HP has announced that it is building the last-ever PowerPatch for MPE/iX 6.5, the HP 3000 operating system release that's in widest use among customers. 6.5 is the last release to support HP-IB peripherals — and thanks to HP's enforced engineering, the last release that boots up the thousands of Series 9x7 servers that make up the majority of the HP 3000 installed base.
A PowerPatch is simply an HP collection of existing patches for a particular MPE/iX, but HP wants to help nudge a few patches into its final 6.5 roundup. Yesterday HP engineer Jeff Vance posted a note to the 3000 newsgroup and OpenMPE mailing list, a message that started the countdown for 6.5 beta testing:
We are almost done selecting the target patches for the last-ever 6.5 Powerpatch release, and I very much want to get the NW Printing and FTP security SIB patches into 6.5 Powerpatch 5. However, all patches must be in GR (General Release) status before they are considered for a Powerpatch. The two SIB patches in question are:
-- FTPHDF0, FTP security enhancements, second most popular SIB ‘04 item. Enables FTP command and transfer logging (think SOX), allows an FTP logon banner to be shown (think lawyers), supports the exclusion of certain files from being retrieved (think netrc file), allows users to be denied access at FTP logon, supports the site_chmod and site_chown commands (think security and convenience), and more... See: http://jazz.external.hp.com/papers/Communicator/7.5/ftp_enhancements-1.html The 7.5 version of this patch is FTPHDE8 and the 7.0 version is FTPHDE9.
-- MPEMXU1, Network printing to non-HP printers, the *most* popular SIB ‘04 request. MXU1 introduces a new NPCONFIG file option, PCL_ENABLED, which when set false removes the PCL sequences at the beginning and ending of the spoolfile. There is more, see: http://jazz.external.hp.com/papers/Communicator/7.5/NWPrinting.html
If you want these two SIB patches to be included in 6.5 PP5 then you need to request and install them ASAP -- there is only a week remaining.
HP is moving right along with these patches, especially for the 6.5 customers. Network printing only surfaced for the 3000 community about a month ago. Now the patch will be unavailable in seven days for 6.5 beta testing. Time is marching on in HP's efforts to bring new features to 6.5. In particular, the FTP enhancement looks like it could bring some long-needed improvements to FTP on the 3000. The FTP patch will run on unpatched MPE/iX 6.5 as well as current PowerPatch.
There's also some Hidden Value out there for FTP users who need better name services in this patch. If you run 7.0 or 7.5, you can install what HP support engineer James Hofmeister calls "the FTP 'spacy names' patch";
FTP Client supports blanks in file names with "quote"
FTPHD71 for C.75.00 General Release
FTPHDA0 for C.70.00 Beta Supersede by FTPHDE9
FTPHDF0 for C.65.00 Beta Test
Note that the 6.5 version is still in beta, prompting Vance's request to test above. You have to be an HP support customer to ask for beta patches by name, for now, since they're not GR'd yet.
This will be the fifth PowerPatch for the 6.5 release, a version of MPE/iX that HP wasn't even sure it would be supporting at all this year. The fact that HP's doing its last PowerPatch for a supported release tells us a lot about priorities in HP's labs. The virtual CSY team wants to put more effort behind the 7.0 and 7.5 releases, especially the latter.
HP reported at last week's OpenMPE meeting that customers will be able to order upgrade tapes (or some media) after 2006 to move up from 6.5 to those 7.0 or 7.5 releases. But there's been no details on how that program will work, or who to ask, although HP's Software Depot seems a likely outlet. That means these enhancements might slip though to those later releases-only, without adequate beta-tests from 6.5 users. Test them now, or wait until you upgrade later, using that unspecified upgrade release program.