The fall months brought far more than a change in weather and the colors of leaves. This season has served up many a transition for your community and the computer world as a whole, but none was so profound as the 3000’s Extra Two Years.
I was glad to have this online vehicle to keep up with the news all through October and into November. Not a bit of irony escaped me as I noted HP’s announcement date for a critical data corruption patch: Oct. 31, the day celebrated as a Worldwide Wake for the 3000 four years ago, the last day HP sold the system.
So now 48 months have passed, a full year of them beyond HP’s first “we’re getting out” date, and the community remains on the system in large numbers. About a third are already departed from your community, their migrations or replacements or re-hosting complete. But the rest of the user base needed those critical patches, those that HP announced primarily over the Web on newsgroups, Web sites and mailing lists. HP has sent word by way of the postal system, too. Quaint but comprehensive.
HP gave the NewsWire a cordial pre-announcement access to both news items. A full week in advance of the Mature Product Support announcement, I got a thorough briefing and a good while to ask questions. The patch releases were revealed to me just two hours before the rest of the world learned. Afterward, I got to pretend I was a newspaper reporter once again, working with a 90-minute deadline.
The best part was refreshing the HP Web page, minute by minute, on Oct. 31 to see when we could uncork our own coverage up on the blog, staying in tandem with HP's schedule. On that same afternoon we sent more than 2,000 e-mails to announce the story, a total maybe higher than the 3000 newsgroup and OpenMPE readership.
Not that I’d want to boast about all of our handling of the excitement. In a few days after HP’s critical patch announcement, I’d stumbled on the assumption that these binary-level patches had been less tested than the fully-integrated repairs HP usually General Releases. A friendly HP e-mail netted an hour of work to fix the errant stories, which were only posted to the blog on the prior day. Not a lot of community scrutiny surfaced over HP’s patches, but when Alfredo Rego and Stan Sieler pose queries, everybody in the community should listen up.
The news of the Mature Product Support came with an assurance that no patches will be developed after December 31, 2008. So your risk of running an HP 3000 will increase, HP figures. A month after the support extension, I asked if this kind of corruption patch, in binary form, would be among the kind that HP won’t develop during 2009. Nope. You can still expect this kind of critical repair, even during the “Without Sustaining Engineering (patches)” era of the Transition.
Those questions for both announcements, well, I got to ask them old-school over the telephone. Quaint, but comprehensive procedures. There has never been a better time to be a business and technology journalist, even with access drying up to companies' employees, officials and execs. Talk it up over the phone, add e-mail polish and review, then publish rapid over the Web. Information has never flowed faster here.