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HP looks at extending beta testing

HP's Jeff Vance reports that the vendor is addressing the prospect of letting non-support customers test beta-class patches to MPE/iX. HP's got more than 80 patches waiting for complete testing results before they can be released to the community. Vance, who communicates from HP's 3000 labs to the community, said "we are addressing all of the questions in our Roadmap teams."

Expediting the beta testing will deliver new functionality and repair bugs in the 3000's operating environment. This is work to upgrade the HP 3000 which third parties have been unable to do, up to now, because HP still holds the MPE source code. (This is the kind of work that OpenMPE wants to do with its virtual lab program, once HP leaves the business behind.)

Vance explained HP's beta test release process for the HP 3000:

All beta-test patches on the Jazz [Web] pages are still in beta-test as of the past 24 hours. This info is automatically updated nightly. Our WTEC support engineers check out each beta-test patch periodically — by contacting customers who have requested the patch — to get an update on its usage at the customer site.

It is a judgment call as to when a beta-test patch is moved to general release. The patch has to have sufficient customer exposure. The last thing we want to do is destabilize a Powerpatch build, so the beta-test patches need to be exercised in real-world environments.

Vance said HP is talking about how to expand the testing community for the patches stuck in beta status. "At this time only HP support customers can request beta-test patches, since HP needs to track the status of the patch at the customer site. We are currently discussing this point."