HP 3000 enhancements can travel like distant starlight: They sometimes take years to show up on customer systems. A good example is jumbo datasets for the 3000's database IMAGE (or TurboIMAGE or IMAGE/SQL, depending on how current your own name is for your system's database.) Jumbos, the 3000's best tool for supporting datasets bigger than 4GB, first surfaced out of HP's labs 10 years ago, just when the 3000 NewsWire was emerging, too. We put our news online in the months before we'd committed to print, and our report of September 1 had this to say:
HP will make the enhancement available as part of its patch system, bypassing the delay of waiting for another full release of MPE/iX. But there are already discussions from the HP 3000 community that a more thorough change will be needed before long — because 40-gigabyte datasets someday might not be large enough, either.
Why care about 10-year-old news? In the conservative timeline of 3000 management, jumbos are the distant starlight, only now becoming commonplace on 3000s. Now it looks like jumbos are finally going to get eclipsed by LargeFile datasets. HP's engineers say their alpha testing to fix a critical bug in LFDS is going well. HP expects to update the community next week.
They will need beta testers, something that's been hard to come by for HP in recent months.
Like the jumbos before them, LFDS are also going to get a slow embrace. How slowly did jumbos go into production systems? Five years after jumbos first emerged, John Burke wrote in our net.digest column " it is hard to tell about the penetration of jumbo datasets in the user community beyond users of the Amisys application." His column also offered some tips on using jumbos, even while database experts in the community continued to lobby for a way to build larger files.
Next week could mark the first time in 10 years that 3000 customers can build a dataset as big as they need. Because up to now, LFDS has been unrecommended for 3000 customers except in experimental implementations.
The nature of the 3000 community's starlight, though, makes a 10-year-old enhancement like jumbos current and vital. LFDS might only start to have an impact on sites several years from now, provided the beta testers show up. Otherwise, it's just another entry on HP's Jazz Web page that describes which new patches are available for testing.
LFDS can corrupt data in its latest release. That's unacceptable for 3000 sites. But 3000 customers are a cautious group by nature, so the LFDS bugs haven't caused widespread woe. Our Online Extra e-mail edition offered field experience with the bug, by way of the Adager labs. HP expects to update the community by way of the 3000 newsgroup. Look for the notice in the "Week 5" June postings, if you don't subscribe to the newsgroup. Or check back here, where we'll have the latest news.