Home Cd software Escape the police named Big Blue

Escape the police named Big Blue


June 8, 2022

Alex Woodie

The name “Merlin” conjures up an image of a magical place where wizards cast spells against evil spirits and fairies fly through the air. In other words, the exact opposite of the buttoned-up image of enterprise computing that IBM strives to convey. That’s what makes the story of how the newest member of the IBM i product line got its name so improbable.

Twenty-two months ago, the people of IBM Rochester had an idea for a new product that would help modernize development and operations processes on IBM i. In addition to the web-based IDE based on VS Code, it would bring integration with Git for source code management and Jenkins for continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD). It was chosen to run in a container on OpenShift, Red Hatis the Linux-based distribution of Kubernetes.

The product, of course, would be called Merlin, which made headlines at the POWERUp conference two weeks ago in New Orleans. The new face of modern development on IBM i generated a lot of interest at the conference, which IBM executives said was pleasantly surprising.

“The Enchanter Merlin” (Image credit: Howard Pyle).

During his POWERUp 2022 Merlin keynote on the afternoon of May 23, Steve Will, the longtime chief architect of IBM i who recently added IBM i CTO and engineering titles distinguished, explained what prompted the decision to call him Merlin. Turns out it wasn’t a straightforward process to get the name approved.

“We created this idea and said we wanted to come out with a catchy name,” Will told an audience of about 300 people. “We started talking about what it was, and because it makes things easier for people, we thought about the fact that things that make things easier in the computing world are often called assistants. So as soon as we got thought of that, I wanted to call him Merlin.

However, IBM doesn’t let product managers — or event CTOs or distinguished engineers for that matter — name products whatever they want to name them. There are certain standards that must be respected, protocols that must be followed. So Will approached the group at IBM responsible for maintaining these standards and protocols and pleaded his case.

“So we went to the name police,” Will continued. “At IBM, there are naming policies. You must go to the name police to have the name approved.

While Will wasn’t trying to push a ridiculous name past the censors – like WebSphere Automation for IBM Cloud Pak for Watson AIOPs or anything like that – he understood that there might be some push back from his idea. initial. To help convince the board, Will armed himself with evidence that they had recently approved a name the mainframe team wanted for their VS Code-based IDE for IBM Z, called Wazi, which, in the occurrence, was Merlin’s model.

It took some tweaking by the IBM Rochester team to get the Merlin name and Merlin logo approved by the “IBM Naming and Design Policy”.

“There had been a recent announcement from somewhere else at IBM where they had this cool name that meant nothing,” Will said. “It wasn’t an acronym for anything. Just two syllables, with az in it. Surely they’ll let us call him Merlin, won’t they?

Well, it turns out it wouldn’t be so easy. The nominating committee rejected Will’s opening offer. “Too fancy,” they said, according to Will. “So we can’t call ourselves Merlin. What are we going to do?”

Will went back to the drawing board and thought about how his team could create an official IBM name that the naming board would like and understand. The name would need multiple words, IBM-style, and maybe even spell out a catchy acronym, which IBM is known to do.

Will put on his thinking hat and thought about the situation, word by word. “First of all,” he said, “this product helps people modernize and it’s a lot of complex technology that helps you get ahead. So it’s a driver of modernization,” he said. ME. So far, so good.

“What does it do? Well, it helps people with their software lifecycle, and it’s all nice and integrated together, so lifecycle integration,” Will said. So we called IBM i Modernization Engine for Lifecycle Integration, and if you look at the right letters, you get Merlin.

IBM i Modernization Engine for Lifecycle Integration was a good name, according to the naming committee, and they gave Will their approval to use it. But there was a catch (there always is a catch): the name “IBM i Modernization Engine for Lifecycle Integration” should always be used, the council said. Only the acronym, Merlin, could not be used by itself.

Wizards were everywhere at the Spring 2017 COMMON Conference in Orlando, Florida.

“All of our screens happen to be talking about Merlin. They don’t talk about the modernization engine for lifecycle integration,” Will explained. “But the official name of the products is [that] because we wanted to call him Merlin. We told all the name police that no matter what we call him, they’re always going to call him Merlin. They said you still couldn’t call him Merlin. Alright, we’ll call it that then. This is how Merlin got his name.

Steve Sibley, vice president and head of global supply management for Cognitive Systems, has a different take on the matter.

“I still think we named him Merlin not because of the big acronym somebody came up with,” he said during his opening speech on the morning of May 23, “but so that Steve can reuse her Hogwarts COMMON robe.”

But wait, there’s more to the denomination’s history. In addition to a group within IBM that controls product names, there is another group that oversees the icons and logos associated with those products. Tim Rowe, the enterprise architect in charge of application development, said there were initially questions about using Merlin’s favorite icon – er, IBM i Modernization Engine for Lifecycle Integration.

“There is the name police. Well, there’s also IBM’s design font,” Rowe said during his deep tech dive into Merlin on May 23. “These are real people. And all of our images, all of our icons, all had to be approved by IBM Design.

Rowe submitted six or seven different design ideas for an icon, and to his delight, they approved his favorite design, which featured what appears to be a magic wand (the mythical Merlin wielded an oak wand).

Rowe was flabbergasted. “The police who named Merlin wouldn’t let us get away with Merlin, but I was blown away they let me get away with it,” he said. “Who are you and what have you done with the IBM design police?”


Why Steve Will’s promotions are a big deal for IBM i

More IBM i Merlin details appear at POWERUp