKLNK—for managing your IFS directories and Access Client Solutions (ACS). We’ll answer your most pressing IFS questions, including:

    • What is stored inside my IFS directories?
    • How do I monitor the IFS?
    • How do I replicate the IFS or back it up?
    • How do I secure the IFS?

    Understanding what the integrated file system is and how to work with it must be a critical part of your systems management plans for IBM i.

     

  • Expert Tips for IBM i Security: Beyond the Basics

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access

    Don't miss this chance to take your knowledge of IBM i security beyond the basics.

     

     

  • 5 IBM i Security Quick Wins

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn today’s threat landscape, upper management is laser-focused on cybersecurity. You need to make progress in securing your systems—and make it fast.
    There’s no shortage of actions you could take, but what tactics will actually deliver the results you need? And how can you find a security strategy that fits your budget and time constraints?
    Join top IBM i security expert Robin Tatam as he outlines the five fastest and most impactful changes you can make to strengthen IBM i security this year.
    Your system didn’t become unsecure overnight and you won’t be able to turn it around overnight either. But quick wins are possible with IBM i security, and Robin Tatam will show you how to achieve them.

  • How to Meet the Newest Encryption Requirements on IBM i

    SB PowerTech WC GenericA growing number of compliance mandates require sensitive data to be encrypted. But what kind of encryption solution will satisfy an auditor and how can you implement encryption on IBM i? Watch this on-demand webinar to find out how to meet today’s most common encryption requirements on IBM i. You’ll also learn:

    • Why disk encryption isn’t enough
    • What sets strong encryption apart from other solutions
    • Important considerations before implementing encryption

     

     

  • Security Bulletin: Malware Infection Discovered on IBM i Server!

    SB PowerTech WC GenericMalicious programs can bring entire businesses to their knees—and IBM i shops are not immune. It’s critical to grasp the true impact malware can have on IBM i and the network that connects to it. Attend this webinar to gain a thorough understanding of the relationships between:

    • Viruses, native objects, and the integrated file system (IFS)
    • Power Systems and Windows-based viruses and malware
    • PC-based anti-virus scanning versus native IBM i scanning

    There are a number of ways you can minimize your exposure to viruses. IBM i security expert Sandi Moore explains the facts, including how to ensure you're fully protected and compliant with regulations such as PCI.

     

     

  • Fight Cyber Threats with IBM i Encryption

    SB PowerTech WC GenericCyber attacks often target mission-critical servers, and those attack strategies are constantly changing. To stay on top of these threats, your cybersecurity strategies must evolve, too. In this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access

     

     

     

  • 10 Practical IBM i Security Tips for Surviving Covid-19 and Working From Home

    SB PowerTech WC GenericNow that many organizations have moved to a work from home model, security concerns have risen.

    During this session Carol Woodbury will discuss the issues that the world is currently seeing such as increased malware attacks and then provide practical actions you can take to both monitor and protect your IBM i during this challenging time.

     

  • How to Transfer IBM i Data to Microsoft Excel

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic3 easy ways to get IBM i data into Excel every time
    There’s an easy, more reliable way to import your IBM i data to Excel? It’s called Sequel. During this webinar, our data access experts demonstrate how you can simplify the process of getting data from multiple sources—including Db2 for i—into Excel. Watch to learn how to:

    • Download your IBM i data to Excel in a single step
    • Deliver data to business users in Excel via email or a scheduled job
    • Access IBM i data directly using the Excel add-in in Sequel

    Make 2020 the year you finally see your data clearly, quickly, and securely. Start by giving business users the ability to access crucial business data from IBM i the way they want it—in Microsoft Excel.

     

     

  • HA Alternatives: MIMIX Is Not Your Only Option on IBM i

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIn this recorded webinar, our experts introduce you to the new HA transition technology available with our Robot HA software. You’ll learn how to:

    • Transition your rules from MIMIX (if you’re happy with them)
    • Simplify your day-to-day activities around high availability
    • Gain back time in your work week
    • Make your CEO happy about reducing IT costs

    Don’t stick with a legacy high availability solution that makes you uncomfortable when transitioning to something better can be simple, safe, and cost-effective.

     

     

  • Comply in 5! Well, actually UNDER 5 minutes!!

    SB CYBRA PPL 5382

    TRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms.

    Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product.

    Request your trial now!

  • Backup and Recovery on IBM i: Your Strategy for the Unexpected

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates the routine tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:
    - Simplified backup procedures
    - Easy data encryption
    - Save media management
    - Guided restoration
    - Seamless product integration
    Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Try the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Manage IBM i Messages by Exception with Robot

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Managing messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events?
    Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated message management
    - Tailored notifications and automatic escalation
    - System-wide control of your IBM i partitions
    - Two-way system notifications from your mobile device
    - Seamless product integration
    Try the Robot Message Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Easiest Way to Save Money? Stop Printing IBM i Reports

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing.
    Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

    - Automated report distribution
    - View online without delay
    - Browser interface to make notes
    - Custom retention capabilities
    - Seamless product integration
    Rerun another report? Never again. Try the Robot Report Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Hassle-Free IBM i Operations around the Clock

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413For over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i.
    Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated batch, interactive, and cross-platform scheduling
    - Event-driven dependency processing
    - Centralized monitoring and reporting
    - Audit log and ready-to-use reports
    - Seamless product integration
    Scale your software, not your staff. Try the Robot Job Scheduling Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • ACO MONITOR Manages your IBM i 24/7 and Notifies You When Your IBM i Needs Assistance!

    SB DDL Systems 5429More than a paging system - ACO MONITOR is a complete systems management solution for your Power Systems running IBM i. ACO MONITOR manages your Power System 24/7, uses advanced technology (like two-way messaging) to notify on-duty support personnel, and responds to complex problems before they reach critical status.

    ACO MONITOR is proven technology and is capable of processing thousands of mission-critical events daily. The software is pre-configured, easy to install, scalable, and greatly improves data center efficiency.