AS/400 >> AS400 for Home Use

by Nospam » Tue, 27 Jan 2004 13:08:47 GMT

Hi all,

I've been considering picking up a used as/400 and would appreciate any
comments on the feasibility of purchasing a low end machine for development
use at home. I have a background in rpg/cobol development but am unsure of
hardware, processor and licensing issues involved. There seem to be many
170s and older interactive boxes with V4R4 available but can anyone comment
on licensing, the availability of PDM, compilers and other LPPs in the used
marketplace, etc?

V4R4 with RPG, Cobol, etc would satisfy my initial requirements, but
upgradeability to V5R1 with WDStudio tools would be an eventual concern. I
would appreciate any advice on the minimum processor, memory requirements
for any WAS development, webfacing etc for a single user in a non production

Thanks in advance.

AS/400 >> AS400 for Home Use

by Dale Berta » Tue, 27 Jan 2004 22:40:45 GMT

Smallest current model is 800, but that's probably still a little too pricey
for at home. You might be able to pick up a used 250. Either way, software
has to be licensed from IBM.

Another option is Baby/400, from California Software. I've never seen or
used it, but they have a long history. (First product of theirs I heard of
was Baby/36.) It runs on a PC, so hardware is inexpensive. It includes
editor (like SEU), compilers, and database that mimics PF/LFs. If you only
need to do some development and testing, this might be enough. But it is not
OS/400. I'm pretty sure it won't have support for OS functions such as
communications (SNA, TCP/IP), security, and the like.


AS/400 >> AS400 for Home Use

by Jonathan Ball » Wed, 28 Jan 2004 00:37:44 GMT

I think it's a huge mistake. It seems like a really
cool idea, but I have a friend who did it a couple of
years ago - back when 170s were new, and it cost him
about $15,000 - and it just proved to be a money pit.

There are AS/400-iSeries timesharing services available
that range from FREE to cheap. The free one I know of
is Another one,, is priced at $15/month (or $75/6
mo., or $120/year.) Model 170s I've seen on eBay seem
to go for $1500-$2000. In other words, you could get
more than 10 years at for the
price of your 170, and YOU don't have to go through any
hassle of OS upgrades, other maintenance, etc.

AS/400 >> AS400 for Home Use

by Nospam » Wed, 28 Jan 2004 03:53:29 GMT

Thanks for your input Dale.

I looked into a new 250 a year or so ago but haven't seen any on the used
market, seemed like the right package with the prepacked WDS tools, SQL Dev,
etc, but was still a very significant investment. Would have to be very
confident of soliciting contract work to pay for that over 3 years. Part of
the appeal of a home machine is no response time / connection issues and
unrestricted access to system values / configuration for CGIDEV2 /
webserving work, etc. I agree with you on the probable limitations of
Baby/400. I'm not sure how they could possibly replicate the functionality
of the real thing. Thanks again!



AS/400 >> AS400 for Home Use

by Nospam » Wed, 28 Jan 2004 04:01:01 GMT

Hi Jonathan,

I know exactly what your saying. I would need to have a good stream of
contract work to justify that kind of cost. I don't even know if you could
still get the older compilers for traditional 5250 RPG on V4R4 any longer
for a bare bones eBay machine.

I'm guessing that timeshares can get very restrictive when you start to do
anything with the WDS Tool set. I'll do a little more research in that area.
Thanks for the leads.



AS/400 >> AS400 for Home Use

by banditstan2000 » Wed, 28 Jan 2004 09:05:30 GMT

I think whether you use timeshare or buy your own '400 depends on what
you want to do, pure programming can easily be done on a timeshare
unless you like to mount the IFS using NFS to edit your source. But if
you want to learn about being a sysadmin, you cannot beat having your
own box to play with.

The price argument above is obviously very compelling, but I started
off on timeshare, and bought my own 9401/150 after a few months, never
regretted it.



AS/400 >> AS400 for Home Use

by jhlmss » Wed, 28 Jan 2004 10:54:14 GMT

FS: New 250's at 20% off list.
Joseph H. Le Blanc, CCP

AS/400 >> AS400 for Home Use

by Nospam » Wed, 28 Jan 2004 11:12:50 GMT

Can you tell me more about the 150 you are running? I assume it was a used
machine? Which OS, licensed programs, type of programming, etc. Currently
there are a few of these on eBay, I may get in touch with one of the
vendors and find out exactly what they come with, and the availability of
additional lpp's. Do you do much contract work with it or is just for the
"no holds barred" learning experience and personal development?


unsure of
concern. I

AS/400 >> AS400 for Home Use

by Nospam » Wed, 28 Jan 2004 11:19:51 GMT

Sorry Joseph,
I can't justify the purchase of something new at this point.

AS/400 >> AS400 for Home Use

by user317 » Wed, 28 Jan 2004 15:29:36 GMT

> V4R4 with RPG, Cobol, etc would satisfy my initial requirements, but

I have a small black one called "600" with V4R5 on it. Bought for
almost nothing incl. license programs. Fast enough for normal
programming work of a bunch of people.
Concerning licenses: Maybe or maby not the lics stay with the box or
with the former owner. I simply wrote a letter with serial number,
licpgms, old and new owner to IBM and asked them to inform me if they
think I have to purchase anything. Years ago, no answer.


AS/400 >> AS400 for Home Use

by cwhitein » Wed, 28 Jan 2004 23:14:28 GMT

I have been getting use 170's loaded with memory and the 2291 processor,
network card, RPG, COBOL, ILE, CA Windows, WebSphere Application Server,
ADTS & QUERY for around $4,000 - $7,000. V4R5 and a few had V5R2.
You can also sometimes find good 150's pretty cheap on ebay.


AS/400 >> AS400 for Home Use

by banditstan2000 » Thu, 29 Jan 2004 06:51:55 GMT

It's a 9401/150 with 16GB of disk, 128MB RAM, OS/400 V4R5, with ILE C,
RPG, SQL etc. It was used, bought in the UK.

For me, I got it because I had a go of a '400 timeshare, and thought
the AS/400 rocked and wanted to learn more. For programming I
generally only do C on the 400, but I'll probably do some Java on it.
I use CL for bits and pieces, but not really any RPG.

The 150 is not the fastest thing in the world, but I use it for
compiling, an email server, web server, some SQL databases, and FTP,
and it does OK. If it's just you using it, then I think a 150 will be
fine, if you're planning to put it under load, or do a lot of Java,
you'll want something faster.

OS/400 V4R5 is fine to use, and most stuff will still run on it, but
some of IBM's free downloads need V5R1 or better. I don't do contract
work, so it's not quite so critical to keep current with the OS.

Hope that helps.


AS/400 >> AS400 for Home Use

by dannelson » Thu, 29 Jan 2004 09:05:00 GMT

Would you share with me what price range your looking to pay for a box
and what OS version it needs to be at?

Dan Nelson

AS/400 >> AS400 for Home Use

by Nospam » Thu, 29 Jan 2004 13:00:09 GMT

Thanks for the additional detail Garry. That sounds like just the package
that would get me started. I'm getting the impression that a jump to V5R1
and developing any WAS/Java stuff would mean a significant increase in
processor & memory as well as cost of LPPs and initial investment.

I'm thinking my own development machine may be advantageous in helping
solicit offsite contract work. I'm not keen on my current employment.
Another job would mean relocation but my current situation makes that
impossible at this time.

Thanks again for your input!


AS/400 >> AS400 for Home Use

by Nospam » Thu, 29 Jan 2004 13:09:55 GMT

Sounds like I may need to check with some vendors and start to look at some
numbers, I don't have extensive AS/400 contacts and was thinking home
AS/400s were few and far between, but I can see there are a few of you guys
out there doing your own thing. Do you do any contract work with yours or is
it just for personal benefit?

Thanks for your input.


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