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After being blindsided by user complaints and negative press concerning rumors that it was no longer willing to support CGIDEV2, IBM said Friday it will continue to support the code, and will launch a new Web site for that purpose.
The site, whose URL has yet to be released, will be hosted by Big Blue and maintained by the Client Technology Center (CTC), which originally developed CGIDEV2. IBM also plans to have CTC staffers monitor the Yahoo chatroom populated by CGIDEV2 users working with the code to help monitor its progress, and plans to update the site as time, and need, permit.
IBM said users who visit the current Easy400 site will be redirected to IBM's new CGIDEV2 site. Big Blue plans to have the new Web site up and running in the very near future.
Jim Herring, IBM eServer iSeries product management and business operations director, said Friday he was unaware that CGIDEV2 was still such a vital part of the iSeries user community's day-to-day applications. The latest move is a direct response to unhappy CGIDEV2 users, many of whom felt IBM was abandoning its installed base and trying to push them toward WebSphere.
"I didn't recognize until Monday that this tool set was still being utilized to develop applications on a platform. Once I became aware of it, I said let's go ahead and support it," Herring said. "Let me say, with no lack of confusion, that IBM is not backing away from CGI or open source. There's been a lot of speculation [about this] … but nothing could be further from the truth. CGI is a key programming technology on the 'i,' and we're going to continue to support it."
CGIDEV2 is a valuable tool for iSeries pros because it permits programmers to write code for the Internet, using COBOL or RPG as CGI language, giving new life to legacy programs.
The controversy surrounding CGIDEV2 began last week, when former iSeries employee Giovanni B. Perotti, who ran the IBM Easy400 Web site that offered free Web development software, said IBM told him it no longer intended to give away the code, even though the company had no further plans to support it.
Perotti retired in June, but he had planned to offer and support CGIDEV2 users on his own personal site for no charge. Perotti and fellow CGIDEV2 evangelists then began a campaign designed to keep the code alive. They flooded Big Blue and the media with letters and phone calls in an attempt to bring their plight to light, and apparently it worked.
But Herring said the confusion surrounding IBM's intentions with CGIDEV2 was caused more by miscommunication than anything else. And once the matter was brought to his attention, Herring said, the decision to do what Big Blue felt was best for its users was an easy one.
In fact, Herring said if Perotti had brought the issue up with him directly, he would have told him that IBM was perfectly willing to support CGIDEV2 moving forward.
"We promote the use of tools, whether they're provided by IBM or a solutions provider, to the greatest extent possible," Herring said. "This is a great example of that."
Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Luke Meredith, News Writer