Your next Unix platform?
Small support shops fill big shoes

Do 3000 people score 5 on openness?

More than five years ago, debates still raged over which desktop environment was best for business. HP 3000 pros and veterans discussed the subject at length on the 3000-L mailing list. Everybody agreed that the Mac was a minority choice; many of these pros overlooked the fact that the HP 3000 was a minority choice, too. The system never cracked 70,000 units sold. Today's VMS and AS/400 communities still count more than 300,000 each.

Air But Mac vs. PC must have become less of a technical argument, because a growing number of the most seasoned 3000 developers and management experts now use Macs. I spent some time with a few of them during my MacWorld trip this week. Many others have adopted the Mac as their desktop of choice, if not switching altogether.

You might be surprised at this list of users. Alfredo Rego and Rene Woc of Adager. Former SIGSysman chairman of 10 years Scott Hirsh. Java on HP 3000 guru Mike Yawn. IMAGE database creator Fred White. 3000 consultant, developer and aide to backup vendors Bruce Hobbs. Father of the HP 3000 open source revolution Mark Klein, who's the former lab director for Orbit Software. Michael Casteel, who wrote the Unison Maestro job scheduler (as well as a Solitaire program for Macs.)

I'm sometimes surprised at who I find booting up with an Apple logo on their screen after decades of HP 3000 use, coupled with Windows experience. Pleasantly surprised, because like all of those above, I boot that way, using a Unix that's had its thorns pulled. A Mac chooser is what a branding company calls "a customer with Openness 5," according to a Computerworld article. I think openness goes right alongside using HP 3000s. Your community still thinks different — even when it is migrating.

It might all sound like hooey to our community members, especially they can quote chapter and verse about how Apple has let them down before in the IT enterprise, or their Windows wizardry is beyond compare. But choosing to use a Mac, on a desktop or otherwise, shows an open mind, according to Mindset Media.

People who prefer Apple’s Macintosh computers over PCs have long been thought to be on the artsy, hip end of the personality spectrum -- and now a study proves that “Mac people” indeed are more liberal and open-minded than average folks.

According to Mindset Media, people who purchase Macs fall into what the branding company calls the “Openness 5” personality category -- which means they are more liberal, less modest and more assured of their own superiority than the population at large.

Just a few years back that all would equate to "arrogant" in the minds of the Windows advocate. The branding even suggests getting into the Mac world is more than fleeing the complexity of Windows.

So-called Openness 5 types tend to seek rich, varied and novel experiences, according to the company, and believe that imagination and intellectual curiosity are as important to life as more rational or pragmatic endeavors. They also are receptive to their own inner feelings and may experience life with more emotional intensity.

But the Mac also shows evidence of embracing Openness 1-4. Windows has turned up running on Macs in darn good emulations from the likes of VMWare and others. And then Vista surfaced, which IT shops have rejected so roundly that InfoWorld is cooking up a "Save XP" campaign.

We weren't surprised to learn that Microsoft won't be selling XP by the middle of this year. That's business as usual in IT. But the move is also a rude bum's rush, according to the weekly trade magazine that's often been a bastion of Windows.

Today, January 14, we’re formally introducing the Save Windows XP petition. That’s right, with Microsoft saying it will stop both OEM and shrink-wrapped sales of the OS come June 30, the clock is ticking. But we know lots of you want to keep XP alive, to not be forced to upgrade to the less-than-stellar Vista, if I may be euphemistic. “Millions of us have grown comfortable with XP and don't see a need to change to Vista. It's like having a comfortable apartment that you've enjoyed coming home to for years, only to get an eviction notice," Randall Kennedy explains.

You can sign the petition at

There's no need to start a religious war over this choice. Switching is a personal matter, but at the MacWorld's IT Conference, experts who administer the OS on thousands of their organizations' desktops believe they have the upper hand on support, user interface and even interoperability, now that Vista has galvanized the buy-new-peripherals marketplace.

Vista, says one reviewer for InfoWorld, is like a Boy Scout on espresso beans, reminding you of everything you're doing. The Mac is more like a butler, staying out of your way until you need help.

It's silly to believe that the tide will turn in the marketplace and Mac OS X will ever come close to the 90 percent market share Windows counts upon. "What does it matter whether you live in a large city or a small town? The real life is within."

Napping Your 3000 community is becoming a small town, but not anywhere near as fast as HP or the experts predicted. I was told in 2002 by a marketing staffer at Interex that the NewsWire "had better get a new business model" instead of covering the 3000. That person was not even among the Interex staff finding new jobs when the user group melted down in 2005.

To be sure, the Mac community is rabid and odd in some places, but developers now offer solutions for both Windows and Mac. Even the Pzziz power-napping software, used at Google and other places, has both Mac and Windows versions. Can I say my best 20 minutes of the MacWorld show was spent napping right down on the expo area with 10,000 users all around me? (Oops, I guess I just did. Insert your own joke here, if you want.)

Migrating on your own schedule, or choosing a cross-environment desktop and server solution, those show open mindedness. I won't try to assign a number to this quality, but for 23 years I've seen open in ample supply among 3000 users.