In case you thought AIX had a future

Date: 2023-01-15T15:06:00-08:00


In case you thought IBM AIX had a future, IBM's legacy proprietary Unix, IBM apparently doesn't. The Register reported Friday that IBM has moved the entire AIX development group to IBM India, apparently their Bangalore office, and placing 80 US-based developers into "redeployment." That's a fairly craven way of replacing layoffs with musical chairs, requiring the displaced developers to either find a new position within the company (possibly relocating as well) within some unspecified period, or retire. About a third of IBM's global staff is on the Indian subcontinent. IBM didn't publicly announce this move and while it's undoubtedly good news for IBM India it seems bad news for AIX's prospects: the technologies IBM thinks are up and coming IBM tends to spend money on, and so an obvious cost-cutting move suggests IBM doesn't think AIX is one of those things.

We've got a long history with AIX here at Floodgap Orbiting HQ when I first worked with AIX 3.2.5 and 4.1 in my University employment and consulting days, and I've run personal installations of AIX as my primary personal server since 1998, first on an Apple Network Server 500 and now on a 8203-E4A POWER6 p520. AIX 3 and 4 were surprisingly compelling workstation and server OSes for the time, but AIX 5L was where it started to feel "legacy" and unloved, and IBM has always been tightfisted about APARs and other kinds of updates if you don't buy a support contract. Combine that with nonsense like Capacity on Demand, where my second CPU was locked out after a system planar update until IBM coughed up a new set of keys, and I've already concluded this will be my last AIX server. While the next one will almost certainly be OpenPOWER, I'll probably run FreeBSD instead.

And, well, IBM would rather you ran Linux anyway on Power hardware, and so would their subsidiary Red Hat. If you're still an AIX institutional customer and you're still paying the bills, you'll still get support (just as you would with IBM i, the other white meat), but newly migrating to AIX is increasingly more trouble than it's worth paying for. Apparently IBM thinks so too.