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OpenMPE adds a new negotiator

The group advocating a post-2006 future for MPE and the HP 3000 added a seasoned software executive to its toolbelt yesterday, on the fourth anniversary of the HP announcement cancelling the vendor's 3000 business. Martin Gorfinkel, a veteran of nearly 30 years of development, company management and use of HP 3000s and related hardware, was named to the organization as the lead negotiator with HP in a press release.

OpenMPE's directors said Gorfinkel is also going to be responsible for taking up the challenge of attracting customers to the advocacy group. Chairman Birket Foster said this summer that OpenMPE wouldn't have full-time employees. Gorfinkel may act as the one exception — provided HP gives the group something to do during 2006.

The vendor will announce before year's end whether it will license MPE/iX source code for limited use by a third party, although the nature of the announcement is still being closely held by HP. Language in the OpenMPE press release remained optimistic about the announcement, expected before December 31, that could make using 3000s a safer prospect after HP shuts down its development and support labs at the close of 2006.

"OpenMPE is in final stages of working with HP on strategies to support the HP 3000 customers past Dec 31, 2006," the release said. "OpenMPE has proposed to the community a fee-based service for providing upkeep of the MPE operating system and its environment. If this service comes on line, users of MPE will be asked to commit funds to enable OpenMPE to hire software engineers to take charge of the 68 racks of equipment and the build and test processes which turn millions of lines of code into the secure and stable OS we know as MPE."

Gorfinkel owns and operates LARC Computing, a development house and consultancy which has produced Fantasia, a printer forms utility for MPE and Unix systems. He's been on the 3000 scene since 1976, and ran for the OpenMPE board of directors during last spring's election.

"Having MPE cared for by people other than HP doesn’t bother me particularly as a vendor,” he said in commentary on OpenMPE's mission in 2003. “HP, at this point, gives no better service than other vendors.”

Gorfinkel has been engaged to "negotiate with HP on OpenMPE’s behalf to obtain the use of the MPE source code and to organize member-users into a sustainable enterprise. Martin is an experienced executive with 30 years of corporate management," said Foster. "We are at the point in time where we need an executive to build out the plan for taking stewardship of the MPE source code, and have the correct business plans and processes in place."

The software executive based in the Silicon Valley "will be the driving force behind our program to sell our services to the community," said OpenMPE board member Paul Edwards. "Martin will be adding detail to the business plan as this transition goes forward and OpenMPE becomes operational."