March 16, 2006
Making a case for change, sooner or later
For many years Wirt Atmar, the founder of software supplier AICS Research, worked as a persistent advocate for the HP 3000's future. In 1996 Atmar organized The World's Largest Poster Project, a demonstration of what HP 3000s could do as well or better than any other computer. Atmar used an HP 3000 and an HP color printer to produce a poster that covered an entire football field in Southern California, bragging that MPE Users Kick Butt.
Atmar remains a resource for his HP 3000 customers; his company wrote a free terminal emulator, QCTerm, which can be had for just the bandwidth of a download. But this veteran of more than four decades in the computer business faces the future better than many of the 3000's more ardent fans. He weighed in recently on a recommended set of actions for the 3000 owner as well as for its administrators. While the 3000's value was extraordinary for many years, Atmar believes the magic has gone. He doesn't believe in migration of applications, however. That's not to say that 3000 owners and managers should stay put.
I strongly argued for the continuation of the HP 3000 for as long as I could simply because it worked so well for our customers, but once HP killed the HP 3000, I immediately changed my recommendations. What I now tell our customers is that if you’re the business owner/manager, you will want to stay on the HP 3000 as long as you can, until you find something similar enough that you can purchase and move your business operations onto with some ease.
But don’t try to migrate your old application off onto something else. That’s a death trap, and it’s not worth it.
Atmar notes that developing new skills is essential for the 3000 professional. "But what also I tell our customers is that if you’re the data processing manager, you will want to get off of the HP 3000 as quickly as you can and develop your skills on something else. Computers are computers, and there’s nothing exceptionally magical about any of them."
He adds that calling migration of applications off the 3000 "a death trap" deserves about 10 paragraphs of explanation. He's willing to get specific about why, and offer up those paragraphs, if only one of our readers will ask.
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