After many months of communicating with the 3000 community, I am sure there are many homesteading customers who no longer have IT staff, so there are no belts or suspenders holding up their HP 3000 support. (3000 types were called "belt and suspender" pros because they took no chances at all, and learned to build redundent systems.) MB Foster's Birket Foster calls this “flight attendants flying the plane,” and it’s risky as all get-out. Get help, get trained, get advice. Don’t fly solo.
“Migrating right now keeps things under control” is somewhat optimistic, from what I hear. It’s not unusual to embrace a packaged app as a replacement, then to find a year or so later it cannot preserve a set of business rules. Or worse, like out in Socorro County, New Mexico, where the vendor is more than a year overdue on the municipal application replacement. Worst of all, some come to the realization that a promised replacement app is vaporware.
Then there’s the PSSI 911 software application, running a pretty crucial MPE/iX program in some cities. If the 3000 is still running well, and since PSSI has not turned off customer support, it’s risky to switch over to something else — and maybe have a 911 dispatch call get dropped. Use your own imagination about what kind of trouble sparks a 911 call, and be sure to leave out the cat-in-a-tree jokes.
A bleak future for all homesteaders is one viewpoint, and I have mine. Everybody leaves this platform eventually, but the same is likely to be said about OpenVMS and HP-UX. The level of a homesteader’s support, availability of hardware and parts, and a customer’s internal 3000 skills and experience determines whatever level of bleak.
Some of these companies have no way to move other than offering themselves up to be acquired by a competitor or parent company, who will then throw bodies and money at the migration which the 3000 company couldn’t afford.
The other option is that this recession lifts in a torrent of commerce. We wish for that kind of better tomorrow, and soon. In the meantime, things are slowing down out there in the 3000 transition, rather than winding down — with plenty of work still to be completed.