OpenMPE has outlasted another case of an HP pace — the slow, methodical, sometimes overworked pace that reflects the vendor's waning involvement with the HP 3000. More than two years ago, HP made a pledge of $5,000 to OpenMPE, an act of good faith not meant to overwhelm the advocacy group's treasury. The contribution, however, failed to appear at the OpenMPE accounting office, month after month. A public apology last summer from HP's Mike Paivinen, primary contact with OpenMPE, didn't get the money moving any faster, either.
But like OpenMPE's insistence on an answer about releasing source code after HP support quits the platform, the HP funding finally came through a little while ago. In meeting minutes approved in mid-June, the group noted that HP's check had arrived and cleared at last.
The group had to restructure its process to accomodate HP's payment methods. It turns out that HP couldn't make a donation to a for-profit organization. So OpenMPE had to set up a Professional Services Agreement with HP, make out the bill for "market consulting" for $5,000, then wait for the money to show up in a direct invoice payment.
It might have been easy to give up on a pledge more than 18 months old. But OpenMPE is run by IT professionals, people used to dogging down an answer or cornering a solution through repeated attempts. Built to survive on a miniscule budget, the organization can wait for answers instead of going dark, like another HP user organization did one year ago this month.
I think it's important to remember that OpenMPE, as of now, is the only group communicating directly with HP which is going to ask the hard questions about the 3000's future on behalf of homesteading customers. Encompass is dedicated to helping HP 3000 customers, but as of this writing the services are aimed only at the customer moving away from the platform.
It is easy to dismiss a group that consists of a handful of community veterans and perhaps 300 more who belong with free membership. That would be a mistake, so long as this group continues to wrest support and answers from HP, no matter how long it takes.