June 27, 2018
Tiki hut tales run toward success, survival
On the night before this summer's HP 3000 reunion, a handful of grey experts shared stories over a bar in Orly Larson's tiki hut. The Hewlett-Packard veteran and IMAGE expert built the hut in his backyard just beyond the ping pong table and overlooking a swell swimming pool. The hut showed off a different era, just like the IT experience at the bar.
There was a comforting feel at that bar. Every story seemed to prompt another, all interwoven with details about the life achieved after intense 3000 and IT work. Only a few of us still encountered 3000s in our everyday life. It was a thrill to be able to tell some of those stories again.
This time through, the storytelling had the benefit of more context. The things that seemed crucial at the time, like a flaw in the system's microcode, turned out to have little impact on the fate of the HP hardware. Important at the time, but nothing to chase off a customer. In the final tally, the number of the customers turned out to be a significant factor in the 3000's fate.
People in the tiki hut had opinions about HP's demise as an MPE/iX solution supplier. One theme was to compare to other servers of the same age. Only IBM's Series i, formerly the AS/400, has had a continuous path from the 1980s onward supported by its creator. All others are gone to moved to third party care. Even VMS has a third party lab, carrying it into the future. Its great numbers were able to shoulder the 3000 out of HP's picture, but even the Digital platform because a dish outside of the vendor's tastes
The meeting went long into the night. That was a little surprise considering nobody at the bar was under 60. Many of us were going to regroup the next day. We still lingered, something like the MPE/iX customers who know they're someplace special.
Surviving the future takes many routes. One long-time consultant, Linda Roatch, moved into the Bay Area from her life in Minnesota serving the Minneapolis Pioneer Press. She's at the Mercury News in San Jose now. It's another newspaper — an industry allegedly on the run as much as on-premise servers like the 3000. But there she was, standing outside the tiki hut and looking forward at Linux, and back with warm regard at the colleagues and the stories shared at the bar.
June 25, 2018
Meet shows veterans never too old to learn
The number of people in the pub was not noteworthy. The weekend's HP 3000 Reunion added up to something more than a body count, though, a remarkable and lively turnout for a computer whose vendor declared it dead more than seven years ago.
The veterans of MPE and the 3000 showed a spark of curiosity during the afternoon-to-evening gathering at the Duke of Edinburgh pub and Apple Park in Cupertino. In the late afternoon they held iPads to see a virtual reality view at Apple's Visitor Center, peering at the insides of the Apple HQ building. Earlier, a support talk about the care and feeding of the 3000 sites with aging hardware prompted questions and opinions about homesteading. That strategy was the only one that remained for the men and women crowding a cozy pub room flocked with red and gold paper.
The gold matched the sponsorship banner from CAMUS International. The group sent $200 to cover bar and lunch expenses, showing that manufacturing interest still surrounds companies using a 3000. Terri Lanza, who arranged the banner and the contribution, wished she could attend. Like dozens more, she has to rely on her colleagues who made the trip.
They came from as far away as England and Toronto, and some from five minutes' drive away. Orly Larson tooled over from his house on a quiet Cupertino street. Dave Wiseman came from England and Gilles Schipper crossed the continent from Toronto.
Tom McNeal, one of the engineers who helped create the memory manager in MPE/XL, attended to represent the Hewlett-Packard 3000 lab. He left HP after Y2K to join a Linux startup. While that was fun, he said, the energy didn't outlast the funding. He came to reconnect and even to see a lineup of hardware for MPE XL that prompted him to observe where multiprocessing came into the product line.
Vicky Shoemaker, Dave Wiseman, Gilles Schipper, Stan Sieler and Harry Sterling giggle at a video of George Stachnik's 12 Days of Christmas parody. The video from an HP party hailed from the late 1980s, when the struggles of building an MPE for PA-RISC were finally overcome.
People learned at the meeting, more about one another and their 3000 afterlife than something to use in 2018. McNeal was joined by ex-HP stalwarts Harry Sterling, the final GM of the division, and Larson. They made up almost 20 percent of attendees. There was hearty laughter coming from them and the rest of the crowd while everyone watched a video from another 3000 notable. George Stachnik was singing a 12 Days of Christmas parody on a recording from the middle 1980s, when Sterling was running the 3000 labs.
When Stachnik's parody came to the five golden rings line, he'd changed it to Rich Sevcik giving him "every engineer." Sterling chuckled. "It was just about that many," he said.The room was rich with a sense of that kind of sweet survival across the day. Many of those in the room and later at the tour of the Apple Park headquarters -- the site of the former 3000 division's offices -- counted the server as just a memory. There was some everyday experience still in the room, though, more than 40 years after HP introduced the 3000. Vicky Shoemaker of Taurus Software still counts 3000 customers among her base at the company she founded with Dave Elward. Ralph Bagen still sees 3000s for support, as do Stan Sieler and Steve Cooper.
The same goes for Gilles Schipper, counting on a California 3000 site to help him leverage the trip from Canada. With the exception of an editor from a blog who was on hand, all others were remembering past efforts and survivals, and celebrating their thriving on the current day. "How many grandkids now?" or "What college did you send them to?" and "How long have you been retired?" were common questions.
The Hewlett-Packard that was represented was the benevolent HP Way company. Sterling has built a thriving real estate practice in Palm Springs. McNeal hailed from the 3000 labs that built MPE to exploit the then-new PA-RISC. Larson taught IMAGE and spread the word at customer events and site visits, sending the message that the 3000's database was better than most. An intimate pre-party at his house in Cupertino included stories traded back in his tiki hut bar.
The dinner table at the pub had two of the three most famous beards from the 3000 community, too. Larson's and Bob Karlin's were wrapped around smiles over the likes of scotch eggs, Cornish pasty and Newcastle Ale. Bruce Hobbs, the other bearded veteran, wanted to come. Dozens more wanted to come, some so urgently their RSVP'ed name tags were already printed up but unclaimed. Deep into the night the talk turned to religion and politics, because everyone knew one another well enough to remain friends through those subjects.
Wiseman counted on that friendship as he brought together people who hadn't seen each other in decades but fell into conversations as if it were only yesterday when they last spoke. It takes a social computer system to open hearts to a reunion after more than 40 years. Nearly everyone at the Duke could count that much experience with the 3000.
"When you're back in town, drop by," Shoemaker and Cooper said to me as they left. They were not counting the numbers in the room. They were counting on our return in the years to come. After the afternoon ended, that hope for a return seemed to add up.
June 22, 2018
We're raising a glass in your honor
In a few hours I'll be back home. Well, one of my homes. There's the one in Texas. The one I visited this month in Toledo where I grew up, and the one in my heart for my bride and my boy and my grandkids. Later today I'll be home in Silicon Valley, along Wolfe Road next to the place where the HP 3000 was born.
Before I unload my Livestrong Foundation backpack (no checked luggage this time) I'm going to Orly Larson's house in Cupertino. The man who taught developers and software engineers about IMAGE, and then fronted his own small roadshow to spark Hewlett-Packard's customers with songs and talks, is partying with some of us. He's putting out a spread and some smiles like anybody in their 70s would, doing it because he remembers when we were all young.
You probably remember too. It was an era from the Seventies when a lot of you started working with a computer designed to let people work together. It's not gone, although the people who know it well aren't working together with it much by now. But we remember, our community does, and this weekend I believe many of you want to be remembered.
We're raising a glass at a pub across from the old Hewlett-Packard campus. We're raising it to the people who wanted to be here but couldn't make it. Raising it for those who are only an afternoon's drive away, people who live in Silicon Valley but are absent. It'll be a Saturday, though, and the weekends can be full of family, or that perfect summer afternoon for golf or skiing, or just that World Cup thingy.
There will be a lot of looking back tomorrow and lot of looking away, too. The looking back is easiest. We'll amble back down a path of stories and career stops, seeing people for the first time in years. We'll tell stories about giveaways on show floors and inflated alligators and the thick rows of blue binders of 3000 manuals. We'll look away at what's become of the heartbeat of innovation by now, because remembering what faded away reminds us we're aging and change is everywhere.
One thing hasn't changed, though. We still like to meet in person, even after a long separation. That was the raw glory of the Interex conferences, shaking hands for the first time in a year, each year. The 3000 customer base has always been a social one. I saw the distinction once I started editing other magazines early in the Nineties. Meeting in person, enjoying groups of users, didn't feel as commonplace. Unless you're talking about Digital VAX users, or the IBM AS/400 folks. For a generation of computer people, being together makes it all more real.
We're men and women of a certain age. It's something we can see with our own eyes when we meet this weekend. The winkles are laugh lines. We're all smiling for you, because like us, you've survived the changes and enjoy looking forward to life—whether it's got an MPE computer in it or not. If you're not here, just know that you're in our hearts. I'll lift a glass in your honor once I get home.
June 20, 2018
Reunion now includes Orly party. And you?
Just an afternoon, to trade stories on the 3000
On June 23, the 3000's users, friends and family are gathering for the latest 3000 Reunion. It may be the last, but then legendary rock bands tell us each tour is their last. The event will include legends — and we’re all rocking on like so many musicians who are in their 60s and beyond.
Here's the essentials
- A reunion of 3000 family members
- The Duke of Edinburgh pub, 10801 N. Wolfe Road Cupertino
- 1-4 PM June 23
There's even a pre-meeting before the official pub afternoon. Orly Larson checked in to say that "You may want to remind the 3000 Faithful about the Pre-meeting SIG Bar tomorrow at my place in Cupertino after 3 Friday, and the Sunday afternoon after 2pm also at my place." To get the location of the Orly party, email him.
Starting at 1 on Saturday in Cupertino, community members will gather in a cozy snug at the Duke of Edinburgh pub for lunch, beverages, and war stories. People who know and remember the 3000 will meet in a pub so familiar to the MPE crowd that the joint is still known as Building D by some. It's just to the west of where the 3000 grew up. Space has been reserved for a group that's making its way beyond 20 attendees. If you join us, I will be delighted to see you and hear your stories there, as well as any update on your interests and work of today.
There’s no charge for the meeting, thanks to sponsorship of the bar from CAMUS and other happy contributors. A special tour of the Apple Visitor Centre — located on the land that was once the home to the 3000 — is scheduled for 4:30.
Let us know you're coming by by visiting the webpage to check in. Consider it a warm restart of legends. Come to listen to stories and share yours. I'll be glad to hear yours.
June 18, 2018
Still seeking expertise for 3000 work
Fresche Solutions (formerly Speedware) is looking for HP resources (related to MPE, HP-UX, 4GLs, COBOL, IMAGE, Eloquence, knowledge of the common third party utilities, etc.) for various engagements and start dates (some almost immediate). Mandates may include onsite, remote, short to long term. I can't be more specific than this, so please reach out to me directly and I'll work to facilitate next steps.
Some long-term HP 3000 shops have used the services at Fresche. One of them, Virginia International Terminals, has worked with the company long enough to know it as both Speedware and as Fresche. Late in 2016 the organization was doing its final push away from the 3000. The Windows version of Speedware was the target, with the organization moving off of five MPE apps.
The VIT project was moving ahead of schedule when we last checked in with Mintz. We chronicled the pace on that migration during the earliest phase of the Transition Era, once more as the work ramped up, and again not long ago. MPE was fully dug-in at the organization, which is now part of the Port of Virginia. That's one reason why 3000 expertise was essential to a successful migration.
VIT was fully locked in over all of the last 15 years of its migration. Even still, when HP dropped Carly Fiorina in 2005, it made the IT manager at the time wonder about a twist in the 3000's fate at the time.“The ‘change’ did make me wonder if the HP 3000 decision might be revisited,” said Dave Seale, IT Director at VIT, HP’s earliest case study on migration practices. VIT was ready to turn over its migration project to Speedware in March or 2005 after its business growth had slowed VIT’s projected timetable to leave the platform. “It would be very interesting to me if HP decides to reconsider their decision,” Seale said. “Logically, I never could understand it.”
June 15, 2018
Heartbeat at the center of CPU boost
By Gilles Schipper
The activity light on the 3000's LDEV 1 was abnormally high, and we noticed very sluggish response time, even though only the console was signed on and no batch jobs were executing. Having no idea what the problem was — and absent any tools such as Glance to shine a light on the situation — we began to revert to the previous configuration, software and hardware.
Only a week later, with some analysis of NM log files, were we able to establish what was going on. The performance problem was related to the 3000's transceivers. SQL heartbeat was disabled for all of them. The result was that the CPU was being inundated with an overwhelming amount of IO requests in order to log the missing heartbeat event in the NM log file.
This unnecessary and voluminous IO was enough to bring the system to its knees — even absent any other activity. In today's HP 3000 environment, this serious CPU wastage problem can be overlooked, because faster CPUs could render the problem relatively less noticeable. But I would venture to guess that there is a lot of the "wasted IO" that is affecting a large number of HP 3000s out there.
Fortunately, there is a very simple way to recognize whether the problem exists, and also a simple cure. To determine if you have this problem, simply type the following command and look at the reply that follows:
:listf [email protected],2
ACCOUNT= SYS GROUP= PUB FILENAME CODE ------------LOGICAL RECORD------- ----SPACE---- SIZE TYP EOF LIMIT R/B SECTORS #X MX H000000A* 1W FB 5 66010 1 256 1 * H000000B* 1W FB 0 66010 1 0 0 * H0909A5A* 1W FB 5 66010 1 256 1 * H0909A5B* 1W FB 0 66010 1 0 0 * H13ECEEA* 1W FB 5 66010 1 256 1 * H13ECEEB* 1W FB 0 66010 1 0 0 * H15F669A 1W FB 5 66010 1 256 1 * H15F669B 1W FB 0 66010 1 0 0 * HASTAT NMPRG 128W FB 347 347 1 352 1 8 HAUTIL NMPRG 128W FB 424 424 1 432 1 8 HP32209B PROG 128W FB 15 15 1 16 1 1
Notice the OPEN files (the ones with the associated asterisk suffixing the file name) that are 1W in size. There are two such files associated with each configured DTC, file name starting with the letter H, followed by six characters that represent the last six characters of the DTC MAC address, followed by the letter A or B. The EOF for these files should be 0 and 5 for the respective "A" and "B" files.
Otherwise your CPU is being subjected to high-volume unnecessary IO, requiring CPU attention. The solution is to simply enable SQL heartbeat for each transceiver attached to each DTC. This is done via a small white jumper switch that you should see at the side of each transceiver.
Voila, you've just achieved a significant no-cost CPU upgrade.
There is also another method of eliminating this excessive CPU overhead that involves using NMMGR to uncheck as many logging events as you can for each DTC, revalidating and rebooting.
But the SQL-heartbeat enable method is a surer bet.
June 13, 2018
New DL325 serves fresh emulation muscle
Hewlett-Packard Enterprise has reintroduced its ProLiant workhorse, talking up the server in connection with next week's HP Discover conference in Las Vegas. The DL325, when it ships in July, will be a newer and more powerful model of the DL380 server — one suitable for powering a virtualized HP 3000 driven by the Stromasys Charon HPA system. The DL325 is a single socket system, a design that's disrupting the server marketplace.
HP has posted one of its whiteboard walk-throughs on YouTube to cover some of the DL325 advantages. There's also a performance comparison for the system, ranked against a Lenovo alternative as well as an energy efficiency measure against a server from Dell. 3000s never got such industry benchmarks for performance.
But HP 3000s once got this kind of spec treatment from Hewlett-Packard. The 3000 division's product manager Dave Snow gave such product talks, holding a microphone with a long cord that he would coil and uncoil as he spoke. With his pleasant Texas drawl, Snow sounded like he was corralling the future of the hardware. He spoke in that era when "feeds and speeds" sometimes could lure an audience "into the weeds." Breakdowns like the one below once lauded the new PCI-based 3000 hardware.
The ProLiant line has long had the capability to put Linux into the datacenter. Linux is the cradle that holds the Charon software to put MPE/iX into hardware like the 325. The DL325 (click above for a larger view) is a single-processor model in the company's Gen10 line, adding horsepower for an application that's always hungry for more CPU: virtualization. The DL325 gets its zip from the EPYC chip, AMD's processor built to the x86 standards. EPYC designs mean the chip only needs to run at 2.3 GHz, because the system's got 32 cores per processor.
"This server should deliver great price performance for virtualized infrastructure while driving down costs," wrote analyst Matt Kimball in Forbes.Even way back in 2014, the DL380 ProLiant server was driving virtualized 3000 systems, fired by a 3.44 GHz chip. That was plenty fast enough to handle the combo of Linux, VMWare and the Stromasys Charon 3000 emulator. The DL385 was 17 inches x 29 by 3.5, just 2U in size. HPE's shrunk the power down to a 1U chassis for the DL325.
During the era when the DL380 was first being matched to virtualization work, Stromasys tech experts said that CPUs of more than 3 GHz were the best fit for VMWare and Charon. Putting MPE/iX onto such a compact AMD EPYC-based machine is a long way from the earliest year of the OS. In 1974, MPE would only fit on a 12,000 BTU server, the HP3000 System CX
The newest Generation 10 box retails for one-tenth of the cost of that CX server. The plodding CX was all that ASK Computer Systems had to work with 44 years ago when it built MANMAN. HP needed to assist ASK just to bring MPE into reliable service on the CX. "It didn’t work worth shit, it’s true," said Marty Browne of ASK at a software symposium in 2008. "But we got free HP computer time."
In the current IT architecture, the feeds and speeds of individual systems are usually in the weeds. A vendor like Stromasys though, working as it does to implement Charon in every customer site, cares about the speeds.
Employing hardware that's newer, like the DL325, brings support to block cutting-edge attacks on the datacenter. HP said this server is not exposed to this year's Masterkey CPU vulnerability, because it uses the HPE Silicon Root of Trust functionality. Root of Trust, HPE says, is "a unique link between the HPE Integrated Light Out (iLO) silicon and the iLO firmware to ensure servers do not execute compromised firmware code. The Root of Trust is connected to the AMD Secure Processor in AMD's EPYC System on a Chip so that the AMD Secure Processor can validate the HPE firmware before the server is allowed to boot."
With exploits like Masterkey on the march this year, HPE has released a patch to update the system ROM with a patch for Linux anyway to mitigate the vulnerability. Current hardware gets that kind of attention from a vendor.
June 11, 2018
Making a 3000 Reunion a Personal Affair
With the Duke of Edinburgh pub set aside for June 23d's 3000 reunion, this year's event has now become even more personal. Orly Larson, the affable creator of Hewlett-Packard songs about the 3000, is holding a garden party at his home near the old HP campus on Friday the 22d.
Lyrics to Orly's 50th Anniversary HP song
Reunion kingpin Dave Wiseman sent out a notice to the community, asking "can you join us the previous day, Friday, June 22nd for a visit to Valhalla for a social get together late afternoon/evening?"
For those of you who don’t know, Valhalla in Norse mythology is a majestic, enormous hall where Viking heroes slain in battle are received (also known as Viking Heaven). Located in Asgard, ruled over by the god Odin, and is used for partying. Or, to put it another way, Orly Larson’s back yard.
Complete with swimming pool, hot tub, dart boards, table tennis, bean bag toss and a sound stage (not really). This yard is the same place Orly had a pre-San Francisco INTEREX ’89 Conference dinner party for some of the 75-plus HP 3000 users who helped him sing HP and Interex songs together at local, regional and international conferences.
The plan is to chip in for some beers and pizza and chill out.
Pizza and beers, chilling out in an colleague's backyard and catching up on what's happened to everyone since we last worked together. It's a very personal aspect to a reunion that may seem like a memorial to some. To register an RSVP and a pizza preference, contact Wiseman at [email protected].
To RSVP for the afternoon at the Duke, head over to the webpage of the event's Jot signup form. You might have chip in for the pizza, but the drinks at the Duke are on CAMUS, the MANMAN user group, for at least the first few rounds.
By the late 1989, when the songs were being crooned by customers at user group meetings, the greatest champion of that edgy IMAGE database was Larson, who wrote and led the music a cappella. An SQL interface had been added to IMAGE. Paul Edwards reports that "that we, employees and customers who called ourselves The Sequals, used the HP song book all over the world to sing with Orly." Singing about the HP 3000 became a tradition. HP marketeer George Stachnik extended the singing with a guitar and eventually a band at user group events. Larson led his choruses a capella—complete with ensemble kicks at the close of the song New Wave.
June 08, 2018
Fine-Tune: Making the 3000's ports report
I have a port in an HP 3000 and I want to know the application that is currently using that port. Is there any command that can show me the applications accessing a particular port?
Kevin Miller replied:
Enter ‘c’ for ‘call sockets.’ Listeners are shown in port order.
The port for telnet on our 3000 is set to a different value then 23, but it is set to 23 on our HP Unix server. When I try to telnet from the 3000 to HP-UX I get the following message: Trying... telnet: Unable to connect to remote host. If I switch the port for telnet to 23 on the 3000, it works great.
My question is: Can I run telnet on two different ports on either box so that I can maintain my non-standard port on the 3000, but still allow telnet to run between the two boxes? If not, is there another way to make this work?
Jeff Kell replied:
Just ‘telnet your.3000.name nnn’ where ‘nnn’ is your ‘nonstandard’ port.
How do I point network printer configurations to specific ports on (external) multi-port JetDirect (or equivalent) boxes?
Gilles Schipper replied:
You need to add the tcp_port_number option, in NPCONFIG, as follows:
(network_address = 18.104.22.168 tcp_port_number = 9100) # for port 1
(network_address = 22.214.171.124 tcp_port_number = 9101) # for port 2
(network_address = 126.96.36.199 tcp_port_number = 9102) # for port 3
(Please note that everything on each line after and including the “#” represents a comment.)
My HP 3000 is set up for full access to the Internet. The telnet connection works fine, but I also see that VT-MGR also works. I know that inetdsec is used for restricting access for ip, https, ftp and so on. Is there something in NMMGR to restrict VT-MGR access, or do you use inetdsec for that also?
Chris Bartram replied:
Just an option logon UDC that checks the CIVars set for the IP address and hostname of the originator.
We’ve got a DLT4000 tape drive I’d like to connect to a Series 957 and use them for database, incremental, and full backups. Can I simply hook a DLT4000 drive to the SE-SCSI port on the MFIO card, set its SCSI address, and add the device as an HPC1521B?
Gilles Schipper replied:
It should be no problem at all. The DLT4000 SE SCSI device can also be utilized as a boot device on the 957. You should use the device ID of DLT4000 and not HPC1521B. You should consider using the device ID of HPC1521B as a workaround to any restore problem. It would be best to use device ID DLT4000 and test to ensure good restore performance, and only resort to device ID HPC1521B if the restore speed is NOT satisfactory.
June 06, 2018
Wayback: HP's 3000 Conference Sign-off
HP's June months have been populated by nationwide conferences for more than a decade. Ten years ago in June marked the last known appearance of Hewlett-Packard's 3000 experts at the HP Technology Forum show in Las Vegas. It was an era marked by the soaring expectations from CEO Mark Hurd and the soon-to-plummet economy crashing around the American lending and banking markets. HP was emptying its tech wallet at a show that would soon be called HP Discover instead of a Technology Forum.
HP had a meeting for 3000 customers at that 2008 show, the final expression of support for the owners who launched HP's enterprise business computing prowess. Jennie Hou was in the final year of managing the 3000 group at HP. The vendor had a history of awarding one community member — people like Alfredo Rego, or Stan Sieler — with a Contributor of the Year Award. The 2008 award was renamed a Certificate of Appreciation and given to the full 3000 community. Being thanked, as HP retired the customers, was a sign of HP's final sign-off.
The 2008 edition was the last public event where HP presented news about the platform. It was the last year when the server owners could employ the services of HP's labs. HP's Alvina Nishimoto, who'd been leading the information parade for third party tools and migration success stories, gave an outstanding contributor award of sorts at an e3000 roadmap meeting. The award shown in the slide above had a commemorative tone about it, like a fond farewell to the days when something new was part of the HP message to 3000 attendees.
In that June, the new Right to Use licenses were proving more popular than HP first imagined. The licensing product placed on the price list for 2007 let customers upgrade their license level on used systems. Of course, it only applied to the 3000s designed before 2001. It says something when servers almost a decade old could be a popular upgrade item in datacenter.
Just two HP speakers addressed the 3000 at the conference — Nishimoto and Jim Hawkins, the latter of whom spoke for five minutes at the end of the OpenMPE update. The Tech Forum had become a great place to learn about technology that HP would never put into a 3000.I asked Hou about HP's participation in the conference and what I should expect in the years to come. The vendor would only discuss migration by 2008, after completing the final PowerPatch and delivering some whitepapers to the community.
HP was saying so long, and thanks for the fish.
The e3000 community has always been and will continue to be an interesting place. It truly is one of a kind. This year, at Alvina's talk, HP will thank every e3000 partner and customer. HP recognizes that the e3000 community wouldn't be what it is without so many people's ongoing involvement and contributions. This also includes all your dedication in bringing the e3000 news to the user community over the past decades.
Hou was gracious in acknowledging the role we'd played up to that point a decade ago. Neither one of us knew the Newswire would still be tracking the fate and future of MPE/iX, ten years later.
June 04, 2018
Being first is about serving customer needs
During the 1990s the 3000 managers at HP started an enterprise revolution. Instead of creating computing systems built upon marketing research and technical breakthroughs, the division devoted to MPE/iX started a movement it called Customer First. It meant that to develop something for a 3000 owner, management had to be listening to the customer first, instead deferring to the business development mavens at the vendor.
HP got in close enough touch with its customers that it sent employees from the factory, as it called its system development labs, out to customer sites to interview the customers. HP's Unix division took note and started to follow suit.
Customer First doesn't sound that revolutionary today, but it put the 3000 leadership in the spotlight at HP's enterprise operations. In the 1990s HP was more of a computing company than anything else. Printers were important but computing was still earning the highest profits and paying for everything else. HP understood that while proprietary computer environments differ, they've got one thing in common: the customers who know what they need better than the vendors themselves.
Stromasys is picking up the concept with every quarter it sells products to support legacy environments like MPE/iX and VMS. Sustaining legacy investments makes sense when the system delivers what's needed. Customers needs come first.
"I do think that customers know what they want and need," said Stromasys' Sue Skonetski, "and no one else knows their mind as well. One of the things I am looking forward to at Stromasys is working with customers from so many different areas. Hopefully I will be able to help when questions come up, as well as post information as I see it."
Harry Sterling, who was the general manager at the 3000 group in those revolutionary time, passed praise on to Skonetski. "Taking care of customers based on their needs, and not the sole ideals of engineers, is key—and from your remarks, I know you believe that." Key concepts can get a revival just as surely as a good Broadway play gets another production after enough time has passed.Customer First got its first mission in 1991. After 3000 customers expressed their displeasure at HP's waning emphasis on IMAGE, CSY had to respond with improvements. Jim Sartain of the R&D lab was directly responsible for HP’s offering of an SQL interface for IMAGE, the first advance to signal the division's commitment to a Customer First strategy. Sartain worked with a revived IMAGE special-interest group to revitalize the database.
Gathering voices from differing platform bases was once important to HP. The vendor embraced the idea so much it published a Customer First Times, a PDF document that carried information about HP 3000s, along with HP 9000, OpenVMS and Itanium-based market products. It was the first assembly of the legacy ecosystem of HP.
In 2004 HP closed up Customer First Times. That was the first full year HP didn't sell a new HP 3000. The OpenVMS community was by then fully assimilated into HP's product plans, receiving the technology shift it needed to get the OS onto the Itanium computers.
Customer First was a mantra that the CSY division promoted to the rest of HP's server businesses. The legacy systems of VMS, MPE/iX, and even Sun are still in production mode at companies that know what they need. Assembling them to hear their voices is what Customer First is all about—as well as posting information about what they all need.
June 01, 2018
Recovering a 3000 password: some ideas
I have an administrator who decided to change passwords on MANAGER.SYS. Now what's supposed to be the new password isn't working. Maybe he mis-keyed it, or just mis-remembered it. Any suggestions, other than a blindfold and cigarette, or starting down the migration path?
The GOD program, a part of MPEX, has SM capability — so it will allow you to do a LISTUSER MANAGER.SYS;PASS=
If your operator can log onto operator.sys:
While using your favorite editor or other utility, search for the string: "ALTUSER MANAGER SYS"
You will notice: PAS=<the pwd> which is your clue.
It's said that a logon to the MGR.TELSUP account can unlock the passwords. The Telsup account usually has SM capability, if it wasn't changed.