HP told the world it would remain in the 3000 business an extra couple of years in an announcement last week. All of the focus was on the obvious 3000 business of support contracts, with emphasis on what HP won't do anymore: create patches. But in the process of learning what the vendor continues to do, through 2010, I stumbled on a product list.
These are HP 3000 products still for sale from Hewlett-Packard. Yes, software, much of it well-proven in production around the world.
The HP e3000 Web site has some twists and turns to it these days, but tucked away in a cozy corner is a list of what MPE/iX products the vendor will support until 2010. Turns out this list is two-thirds full of software products you can buy from HP during the next three years. Thirty-two of them, to be exact.
And while HP may sell precious few of these products through 2010, it hasn't turned away from any potential revenues from the 3000 community. (We've even heard of a brand-new HP 3000 customer going online this year in the education sector. Perhaps they will need a few of these HP products.)
We are not talking about legendary software on this product list, unless you count IMAGE/SQL, which arrives with every HP 3000 operating system. But you can purchase the HP COBOL II compiler, which is still the one most compatible with 3000 database intrinsics. (Acucorp's AcuCOBOL is a close second, and still sold for MPE/iX by Micro Focus, as well as integrated with the Micro Focus extend product suite.)
But back to the HP product point. You would think that almost five years after Hewlett-Packard made its announcement about the end of its 3000 business, the corporate price list would be clear of things like RPG, Transact, X.25/iX and Inform/V.
That last item is a fundamental IMAGE report tool, one step up from the free QUERY. Is it seasoned? It has the /V in its name because it was created for the 1980s-generation MPE V operating system — the OS that powered the 3000 Classic line. Inform V last got documentation updates for MPE/iX, 5.0.
So while lots of these products are long in the tooth, they are not worthless to HP. That makes them a little bit like your HP 3000s, tools with overlooked value. The value is in the eyes of the owner, like a rare coin or a abstract painting. Just because HP has halted the sale of chestnuts SNA/iX for Token Ring, well, that doesn't mean there's nothing left on the vendor's shelves. Here's what's for sale:
BRW/iX Report Writer
Business Basic/iX Compiler
HA Cluster/iX For Primary Systems
HA Cluster/iX For Secondary Systems
NS Point-to-Point 3000/iX Network Link
RJE Remote Job Entry/iX
Software Revision Controller
Sys. Dict. COBOL Definition Extractor/iX
TurboStore/iX Ii & TurboStore 7x24