IBM i Open Source Tools

IBM i Open Source Tools were originally installed via a complex process of installing packages from Perzl. I have described how to do this in past posts such as BASH on IBM i. While this was helpful in the past, it wasn’t officially supported by IBM. 5733-OPS is a new product from IBM that supports Open Source Tools and can be installed on the IBM i.

5733-OPS

5733-OPS brings many open source tools to the IBM i and helps create a development environment that is familiar to a unix or linux developer. Tools such as BASH, rsync, curl, git, python, and much more are included. See the Open Source Technologies details page for more information on what is included with each option.

How to Install 5733-OPS

Kevin Adler has written a thorough and detailed article that explains exactly how to obtain 5733-OPS.

Tools

Below are quick references to the pros for some of the tools and how they development.

BASH

BASH is an enhanced version of BSH. It gives the developer some extra features. Anyone that has had to use the default shell on the IBM i has probably ran into the issue of the arrow keys and backspace virtually being unusable. Make a mistake in BSH and you might as well ctrl+c to start writing the command all over again. At least it gives you an ascii heart to make you feel a little better about the mistake.

BASH allows for arrow keys, which means up arrow for past commands. The developer will also be able to use tab completion. It even enables shortcuts like esc + . to cycle through past parameters.

I have written an article that describes a pretty BASH configuration. There’s a section specifically for the IBM i.

Git

Having a simple way of bringing Git to the IBM i is one of the most advantageous features of 5733-OPS. Git allows forsimple and widely accepted version control practices. Atlassian has a great tutorial that compares the different workflows of Git. GitHub also has a nice tutorial as an introduction to Git. Please keep in mind that Git and Github are not the same thing. GitHub is a cloud solution for hosting Git repositories.

Node

Bringing Node to the IBM i is helpful in many ways, and it’s not just for using Node as a web development language. Having access to Node packages such as Grunt, Gulp, and some others can be used as basic command line tools to automate tasks. Before which was available on the IBM i, I could use the Node package which to find commands.

There are other tools that are included, but these are the ones I use the most. I’d love to hear what everyone else’s favorite parts of 5733-OPS are. I know it has made web development a much smoother process.

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