Going back 25+ years to the original AS/400, the IBM i platform has always had a client software product to allow PCs to connect to IBM i servers. The original product for OS/400 was PC Support/400 and while the software evolved, it only worked with Windows PCs. Fast forward to 2013 and IBM has released a new client with the not-so catchy name of “IBM i Access Client Solutions.” What should catch your attention however is that this all-new, Java-based client now supports PC, Mac and Linux workstations and provides a single solution that in the past required software from multiple vendors. And since IBM i Access Client Solutions is part of the IBM i Access family, it is free for all licensed users of IBM i Access.
What the new client provides…
- 5250 display and printer emulation, including LAN Console
- File transfer with support for OpenDocument spreadsheet (*.ods), Microsoft Excel Workbook (*.xlsx), and other formats
- File transfer integration with OpenOffice and Microsoft Excel
- Downloading and viewing of spooled files
- A GUI interface to the IBM i control panel (Virtual Control Panel)
- Connectivity to DB2 for i using Windows ODBC, .Net, OLE DB and Linux 64-bit ODBC
The 5250 emulation is based on the mature IBM Host-on Demand client code and should be very reliable. Having the same file transfer process across all platforms should simplify training and implementation for environments with PCs and Macs. The OpenOffice integration is valueable to environments looking to the open source world for desktop productivity software. This new client can be downloaded (along with other IBM licensed programs) from the IBM entitled software support web site here.
Now that all client connectivity is done via TCP/IP and Java is the dominant development language, I suspect this will eventually become the only client option in the future, so now might be a good time to start evaluating this new client.
Interested in learning more? Follow this link for three introductory videos…