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Voting for MPE's future has begun

Less than 20 years to go?

The HP 3000's CALENDAR intrinsic now ticks off the final two decades for the system, with a 2027 hard deadline out in the distance as a date MPE/iX won't know "what day is it?"

Two decades is a long time, really an eternity in the computer and IT industry, but on January 1 of 2027, the 3000's calendars will have used up all the bits allocated to date keeping. Experts in the community don't hold out much hope for an extension to this deadline. At least not for now.

In a future where cloned HP PA-RISC servers, driven by emulation, might help applications carry the IT torch even further, anything seems possible. One day an emulator is likely to surface for the hardware built for MPE/iX. Maybe in that era, a workaround for the CALENDAR roadblock will appear, engineered by a developer who's just now entering high school — or one who graduated listening to the Beatles.

But today, as this January wraps up, the current forecast is for closing up 3000 shops in 19 more January's. Unless the code changed to get the 3000 beyond Year 2000 can be altered again. But are there customers out there, completely unaware of HP's exit from the marketplace, still using 3000 models more than 19 years old? Count on it, but best of luck finding them.

The CALENDAR intrinsic format got workarounds for Y2K to allow it to run beyond 1999. The binary format allowed it, it was just a matter of formatting it.

An MPE master couldn't fix it "as is" unless they were to allow for some type of pivot date like was done for Y2K. Some say that's very unlikely to happen;  if it does, it would be a matter of changing the same code that was done for Y2K — with the possibility of invalidating any CALENDAR format dates that might still exist somewhere with dates older than whatever pivot date gets chosen.

Many in the 3000 community expect to be retired, along with the system itself, by and large, in 19 more January's. Here at the NewsWire offices we'll be nearing 70 and 80 years of age. It's certainly possible to live to see such a turnaround.