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Webster, we've got a solution

Plenty of solutions, in fact, are being offered up today at the HP 3000 conference in Webster, Texas. At a supper last night with a few HP 3000 consultants and partners, we talked about the location of this conference, a city called Webster that hasn't received its share of fame or kudos for hosting the Johnson Space Center.

The Space Center, home to solutions for problems like the Apollo 13 near-disaster or a successful moon landing, is usually called Houston, as in "Houston we've got a problem," or "Houston, Tranquility Base here; the Eagle has landed." But that lack of recognition hasn't kept Webster from serving well — not any more than the reknown which the 3000 lacked in its HP product career squelched your computer's calibre of service.

Today the meeting begins with Alfredo Rego's keynote speech, "A Bit at Home, A Bit at the Edge." There are rumors afoot that simultaneous wireless connections to multiple servers are key to Rego's talk. He told us a few weeks ago he planned to speak about MPE, Unix, Macintosh and Windows operating environments. Then HP decided to release its solution to the potential corruption-causing problems of Large File datasets in C.10 IMAGE/SQL.

It's hard to imagine Rego passing up a chance to enlighten the crowds here about the impact of HP's decision to dump LFDS, a choice which Adager supports along with every other third party database tool supplier. Rego speaks in about an hour at the keynote. In a clear bit of definition, the HP 3000 conference has only one keynote speaker, not the multiples of other computer conferences. Here in Webster, keynote means keynote.

HP said Mondaythat downloading a DBSCHEMA will turn off the LFDS capability, a feature that has caused data corruption during the past three years in IMAGE databases. Knowing what we know about how Adager eschews relying on the IMAGE schema — manipulating the database's root files are Adager's forte — we bet some of Rego's bits will be addressed, so to speak, at the solution from HP. For the record, Adager says that "Everyone should apply the HP patch." When the solution arrives, after beta testing.

Webster, after all, has been the root of solutions for a long time. More than 30 years, in fact, just like the HP 3000.

HP is part of this historic HP 3000 conference, by the way. Historic because we can't find an instance of a vendor who has announced the obsolescence of a computer platform and then five years later helped support a conference all about that platform. Maybe HP, like Webster and the 3000, deserves some kudos for changing that bit of history.

HP will also use this forum to restate and clarify its licensing policies for using the 3000 and MPE/iX. From what we've heard, there is little chance of a return to the FBI-threatening, slap a vendor into house arrest days of 2000, the last time HP protected its property rights. But those rights are still in effect, for any company who's still doing business by the book with Hewlett-Packard.

Rego's keynote is especially appropriate because it was Adager CEO Rene Woc who discovered the LFDS corruption years ago. As for the march of history, HP heard from its community members six years ago that Jumbo datasets, not LFDS, were the way to deliver dynamic expansion of both master and detail datasets. Jumbo was already well along by then, and the customers just asked the vendor to build out the project to include master capabilities.

But mistakes in judgment cannot be changed, only offered as lessons. Just as the political tides have turned in the US after its Tuesday elections, the path of cooperation looks like the most effective trail to tread for HP and its community of users. In less than an hour, we will be well-met.