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June 2006

User group seeks sponsors for future

Whether migrating away from 3000-based ERP or sticking with a known application, customers who manage manufacturing will gather in San Francisco for this year's CAMUS annual meeting. The user group is seeking sponsors for its event at the San Francisco Airport Hyatt Regency. Sponsors make a conference possible if the user group is to offer more than chairs and experts speaking at the front of a hotel meeting room.

Not to say that kind of un-sponsored meeting can't be productive. The world's top scientists and academics gather without much in the way of sponsorship — although even the Association of Writers and Writing Programs had a vast bookfair at its conference in our hometown this spring.

CAMUS is holding a three-day event starting August 23, inviting sponsors to exhibit from 5 PM the first evening through 12:30 on August 25. A CAMUS member can exhibit for $500, while non-members pay $650 for the standard 10-by-10 space. CAMUS says it's expecting 100 attendees this year.

There's also a half-dozen afternoon time slots available for presentations and demos at $200 each. At the top of the sponsorship tree, there's a $5,000 Event Night Thursday, a "night out in San Francisco." Most of the other opportunities are well under $1,000.

The deadline to sign up for an exhibit space is July 14. Housing requests — CAMUS wants all of its attendees to stay at the Hyatt to fill up the group's block of rooms — must be received by August 1. The latest conference information is at

Kill a job, if it's already running

We have loads of jobs that would cause damage if more than one copy was run. To prevent this we have the following code at the start of them:

  !if jobcnt('jobname,user.account') > 1 then
  !  tellop WARNING: Job is already running. I'm terminating.
  !  eoj
  !  endif

A couple of system problems have resulted in a large backlog of jobs waiting to run. One of our jobs is never getting past the above check — because by the time it moves from WAIT to EXEC, our scheduler has streamed the next copy which joins the WAIT queue.

One way I can see around this is to do the following instead (we have VEsoft's MPEX):

  !setjcw mpexfaststart 1
  %if jscount('jobname,user.account&EXEC') > 1 then
  %  tellop WARNING: Job is already running. I'm terminating.
  %  eoj
  %  endif
  !setjcw mpexfaststart 0

But how do we terminate a job already running, if we don't have MPEX?

Tony Summers replies:

One method is to build a file at the start of each job and/or check for the file's existence in the same job.

Continue reading "Kill a job, if it's already running" »

Extending COBOL to .NET and Java

COBOL remains a standard in business computing, but those who provide it need to keep extending that standard with flexible features. Among the major providers of COBOL for the migrating 3000 customer, Acucorp did its work long ago to build a compiler most like the MPE/iX environment. The vendor began to build its products for the 3000 before HP announced it would leave the community. Acucorp set out to build a COBOL creation environment to replace COBOL II on an HP 3000.

That work began six years ago, so the product needed to keep evolving to draw the attention of a community in transition. This week Acucorp rolled out the 7.2 version of extend, its family of compiler, SQL preprocessor, thin client and development environment. The latest version connects COBOL developers with their counterparts in the worlds of .NET and Java.

Acucorp's David Thompson, chief solutions architect, says the company added an API and compiler options to interface with .NET and Java because customers have projects underway using that language or architecture. COBOL business systems — the ones that customers like banking and asset ISV CASE moved to HP-UX — needed a way to connect to Java and .NET without the need for code to call the COBOL programs.

Continue reading "Extending COBOL to .NET and Java" »

Linux means low bucks for KOBOL

So long as spelling the 3000 community's favorite computer language with a K doesn't bother you, the price of a COBOL compiler on the Linux platform can be a bargain compared to what you'll recall from HP's 3000 world. While COBOL II from HP cost several thousand dollars to fire up on any HP 3000, KOBOL, with an MPE module from, costs just $259, period. Oh, and if you want that KOBOL product in a box, instead of a download, it's an extra $15.

What's up with this pricing, even if it is just a single developer license? How can any company, even theKompany, make a living off $60 compilers and $199 specialized platform (HP 3000) modules? It's all just part of the rules for the Linux enterprise space, where the operating system can often be free (as in beer) with applications and tools not much more.

Last month we interviewed Matt Perdue, an OpenMPE board member and owner of, an ISP and consulting practice. The latter practice serves HP 3000 customers across several industries, both those migrating as well as homesteaders. Perdue had a direct answer to our question "Which platform looks like a good fit for the 3000 customer who’s got to migrate?"

"Linux," he said. "Running on anything."

Continue reading "Linux means low bucks for KOBOL" »

Buck up your HP Tech Forum experience

Photosmart335_2 Call center marketers heated up their phones — and yours — this morning to promote this year's HP Technology Forum, the Encompass-HP-OpenView user group event in Houston. We plugged the pre-conference HP-UX training session last week, but didn't note every type of discount to get into the only pan-HP event of the year.

My telemarketer told me this afternoon I had three ways to save money on registration, including becoming an Encompass member for $90. Most interesting? The extra discount you'll get for signing up by July 15 (a Saturday, by the way). Encompass will give the early birds 100 "HP Bucks," good for products at the store HP runs at

You'll get the extra bonus by entering the promotional code HPBUCKS when you register online. HP is a full partner in this conference, much more so than it ever was for the Interex North American conferences of 2004 and earlier. That makes sense when you see the attendees and lineup of sessions. Plenty of HP sales training and presales tech briefings go on at the Technology Forum. It benefits these Americas Presales employees if customers are on hand at the same venue.

Continue reading "Buck up your HP Tech Forum experience" »

Acquire HP-UX best practices

Many an HP 3000 customer must migrate, at the direction of their application gurus or senior management. If Unix is your destination, you may be faced with training your HP 3000 staff in Unix administration. There are several ways to do this; the HP enterprise user group Encompass just added another.

Encompass is offering a one-day, 8:30-4 drill on HP-UX SysAdmin Best Practices on Sept. 17 in Houston, one day before this year's HP Technology Forum begins. The course's 6-plus hours are taught by Bill Hassell, the HP community's Unix guru formerly with HP (for more than two decades, include Response Center support service). Hassell is operating his own training company, Bill Hassell Consulting.

Hassell's training courses remain in the HP class lineup for Unix, too. Online HP-UX courses at the HP Education Web site, which we reviewed in the NewsWire back when they first appeared in 2003, include two modules credited to Hassell. HP's charging a total  of just under $1,000 for taking those courses over the Internet. The cost for the Encompass course, in-person, is less than half that much, if you're a user group member. (Of course, you have to factor in the travel and time away from the IT shop, if you're estimating budget.)

Continue reading "Acquire HP-UX best practices" »

Tools to care for new databases

Moving away from IMAGE? If your plans don't include Marxmeier Software's Eloquence, then the database administrator is in for a lot of changes, or it's time to turn over the reins to somebody else to drive the database stage. While Eloquence has been crafted to work like IMAGE, the other database choices need different management tools. Several names familiar to 3000 managers have stepped up to offer what's needed.

Bradmark, which has a long history providing DBGENERAL for IMAGE/SQL, is providing Surveillance for Sybase version 3.0.4. Key enhancements include Sybase MDA table monitoring, Adaptive Server Enterprise 15 native support, Windows Event Log Monitoring, Windows Service Monitoring, and Enhanced User Defined Collections.

Bradmark says it worked closely with Sybase on development; the two companies inked a pact in 2005 that lets Sybase sell the Bradmark products directly. Surveillance for Sybase made its debut last year.

The Bradmark product "provides a real-time view of database activity and detailed performance metrics for the Sybase ASE environment," according to a company release. The software gives detailed statistics on session and process activity, locked sessions, batch contention and file IO, all of which can be viewed simultaneously for multiple databases. Surveillance is configured to look for error conditions or performance issues and send alerts to the database admin team as well as to initiate scripts to correct problems.

Sybase isn't as popular a choice for SQL databases as Microsoft's SQL Server or Oracle. The company's Mark Westover said his firm, which was once one of the Big Four of SQL (the others were Informix, Oracle and SQL Server) "has consciously walked away not from markets, but parts of the whole solution – and enabled our partners to offer professional services to fill in the remainder of the whole solution."

In that vein of thought, the 3000 community has vendor partners serving the more popular SQL markets, too.

Continue reading "Tools to care for new databases" »

Feel secure using crypto on 3000s

It's easy to forget how much the 3000 community — system maker, vendors and users all together — delivered to the MPE/iX experience. Ask if there's a cryptography solution for the 3000, you'll likely hear that the platform never made it to that functionality milestone. Not exactly true.

Although the cost of the solution might make a company think hard, the 3000 has the B-SAFE SSL-C toolkit ported to MPE/iX. The software itself, tested up and posted by HP, is available for free from the HP Jazz Web site. If you're wondering what in the world B-SAFE has to do with encryption, you might start with a few PowerPoint slides from HP at the Jazz server.

A customer needs this capability, more than five years after HP took its steps to make it available, if not affordable. (The cost revolves around the encryption license from RSA). But a customer doesn't want to push their encrypted data around any more than absolutely necessary (good idea). The customer asked about something that's been on the 3000's shelf since we first reported on it in 2000.

I’m looking for an easy way to read RSA encrypted data and translate it into something meaningful on the 3000. I don’t want to send it to another machine, have it decrypted and then move it back to the 3000.

Continue reading "Feel secure using crypto on 3000s" »

UK users make migration meeting

ScreenJet's Alan Yeo reports that the planned migration update meeting for HP 3000 customers in the UK gathered as hoped-for today. Several prior attempts by HP to corral 3000 managers to preach the migration mantra had failed in Europe, including at least one scheduled at a resort.

This year the European experts tackled the problem a different way. Rather than upgrade the venue, those with migration advice beefed up the speaker list with genuine experience. Acucorp hosted the meeting at an HP office in England, picking up much of the expense. Customers could report they were guests of Acucorp, makers of the most 3000-compatible COBOL for other platforms — and get in free.

The attendance shows much of the customer base in the 3000 world is still well short of migration success. (A serious share of customers have no plan to leave the platform at all, but that's a subject for another day.)

Platinum partners such as MB Foster, Speedware and other firms like Transoft, as well as the makers of their tools like Acucorp, Marxmeier and ScreenJet — they're all staying busier this year to get projects underway at many sites. Although it's already 2006, it's still early in the calendar for many HP 3000 owners who must migrate. Gathering them for a day's instruction on technique, rather than a gorgeous round of golf, seems to have worked better this summer.

Legacy ERP gets new validation

MANMAN, the venerable ERP application used by hundreds of HP 3000 customers even today, has a new validation. Crawford Software, an independent consulting firm that specializes in HP 3000s and VAX implementations of MANMAN, said one of their medical device manufacturing clients has had MANMAN validated for use in projects submitted for US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.

The subject surfaced on the MANMAN mailing list while Terry Simpkins was asking if MANMAN had ever been FDA validated. Terri Glendon Lanza, another MANMAN specialist, reported that a client of hers brought in outside test experts to earn their validation:

They undertook this task by contracting a specialist from a validation vendor. The site's IT staff ran many tests that showed the inputs generated the expected outputs. The consultant audited these tests, signed off, and wrote all the reports to submit for certification.

The tests generated several thousand pages of log captures and screen prints which went into binders. These are used when customers ask to see their validation records.

Continue reading "Legacy ERP gets new validation" »

New Reflection, new focus, new company name

A new version of the redoubtable connnectivity app Reflection was announced this week, the news coming from a company now named AttachmateWRQ. Yes, those last three letters will look familiar to the HP 3000 community, and the rest of the company name reflects the acquisition and merger that took place earlier this year.

On to one new version of the software. The company's Reflection product manager was quoted in Database Trends as saying "These releases have a lot of new security capabilities, and support for new platforms." AttachmateWRQ (I'll get used to adding those 10 letters soon enough; I was reporting on this firm when it was called Walker, Richer & Quinn) understands that its customers need secure network connnections. Reflection for Secure IT proposes a new standard for connectivity applications. But it doesn't appear to have a 3000-specific release; instead the vendor is offering Secure IT in Windows Client, Windows Server, Unix Client, Unix Server and IBM mainframe (z/OS) versions.

New features in the 14.x desktop application include simplified certificate management with Reflection Certificate Manager; acceptance of single sign-on (SSO) authentication certificates with Reflection Key Agent; and integrated multi-host SSH configuration support.

Continue reading "New Reflection, new focus, new company name" »

The new, independent 3000 training begins

Veteran MPE trainers Paul Edwards and Frank Alden Smith are hunting this summer, searching for three IT professionals who want to learn more about running the HP 3000. Edwards and Smith have announced their first class at HP has agreed to let Edwards and Smith overhaul the HP class materials for MPE Fundamentals as the duo's first step into independent, HP authorized training. becomes the hub for 3000 training as of this week, since HP has called off its training courses for the platform. Many companies still have years of HP 3000 use in front of them. Considering how many 3000 customers have cut back on in-house 3000 expertise, fundamentals training could show some promise.

Edwards and Smith aren't looking for much to begin. They say they need three students for the first course to make. It will be offered online, using Virtual Classroom software. HP 3000 customers got a peek at this courseware last summer when OpenMPE conducted its 2005 meeting using the PC-based application.

A joint venture of Smith's Alden Research and Paul Edwards & Associates, had to rework and update HP's materials to get the MPE Fundamentals class ready. The company is also planning to offer on-site training, as well as staging classes around the US.

Continue reading "The new, independent 3000 training begins" »

New blades from HP are C-class

HP's Webcast of this morning rolled out a new line of hardware in its BladeSystem server family, products that HP believes make changing an enterprise on the fly easier than ever.

These C-class blade systems pre-integrate networking, power and cooling and management into a consolidated datacenter architecture. HP says its new c-Class portfolio "enables customers to deploy application environments on the fly, set and meet power budgets, and increase administrative productivity. The revolutionary architecture is focused on innovating three key areas — virtualization, power and cooling, and management — a combination that delivers ground-breaking capabilities and cost savings."

The HP announcement included three specific innovations for the hardware, expected to begin shipping next month:

  • Virtual Connect Architecture, to solve networking complexity challenges and simplify operations.
  • HP Thermal Logic Technologies, to help customers to maximize their power budget and ensure application availability with monitoring at the component, enclosure and rack levels.
  • HP Insight Control Management, so the HP BladeSystem c-Class integrates into HP’s Unified Infrastructure Management. The vendor is also offering optional Essentials software plug-ins to manage servers and storage from a single console

HP said the innovations of "the new HP BladeSystem enables user to wire computing resources once and change them on the fly, dynamically adjust power and cooling to reduce energy consumption, and increase administrative productivity up to tenfold."

Happy First Anniversary, NewsWire Blog

One year ago today, we began publishing every workday here at the NewsWire's blog. After 270 online stories, and many reader comments and contributions, I'm pleased to say our online outreach is a success. Sponsors make this free information service possible, just as they continue to play a role in our quarterly printed issues. Like Abby and I here at the NewsWire, these companies believe in a continued community for 3000 owners, advocates and managers — whether they are leaving the platform in a detail-driven migration, or preparing for a transition to an HP-free 3000 community.

You were ready for this kind of information stream, by the looks of your response and use of it. Our gateway to this blog is No. 1 in Google's ranking for "HP 3000 news." Oh yeah, you can get to this blog from that Web address that's been running 3000 news for more than 10 years. The past two weeks of headlines is always online, out on our Web page. But you can bookmark this address, too.

Abby and I would like to thank everyone who's supported, helped and believed in our transition to bring you news faster than printed pages. An anniversary deserves a podcast, and that's coming up soon. But in the meantime, to deliver some useful news on an anniversary day, let me mention a strategic Webcast HP is having tomorrow.

Continue reading "Happy First Anniversary, NewsWire Blog" »

ERP advice to land near SFO

The ERP user group CAMUS has announced a terminal for its 2006 user conference, although the meeting may not be the last the group produces. CAMUS is calling its members, and ERP users of MANMAN and MK application suites, to the San Francisco airport's Hyatt Regency hotel for a three-day meeting — including a free day of training.

From August 23-25, CAMUS is hosting "Coming Home," the latest installment of a conference where organizers say training has become the top draw. Instructors include experts from Entsgo and the Support Group inc., the "go" and "stay" divisions of the Austin-based Support Group enterprises. Terri Glendon Lanza, MANMAN expert and founder of ASK TERRI, is also listed on the conference's first postcard to arrive.

The conference has attracted good support from the 3000 community, reporting that Pivital Solutions, the Support Group and ASK TERRI are all Associate Partners. An initial conference brochure at the CAMUS Web site says the user group expects about 100 attendees. Floyd, who's on the CAMUS board, told us last fall that this year is a crucial one for the user group to decide about any conferences in 2007 and beyond.

Adding a new wrinkle to a conference about ERP applications as mature as MANMAN isn't easy, but the CAMUS organizers are offering a Free Training Day, morning and afternoon, on August 23 starting at 9 AM. CAMUS says trainers for the Day volunteered their time to serve the community all day “to solve particularly intricate issues offline and lead focus groups of 3-5 people who need extra in-depth training in particular areas. It’s impossible to teach all of MANMAN or MK in one day, but this schedule is amazing, with three [meeting] rooms going at all times throughout the day.”

Continue reading "ERP advice to land near SFO" »

User group still looking for candidates

Encompass, the user group for enterprise HP and Compaq computer customers and partners, has extended its deadline for board of director candidate nominations. A few weeks back, today was supposed to the be the deadline for tossing your hat into the ring. Now the deadline for applying to the nominations committee is next Friday, June 16.

The user group might have been underwhelmed with the response during late May to its call for candidates. The Encompass board has terms of three of its seats expiring this December. Two of the sitting board members can run for re-election. Encompass members will hear on July 1 who will be running for board slots; that's when the Nominations Committee releases its approved candidate list.

HP 3000 interests are being served on the Encompass board already. Chris Koppe, marketing director for HP Platinum Migration partner Speedware, sits on the board. Encompass is a group of more than 8,000 members, and its leadership wants Interex volunteers to join and help the user group. Those are the same goals of OpenMPE, the advocacy group which also had an election during the past 12 months. Want to guess which group had more ballots cast in its vote?

Continue reading "User group still looking for candidates" »

3000 community with a sense of humor

Even along the dire and troubling trail of HP 3000 transition, we can find those who wink at the trouble and muster along with a smile.

Out in the Hawaiian islands for a elite conference, OpenMPE chair Birket Foster sent us this photo, with a statement:

"Who knows what the future will bring, but I knew you would like this in the 'Image Bank:' "

And over at the GREBs Lab, where the playful Advant crew wants to unlock the horsepower of the latest HP 3000 models with its SSEDIT code, we got this message from "Captain Grebs;"

"One of the more poetic HP 3000 users sent this to us. Thought you might get a kick out of it. It's based on the theme from Underdog:"

When licensed resellers are still here
To prey on those still needing '3000 gear
whose complaints fall on HP's unresponsive ear
The cry goes up both far and near
For Captain GREB! Captain GREB!

Speed of lightning, roar of thunder
Easing the pain of HP's blunder

Check to see if you need your JCL

Job Control Language is an HP 3000 nuance, a tool embedded in many an application suite under MPE/iX. Making changes to accomodate JCL can be one of the most complex parts of a migration to another platform. Sometimes, though, JCL is there because a more elegant tool wasn't available when the app was designed.

Comp Three, a HP 3000 services provider and software creator, has outlined this kind of migration in a case study up on its Web site. The story in the study covers Raytheon, an HP 3000 site which had been running an in-house project cost and billing system under MPE/iX, but got its migration orders in 2004. Comp Three got called in to help on the migration, which they said was accomplished in three months.

Sound lightning fast? Much of the time might have been saved by passing up the JCL in the application. According to the Comp Three story, better reporting tools from the world of SQL eliminated the need to replace JCL with scripts — the usual substitution on a 3000 migration.

Continue reading "Check to see if you need your JCL" »

The taxman makes HP more profitable

Customers casting their future lots with HP have more to smile about today; the vendor said it's raised its second quarter profits by $443 million. A favorable settlement with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)  — not Advant's we've been reporting on for our past five entries, including yesterday's podcast — led to HP's increased earnings. The IRS was auditing HP returns of seven to nine years ago. Now that's the kind of audit outcome most companies would like to have.

A profitable vendor is important to customers, especially those using a non-standard operating environment or a unique processor family. HP-UX users qualify on both counts, since Linux is much more of a standard than anybody's specific flavor of Unix — and the Itanium design has been a bust as far as widespread vendor adoption that could make it a standard.

HP 3000 customers who are migrating to HP's Unix solutions want a more profitable HP. One strategy is that a vendor with good profits can afford to run businesses outside the mainstream. HP 3000 customers might have caught some of the fallout of an HP scrabbling for revenue growth in 2001. "If it ain't growin', it's goin' " was the rumored mantra among then-CEO Carly Fiorina's top managers. The 3000, pushing along at little to modest growth, was a target.

HP-UX customers are further from that fate with an HP which is robust financially. Nothing lasts forever, but the 3000 customers moving to another HP platform don't want to re-migrate to something else if HP's fortunes turn toward those bad $16-a-share days of Carly's reign.

Continue reading "The taxman makes HP more profitable" »

Can a new turn help right 3000 pricing?

In this week's NewsWire podcast (4 MB MP3 file), we talk with Advant's Steve Pirie about the SSEDIT software service that can speed up A-Class servers, hack 9x7s to run MPE/iX 7.0, and perform other magic. All this and more is being delivered for service companies and their customers, folks who want a break on the cost of keeping 3000s alive while they get ready for migration — or homestead.

Have a listen to our memories of the lawsuit and lo-jack arrest days of the 3000 market and how much things might have changed since then. What will it take to free this market of 3000 owners? A good start might be a program like SSEDIT and the moxie to use it, along with some valid MPE/iX licenses. Let us hear from you, below, in a comment, or by e-mail, if your business might be harmed by third party changes like this — or helped to survive.

Changing models reflects 3000 pricing

For three days this week we've begun to cover the change in owning an HP 3000 during 2006. Captain GREB — who we're now told is not Advant's Steve Pirie, but someone else at Advant — has told us and the 3000 newsgroup readers of a program HP can't keep from the community, SSEDIT, which transforms 3000 model strings. (We'll have a full Q&A with Advant on the subject soon enough. If you have any more questions you'd like us to ask, send them to our editorial offices.)

While this kind of system-changing activity was turned to less-than-legal ends in the 1990s, in our current era these changes to a 3000 qualify as end-of-HP-life customer comfort. HP has done some of its share of making 3000 customers more comfortable as they prepare for a platform transition. Very little, however, has been done by the vendor to align the 3000's cost with its receding vendor lifespan.

Put more plainly, a system with only two years of supported life should be selling for less than its authorized used reseller equipment price. HP has aleady acknowledged this computer line should drop in cost. The evidence lies in the HP parts price list, as pointed out by OpenMPE board member Matt Purdue.

Continue reading "Changing models reflects 3000 pricing" »

Advant's GREB-master takes another step

No shy, conservative 3000 community member, Advant's "Captain GREB" has posted another notice about the abilities of the company's SSEDIT software — this time to change an HP 3000 from an older model family to a newer one that can now boot the latest versions of MPE/iX.

The Captain — likely Steve Pirie of Advant's staff — posted a message that offers proof of running MPE/iX 7.5 on a Series 9x7 HP 3000. 9x7s, the most popular model of 3000 in the PA-RISC era, have been locked out of booting up with either MPE/iX 7.0 or 7.5. HP put code in both versions of the operating system which checks for an HPCPUNAME string, then only boots if the server is a 9x8 system or later.

Pirie said the test in the "GREBs Lab" was "a hack. But it's proof of concept that MPE 7.5 can boot on a 9x7. We didn't do much beyond booting and a LISTF."

Advant's posting may be designed to put even more wood behind its arrow of offering GREBs, the Generic REplacement Boxes which the company will modify with a personality change. Pirie said that Advant will sell such systems itself, or modify a server without license which a customer purchases or supplies for the Advant service.

Continue reading "Advant's GREB-master takes another step" »