Informing the IBM Community

Back to the future


Let us be honest sometimes our / your job as a system administrator is not as varied as we would like it to be. In many cases we have to run commands over and over again with just a small change. When doing this working with a GUI it is not the most efficient way and we are better off using a CLI.

The good old 5250 emulation is what we use in those cases and if we are in restricted state there is not even an alternative. Before continuing with my story here please allow me to make a small sidestep.

IBM enables us as IBM i users to make requests to change things within IBM i, they call this a RFE, a Request for Enhancement. A lot has already been said and written about this great opportunity. If you have not heard earlier about RFE’s. The link below is a good start to get familiar with the RFE process:

When going through the large number of requests, I recently came across an RFE submitted by Steve Bradshaw in which he is asking for making a CLI change to the 5250 emulation (RFE124253). When I met him at the last i-UG event back in June, he was even wearing a T-shirt with a blue heart with the text we all know “i for Business” and underneath the text: “Probably the best Operating System in the world” and below that line in brackets “Definitely would be if it had an F8 on the 5250 CLI”. As I am from Holland, I am a big fan of British humour, so I had a good laugh about this T-shirt and after the event I went home and want back to my job as being an IBM i system administrator.

Since that day however when using 5250 emulation and pressing F9 to get a previous used command back and hitting F9 one time too many, I did remember this RFE. In RFE 124253 a request is made to have the opportunity, to use F8 next to F9, by giving F8 the function to more or less reverse your last F9. That is what I call “back to the future”.

My plea is to support this RFE if in the next few weeks, you do the same as I did. Every time you hit F9 one time too many, think of this RFE being out there. If you have an IBM id, which of course you have, go back to the link in this article and vote for it. I remember that in a DOS box you could use the arrows to go back and forth between commands already executed. For some reason the F9 was in the original design, it must have been an oversight that F8 was forgotten. We all have learned to live with that absence, but after over 30 years, do you not agree that the good old 5250 CLI deserves this enhancement?

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4 responses to “Back to the future”

  1. Thank you Rudi, even if I don’t get my F8, at least now I know what my T-shirt looks like on a handsome man 🙂

  2. David Shears avatar
    David Shears

    Duly voted, first time using the RFE site so thanks to Rudi (and by extension Steve) for introducing me to it.

  3. Great idea! Much better than cursing and starting again!

  4. Manfred Sielhorst avatar
    Manfred Sielhorst

    Good to see that CEAC is still focussing on important improvements of the system.
    Continue to spread the message about the important small and big wishes the community has.

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