HP and its users heat up Vegas again
HP to release more 3000 patches

Some surprises in keynote show

And yes, I do mean show. A top-notch cover band played as several thousand attendees streamed into the biggest ballroom of the South Convention hall this morning, all to hear HP Executive VP Ann Livermore deliver a pledge to support HP-UX as long as customers need the environment.

Livermore handled the segment of the keynote troika originally scheduled for HP CEO Mark Hurd, who had more important appointments than delivering a complete keynote address. (As a joke, one of many moments of humor in the morning, HP then played a short video of Hurd pounding away on a video poker machine as one of his more important appointments.)

Whatever the reason for the limited CEO appearance — he weighed in ever-so-lightly on the EDS acquisition and the HP's commitment to Intel's Itanium/Integrity model line — Livermore elaborated on HP CIO Randy Mott's tour of the consolidation of HP's internal IT operations. One brief photo showed a forest of circa-1995 servers from a wide range of vendors at an HP datacenter. Only one HP 3000 could be seen. Then every server got labeled in PowerPoint magic with the replacement system which HP moved in.

As for the future of HP-UX, popular enterprise platform for 3000 app providers who migrate the community's users, Livermore used language just as deliberate as then-CEO Carly Fiorina's promise to 3000 customers in the summer of 2001.

About a half dozen videotaped questions were shown on massive screen, the queries taped the previous night at a lavish opening of the Forum's Expo. The HP-UX question "was asked a lot" on that night, and Livermore addressed it first.

"We want to be sure that you understand that HP-UX is a business that HP loves," she said. "It's a business HP is investing in. I want it to be clear that you should not be worried about HP's commitment to HP-UX." She noted that HP is doing $10 billion a year in HP-UX business with customers, but there was no mention made of HP-UX business growth. The 3000 was doing nowhere near $10 billion in HP business when it was dropped from HP's product line. But growth of 3000 business was a major element in HP's exit of the community.

Another element of some surprise at the keynote was the appearance of Paul Otellini, CEO of Intel. The leader of the company which designs and builds the Itanium line of processors was also on hand to assure customers about Intel's commitment to the only current processor which runs HP-UX. (HP announced the end of life of its PA-RISC HP-UX servers earlier this year, with 2009 final sales date.) As the fate of Itanium goes, so goes the future of HP's Unix. Otellini shared the stage with Hurd for a few minutes, then the HP CEO went on to mention the EDS acquistion — but with few details on a deal still moving through regulatory approval.