I checked in last week with HP 3000 consultant Jim Rogers, who had called us earlier in the year to inquire about a user group meeting in our home state of Texas. While I could only report meetings being held to plan an upcoming meeting in the Houston area, Jim shared his views on what OpenMPE has accomplished for your community.
In his words, not much. There's more than one way to look at what winds the 3000's clock. I find folks with Rogers' point of view regularly in the community. Their opinion usually includes a note of disgust over what's been foisted onto the 3000 customer.
Last week I summarized what's been accomplished for the community off the "Gang of Six" list of requests that OpenMPE assembled in 2004. Rogers wrote up a rebuttal that says whatever's been accomplished is the work of the market, not volunteers. "All of the six items were vendor and market driven," he writes. "I would not attribute any of the items to OpenMPE and their work."
Rogers takes the gang on, one request at a time, making a case that money, not volunteer work, accomplished what you enjoy today. He writes:
2) Enable MPE licenses transfers, upgrade Hardware: This was simply a matter of HP not wanting to end up in court with potentially thousands of customers or previous customers who still had licenses agreements that were tied to HPSUSAN numbers. As for the upgrades, Hardware companies were upgrading systems and putting them under private support rather than pay HP to keep it in line with their Draconian practices, and dropping support. Well that and you could buy better Hardware and Software support from third party companies than from HP's staff, many who would walk onsite never having worked on an actual HP 3000. But a HP-UX is close, so they should be able to figure it out. Spent HUNDREDS of client hours cleaning up after these HP CE's.
3) Allow non HP access to and escrow of MPE. Still coming. And by the time it gets here, all five customers still running MPE will really appreciate it. Though HP did it for MM3000... for the right price.
4) Allow third party creation of a MPE emulator. This has existed for years from a company who has an emulator for VAX. It is a RISC emulator that runs under MPE and doesn't really care about MPE. They were actually testing and got scared away from the entire HP environment by HP and customers who wanted everything for nothing. Talked with this company less than a year after the HP Compaq takeover. They really couldn't understand why HP didn't let them do it like they did the Vax emulation since both owned by HP at that time.
5) Enable third party HP 3000 software support past 2006. Beechglen has been doing it for years. Who needs permission? I had multiple client issues fixed by Beechglen where HP Software support took weeks to get back to me. Standard response was "send in the dump tape". Beechglen worked it until we had a working theory. ALWAYS!
6) Enable availability of all public documentation after 2006. Most of the information you really want is on the hardcore third party vendor sites. The rest can be found in very through India-based support companies doing remote support. They downloaded that stuff long ago.
I'm sure that OpenMPE has been a thorn in HP's side over the years. Badgering for many things. What I dispute is that they made any of these things happen. HP has always responded to money, but kept a good public face to the User Groups. Don't fool yourself. The customer dollars are what drove most of this to happen. Mainly HP milking the HP 3000 market for as long as possible. And they didn't like all the money lost to third party companies doing it better than HP.