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October 15, 2009

Developers work to preserve power to port

Several developers in the 3000 community are working to preserve a key tool for porting software to the computer's MPE/iX operating system. The magic wand is the GNU C++ compiler suite, bootstrap software needed to move open source utilities onto the 3000, or keep them updated for security and functionality.

Mark Klein of DIS International did the port of C++ back in the middle '90s, a crucial step to porting Java, Internet networking tools, Samba file sharing, perl, Web services and more onto the 3000. Klein hosted the suite on an account at Invent3k, the public access development 3000 HP closed down in November of last year. Invent went dark and the programs, accounts and tools went offline. For a short while, even Klein couldn't be sure he had the bootstrap software on a server in his own lab.

HP's 2009 policies on Invent3k and Jazz content aimed to share such resources with the community. But a 40-page HP End User License Agreement (EULA) inserted restrictions, terms and fees to control where such freeware and open source software can be hosted. The vendor did not simply pass along code and utilities written by third parties. New hosting outlets must arrange their own agreements to host the independent tools, now that HP has closed up these resources.

Much of it was built on the back of Klein's work, volunteer nights and weekends for the equivalent of a year of full-time coding. The new language opened the door for the HP 3000’s interoperability. He reported today, "I may just host the GNU stuff here in my lab, and at OpenMPE." A third outlet for open source is getting ready to open, too.

Brian Edminster is polishing up his open source repository for the community, a project born of his company Applied Technologies' use of open source in consulting, 3000 migration and management assignments.

In the meantime, OpenMPE promised in September to have its invent.openmpe.org server up by now, a mirror of the software HP hosted until late last year. Meanwhile, the HP re-hosting agreements for its Jazz shareware have erected a licensing requirement around what was once a genuine shareware resource. Some of the HP-modified utilities were built upon code that carried open source GNU licenses. The new EULA through the HP Jazz agreement might run roughshod over GNU shareware terms, said Edminster.

Klein doesn't approve of the new restrictions, either. "I'm not happy about the HP licensing decison," he said. In the meantime, one well-known porting expert in the 3000 community needed the CCC tool recently. Klein sent him the code he created and holds the rights to, e-mailed direct.

For now, that's the only outlet for CCC. Speedware and Client Systems opened re-hosted Jazz content servers this year, but the independent tools like Klein's aren't a part of those servers yet. OpenMPE remains the only organization committed to bringing Invent3k back online.

05:32 PM in Homesteading, Web Resources | Permalink

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