As of last night, I actually have a license from IBM to run V5R2 on an older AS/400 system I purchased through Craigslist. I prodded the giant, it woke up just a little tiny bit and managed to decide that giving a hobbyist a license for an obsolete version of the OS/400 platform wasn't going to kill anyone.
It's my hope that I'll be able to help prove that there are more people like me, and indeed, far more talented and curious than me, to show IBM that there's some value to be had for them in opening up access to at least older platforms to enthusiastic hobbyists. The AS/400 platform is an incredibly neat system, and it shows that IBM really does have a niche that nobody else can touch. I've never used AIX, but would love to check that out as well. I hope that some time in the future, I'm not a one-off case when it comes to hobbyists getting an actual license.
But your comment was well timed for me, because I wonder if IBM might be coming around as an institution and realizing that the mindshare gap they have is a problem that it's worth investing a little bit of time and effort in fixing.
Gah, I really wish this article had come up after I had been awake for a while at least. Time for coffee and letting the page refresh in case I can organize my thoughts just a little tiny bit more coherently.