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September 2008

COBOL still stands in center ring

The most prevalent language on the HP 3000 is among the oldest in computing. But COBOL is still the glue that holds together the world's business computing. A language conceived in the 1960s remains the most often used tool for applications built in the 1980s, tested in the 1990s and carried through Y2K — and still out-executing anything else.

MicroFocus touted this fact this week when the company announced a milestone in its academic adoption program for the language. The firm's Academic ConnecTIONs (ACTION) program has surpassed 50 US academic institution members. The ACTION program focuses on COBOL and core IT skills training and provides member universities with free access to the latest technology and teaching tools for enterprise application development.

Micro Focus never released a version of its language tools for the HP 3000. But the company acquired Acucorp, makers of the AcuCOBOL GT development suite. Acucorp had begun to offer an enhanced COBOL environment for MPE/iX when HP announced its pullout from the HP 3000 marketplace.

No matter. COBOL applications continue to perform in the center ring of the IT circus, even as languages like Java and Ruby steal the sideshow attention. Putting COBOL into schools gives the center-pole of the business tent a chance to prop up careers of IT pros from a new generation. How popular does COBOL remain? Micro Focus reminds us that every day, businesses execute 200 times as many COBOL transaction than Google searches.

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Choose Windows, or Unix, or both

Migrating 3000 sites search for serious reasons to adopt a particular new platform. The solutions often revolve around an application, rather than choosing an operating environment. We examine this question often in our community, in part because the operating environment is what always set the HP 3000 apart, distinguished a company's initial enterprise choice.

But for a company that's moving its application, instead of trying to replace it, the environment itself becomes the major deciding point. Customers examine available expertise and existing environments in allied operations. Some of them recall a vendor's end-game when beginning another path toward enterprise excellence.

Windows is the leading choice of migrating sites, while others are picking up on Linux as a foundation for a migrated application. Paul Edwards, who worked for years until just recently on a customer's 3000 migration in the Atlanta area, said costs and history led the customer away from HP's Unix.

"[My customer] and others I know about choose Windows or Linux over HP-UX because of the lower cost of software and hardware, plus the friendly user interface," he said. "There is still a lot of animosity against HP for the way they badly bungled the end of the HP 3000 sales and support. Plus, there are a lot more applications on these platforms to choose from for the SMB HP 3000 user community."

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Linking Up to the Community

The community count is nearing 70 experts and veterans at the Linked In group that covers HP 3000 expertise and background. Some of the members go back to the fundamental days of the MPE/iX environment with their experience, while others are telling members in the free and open group about migration choices.

While Nancy Missildine joined up, she checked in with stories of integrating and testing MPE/XL 20 years ago at HP. Meanwhile Mark Ranft has been reporting on choices being made by his Pro 3k consultancy to move airline transaction processor Navitaire off a farm of more than 30 HP 3000s, carefully and with precision.

Asked why Windows and .NET is a suitable replacement for these MPE/iX operations that serve major airlines, Ranft said that Windows, like MPE or Linux or HP-UX, is "just a tool. The enterprise architect must understand the strengths and the weaknesses of the platform and design the application around them. Sometimes this may mean you have large pools of mid-tier systems/application servers to make up for the lack of resiliency in the operating system. This could be compared to using the RAID concept for disk arrays. However, I fear that most enterprises will find the licenses, care and feeding of the numerous mid-term systems needed is far from being inexpensive. Keep in mind that MPE was never exactly cheap."

Joining Linked In — a social network free of charge and important enough to warrant the Connect user group's participation — is as simple as browsing to its opening page. Once you're signed on, look for the "HP 3000 Community" group on the site and make a quick request to join. Then pose a question to the experts, or share what you've learned by answering those already online.

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HP powers new database machine

HP announced a new database solution for enterprise customers yesterday, a product co-created with Oracle called the HP Oracle Database Machine. The product marries a Linux version of Oracle with a rack of HP ProLiant servers, along with HP-branded storage.

Oracle said it announced the product in a keynote before more than 40,000 users at the Oracle OpenWorld conference. The Oracle press release didn't mention the ProLiant by name, calling the servers the HP Oracle Database Server. But both hardware and storage servers are actually eight ProLiant DL180 G5 servers and 14 DL360 servers.

HP's press release on the product, a bundle designed for customers who need "extreme performance data warehouses," touted the Oracle Exadata storage part of the solution, for which HP is the exclusive supplier. HP's language says that the product combo of HP hardware and Oracle will be sold by Oracle, with software support coming from that vendor and hardware installation and supporting coming from HP.

A database machine of another variety was once sold by Hewlett-Packard, although the company never used that term in a product name. The HP 3000 made its breakthrough as the engine driving the IMAGE database beginning in 1976, when the company first grouped IMAGE and the HP 3000 as a package. History was on HP's mind during yesterday's announcement, too. The vendor noted that the ProLiant servers have 15 years of industry service, so long as you count early versions of Compaq products installed at places like General Motors during the 1990s.

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Programming Made Easier

Usingcover Historic facts can expire, their sell-by dates causing what we know to become untrue. Take the history of the HP 3000's advances. In 2000, HP's pledge to take MPE/iX onto the Itanium architecture was already history, since the vendor made the promise several years earlier. Then in late 2001, well, that history became invalid, and to some customers, simply untrue. But some artifacts of history hold facts that remain true no matter what their date, especially if you own or operate a 3000 of any vintage.

Durable truth is hard to come by in the computer industry. So much is paved over every year that knowledge becomes arcane quickly in the name of advances. But consistency is also a value worth preserving, and so a good share of the 3000 community is still using the system HP built, then dropped from its 21st Century sales plans.

Hpterminals That constant use is what makes a recent addition to our archives more than a relic. Today we received a copy of the Using The HP 3000 "an introduction to interactive programming," circa early 1979. (Thanks to Roger Smith, IS Director of Tulare County Office of Education, for the addition; click on any photo here for a larger version.) In that springtime of 1979, the HP 3000 had two means of interactive access: the 2645A terminal and a hardcopy-only cousin, the 2635. But the commands from that MPE III version of the OS still run today, nearly 30 years later.

That's more than historic. It borders on legendary — but it's also why HP had to admit the 3000 business was too big for it to maintain. Too large in time-span, anyway.

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How many 3000s, how long: why care?

I have answered one question over and over during the 24 years I've covered the HP 3000 marketplace: How many HP 3000s are out there? The answer has varied from decade to decade, but the query has also changed, too. The tone of the question has gone from proud (the 80s) to curious (the 90s), to dismissive (2002-2004) and more recently, hopeful.

David Evans Jr., Chief Systems Security Officer at the San Bernadino schools' Superintendent's Office, asked the question again last week, and with good reason from a 3000 shop making its migration. I answered,

Steve Cooper of Allegro, who's been in the biz forever, said at this summer's Computer History Museum symposium that he thought a minimum of 10,000 systems are now in use, perhaps up to 20,000. At its peak, the installed base was at least 100,000 — that point being before Windows had released a truly-working version.

I agree with both of his numbers and defer to his perspective, since I've only been in the market since 1984. Steve pre-dates me by 10 years.

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What a day to buy stock

Amid the muck of today's financial meltdown on Wall Street, Hewlett-Packard reached into its pockets to inject more confidence into its share prices. The company said it will spend an extra $8 billion on share repurchasing, a tactic that ensures a stock cannot go into free fall in conditions like those of the past seven days.

HP's flex of its financial muscle is a modest one, but a continuation of an earlier pledge to buy up itself. The figure pales compared to the Microsoft announcement of today: The maker of Windows and Jerry Seinfeld-Bill Gates commercials said it will repurchase $40 billion in stock. That Microsoft buyback, just like the one from HP (and Nike) will come in the form of cash, not borrowing. You can't do that unless you're earning healthy profits.

Not all of the US economy is in tatters, despite what trouble is being trumpeted today. HP and Microsoft and Nike still run operations which supply product that the world still demands, product which can't be easily swapped in some shadowy back-door schemes like debt paper or mortgage hedges.

Of course, the HP-Microsoft $48 billion would hardly even finance the interest on the $700 billion blank check the US Treasurer Henry Paulson demanded over the weekend. And that demand is borrowing, not a cash buyback. A Wall Street Journal article on today's buybacks called the moves "A Display of Strength." HP just wants to ensure its market capitalization won't take a pounding while the howling of the public and demands from Congress ensue over that blank check.

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Managing US easier than HP?

If you're feeling a little disconnected from the US Presidential campaign, good news: A former HP CEO has made it more interesting for you, the HP 3000 customer who has seen their system sent to the exits by that very same CEO's management.

Carlycampaign Of course, we're talking about Carly Fiorina, the only woman on earth who can be called a former CEO of HP. Naturally enough, her name surfaced during her campaigning for Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin. In what may first look like a joke at Palin's expense, the TV network Current TV said in its comedy show Campaign Update that Fiorina stepped out to claim nobody running for either party is sharp enough to run HP. Because it's so hard, she explained.

The layoff — oops, restructuring — of about 25,000 employees won't make running Hewlett-Packard any easier in the near term, now that EDS is a part of HP. But the acquisition of a $44 billion company fulfills one of Fiorina's dreams: To become a services provider on par with IBM, or better. Although she couldn't get the HP board to swallow up PriceWaterhouseCooper, her successor served up EDS instead. Like a Lance Armstrong of the Fortune 50, though, Fiorina isn't riding off into the sunset, instead popping up on TVs and comedy routines this week. Have a look at the last 45 seconds of the network's latest "Campaign Update" to watch a lighter look at the high-flying CEO's latest.

Fiorina was never appreciated for her candor while HP's CEO, and her comment put her in the McCain doghouse. She was booked for several TV interviews over the next few days, including one on CNN. Those interviews have been canceled.

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How 45 grand can create HP rogues

HP 3000 owners want to honor license agreements, but the current state of the 3000 community can make pirates of anyone with a corporate mandate to keep relying on the system. For some customers, HP's two-year-old upgrade pricing on beefing up 3000 systems — the Right To Use license fees — might be a roadblock, something to encourage off-the-books modifications to HP 3000s.

That RTU cost is an unfortunate fact of life for a 3000 customer who cannot afford to migrate, either today or anytime soon. But there's even more cost, also in the realm of usury, which a 3000 homesteader must weather — or navigate around. Creating a licensed new system as a hot spare in a disaster recovery site, complete with third party licenses to match a production box, will trigger a license fee from Cognos (for PowerHouse). The Cognos cost can be as high as $45,000 for a low-end 9x7 server.

That's the opening bid from Cognos, anyway. There's been a court of corporate appeal, as it were, inside the Cognos (now IBM) management. Charlie Maloney has taken ownership of these kinds of negotiations, sometimes injecting a dose of reality into a vendor price list that seems frozen in 1999. But if there's 45 grand in the way of a hot spare, customers who lose in the court of appeal will do their jobs to keep a 3000 always available. That's the fork in the road where a customer enters rogue status, duplicating HP model strings to enable their spare system to be a hot, plug-and-go 3000.

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HP returns to the OS business?

A pair of reports in the IT blogosphere talk about Hewlett-Packard returning to the operating environment creation workbench. InfoWorld has a report which comments on a BusinessWeek article, both outlining an HP project to build a desktop OS which doesn't require Windows.

Linux will form the core of this HP project, which the vendor has dismissed as being a minor effort. For sure, HP sells millions of units of laptops, and fewer desktops, all shipping with Windows Vista, or downgraded to Windows XP. The HP project won't change much of the percentages. But it might point the way to a future strategy.

The BusinessWeek story suggests the HP effort is based upon the failure of Vista and Windows receding mindshare. Descriptions like "bloated" crop up in the article about Vista and Windows. It recalls the talk about NT's enterprise unreliability while HP was pushing HP-UX back in the 1990s. Hewlett-Packard got the Windows religion long after its rivals Compaq, Dell and IBM. Creating an environment of its own for desktops, based on universal services from Linux, almost recalls the Hewlett-Packard which built and fortified an OS like MPE/iX.

One HP 3000 veteran in the vendor community said HP's efforts would be better spent on porting HP-UX to an industry-standard architecture. Duane Percox of QSS, which is using both HP-UX and Linux in its migration strategies, said, "I would be more interested to hear them quietly assembling a group of engineers to get HP-UX to run on the Intel/AMD true commodity server CPU (Xeon/Opteron) and finally admit itanium is a bust."

For years now, HP has said that HP-UX is the enterprise environment it will continue to bolster with its own development. (And if a customer asks about OpenVMS, HP will add, 'Oh yeah. That one, too.') But the new project seems to say that Windows' current state of the art leaves something to be desired in the enterprise IT environment.

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HP announces largest layoff via EDS

Last night's analyst briefing about the acquisition of EDS gave HP a chance to raise a sweat from the largest number of its workers in the company's history. Hewlett-Packard will lay off almost 25,000 employees as a result of the merger with EDS, the services giant which the company bought this year for more than $13 billion.

That's a massive number of resumes about to float into the world. Compare Apple's total workforce, including retail, at 22,000. Or Google's staff at 20,000. The number of layoffs exceeded analyst expectations. HP shares rose 5 percent on the news, even though the company said it will take a $1.7 billion charge for Q4 to meet expenses for the acquisition.

While your vendor was quick to point out that about half of those layoffs would be replaced with new jobs over the next three years, the numbers set records no matter how they are parceled out. The EDS deal added 80 percent more staff to the HP payrolls, jobs which analysts have said are too heavily based in the US.

Those market analysts reacted favorably to news that about 8 percent of the new HP combined workforce would be looking for work soon. Head count today stands at more than 320,000. HP used the word "restructuring" to define the strategy, a phrase which has already meant layoffs this year in the once-booming Imaging and Printing group.

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Ike bypasses HP's datacenters

Datacenter HP delivered a lot of detail about its new corporate datacenters when HP CTO Randy Mott spoke at this summer's HP Technology Forum. From a high of more than 80 datacenters worldwide, HP has consolidated to six. But two were in the predicted path of Hurricane Ike this weekend, a storm which made landfall with 110 MPH winds east of Galveston.

The datacenters in Texas sit in Austin, 150 miles from the Gulf Coast, and in Houston, many miles closer to that landfall. At one point Friday the predicted path of the storm would have carried Ike across both centers. In a bit of luck for Texas HP operations, the hurricane swirled its most deadly eastern wall outside of the HP datacenter's reach in Houston.

Here in Austin, we didn't even get rain from the storm. HP's corporate media relations spokeswoman Emma McCulloch gave a brief confirmation that the hurricane had no impact on HP's Texas data processing. "HP Data Centers continue to operate normally, and no issues have been reported," she said. When we asked where the power is coming from to operate the facility, she added, "We are providing no further details."

The datacenters do contain a few HP 3000 servers, even after six years of HP's migration away from the server for its own IT operations. But stories of HP 3000s running in flood waters are already common, so long as the power survives. But it has not in the Houston area.

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3000 instruction survives in novice articles

Filesfig1 Long before HP decided to end its HP 3000 business, Hewlett-Packard wanted to teach the world how to use the system. One leading instructor wrote two dozen articles on the nuances of the MPE/iX system. George Stachnik created The HP3000 — For Complete Novices, a series first published in Interact magazine.

Interact is long gone, a casualty of the Interex bankruptcy three years ago. But 3000 users rave over these articles, which Stachnik wrote for HP and the Interact editors. He's been generous enough to share his originals, unedited, with us here at the NewsWire. We are working at getting these online, available in MS Word format just as he submitted them.

For this weekend we're passing along one article at random, an instruction on getting rid of HP 3000 files, both temporary and permanent. This is the kind of maintenance that can make an HP 3000 faster to the touch and demand less of its mass storage. The article is also a great example of the expertise which HP reminds you is on the wane in your community.

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Annotations to Migrations

3000success HP has stopped talking to the 3000 community about migrating from the platform, at least in public forums. The last message we heard was at June's HP Technology Forum. In the PowerPoint slide set for an update on migration strategies from the vendor, we spotted a slide with migration successes.

Some 29 of them, to be exact, listed as HP's examples to prove a migration is possible. This list looks impressive in a single PowerPoint slide. But it deserves some notations, especially from a historic perspective. Migration is possible, happening, and an appropriate business decision for some customers. However, HP's list of 29 includes some very old projects, software vendors with deep staffing, as well as some companies carried to Unix or Windows by a third party app vendor.

About one example in three won't fit the majority of the 3000 community situations. Also of some note: not one example of home-grown to packaged app migrations at the HP migration success Web page. We didn't see that factoid in the PowerPoint slides at the Forum.

To get your annotated success list, just click on this link to have our PDF downloaded. And to be fair, we should point to the original HP slide set from that Tech Forum presentation (a much larger file, as PowerPoints usually are.) HP once listed a set of HP 3000 success stories right alongside the migration tales at its Web site: That is, reports about companies staying with the platform. Some of those tales were newer than the migration successes; the vendor's presentation at the Tech Forum showed a Web page snapshot with these stay-put success stories. Alas, they're now gone.

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Where are they now?

Geomug[Editor's Note: While HP dismantles its 3000 presence, the community spins off some of its best-known members in a process some call diaspora. In an ongoing series, we’re tracking down some of the notable people who were part of the 3000’s saga but have dispersed.]

     George Stachnik was an HP 3000 booster whose voice carried far. A series of TV broadcasts gave him a high profile in the modest 3000 community which could watch closed-circuit TV or order up VHS tapes of his talks. Stachnik narrated the infamous video where an HP 3000 was pushed off a two-story office roof onto a parking lot, and survived.

   That narration voice has survived while Stachnik has held a series of jobs since his HP 3000 duties came to a close. He reports that he does podcasts for Hewlett-Packard’s internal use, working from the Enterprise Servers and Storage (ESS) business, spreading the word on competitive analysis.

    Stachnik had left the 3000 group for the company’s NetServer division before HP announced its exit from the 3000 community. But he was invited to return just after the HP-Compaq merger was announced in 2001. His series of transition Webcasts, which examined issues around migration from the HP 3000, covered the years of 2002 through 2004.

   Now he’s using the voice that taught and preached the HP mission of migration to instruct HP staff.

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Migration advice — for HP-UX users

HP has scheduled a couple of Webcast briefings in September about migration for HP-UX customers: Moving from older HP 9000 hardware to Integrity systems, and upgrading to the latest version of HP's Unix.

The advisory on hardware issues takes place tomorrow, Sept. 10. HP's executives at the recent HP Technology Forum reported plenty of older HP 9000 systems still running companies today. Hewlett-Packard not only gains revenue when these customers move to newer, less power-hungry systems — the vendor also gets more buy-in for using HP's Unix, a solution every bit as proprietary as Windows or IBM's Unix. A new server means a longer lifespan for using HP-UX, instead of looking at Linux.

HP's Integrity hardware is the only new-generation technology which runs HP-UX. HP's Chuck Kausch, BCS Technical Evangelist, will make a case for migrating to the new server architecture — which might require changing some in-house HP-UX apps — at 10 CDT (US) tomorrow. Register, if you're making a transition to the HP 9000 or have some in house, at the Webcast's page on the Connect user group Web site.

Connect is also offering HP a chance to sell its Unix customer on the latest version of HP-UX, 11i v3. While this upgrade won't earn HP much revenue, the change could deliver some adjusting of configurations as a byproduct of its improved feature set. The HP-UX Webcast is Sept. 24.

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Keeping HP up to date on 3000 history

HP’s best efforts to curtail rogue thinking led to the system’s database, Fred White reported at this summer's HP 3000 seminar at the Computer History Museum. “If I hadn’t been kicked out of the file system lab, Image would have never existed,” he said.

HP's founders had no ardor to create computers. HP killed off its Omega project, which would have created a mainframe competitor in the early 1970s, because Hewlett and Packard didn’t want to go into computing, said HP's Chuck House, director of engineering at the time.

But even when the 3000 first shipped, it was saddled with problems in its first two releases. The computer crashed every 24 hours on initial shipments, then every 24 days on a second rollout. Only by the time the System III was selling, said Adager's Rene Woc, could HP compete with IBM. “There was still the small matter of making it work,” he added. Rumbles of laughter rolled around the room.

HP benefited from its relations with these vendors in the days of 3000 growth. Harper Thorpe, retired from HP after his work in the channel, said that “There was no ecosystem for this system, and to a great degree, I think our partners led us there.”

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History flows full at museum

When 18 pioneers gathered this summer for the first HP 3000 software meeting at the Computer History Museum, stories showed how far the HP 3000 has advanced from its earliest, buggy days.

But some tales that were told at the Mountain View-based museum illustrated that HP often saw third party and independent companies educating HP on what the 3000 could do. A good example came in a story from Martin Gorfinkel of LARC Computing.

LARC's Fantasia software wrote  — and still writes — to the LaserJet family of printers. "The 2680 was a way different beast, than a LaserJet," he told us after the meeting. "The 2680 was designed to work off the HP 3000, but the printer had a relatively short life. The TDP/3000 software  — HP’s renaming of the LARC Editor/Scribe Word Processing Software  — wrote to the 2680. That interface was done by HP in England."

"The Fantasia software writes to the LaserJet printers," he said, "and for the first several years that the software and the LaserJets were on the market, HP insisted that the LaserJet printers would not work with the HP 3000."

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3000 pioneers launch volley of stories

The talk in the room rang of software. For the cornerstone system of HP’s computer empire, the world’s Computer History Museum set up a ring of tables with two corners — and one open end. The HP 3000’s end may be neither near or clear, but a room of pioneers ringed those tables to talk not of an end, but all about beginnings.

This summer produced the first meeting of the HP3000 Software Special Interest Group at the Computer History Museum (CHM) in Mountain View. The CHM put out a call to the community to invite people who built the HP 3000 software foundation, the bedrock to the system’s — as well as HP’s — success.

Few in the room had begun their HP 3000 career later than the 1970s. The meeting table was flanked with pros who cut the cloth of the software garment which clothed mewling 3000 hardware. Some, like Marty Browne working for ASK Computer in the early 1970s, reported a miserable summer creating on a computer of dubious reliability.

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SAP on the block?

The website ERP Software has filed two rumor reports over the past week which mention SAP as a takeover target. It's worth tracking for 3000 sites making the lengthy move to the massive ERP suite. We've heard stories of failed SAP projects for 3000 owners. There's always a fall-back position in the event of such a failure: keeping the HP 3000 ERP running.

A change of ownership could be a factor in redoubling any SAP efforts, especially considering the latest rumored suitor: Microsoft.

Unlike Oracle (which was mentioned in an August rumor), the Master of Windows has the financial muscle to embrace the leading ERP suite. SAP uses Windows 2008 Server today, but Microsoft doesn't have an enterprise-class ERP solution to call its own. Even if a more integrated Windows version of SAP is four years away, that timing would mesh with 3000 site plans which don't even have a start date until 2011. We have a confirmed report from an advisor to a big aircraft maker about one of those "SAP eventually" plans to replace 3000 apps.

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Numbers show change for HP

Simple mathematics can show the total picture of Hewlett-Packard is changing, even as the vendor advises its customers to look at other figures. We have found a few in the last week that multiply our interest in HP's future direction.

First, a 14 percent decline in HP's Printer and Imaging business, as reported in the Q3 figures released last month. In Idaho, kingdom of HP board director Dick Hackborn and his printer empire, reports are surfacing of layoffs in the printer business. Printers, ink, paper, cameras — of all these things were the HP profits built, more than half of the black ink in recent years. HP means to make those profits flow on lower sales — with fewer employees. From yesterday's Idaho Business Review:

In what one employee has called “Black Monday,” a round of job cuts is taking place at Hewlett-Packard’s Boise-based Imaging and Printing Group today, part of the company’s global reorganization of the division.

While HP officials wouldn’t comment on specific numbers or areas in which positions will be eliminated, the Idaho Business Review and its news partner KTVB both received confirmation from several employees - one a 31-year veteran of the company - that their jobs had been cut. HP employs over 3,000 workers at its Boise facility.

Second, the 140,000 employees soon to be given HP name badges in the company's biggest acquisition ever: EDS. Regulators have cleared the way for a workforce to join Hewlett-Packard which nearly equals the current HP headcount. Nary a one of these will create a product, innovate with software code, or invent an algorithm. HP Invent means something very different when you purchase the creations of consultants: processes, plans, libraries and experience. Someone must build innovation, and it could be a long road to convince the world that half your workforce will innovate with their ideas and anybody's hardware and software.

The impact of Unix provides the third number in the trio of HP changes. HP's Unix has remarkable numbers of acceptance for the 3000 community.

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Skilled labor on 3000 takes work to find

Homesteading on the HP 3000 — whether it's the type until migration, or unlimited future style — takes labor to maintain. Labor is on our minds here at the NewsWire today, when much of the US has taken a day off from the office or away from the computer keyboard to celebrate the American labor movement.

Your community is experiencing much movement, so any tools to track the travels of skilled 3000 pros can be useful. Let me recommend LinkedIn once again. The HP 3000 Community Group at the site now has a couple of questions posted to start discussions. Again, the LinkedIn advantage is connecting to pros to share with specific work experience details, plus the chance to draw on others' networks through introductions.

Anybody can join, for free. We've got 35 members in the group, and many others in the LinkedIn network with 3000 experience. Michael Boritz commented on our Group question about who's doing what with the HP 3000 these days:

I’m still working on the 3000. I’ve been working on 3000s since the 1980s, at J.D. Abrams at that time. Since leaving JDA, I worked at Tivoli in Austin (i.e., Unison-Tymlabs) for a couple of years. Since then, I have moved four times — all for new HP 3000 positions.

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