CLEO TN3270E 6.0 is a 3270 emulation utility designed to run under SCO UnixWare 7 as well as other operating systems. It operates over TCP/IP, connecting to 3270 hosts. Unlike some simple 3270 emulators, CLEO provides considerable flexibility in its configuration. To make file transfer between the UNIX host and the 3270, Interface Systems adds simple file transfer utilities as well.

Our copy of CLEO TN3270E was supplied on CD-ROM that installed easily onto our ALR dual-processor UnixWare 7 server. A license key must be acquired from Interface. When running, CLEO TN3270E provides almost a complete duplicate of the IBM IDS (Information Display System) terminal, lacking only features we dug up in the IBM manual that we never even knew existed much less ever used. Whatever you need in a 3270 emulator is here: EAB support for colors and highlights, LU type 1 and 3 support, SCCP-LU session access, support for keys like SYSREQ and ATTN, as well as display LU-attached printer access. Building on top of those terminal features Interface Systems provides the ability to use the HLLAPI (High-Level Application Programming Interface) system for programs, a keystroke recording and playback procedure, and the previous-mentioned file transfer and local copy capabilities. To test CLEO TN3270E we borrowed access to the local university’s IBM and tried running a host of 3270 applications over a T1 line running TCP/IP.

There is far more to the CLEO TN3270E emulator than can be covered in a short review, but most of it will be of interest only to those in need of this type of emulation tool. Suffice it to say, Interface Systems has done a superb job of providing 3270 emulation from UnixWare 7. Every one of our test applications ran perfectly, with true color retention (we compared the emulator to a borrowed 3270 terminal). Although the color palettes can be customized however the user wishes, the defaults behaved fine. Although some minor slow-down in throughput was experienced when the UnixWare host was heavily used, the effect was small and negligible for all but benchmarking purposes. The ability to automate the CLEO TN3270E logins will be handy for those who must access the IBM systems from their local networks, simplifying yet another common task. Since the emulation can be run in background, which allows HLLAPI programs to continue executing while you perform other tasks. Host printing is also enabled in background mode.

Recording keyboard sequences is a fast way to automate routine tasks. We found it handy to automate routine IBM-based database lookups, then cut-and-paste the resulting table into a UnixWare application. By recording a number of keystroke sequences we automated most of the routine tasks we perform for daily or weekly status reports. It should be possible to automate the entire procedure of starting up CLEO TN3270E, executing scripts, then terminating the session without any user interference, but we didn’t experiment to this extent.

For those who need a 3270 emulator, it’s hard to think of an alternative to CLEO TN3270E. It’s a complete package from both the pure emulation and the add-in points of view. While not inexpensive, the ability to run the 3270 emulator over a TCP/IP network hosted by UNIX is handy and saves extra wiring and hardware expenses. Interface Systems has offered CLEO TN3270E for many years now, and version 6.0 is a continual improvement in the already excellent product.