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Thread: IBM AS/400 (Pre I-series) questions

  1. #1

    Default IBM AS/400 (Pre I-series) questions

    So I may be picking up an AS/400 system in the near future, specifically a pre I-Series rackmount system with a 9406-F35 system unit, a 9337-120 hard disk unit with seven drives and a decent amount of expansion modules. It definitely seems like it's a complete setup, which is fantastic as an early AS/400 rack-mount system like this one is on my "must have" list, though I do have a couple of concerns that I want to look into before I make a decision and lug this thing home.

    The first is that this system is only tested to power on and it is unknown if it has an operating system. Now, not only is this not your typical Windows box, but it's also a high-dollar, proprietary IBM product, so I assume you can't just download an OS, load it on there and get to work. So, if it in fact does not have an operating system, what are my options? Is there same way to obtain one and load it on there? Or would I just be stuck with a refrigerator sized system that does absolutely nothing but sit and look pretty?

    My second question is this: System passwords. Since there is no way of knowing if it has one, what would my options be if it does? Are there ways around them or would I just be completely locked out of it? If I would just be completely locked out and I can get an OS, could I just wipe and reload it?

    Hopefully you guys can clear some things up for me and help me make a decision here.
    Last edited by ButINeededThatName; November 3rd, 2019 at 03:42 PM.

  2. #2
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    Speaking of AS/400, are there docs on bitsavers? I couldn't find any...

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    Quote Originally Posted by ButINeededThatName View Post
    So, if it in fact does not have an operating system, what are my options? Is there same way to obtain one and load it on there?
    It uses AIX Linux and you may have to come up with a license. Check this link out:

    https://www.ibm.com/support/knowledg...ahc/newnos.htm
    Surely not everyone was Kung-fu fighting

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    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Orange View Post
    It uses AIX Linux...
    This is a gen-1 AS/400. Since the series introduction pre-dates Linus writing the first pass at a kernel by 3 full years, I'm pretty sure it doesn't. It would run an early version of OS/400 that also pre-dates IBM's move to Power architecture by at least 2 years.

    I'm guessing the OP bought this machine:

    https://wausau.craigslist.org/sys/d/...004351091.html
    "Good engineers keep thick authoritative books on their shelf. Not for their own reference, but to throw at people who ask stupid questions; hoping a small fragment of knowledge will osmotically transfer with each cranial impact." - Me

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    Quote Originally Posted by eeguru View Post
    This is a gen-1 AS/400. Since the series introduction pre-dates Linus writing the first pass at a kernel by 3 full years, I'm pretty sure it doesn't. It would run an early version of OS/400 that also pre-dates IBM's move to Power architecture by at least 2 years.

    I'm guessing the OP bought this machine:

    https://wausau.craigslist.org/sys/d/...004351091.html
    So would that be OS/2?
    Surely not everyone was Kung-fu fighting

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    It's been quite a while since I fired up my pre-power as/400, but if I remember correctly when I got it it had the default administrator username and password of SECADM (or SECADMIN) and 999999. If it's configured like a typical 90's as/400, you'll probably need a pc with a 5250 emulator and twinax adapter. I've never found a way, legit or otherwise, to obtain installation media, and it's quite likely to be machine specific.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Orange View Post
    So would that be OS/2?
    Nope, I think the version that runs on that runs on that is OS/400. It is software/hardware is I believe derived from work done for the failed "Future Systems Project" Like the System/38 before it, its a single level storage system, files and memory are organized in the same way. The underlying hardware is hidden from the user. In effect all you see is the microcode. Largely programmed in RPG.
    Dave
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    Yep. The AS/400 was an evolution/consolidation of the number of IBM's oddball minicomputer lines; it's most directly descended from the System/38, but was basically positioned as the migration path for all the other midrange systems that spawned from the 1969-vintage System/3.

    From a technical standpoint the AS/400 series is both very interesting and very confusing. The OS incorporates some very sophisticated concepts and basically runs as a virtual machine with an abstracted instruction set, but as a result the underlying hardware of the early CISC AS/400s is "weird" and limited by the fact that it only needs to run code tightly controlled by the abstraction layer. (My vague understanding of the situation is that integration goes so deep the line between "code" and "microcode" in the system is sort of tenuous.) As a result the hardware is very poorly suited for running anything else. The links to it are dead now but there used to be a "Linux on AS/400" project webpage that had explanations from IBM engineers as to why the hardware basically *can't* run operating systems that require hardware memory management.

    (As noted above, in the mid-90's IBM migrated the platform from the oddball CISC CPU to a 64-bit Power variant; post-1999 machines *can* run AIX/Linux, usually as guest operating systems under the parent i-system. But the CISC machines run AS/400, nothing else.)
    My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs

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    I think the Wiki article here on Future systems helps place it...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_Fu...ystems_project
    Dave
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by eswan View Post
    ...default administrator username and password of SECADM (or SECADMIN) and 999999...
    Close. You could try some of the default system profiles. In the very early days, the password matched the profile name (until someone changed it):

    QSECOFR
    QSYSOPR
    QSRVBAS
    QSRV
    QPGMR
    QUSER

    Also, look up how to reset the QSECOFR password by starting the system in manual mode into DST - dedicated service tools.
    CP/M-86 Software Repository www.eolith.co.uk

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