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Keeping the Community Communicating

PowerTech's open-source security policy designed to be a living document.

PowerTech's open-source security policy designed to be a living document.

For thousands of System i* professionals, is an indispensable part of daily life. This is especially so for David Gibbs, who established and maintains the Web site and what has become a web of mailing lists.

Gibbs admits that he has no idea how much time he devotes to But he's seldom far removed from it.

"I don't keep track, but it's not an insignificant amount of time. My wife could probably tell you," he says with a chuckle. Nearly 6,000 unique subscribers inhabit (Gibbs reports that the number has remained fairly steady over time.) The largest of its 24 public mailing lists, the general-purpose Midrange-L and the RPG400-L, each have more than 1,100 subscribers, while smaller lists cover System i technology-related topics ranging from Java* to system security to the industry job market.

Through its various lists, the community is designed for a single purpose - to provide a forum where System i professionals can help each other resolve technical issues.

"The thing that I love most is to see a good technical conversation go by and then toward the end of the day, there's a message saying, 'Guys, thanks, that solved the problem. We're working perfectly now.' That's happened a number of times and it really makes me feel good," Gibbs says. "It happens enough so that I know I'm doing something that's helping people."

Jon Paris, an IBM* Systems Magazine, i5 Business Systems edition technical editor, credits Gibbs foremost for making a no-charge service. As such, it's often the only place for some System i users to get the answers they need.

" has allowed one- and two-person shops to achieve remarkable things because it gives them access to some of the industry's best minds inside and outside of IBM," says Paris, a longtime subscriber.

Neil Tardy is a contributing writer to IBM Systems Magazine. Neil can be reached at



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