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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.

The rare status of MPE patch notices is both good news and bad for customers. On the one hand, MPE/iX is so stable by now and so obscure in its architecture that the everyday band-aids common to Unix management are unheard of in 3000 management.

But 3000 customers may want more of these notices to surface soon. Since we last counted in June, the list of beta-test-frozen patches has shrunk by only one DTC patch. This leaves dozens out there, including some major pieces of HP engineering such as the "Disallow LargeFile Datasets on [IMAGE] C.10.xx as there are problems in the implementation," known as TIXMXW7A when HP unveiled it last fall. We're waiting for word from HP on when that software, which disables the ill-conceived LargeFile feature, will go General Release.

Just a pair of favorable reports on a patch, issued by HP Support customers, are all that's needed to spring a patch from Patch Jail. While HP 3000s continue to work, repairs like these could maintain the system's stable legend — a reputation so strong that an MPE/iX patch notice is a rare thing.