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OpenMPE vote sets record, installs 2 new directors

The OpenMPE board of directors certified election results this afternoon for the 2006 vote, a three-week campaign that drew a record number of ballots and elected new directors Bill Lancaster and Jennifer Fisher. Considering that homesteading customers have ever-less to do with HP these days, the turnout surprised us here at the NewsWire. Like in the past two elections, we got to watch the ballots come in, acting as independent judge. OpenMPE is all about interface with HP. We wondered why more people than ever who are staying with the 3000 seemed to care.

While we agreed to keep the vote totals for each candidate to ourselves, we can say the election was close. There were 111 ballots cast, out of a membership of 333 for the group. That 33 percent turnout is something that Interex user group elections didn't come close to achieving — at least not in the last 10 years of the group's history before it went out of business.

Elections for five spots with six candidates running aren't exactly dramatic races; only Steve Suraci, a board member running for a second term somewhat reluctantly, didn't retake a seat this time. Suraci, who runs the Pivital Solutions third party support company, put two years of service in for the volunteer group, which thanked him and departing director John Burke. Burke didn't run for another term. Both Burke and Suraci have been vocal about the depth of relationship that OpenMPE has with HP. But as an MPE consultant and a support provider, they represented important constituencies for all of the 3000 customers — both those homesteading, as well as the migrating market.

Those profiles can come from the same company, given enough time. That's why OpenMPE matters to migration, in our opinion. (We'll have more on that later this week.)

A look at the incoming directors tends to prove this point. Fisher works at Speedware, one of the North American HP Platinum migration partners. Lancaster's firm, Lund Performance Solutions, is also in the migration business, another of those Platinum partners. Lund has also devoted its resources to a homesteading business, working as a partner with the Resource 3000 homestead alliance.

Then there's Birket Foster, the longtime chair of the group, who also runs an HP Platinum migration business in MB Foster. The fact that these professionals would devote their time to OpenMPE shows that the future of the 3000 is still in play — at least its HP end-game. Migration companies and homestead firms both have an interest in the near term of the 3000 customer.

For the record, the other board members winning a new term this year were Matthew Purdue, Donna Garverick and John Wolff. They join Foster, Lancaster, Fisher, Paul Edwards, Alan Tibbets and Chuck Ciesinski.

You can read more about the newest directors in their election profiles at the OpenMPE Web site. Lancaster did yeoman work in the late 90s and in 2000 to help the Interex e3000 Solutions Symposium get launched. Fisher has become important to Speedware's push in both the homestead market, where the company maintains its development tools, as well in the migration consultancy and tools offerings.

Service on the board can amount to several hours a week of prep and discussion on a conference call, or more if you're tasked with developing some policy or process. A lot of the work is getting to understand what HP is thinking, and trying to make a vendor act with dwindling resources devoted to MPE matters.

This year's turnout beat the 2004 results of 103 ballots, perhaps not sizzling numbers compared to the roll call of Unix and Windows users. But by our estimates, the 111 votes is probably about one-third of the number of migrations finished or in play by the leading migration suppliers. (That's not an easy number to estimate, because it reflects a lot of tire kicking and analysis by a user community just ready to roll up its sleeves this year.)

That number of migrations doesn't include self-migrators, the DIY folks of the community. Those companies include sites which are migrating at their own pace, not on HP's support schedule. They will need some assurance that MPE/iX can keep working beyond HP's plans (now the end of 2008) unless their migrations are quick, or well under way. OpenMPE can offer an advocacy rally point for a lot of the community — so long as HP is willing to keep acting after it listens to the board.