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November 14, 2008

Anniversary week winds down, goes onward

This has been a remarkable week for anniversaries. First HP's Unix — replacement target for Hewlett-Packard's favored path for 3000 migrations — celebrates its 25th anniversary. Two days later, Microsoft toasts the 25th year of Windows, the less-favored but more-often-chosen target from the 3000. Today your community commemorates the 7th anniversary of the pullout that changed our working worlds, HP's notice it would quit the 3000 business.

As we've noted in years 2005 through 2007, the exit date for HP isn't certain, although this year's lab closing makes it inevitable. Hewlett-Packard will never re-open its development center for MPE/iX, so for the few of you who've been holding out hope, the SS Return to Business will never make port again. You're porting your systems and apps, or steering a course away from HP — or at least its support business.

We asked around the community yesterday, looking for a few remembrances of that chilly November Wednesday when HP froze out its futures in your market. The stories had an air of acceptance in them. On the Kubler-Ross Steps of Grieving, Acceptance is the last. It gives the survivor the permission to move onward. You've moved, even if many of your companies still rely on the HP 3000.

Doug Greenup, president of connectivity supplier Minisoft, gave us one of the best stories of how the pullout played out for him — days in advance of Nov. 14.

I was at my desk here at Minisoft and a Hewlett-Packard corporate type called me and said she was faxing me a non-disclosure, and that HP wanted me to sign it ASAP. I got it about 20 minutes later and signed a faxed copy back. A different HP corporate type called about an hour later and said they were exiting from the HP 3000 business. They made the official announcement to the HP community a week later.

To be honest, it was a really sad day for us. A lot of “what do we do now?” And a lot of other emotions that I won’t go into here. I hope everyone is doing well. We still have a large number of HP 3000 customers happily running on the platform today. It was and is a great hardware platform!

In contrast, one of the most placid rememberances came from former Robelle VP David Greer, who was already retired from that company and travelling on a two-year family journey through Europe, sailing the Mediterranean. He even incuded a link to his pictures.

I was in Arles, France where the Mistral wind was blowing down the Rhone Valley. I doubt that I heard of the announcement that day, but I know that I heard the news from Birket Foster and you within a day or two.

We got a message about the fallout, the work that followed to move away from that day, from Ed Harms of the Florida FRSA Self Insurers Fund.

Since the announcement we have gone through three vendors to rewrite our software. We are doing it in-house and should be done next year.

And one community member, Donna Hofmeister (who was Donna Garverick at the time), talked about being on the IT staff at Long's Drug, one of the biggest 3000 customers ever, and seeing the inevitable end for HP's Unix as well.

I was at Long’s of course.  I have vague memories, since this was more than yesterday ago,of rumors circulating before the actual announcement was made... but can’t attach them to anything more substantial. I do remember saying that HP-UX was next.  I still think I’m right — it’s just going to take longer.

We'll have more on Monday, the start of the eighth year since HP called off its 3000 futures. Many community members are going onward, beyond HP's now-firming exit at the end of 2010.

10:46 AM in History, Homesteading, Migration, Newsmakers, User Reports | Permalink

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