Moderator's Interview Series: Akatsukami.

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Anuj Dhawan
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Moderator's Interview Series: Akatsukami.

Post by Anuj Dhawan » Sun Oct 29, 2017 4:27 pm

Moderator's Interview : Akatsukami
zMainframes: Do you use an avatar name here or you use your real name as avatar name? If you are using an avatar name, is there a story behind choosing that name which you might like to share with us?

I’ve used “Akatsukami” as my on-line identity for over twenty years. It means “incarnate deity” in Japanese :D

zMainframes: How long you have been associated with computers, in general? And since when you've been working with mainframes? Would you like to share your IT experience with us?

In my university days, back in the Upper Pleistocene :D, I used both IBM mainframes and various PDP minis. Since then, I’ve mostly worked with IBM mainframes, but also longer or shorter stints with Burroughs and UNIVAC mainframes, VAXes, Bunker Ramo’s PDP-11 clones (IIRC, they were sold under different names depending on intended end use), and Wintel boxes. The past two decades, though, has been all IBM mainframes.

zMainframes: What difference do you see, from S360 days to zOS 2.x days - ease of use, better interface, more power to end user or something more? Describe it in your own words.

A major change, IMNSHO, came in with z/OS 1.13. You’ll recall, I’m sure, the constant litany of questions by newbie software engineers of, “How do I change the completion code of a job?”, “How do I use symbolics in in-stream data?”, and others to which the answer was, “You can’t; deal with it”. With V1.13, IBM finally broke down and began making those things possible.

Two other big things over the years were the introduction of the IF-THEN-ELSE construct in JCL, much more flexible and understandable than the COND parameter, and the evolution of DFSORT from a sort utility to a powerful and sophisticated data handling environment. You still can’t do everything with DFSORT, but you can do a lot more than when I was a student.

zMainframes: In an age of social-media, cloud, DevOps and you name it technology where do you see mainframe in the computer industry?

Same as it’s always been; nothing matches the mainframe for power and reliability.

zMainframes: Why do you help on Forums? And what is the message you'd like to give to the new Forum users - rationally, irrespective of their experience in the field?

The message is, quite simply, “Learn your job”. The quality of the questions I’ve read on various boards leaves me with little hope for the rising generation of software engineers :(

zMainframes: What is your take on statements like "millennials are not attracted towards mainframe?" Are we not advertising this platform good enough or there is more to it, your thoughts please.

I think it is the ignorance of millennials, compounded by the dis-ingenuousness of companies and consultants that stand to benefit financially from (seldom successful) attempts to convert from mainframes to server farms. To hear them talk, you’d think all mainframes are still S/360s running programs written in COBOL-68.

Modification Log: Posted the initial version, 29 Oct, 2017

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