V4R5 Waits Until 2000

IBM has confirmed what many have suspected for some time--the company will not release another version of OS/400 this year.

It has been several years since the AS/400 market received only one release of OS/400 during the course of a calendar year. According to IBM, the main reason it will not issue two major releases of OS/400 this year is concern that customers will be pre-occupied with getting their Y2K updates finished. While IBM does not expect a slow sales cycle, the decision was made more than a year ago as a precautionary measure, according to an IBM representative.

Although there will not be two releases this year, IBM says the number of enhancements introduced this year was on par with enhancements from previous years. Knowing there would be only one release of OS/400 this year, IBM reportedly put extra time and effort into making V4R4, acclaimed as one of the biggest OS/400 releases ever. Taken as a whole, the volume of features and enhancements in V4R4 are compatible with what was typically seen in two releases.

To provide its customers with some added functionality, IBM plans to release enhancement packages during the third and fourth quarters of this year. Features included in these enhancement packages are: large object support for multimedia objects; improved performance for Java applets; enhancements to AS/400 developer kit for Java; PCI support across entire line; and a new WebSphere application that will provide Enterprise Java Bean (EJB) support.

V4R5 will hit the streets in the first half of 2000, probably during the first quarter, IBM says.