Come on Hursley the beer is warm and hoppy

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Come on Hursley the beer is warm and hoppy

Blogging can be like having a really good conversation in the pub.

Professor Howard Trevor Jacobs, professor of genetics at Tampere University, doesn't believe in the ivory tower -

"We are at our most productive when we share our thinking. One night of crazy brain-storming over a few beers is more likely to produce more exciting results than 20 years' solitary study in the lab."
Its time for Hursley folk to get down the pub and start swapping stories and ideas. A pint of Wadworths, perhaps?

Hursley is IBM's most important software development lab. It has an august history.

  • You know that storage thing, it kind of moved computing forward, called a Winchester drive? Invented in Hursley, which is of course just down the road from Winchester.
  • CICS and IMS - Hursley central.
  • MQ Series (yes I know IBM marketers like to call it WebSphere MQ but let's call a world beating integration technology a world beating technology, 10k customers can't be wrong).

Hursley was the original campus - long before Xerox PARC - IBM had engineers swanning around a country estate in a collegiate atmosphere solving the toughest computing problems. And lord knows Hursley today is a more attractive place to work than Redmond.

But where are the Hursley voices? They do the technical heavy-lifting, but leave the marketing to the marketers. I reckon its time for a change, and the mainframe blog is a good place to start.

We know Martin Packer is onboard. But why keep your Firefox coding tips behind the IBM firewall? Mainframe performance expert programs Firefox and Greasemonkey is surely a more interesting story than vanilla mainframe expert.... slough of your silos you have nothing to lose but your EBCIDC.

Its about reaching out to new communities. Folks that would gag if they read this:

I've not really gotten into EWLM and ARM - yet. But I think this APAR will be of interest to those who have. And I expect I will get interested in it when it's more fully established...

PK11801 DDF FULLY-ENABLED EWLM ARM SUPPORT describes how the DDF support for EWLM / ARM is being made available to the general population of DB2 Version 8 sites

Did I remember to say it was Hursley that first got Java religion, and drove it into the rest of IBM, helped on by a young turk called Simon Phipps, now chief open source officer at Sun Microsystems.

What's my point? Hursley has lots of bright young things that understand new development approaches and mainframe discipline. Maybe they are too busy working to blog...

But even if you can't blog you can comment on blogs, which can be just as useful. Any comments warmly received (just like the beer).

Mine? I will have a pint of Wadworths. Cheers.

by James Governor November 29, 2005


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» On Hursley, Campus living and warm beer from James Governor's MonkChips
Just a pointer to my latest entry on the mainframe blog. This post is fairly IBM-centric. I want to know: "where are all the Hursley bloggers?", which I guess follows up my previous "where are all the mainframe bloggers?" post.... [Read More]

Tracked on Nov 29, 2005 11:04:40 AM


Governor –

Once again, you’ve issued a fine challenge which will transform our digital pub conversation! Recruiting operations at Hursley will commence presently.

Not sure what the company policy dictates regarding “celebrating” blog innovations with a Wadworth’s pint, but next time I’m across the pond, maybe we can find a loophole.

Posted by: Tim Washer | Nov 29, 2005 11:20:22 AM

IMS at Hursley ? I don't fink so.

Posted by: kbm | Nov 29, 2005 12:49:26 PM

Of course, the irony of all this is that Hursley has a very fine pub in its own grounds in the form of the IBM Staff Club Clubhouse. Many a time I sat there having a good chat over a fine pint while still at work ;-)

Sad to say, I believe from local conversations that the glory has moved on and that the place is increasingly becoming just another regional office :-( Still a fine place to work though.

Posted by: Simon Phipps | Nov 29, 2005 8:19:57 PM

Hursley is most notable in my book as the former residence of Mike Cowlishaw, and the invention of REXX.

Posted by: John Lynn | Nov 29, 2005 10:01:38 PM

I echo the comments on the Hursley lab! I think we need to add Websphere Message Broker (our Advanced ESB product)to your list of great technology coming out the lab. However, you need to delete IMS - the folks in Santa Teresa California (home of the Silicon Valley Lab) would take offense - that is where IMS is owned and operated.

Posted by: Tom Rosamilia | Nov 30, 2005 3:56:25 PM

I would love to see not only Hursley, but Santa Teresa folks as well - there's IMS, DB2, DFSMS, all sorts of fun stuff.

And we can't forget Poughkeepsie (z/OS, z/VM, z/TPF?).

There are some already here from Böblingen, but z/VSE doesn't get much mention, alas.

Posted by: Ray Mullins | Nov 30, 2005 6:30:21 PM

Firefox coding tips? Well, you'd see how inexpert I really was. :-) Seriously, I'd be happy to share what I've learned if people wanted to hear it.
You'll, of course, note that Firefox 1.5 has hit the streets. My only really internally USEFUL extension was written from the beginning to support it - as it is a lot easier than supporting 1.0.x. I just hope some of the more laggard extensions in the wild :-)catch up.
As for Hursley - I have a couple of people in mind - as Tim asked me to think about it - but I'll have to talk to them nicely. Some of them might need selling on what a blog is. :-)

Posted by: Martin Packer | Dec 1, 2005 6:21:59 AM

this pub is quite good, isn't it? quite a lively buzz. I am actually glad its non-smoking too. you can taste the beer better.

apologies to Santa Teresa. I stand corrected. As I understood it performance improvements in websphere 5, driven by a refactoring based on some IMS principles - was at least partly a Hursley initiative. My memory may be playing tricks on me though. anyone from santa teresa care to dive in and tell the real story?

Intriguingly it seems like that is not the only fact under question in my post. It seems that the Winchester drive may be named after the rifle,which again, is not what i heard. comments on ben poole's blog
point to this piece

ah - the facts may need tightening, but that's why dialogue is so powerful. and when you're down the pub you need to tell a good story. I hope this thread continues.

Hello as well John Lynne. I bet not many industry analysts have blogged on REXX lately. I have...

Posted by: James Governor | Dec 1, 2005 9:35:07 AM

Hursley House is certainly the most beautiful and historic IBM site I've had the privilege of visiting. Not many IBM facilities used to be castles... :-)

Posted by: Bill Seubert | Dec 1, 2005 5:24:53 PM

come on chaps i am on a mission to make this the longest thread on mainframe blog.

martin - if you want me to talk to them i would be happy to.

also i wonder whether we shouldnt put some links on sidebars - how to get into blogging...

Posted by: james governor | Dec 2, 2005 9:42:54 AM

Let’s come to a quick consensus on the best link to put on our sidebar to help those who are new to the blogosphere jump in on the pub conversation. Here are a couple …. Any other suggestions?

Posted by: Tim Washer | Dec 2, 2005 11:58:17 AM

it might seem a bit self-referential but i have to recommend this piece:

how to get into blogs 101 (includes the why not just the how)

we also have a how to get into writing blogs piece here:

Posted by: james governor | Dec 5, 2005 5:45:45 AM

hey tim and boas- how about this for an irony. check out the design on the kill mainframe blog - its quite nice and would actually make a great picture for this one...

Posted by: james governor | Dec 5, 2005 12:51:56 PM

Would somebody like to form the Windows Conversion Association, promoting the cross-platform adoption (including zSeries/z9) of Linux, helping businesses and governments reduce costs and improve service? Anyone interested? I might have a useful domain name.

You see, sometimes the best defense is a good offense. Another example: today's news on the OASIS OpenDocument front. Way to go, IBM! Very good summary here:

Note that OpenOffice and (thus) OpenDocument are already available for Linux on zSeries/z9. Can z/OS UNIX System Services be far behind? For content management, document processing, and other related purposes, it's nice to know that every mainframe is already "Ready for OpenDocument."

Posted by: Timothy Sipples | Dec 5, 2005 7:36:48 PM

Ahem John Lynn... not that this is the place for a history lesson but my my fading memory is correct IMS was indeed invented in Hursley in the early sixties. There was a technology swap before the product release and Hursley acquired something called CICS in exchange for IMS.

James point was not to list an IBM Development lab and leave out the others, but to point out the unique campus nature of of the original Hursley site. Many other IBM M/F development sites, some now long gone, also had IBM clubs, some even bars, as much as I like the Boeblingen club, Hursley is better. Alas Poughkeepsie sold off its club and as far as I'm aware visiting International employees are not allowed to enter the Casperkill country club, are IBM POK Employees?

Posted by: Mark Cathcart | Dec 14, 2005 5:51:44 PM

Mark, much as I hate to disagree with you, it was PL/I that went to Santa Teresa (now Silicon Valley Lab), when CICS came to Hursley. I don't think Hursley ever had much to do with IMS.

Posted by: Tom Grieve | Dec 14, 2005 7:30:28 PM

I met with James on Tuesday and we spent a long time discussing the role of Blogs in communicating with the marketplace. So I felt I had to make my first ever contibution to this blog. Hopefully it will be the first of many.

I enjoy a good pint of warm brown stuff - something non-UK people cannot understand with their cold pale imitations :-)

Of course those with local knowledge would know that Gales, Cheriton, Ringwood and Hampshire (Romsey) are more local to Hursley than Wadworths (even though I like 6X as well).

I was shocked to hear the news about Gales take over by Fullers - checkout

Merry Christmas.

Posted by: Peter Norris | Dec 15, 2005 8:02:44 AM

James - you commented about the old MF picture on

Last year - for the 40th birthday - I have collected a large number of S/360 and S/370 pictures that I had found on the web. Contact me if anyone wants to use them.

Posted by: Peter Norris | Dec 15, 2005 8:17:45 AM

As a member of the CICS team in Hursley, I can report that the IBM pub here is still alive and well. Along side the regular ales there is a new guest ale every couple of weeks. Merlin's Magic is on right now... As for the Lab, our Hursley zSeries teams are doing great and busily working on the next releases of our CICS and MQ products! We will try to get more folks blogging in the near future..... Cheers!

Posted by: Dibbe Edwards | Dec 16, 2005 11:11:37 AM

As a member of the CICS team in Hursley, I can report that the IBM pub here is still alive and well. Along side the regular ales there is a new guest ale every couple of weeks. Merlin's Magic is on right now... As for the Lab, our Hursley zSeries teams are doing great and busily working on the next releases of our CICS and MQ products! We will try to get more folks blogging in the near future..... Cheers!

Posted by: Dibbe Edwards | Dec 16, 2005 11:13:50 AM

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