As many might have seen, Zend and IBM announced the support for PHP on i5/OS, or previously known as AS/400. Although this platform might be foreign to many in the PHP community, over the past few years I have discovered quite a few who have either worked with PHP on this platform by following IBM's Redbook instructions or have installed PHP on a UNIX/Linux server and then interoperated with the i5/OS.
As part of this project we will be providing all i5/OS users Zend Core for i5/OS for free. This will very much lower the barrier of entry to get up and running with PHP. We will also be providing ways for them to access their existing code-base by creating language bridges (such as an RPG bridge), native drivers for accessing DB2/400, and various other bridges to operating system services. I believe this initiative will have a huge impact on the i5/OS community, which has primarly been offered Java as a way to Web and Web Service enable their platform, but as most of us PHPers know, Java is just too damn hard and takes too much time... :)
There are many interesting parallels between the i5/OS developers community (mostly developing in RPG) and the PHP community. First of all it's also a very passionate community which deeply cares about their platform. Having been at their last user group conference it's clear that it translates into a very vocal and honest dialogue. Second, it is a community that also tends to have less formal computer science education, but learns what it needs in order "to get the job done". So I look especially forward to seeing the i5/OS and PHP communities mix on the basis of these and other similarities.
I've already talked to some of you in regards to the PHP & i5/OS work you've been doing. I'd love to hear from additional people who might want to use PHP on this platform.
The early access version (no language bridges yet) can be download from the Zend Web site.
You can catch me at andi@zend dot youknowhwat.