back to article IBM loses mainframe docs down the back of the web, customers cry 'sabotage'

Earlier this month, IBM's attempt to redesign its website broke links to product documentation – and all hell broke loose. On the IBM-MAIN mailing list, z/OS mainframe customers decried the changes as sabotage. People looking for IBM tools have been unable to find them. One aggrieved individual urged SHARE, an independent …

  1. ecofeco Silver badge

    What exactly is IBM useful for these days?

    See title.

    1. cosymart

      Re: What exactly is IBM useful for these days?

      You are assuming that it was useful for something in the past!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What exactly is IBM useful for these days?

      It used to be a good place to go to online for Unix tutorial docs...

    3. jake Silver badge

      Re: What exactly is IBM useful for these days?

      Computation that requires massive I/O.

    4. jMcPhee

      Re: What exactly is IBM useful for these days?

      Stock price. It's their flagship product.

    5. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: What exactly is IBM useful for these days?

      5 thumbs down? Had no idea that many IBM tools browsed here.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I bet Eells gets a talking to for opening his mouth in public without authorization.

  3. QuiteEvilGraham

    IBM's "Knowledge Center" is shite, however the HTML pages from back in the day still seem to be available. They follow the bookmanager idiom and are much preferable to the java based crap they seem to think does a better job.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Daggerchild Silver badge

    Industry Standard

    HP and Oracle's docs/support sites are designed expressly to make you want to pay someone else to navigate them instead.

    I miss

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Industry Standard

      Last few times i used HPs website it needed Adobe pdf. Because of repeated accessibility issues we are now buying another brand.

    2. redneck

      Re: Industry Standard

      I miss HP has changed its documentation strategy so much, and its domain as well, that I rarely create hyperlinks to their documentation or white papers anymore.

  6. Grouchy Bloke

    It's like Whack A Mole

    IBM documentation links are always changing, I've lost track over the years of just how many times, I've needed to re-search for the documents that I had saved a nice handy link to.

  7. Barry Rueger Silver badge

    Yet Again, The Almighty Cloud.

    I truly fear the amount of human knowledge that now only exists on-line. And I can think of many, many resources that have already disappeared entirely due to mergers, bankruptcy, or general stupidity.

    Already I find myself downloading or backing up things on-line just in case they suddenly disappear, or because I fear that some new and improved version will replace what I've come to rely on.

    If information is important enough, you really should work from the assumption that it up to you to safeguard it rather than trusting unknown persons at IBM or Microsoft.

    1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      Re: Yet Again, The Almighty Cloud.

      I feel the same way. I've always made it a point to scrape all the documentation bits from any site I found useful just in case it suddenly goes away. I'll WGET a copy of the server, Zip it together for ease of archiving to another drive, & then leave the WGET files in a subdirectory with an appropriate name. That way if the network ever fails, the site goes away, or anything else happens to said docs then at least *I* have a local copy upon which to fall.

      This practice proved its worth when my employer had me writing up a web site that would allow our in the field techs to dial in, look up any of the 2TiB of docs we retained, download them, & have the specs at hand for repairing the device in front of them. Our document server went TITSUP & my boss had a cow thinking that the broken RAID cards that took it down also wiped the data. Right up until I handed him a portable 4TiB drive with a copy of said server's data on it. It was a damn good thing I'd done it too, the RAID card *had* rendered it all FUBAR & the admin in charge of doing the backups had screwed the pooch. My drive was used to restore all the server's doc files & I got a nice fat envelop in gratitude.

      If I ever find the site which I archived is no longer available, I contact the site admin to ask if they need their data back. I explain what I've done & why, then make it available to them to restore from if they need/want to. I've lost track of the number of times I get a phone call from some panicked admin that wants to buy me a pint in gratitude. Some call me a pirate for scraping their site, right up until I make it clear I don't offer the data up to anyone *except* the site admin in case of emergency. I know there's the Internet Archive that does a better job, but I'm not the IA & never intend to be.

      I'm just a private citizen whom learned the hard way at an early age to Always. Make. Backups. Of. Critical. Data.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yet Again, The Almighty Cloud.

      I've worked for IBM so I can imagine the confusion with any change BUT wouldn't it have been logical to feed all the documents into the content management store for Watson and use it to provide a natural language portal to answer support questions as they arise?

  8. Lusty Silver badge

    Test systems better

    Perhaps they should refund TSB for the "do more testing" conclusion. Apparently knowing that you should test is not the entire answer ;)

    1. tin 2

      Re: Test systems better

      they're also clearly following the lead of TSB by not backing out when they evidently should (a lot more critically in TSB's case, I suppose)

  9. Maelstorm Bronze badge

    And once again...

    ...we are met face to face with the main issue of software development here in the USA. Companies are so keen to get their product out the door as quickly as possible, testing is either minimal or non-existent. This is why commercial software (even open source in many cases) here in the USA is always in Beta. We write the software. You buy it to have the privilege of testing it for us. If you find a problem, we'll fix it in the next version which you have to also buy.

    And it's not just's everything tech. Even websites, as this case has shown.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >> If you find a problem...

      ...we may fix it. We may even say "thanks". Or if we're really embarrassed we might accuse you of hacking, since only bad people could have broken our fine software.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And once again...

      Its IBM's latest mantra "AGILE", sounds good, doesn't work in practice.

      Even Elon Musk can't make it work, so he's blaming sabotage by employees for his continual failure to meet "agile" deadlines.

  10. JustJeff

    Maybe it shouldn't keep laying off people.

    See what happens when you thin out your staff too much??

    1. GrapeBunch Bronze badge

      Re: Maybe it shouldn't keep laying off people.

      Blame Univhackers. The haitch is silent. So is the quay.

  11. Jakester

    Relevant is relative...

    "... to trim outdated, unused and duplicate pages from the hundred millions URLs it manages and to generally make relevant documentation more easily discoverable."

    I appreciate that IBM's goal is to remove documentation someone at IBM deems irrelevant. What may be determined by some schmuck at IBM could be a critical piece of information needed by an admin in the trenches trying to fix a problem. It reminds me of a wireless keyboard that didn't have a <ScrollLock> key, because some "engineer" at Logitech (I think was the brand of the keyboard) didn't think they needed to have such a key on their keyboard because "it wasn't used very often". Unfortunately, where I wanted to use it required a <ScrollLock> key to change computers on the KVM switch.

  12. teebie

    "Some of the lost pages have ended up on another IBM domain and some have landed on Microsoft's GitHub."

    That sounds amazing, if I lost something and it turned up on a competitors dropbox my face would be red. because my boss would have hit me in it.

  13. earl grey Silver badge

    too stupid for words

    as someone famously said: You Dumbass!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mainframe docs, like older workers are redundant at IBM. Some millennial made an executive decision to get rid of them so he could complete his bespoke, modern and engaging "agile" web design quicker, and get to go home early.

  15. Pandora LB

    IBM's Knowledge Centre - oxymoron? Each iteration worse than the previous pile of wombat's doos

    Looks like they've fixed it until it is completely broken

  16. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Not just mainframe docs

    Broken links for IBM documents - been going on for years

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019