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Contributions still safe, but index in stealth mode

At last week's OpenMPE meeting, the 20-plus attendees in person and the 50 online got a brief report on the location of programs contributed to the Interex Contributed Software Library (CSL). Links to the CSL went dark when Interex cut off its Web access on July 18, but the programs are safe in the hands of Chuck Shimada, a longtime Interex volunteer and de-facto curator of this collection of HP 3000 utilities.

Shimada reported that he won't be releasing the entire CSL library for quite some time. Legal rulings over the years have established the group of programs in its entirety as a copyrighted Interex asset, he said. A few cases of outright piracy in Europe where tech support companies simply put their label on the CSL and called it their own — led to a successful Interex defense of its rights, he added.

As an interesting aside, the CSL programs are not listed among Interex assets in its Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings. Shimada said that although that might be true, he's still going to wait until "several months" after the Dec. 5 bankruptcy claim deadline before making the full collection available to the 3000 community. OpenMPE would be a logical place to host the programs, if rights can be worked out among the contributors. Contributing a CSL program used to earn you a free copy of the CSL. (The CSL could be considered worth a lot more than that custom membership app that now comprises three-fourths of Interex's stated $431,433 of assets. Of course, Interex doesn't own those CSL programs, just the right to offer them as a collection. Full rights revert to the companies and individuals that contributed the programs.)

But anyone can get individual CSL programs from Chuck, if you send him an e-mail (at his personal address) and ask for an individual program. Knowing what to ask for becomes a matter of research if you don't have the full CSL index of programs. The NewsWire's new search feature can help, as can the rest of the 3000 community. There are CSL alternatives, too.

About 30 minutes of Google searching didn't turn up the full CSL index document on any page of links, though there's lots of dead Interex links that appear throughout Google's results. Instead, you can try out the new comprehensive search page for the NewsWire's articles and blog entries:

The new search page gives you a one-stop search over this blog, our nine years of Web articles, as well as the full Web. Search on "CSL" as well as "Contributed Software Library." In the NewsWire articles, you'll have the benefit of some discussion about each of the programs offered, rather than the terse description of the programs that accompanies the official CSL index.

You can also search the archives of the 3000 newsgroup for mentions of the CSL:

But we'll warn you that a simple search for "CSL" through the text of those tens of thousands of messages will take quite awhile to return.

There are a couple of good alternatives to the CSL's helpful programs. Beechglen and Allegro, a couple of HP 3000 support providers, each host a page of free programs for use on HP 3000s.

Beechglen's got about 30 programs and Powerhouse scripts on its freeware page:

Allegro has 50 free programs on its shared software Web page:

Although neither company provides free support for these free products, if you were a customer of theirs (Allegro is part of the Resource 3000 alliance for homesteaders, and Beechglen supports 3000s, too) it's a good bet these programs would be included in that support arrangement.