Applied Technologies talk spotlights open source
A future bleak for homesteading?

To-morrow may not be moving day

NewsWire Editorial

First of two parts

   Now that it's crept into the second week of June, all of the US Presidential primary campaigns are decided. No matter who Americans will support in the fall, it’s clear the top issue for our voters is the economy in the US. (It’s no better overseas.) When I pull my minivan away from the pump, having spent my 65 bucks on a fill-up, I cannot drive more than 400 miles before I spend again.

    There’s a recession roiling out there, driven in part by those oil prices. I see signs and reports the recession is having an impact on the outlook for homesteading versus migration. If revenues are down for a company, it’s got to cut back on spending. A delay in a migration strategy is something like not driving so much. You combine trips, ride-share with friends. Your life changes and so do your plans for the future, your next car. You shop for a winner in fuel economy. If you drive an efficient car, you hang onto it longer if you cannot afford a new car payment.

    My partner Abby Lentz and I invested in a new car payment in November, but we moved across to a better-outfitted model, more efficient and at about the same price as our last one. We love the new car (it fits three bikes nicely, plus camping gear) and manage the payments okay. Our last van had become a monthly service bill we couldn’t predict.

   Our new car might represent a new computer environment for the 3000 user. An assured expense, rather than uncertain needs that cost lord knows what. These new car analogies break down quick, since trading to a new car is dead simple compared to most migrations. (Among the dead-simple migrations we hear about are the Eloquence database and Speedware swaps, or tools that move across like Suprtool and MB Foster’s suite. They all make a point of acting like an HP 3000.)

You will hear, from many sources, that homesteading for the long term is bleak. You will hear that only migration gives you a measure of control for your company’s enterprise tomorrows. You will hear the majority of the 3000 community is migrating or already has finished.

    We hear different. Nobody can ever measure a majority of a customer base which no one can contact top to bottom. Not even HP, which still gets in front of customers from time to time to spread what I’d call a favorite fable. HP’s liked the idea of most of its 3000 customers moving away, liked it since 2002. Remember then, when 80 percent of you were going to be migrated in four years? We heard that from the HP 3000 General Manager — back where there was an HP 3000 GM — the same person who decided the 3000 customer was at risk of using a declining ecosystem.

   HP is among the leading species in that decline. Your app supplier might have done a belly-up. Your tool provider might have lost interest in your 3000. But most often, we see evidence that HP’s impact and efforts for the 3000 are being curtailed, and swiftly.

   Migration from a 3000 that’s been ignored can be extra difficult. The ignorance is without malice. With an economy stumbling now, the accepted wisdom makes 3000 spending look like a risk. Unearthing what makes the 3000 reliable, to try to migrate it, takes special skills. One migration advisor calls himself a “Computer Paleontologist.” Clever, accurate, but wrapped up in one viewpoint. And not the only view.

   I disagree about the long term risk and relative folly of homesteading for the longer term, or having no migration plan whatsoever. Specifics on migration are missing from some customers who say they’re migrating. People say they are migrating but then do little to nothing. I get this report from both The Support Group and MB Foster, who do their own search for anthropological sites of the 3000 community. Foster is a HP Platinum migration partner, and The Support Group migrates customers, too. That’s a dual viewpoint.

   More than once they’ve found a system manager — spending most of the time to keep a Windows or Unix installation running — say they wondered what that 3000 was doing in their shop. Things like “we always thought that thing in the closet was important. It runs the applications we rely on most. We’re glad to find out what it is.” I heard this just last week from Jeff Kubler, a 3000 advisor in our Q&A interview. He works in migration support, too.