The year 2008 delivered changes and insights for the homesteading 3000 community, but it would be easy to label the top homesteading stories as those from HP's brain trust. We'll get to the HP top actions tomorrow, but the major stories for those staying with the 3000 revolve around independence, adoption and initiative. A computer that just completed 35 years of service requires no less.
1. On the task of adoption, as well as independence, OpenMPE took on the duties of software keeper for MPE/iX, housing the Contributed Software Library as well as the binary files for HP 3000 programs and utilities which HP created over the past 15 years. With HP closing its Jazz Web server dedicated to HP 3000 education, white papers and software, a new resource is available at openmpe.org.
2. HP 3000 conferences continued with MPE-specific content at the Greater Houston RUG in March and at the CAMUS ERP conference in August. While neither group has plans for a 2009 in-person event, these organizations showed that people will continue to travel to learn about 3000 administration and strategy, albeit in ever-decreasing numbers.
3. The community completed its fifth year of life since HP ceased building and selling the 3000. By this month, HP 3000 customers — still thousands of them — have spent more time creating an independent infrastructure than the years the community took to adopt Internet and open source tools before HP's Nov. 2001 exit announcement.
4. Small supporters continued to fill out the independent support network for 3000 hardware and software. One-person firms and companies with more than a dozen seasoned 3000 technical experts on hand now serve the majority of HP 3000 sites. From Pivital to Allegro to GSA and beyond, several dozen companies want to help extend the life of the durable server.
5. OpenMPE prodded HP into answers for the end-game operations from the vendor. The group elected new board members in the springtime and spent the fall getting HP to craft policy on how to transfer intellectual assets and essential processes. The final messages will show more work from the OpenMPE advocates, all volunteers who've worked for almost seven years to educate HP about how to leave a marketplace.
6. Technical discussions started among the community about emulation, ranging from ways to adopt non-HP-RISC processors for MPE to moving the operating system's strengths on top of other environments such as Linux. Emulation efforts such as these — which can use volunteers as well as benefit from OpenMPE organization — extend the utility, potential and lifespan for the HP 3000.