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August 2007

Resource 3000 calls community for survey

HP 3000 homesteading (and migration) supplier Resource 3000 wants to know how the HP 3000 community is managing to stay on the platform. The company posted a notice this week which asks for input on a 10-question survey.

Question 1 is "Are you or your company still operating an e3000? If your answer is "No," you are almost done with this questionnaire!"

But answer a yes and you can provide the community, including yourself, with a snapshot of 3000 homesteading (or migration) in 2007. Resource 3000 will summarize the survey results for all HP 3000 customers who respond. The survey is online at

Resource 3000's Steve Cooper said the survey's specific information "which promises to be interesting" will not be shared with any third party. He added that it's a chance to "share your
thoughts on where we are and where we're heading."

Continue reading "Resource 3000 calls community for survey" »

Fourth gen language aims for fifth decade

The new TransAction moves Transact apps to new platforms and supports 3000 implementations, too.

    HP 3000 development partners have demonstrated their resourceful habits many times during the platform’s four decades of service. Now a 30-year-old language and its unique architecture on MPE/iX are getting refurbished to move away from the 3000 — or continue an MPE life with an up-to-date library.

   The Transact/3000 product was developed in 1977 by David Dummer of Imacs, offering a product that was among the first rapid development tools (RDTs) for the platform. HP picked up the product in 1981 and sold it, along with several report writers, as the Rapid family of tools. A few thousand 3000 customers adopted Transact over the next decade or so, making Transact a Fourth Generation Language — or more accurately, a “three and a half GL,” according to ScreenJet’s Alan Yeo.

   4GLs, as these solutions have been called, delivered a faster way to create applications than third-gen languages such as COBOL. Speedware and PowerHouse are other choices either working on 3000s or embedded inside 3000 apps.

   Yeo’s firm has been working with Dummer for four years, through investigations, coding and tests, to create TransAction, a software suite that includes a new Transact Function Library. That library is in production use at more than 30 former HP 3000 installations, part of ScreenJet’s footprint for the Transact to COBOL T2C solution.

   The newest solution eliminates Transact’s lock-in to 3000 and MPE/iX, Yeo says. While the installed base has dwindled to a few hundred sites — HP forced Transact off its “strategic” list in favor of another product — Yeo said that the small target market still warranted the work.

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Fall 3000 meeting by the Bay?

    Rumors float this month, while the wheels turn for a November 3000 do, as the British would call a gathering.

    Can the 3000 community keep itself from meeting? Signs during this summer point to no, and a novel meeting that is gathering steam by San Francisco Bay.

   The year 2007 posed the prospect of being without a gathering dedicated to the HP 3000. But now a cadre of luncheon launchers, led by Europeans Alan Yeo and Michael Marxmeier, wants to give away place-settings once again. A limited capacity, one-Saturday luncheon and networking day meeting is emerging on the Euros’ dance card for November.

   The pair of men, whose ScreenJet and Eloquence firms drove a 2005 HP 3000 Luncheon, appear to be at it once more. With pledged support from MB Foster and Speedware, and requests out to other key 3000 supporters, a weekend do, as the British say, seems likely to form.

   Novelty has never been in short supply among the 3000 community’s developers and entrepreneurs, as evidenced by a new wrinkle in the meeting concept. The gathering will have an attendee limit — the talk is 50, maybe as many as 100. The agenda is wide enough to include updates on 3000 solutions for homestead and migration sites, but leaves room for informal dinner gatherings around a day-long event including a lunch.

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Vance lands his bike on a 3000-friendly path

HP's Jeff Vance — one of the most prolific contributors of HP 3000 software and utilities — retired from HP on May 31. It took him less than two months to land his next job, writing software for educational application vendor QSS. The firm is carefully migrating some of its HP 3000 customers to Linux and HP-UX, and Vance will be helping in the effort as a Senior Technologist.

I now work for Quintessential School Systems (QSS) in San Mateo. They develop, sell, and support quality financial apps for public school districts K-12 and have generous share of the market.

I'll get to wear several hats at QSS -- I'm wearing two now with more to come shortly! They really are a great company. The folks I've met are ethical, hard-working, kind, smart, and have a healthy work-life balance.

I have the title of "Senior Technologist" and all I know for sure is they got the "senior" part right!  I am starting off learning the Ruby language and using it in a Ruby on Rails framework for new web apps. I'll be able to work directly with customers too! So far the job is great!  I even have an office with a door -- wow!

Vance spent much of his most productive time for the 3000 at a home office in the Santa Cruz Mountains. An avid mountain biker, he's taking his bike to work now. "I even brought my bicycle to work today and did a short lunch ride -- there are 7.5 miles of singletrack trails in a nearby park!"

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Telling stories to create an HP 3000 history

NewsWire Editorial

By Ron Seybold

    We tell stories to propel ourselves through life. The tales can repeat what we’ve heard, invent accounts based on misunderstanding, even suture facts together like a kind of Frankenstein monster: something living at the moment, but unlikely to survive into its golden years.

    Judging by the pulse of remember-when storytelling, the HP 3000 community may be entering its golden years by now. If that phrase feels like a bad fit for a computer cancelled by its maker, you might see more monsters lurking in the dark of the future. It’s okay — plenty of people make choices to avoid the unknown.

    The monsters for your community include a vanishing HP 3000 ecosystem, as well as across-the-board risk for companies which still run the computer as a mission-critical tool. I’ve heard both stories in the past few weeks. I question whether either tale will stand up for many more years.

   History will tell, people say. Experts and storytellers use that phrase to seal off discussions, like corking off a bottle of scotch after a few wee drams. But even when history tells, many years later, one person is telling. Like all historians, they express their views in what they choose, blending a taste of the past like a mélange of wine.

   In my home’s buffet sits one of those bottles, a red that doctors say we should sip to maintain our health. The bottle calls itself Synergy, a blend of Sirah, Zinfadel and just a touch of Sangiovese. The brand is Novella (another story metaphor) offered by EOS Winery.

    Okay, it’s just too obvious by now — EOS, End of Support. When is the end of support for the 3000, anyway? Long ago in 2001, when we were all more dewy-eyed about what to fear, HP assured us all that 2006 was the end of the 3000’s story.

   Then HP altered the ending, like having more chapters added to a book on your nightstand while you sleep next to it. The EOS of 2006 became “at least 2008.” This is not a story with a firm ending. I know that feeling. Even with many pages written in a novel, I find its last act is changing, gathering up a different ending.

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Q&A: Visualizing HP's new level of support

New HP e3000 business manager Jennie Hou briefed The 3000 NewsWire on the concepts of HP's continuing 3000 support. We spoke at this summer's HP Technology Forum.

Why is HP visualizing a new custom level of support?
    We believe there may still be customers out there needing help from HP. We will evaluate customer needs based on HP’s local capabilities and on an individual basis. If there are local capabilities, we will still be able to provide troubleshooting and problem isolation services. We can provide existing patches if they would solve these problems, provide workarounds, and/or binary patches whenever possible. What we won’t be doing is to create new General Released patches or enhancements.

So what kind of patches will HP create in this post-Basic Support phase?
    Hypothetically, if the Customized Legacy Support is invoked, only site-specific binary patches and workarounds will be provided. That’s what we’re envisioning, and it’s a natural support evolution for products that are reaching end-of-life.

Does any of this change HP’s overall position about its future with the 3000, or the customer recommendation?
    No, we still strongly recommend that our customers migrate off the 3000 to other HP solutions. Every day they’re still on the 3000 there are more risks involved.

    We do understand that migrations can take longer than planned. We are trying to achieve the right business balance by listening to what our customers are saying and working together with our partners in the e3000 ecosystem.

Will the Customized Legacy stage allow HP to reduce the amount of its resources devoted to the platform? Are there now only a few people in the company who spend all of each day, every workday in a month, dedicated to HP 3000 work?
    As we are reaching the end-of-life for the e3000 platform, it’s normal to have decreased resources over time. However, it’s HP’s policy not to disclose any specific numbers.

Continue reading "Q&A: Visualizing HP's new level of support" »

HP Q&A: Hou envisions post-08 support

Hou_2 Jennie Hou may get to author HP’s final chapters in the 3000 saga. A veteran of 23 years of HP’s work on the platform, Hou took over the reins for 3000 business manager Dave Wilde when he moved on to another HP division late this spring. Like Wilde, Hou joined an HP 3000 group when the platform was rising to its peak installed base, a day when the vendor was active in the software tools market for MPE V and then MPE/XL.

   Hou began her computer experience during her high school years, as many 3000 veterans have, attending a Fortran class. She brought a Computer Science degree to HP when she joined in 1984 and later earned an MBA.

   Hou has been a part of many of the areas of HP’s business: Release Management, Quality, R&D, Partners’ Consulting, Marketing, Planning, and Escalation Management. Her work includes communication with partners and customers, as well as many years of labor to make Oracle a database alternative for HP 3000 sites. Hou has worked with Oracle for more than a third of her HP career.

   It would be fair to describe the Oracle assignment as yeoman work, considering how few HP 3000 sites deployed the IMAGE databaase alternative and how much effort she and HP invested in the relationship. Between 1992 and 1996, the porting and consulting team worked onsite with the Oracle Lab team at Oracle’s corporate headquarters in the Bay Area. Hou later became the business and technical alliance manager for the HP e3000/Oracle relationship and stayed with the project through 1999.

   This year she assumes the official title of R&D Project Manager in the HP’s Business Critical Systems Customer Experience Technology Division. Hou becomes a key leader in shaping serious endgame decisions for HP’s 3000 business: source code licensing, cooperation with third party support firms, release of HP intellectual property to the community and more. During the HP Technology Forum, HP's update for the 3000 customer included a talk on the Customized Legacy support concept, something that — if it emerges — will keep HP in the 3000 support business beyond 2008. We spoke with Hou to find out more at this summer’s Forum.

There’s been talk this week of a new Customized Legacy support concept for the 3000. How is HP thinking about this, and where will the company find the need for such an offer?

   Customized Legacy support is something that Basic support may evolve into, but since it currently is a conceptual model, please take what we’re saying as a framework. It’s based on feedback we received from the installed base and our partners as we continue to monitor our customers’ needs and concerns.

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Free 3000 terminal emulator earns update

The freeware program QCTerm, a admirable alternative for HP 3000 shops with little budget for emulator programs, just got a 3.0 version during the last week.

AICS Research, one of the oldest third parties in the HP 3000 community, developed QCTerm for its users of QueryCalc. The program's development stretches back 10 years, an extraordinary lifespan for any software offered for free. Emulator licensing fees being a roadblock to those customers during the late 1990s — as well as another facet of technical support involving emulator companies — AICS founder Wirt Atmar led a successful project, which culminated in a 1.0 version, to build software which turns a PC into an emulator — of HP 3000 terminals, as well as other hosts.

Atmar just reported to the community, over the Internet newsgroup, what the new 3.0 offers and where the program is headed in its next version.

This new version has been modernized for several new features, and because of contracts with several agencies, a number of enhancements have been added. Of all those, the one item that might be of use to you is that hotlinks to URLs have been added to the terminal’s display. If you have text anywhere on your screen that begins with an “http://” and you double-click it, we now bring up a web browser and go to the address that’s been specified.

The new version can be downloaded from

Please let me know if you have any trouble with anything. Surprisingly, QCTerm is still getting about 100 downloads a week, even though there’s less and less demand for a full HP terminal any longer.

The next major enhancement I intend is to put SSH 1 and 2 support into the terminal.

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The bounty of ODE, only a password away

Yesterday we forwarded a report from Stan Sieler, HP's most recent recipient of the "e3000 Contributor of the Year" award, on the state of HP 3000 diagnostics. One super diagnostic program, ODE, holds a wide range of test programs.

These testing pieces of software got more important during the last year, since HP mothballed its Predictive Support service for the HP 3000. Predictive dialed into a 3000, poked around to see what might be ready to break, then reported to HP's support engineers.

Diagnostics are a manual way to perform the same task, or fix something that's broken. ODE, a set of offline tools, is all tucked away behind a password that only HP's support staff can deliver for your 3000. Sieler reports:

I ran each one, and documented whether or not it requires a password. (A few utilities seem to have little or no use because HP hasn’t provided a method of saying “hey, my disk drive isn’t an HP drive, and it’s over here”.)

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Programs off limits, without passwords

A couple of weeks ago we wrote about the HP 3000 diagnostics you cannot use — at least you can't if you're not an HP support customer. These programs reside on your HP 3000 disk, if you've installed a version of MPE/iX during the past seven years.

(And if you haven't, well, you don't really need diagnostics, do you? You've got a stable system, genuine faith in your disc drives — not to mention lots of luck.)

For the rest of the community, those self-maintaining or using third-party support, these diagnostics require a password. The question is, which diagnostics? Stan Sieler, HP's most recent recipient of the "e3000 Contributor of the Year" award, reports on the state of HP 3000 diagnostics.

The online diagnostics come in two flavors:

  • Older releases of MPE/iX have online diagnostics accessed via SYSDIAG.PUB.SYS (which is a script that runs DUI.DIAG.SYS). (MPE/iX 6.0 and earlier, possibly MPE/iX 6.5 (I’m not sure))
  • Newer releases of MPE/iX have online diagnostics accessed via CSTM.PUB.SYS (which is a script that runs /usr/sbin/stm/ui/bin/stmc).

Both are, well, difficult to use.  (HP-UX also switched from sysdiag to stm.) Both have some modules that require passwords, and some that don’t.

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HP's quarter posts strong enterprise marks

Third quarter results surfaced from HP yesterday, numbers that showed the company is selling more enterprise servers than ever — much of it in Windows-based blades — while leaving Dell in the rear-view mirror in HP's thriving personal computer segment.

Q3_results_overview The figures released after the close of the markets on Thursday showed an Enterprise Storage and Servers (ESS) unit performing better than ever, raising its profits for a quarter that's traditionally HP's weakest. ESS earned 18 percent of HP's $25.3 billion Q3 revenues, outpacing sales in HP Services  — which include support for the HP 3000 as well as all other HP products.

Profits were strong from the ESS group, almost three times higher in dollars than the same quarter in 2006. Printer and Imaging (IPG) revenues and profits still lead HP's revenues and earnings; supplies (ink and paper) continue to make up more than half of the $981 million IPG profits in Q3. But profits were flat in printers compared to 2006's Q3.

Ess_q3 However strong those overall ESS numbers appeared, the results from Business Critical Systems (BCS)  — home of the HP Integrity offerings — showed weaker performance. Hewlett-Packard continues to weather the loss of sales from its PA-RISC and Alpha servers, while Integrity has taken over the majority of BCS sales. The numbers indicate that while Integrity sales are stronger than ever — now 67 percent of BCS sales, and up 71 percent from last year's Q3 — the Integrity numbers are not yet making up for lost sales of PA-RISC solutions. HP said in its conference call with analysts last night:

Business Critical Systems revenue decreased 3 percent year over year. Integrity server revenue grew 71 percent and represented 67 percent of  Business Critical revenue, up from 38 percent in the prior-year period. Integrity momentum was offset by ongoing declines in PA-RISC  and Alpha.

HP added that the ESS margins grew because of petroleum prices, warranty improvements, pricing discipline and "our ability to align our cost structure investments to deliver the next-generation datacenter to our customers."

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Two years on, Interex still being sold off

Two years beyond the bust-out of user group Interex, the organization's assets are still being liquidated. Not that there was a lot of value left to sell off. The most prized of the meager assets in the bankrupt group: The customer list, which HP bought for $66,500 in a blind auction in the fall of 2005.

This week, bankruptcy trustee Carol Wu reported to us that she was "in the final stages of liquidating assets" of the user group that expired at age 31. Beyond the liquidation will come repayment of the group's debts. Best of luck to those owed. Interex flashed into darkness while it sank in more than $4 million of debt. When liquidating the largest asset nets less than 2 percent of what's owed, those thousands of creditors may not want to get their hopes up.

Hpworld05_ad Management of the user group planned the 2005 HP World conference, and ran up bills for it,  a show that was supposed to open its doors two years ago this week. The bills included advertising like the banner ad shown here, which was still running on the Web site more than a week after Interex went broke.

The Aug. 14-18, 2005 conference was only a fervent hope, though, a plan from a group that had a habit of working for 11 months to collect enough revenues to stay afloat another year, by putting on one massive conference and expo. The all-eggs-in-one-basket flaw collided with new competition in 2005, but there was evidence on Interex walls the end was already en route.

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Third party improvements a fact of 3000's life

Our report on the death of Joerg Groessler, developer of breakthrough designs for enterprise server backup, has drawn out some history, tribute, and a clarification since we posted the July 24 entry.

The subject of third parties' sparks for the 3000's flame is an important one. Throughout the platform's history, the most breakthrough of designs and development for the system have come from outside HP's labs. Hewlett-Packard's engineers have executed well on the challenges of keeping up the flow of customer requests for the MPE/iX Command Interpreter and Posix interfaces, as well as enhancements to some other subsystem modules.

The labs' contribution of open source favorites such as C++, Apache, Samba, domain name services and more began outside HP, however. Each of these mainstays then went through the gauntlet of testing and integration and documentation at the hands of HP's lab experts. More recent work on IO and device support has led to use of disks larger than 300 GB and the forthcoming SCSI pass-through driver.

But in the dawning years of the platform, software engineers outside HP delivered crucial tools and processes. It's important to remember this as HP's development resources wane for the 3000. Third parties are still alive in this ecosystem. Some are lively long after HP calculated they would survive.

Alfredo Rego and Rene Woc produced Adager, the first database adapter and manager — for a platform whose largest claim to fame was an award-winning, bundled database. (IMAGE co-creator Fred White built the product, too — after leaving HP.) Looking at MPEX from VEsoft shows how the 3000's operating environment can be streamlined, turbo-charged and built into a tool which any sysadmin, manager or programmer can benefit from. Such products arrived unprompted in the 1970s and 1980s, and even into the 1990s, sparked by the community's devotion to the 3000.

The first XML tool for the 3000 arrived just last year, offered by Canam Software. The platform has a way of keeping up with what is essential, thanks to third parties like Groessler and Orbit, which released the first 256-bit encryption facility for the 3000 this year.

Groessler's work went beyond the backup genius that bettered HP's STORE and RESTORE. Winston Krieger, the first Technical Director for 1980s software powerhouse Tymlabs, offered us a story about Groessler's efforts on Backup/3000. Krieger noted that the released product passed through Groessler's design lab, but Tymlabs revised the program to ship the first full-functioning version. But in his correction, Krieger also offered great praise for his colleague, citing the development of CopyRite, a better, faster method to copy files on early '80s HP 3000s.

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Older tech has big advantage: it works

You may catch a bit of razzing about using an HP 3000 in 2007. Slurs like dinosaur and ancient get tossed at you or your company. But in Britain the oldest tech in networking is still a mandate for some British Telecom (BT) products. What's more, key parts of the government use ISDN.

And you might have guessed, an HP 3000 is powering some of the ISDN in the country, according to today's article in The Register. Nobody wants to unplug ISDN — other than the providers who want to sell something newer. (Sound familiar to some of you?)

Why? As the article says, it works.

Guy Kewney writes, "Even if you could provide the signalling and interface "presentation" of ISDN to customers today, you'd have trouble replacing what ISDN is famous for: working."

As one veteran of the business told me: "It's like those old HP 3000 minicomputers. People installed them way, way back and they haven't touched them since. I know of ISDN2e installations that went in before 1980, which did a simple once-a-day dial to the ISDN link at head office, transferred a batch of data, and hung up; and they're still doing it 30 years later."

And the problem is, if you change a thing, the software behind it might stop working, and nobody knows what it does or how to adjust it if it stops.

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HP rolls out critical database repair

Last Friday afternoon, HP confirmed that it has released crucial repairs to the 3000’s database, a patch that disables the IMAGE/SQL Large File function for greater-than-4GB datasets (LFDS).

The software eliminates some data corruption potential on 3000s — the chance of mangling datasets that are built using HP's Large File design. LFDS are the default dataset when creating new 3000 databases.

HP’s 3000 business manager Jennie Hou reported that the patch was cleared for General Release on August 9 and is available from HP’s online IT Resource Center. The 3000 group's Jazz Web site has been updated with a new page devoted to the patch.

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Right To Use can be included in an upgrade

As we reported in May, HP's new Right To Use licenses (RTU) are sometimes not needed during an upgrade from one HP 3000 to another. HP has simplified the tier structure of the 3000 family, according to business manager Jennie Hou and Jeff Bandle, liaison to the OpenMPE board.

"There are instances where if you do an upgrade, you stay in the same tier," Bandle said. "That essentially is a zero-cost upgrade."

HP still issues a RTU certificate in such a situation, Bandle added. As for the tier simplifaction, Hou said that HP is now using system horsepower as its guide.

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Still loaning and leading after all these years

By the middle of 2002, HP was offering a loaner program to companies which were migrating away from their HP 3000s. For a term of up to six months, HP ships a second server to any site making its transition. Eligible replacement servers now include Integrity or PA-RISC HP-UX systems, as well as HP's Proliant Windows and Linux servers.

That program is still in service after more than five years, now in the sixth year of the 3000 Transition era.  Jennie Hou, HP's business manager for the 3000, said the vendor's migration offerings are "very consistent" over these years.

HP still provides "no-cost training" for its target operating environments, using a Web-based model. The vendor offers rebates on storage purchases related to a migration, too. Now a new Neoview solution is part of HP's alternatives.

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HP promises open source porting paper

Porting open source software is a task in the future for many a homesteading 3000 customer. When HP expanded the range of 3000 abilities, the vendor's labs included several open source solutions such as the Apache Web server, DNS and bind nameservers, standardized FTP, and perhaps the most useful of all, Samba file and printer sharing.

Samba has been working in the 3000 community for a long time. The software's roots lie in an after-hours effort to get Samba working with MPE/iX. Lars Appel, who at the time in the 1990s was an HP support engineer in Germany, ported the open source code to give the 3000 a better link with other enterprise servers and Windows desktops on a network. Eventually HP blessed Samba with full support on the 3000.

At the recent HP Technology Forum, the new HP liaison to OpenMPE Jeff Bandle announced that a Samba porting paper will be released to the community during 2007. HP 3000 business manager Jennie Hou says the document — to be available from the HP Jazz Web site for the 3000 — dovetails with the new Samba/iX release.

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Helpful programs, still locked away

No, we're not referring to the Contributed Software Library, a community asset still available after the 2005 Interex shutdown. More helpful programs are from HP, written for use by the vendor's SE support staff. Some time ago HP said it would be evaluating the release of these diagnostics to the 3000 community.

The effort involves unlocking these programs, which are bundled inside of MPE/iX. HP would have to remove the passwords to give customers and third-party support firms access to these tools. And it appears that the latter group is holding up the diagnostics release. As examples of a passworded utility, some portions of cstm require a password, according to independent support providers, and some offline tools require a password.

HP uses these diagnostics — well, some of them — on HP-UX systems. The vendor has no plans to terminate its HP-UX support, and so competes with the third parties. You get the picture.

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Critical LFDS patch readies for release

HP will release crucial repairs to the 3000's database soon, a patch that disables the IMAGE/SQL Large File function for >4GB datasets (LFDS). Both Craig Fairchild and 3000 business manager Jennie Hou report that the patch should soon be cleared for General Release. The GR status means that any HP 3000 customer will be able to download and use the patch, no matter which firm provides their 3000 support.

Regardless of whether a 3000 is being migrated in the next year or more, or working as a homesteading system, this patch is a must-load for 3000 users.

The Large File option has corrupted some databases, leading HP to engineer a way to turn it off permanently and protect 3000-hosted data. HP created LFDS as a follow on to Jumbo datasets, but the implementation in two versions of LFDS still permitted corruption under select circumstances. In the meantime, the 3000 community, full of system managers with limited IMAGE ability, has been forced to execute some tedious repairs using Adager's software and expertise.

HP has stepped up to shoulder its duty of data protection with this patch, first released to beta-testing in November of last year. At 10 months of test time, the software will make it into GR status ahead of many others which HP has created. Hou said HP will announce will patch TIXMXY4 goes GR.

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How to make IDE drives serve your 3000

Whether you are managing a migration shop, and keeping 3000 costs down until shutdown, or homesteading independently and indefinitely, HP 3000 guru Stan Sieler has discovered a process to make cheap IDE drives work with HP 3000 servers.

These drives come as cheap as $99 new, a tiny fraction of the price of HP-certified storage devices for the HP 3000. But as the community has debated in the past, HP's standards ensure greater reliability, but at a increased cost per gigabyte that can be hard to justify in a Transition world.

The key to Sieler's connection between SCSI ports on the 3000 and IDE is the Acard AEC-7720U Ultra SCSI-to-IDE Bridge, a device that Sieler bought on eBay for $30 plus shipping. The Acard has been on the market for at least four years; more information is available at the company's Web site.

Sieler reported, "I installed a Maxtor 120 GB IDE disk drive (probably 3 to 5 years old) on an HP 3000/918."

I took the Maxtor drive, plugged in the SCSI/IDE adapter,  selected a SCSI ID (I probably could have made it cable select, but I didn’t have the time), put the combo into a spare external  drive box, plugged in the SCSI cable and a power cable (it was a special power cable that splits the normal plower into two connectors, the normal (crappy) connector that I hate, and a smaller connector to power the adapter.

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Rare recommended 3000 patch

HP peppers my e-mail in-box with patch notices, but nearly all of the recommendations relate to HP-UX servers. Most often, the things that cross my limited attention span are HP releases like critical software updates to close down Unix breaches, or the latest patches to block hacks on fundamental tools like FTP, DNS and other keystones. But last week included a rare notice of a needed HP 3000 patch.

The situation on HP 3000 patches in general draws little water these days. As many 3000 managers and owners know by now, more than 80 of HP's patches, for MPE/iX versions ranging from 6.5 through 7.5, remain in beta test. The HP automated notice of last Friday announced one of the few patches that's escaped beta test status and moved into general release.

Patch DTCGDB8A  for MPE/iX 7.0 corrects problems with host downloads for DTCs using the A.14.40.E00 firmware. The HP patch ID page reports that this patch doesn't replace another, and goes on to list a dozen Service Requests (SRs) that the patch repairs. HP notes that the patch is non-critical, though, unlike the security repair patches from the HP-UX labs.

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Strength in numbers for 3000 conferences?

Even as the Greater Houston RUG is rescheduling its 2007 conference — the new dates are March 14-15, 2008 — the group might be tilling an bigger plot for a comprehensive HP 3000 gathering. While the first MPE/iX International Conference now gets six extra months to bloom, another healthy 3000 plant might put down roots on that same March weekend outside of Houston.

Ed Stein of the CAMUS user group, a hotbed of HP 3000 ERP users, checked in to report on a healthy conference a few weeks ago for his group. Stein, a CAMUS board member, said that CAMUS is thinking of an even bigger HP 3000 event for next year — by combining the CAMUS meeting with the MPE/iX conference.

Our CAMUS conference went pretty well last month. Our board of directors decided to keep CAMUS going and to have another conference next year, and probably also in 2009. One idea that we had was to hold our conference in Houston alongside your conference, given that most of our membership is HP 3000. Houston is also a good central location for our members and is accessible by most airlines.

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