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OpenMPE list tracks unresolved challenges

Retired HP lab leaves issues behind

    HP’s 3000 operations closed out development this year with assurances the vendor had addressed all issues around exiting the community. But while a 3000 issues list logs many HP decisions, some key items remain unresolved.

   The OpenMPE advocacy group worked with HP for almost seven years on post-HP support issues. The list of items which has grown and shrank has been maintained by group director Matt Perdue most recently. The board has signed an official Confidential Disclosure Agreement this year with HP, which curtails the information OpenMPE can share.

   But the list the group could share with the NewsWire shows some missing procedures and unspecified dates for issues such as modernizing security software and receiving OS tapes during 2011. The uncompleted issues present a sizable array of projects and puzzles the community must complete or solve with other resources.

    The issue with the broadest potential impact on homesteading customers appears to be resources for the HP 3000 hardware emulator project. Perdue said the OpenMPE board — which includes Alan Tibbetts of emulator vendor Strobe Data — asked if the 3000 emulator would get the same treatment from HP as Strobe’s HP 1000 deal.

   “There are some things HP’s included that are going to help us, and a coule of things that we wish we had received,” Perdue said. “We’re talking about test suites [HP used on MPE/iX]. Without them, not even Stan [Sieler of Allegro Consultants] feels comfortable about releasing a binary patch that hasn’t been tested [with the suites].”

   Tibbetts told the board that Strobe had to devise its own set of tests to work with the HP 1000’s RTE operating environment in emulation. “Why HP doesn’t want to release those MPE suites, I don’t know,” Perdue said. “I would think, why not?”

   In a strict accounting of questions with HP responses, the test suite request has been addressed with an answer of “no.” HP refused to enable 9x7 servers to run modern versions of MPE/iX, or remove throttling in MPE that slows 3000s. But even discounting these refusals, some items have no details available this year, or even a deadline of when the processes will be revealed.

    The process to unlock HP’s 3000-specific diagnostics has no deadline or details. HP said last year it would free up these tools after HP’s support ends, but not how much longer afterward, or how.

   Per-call charges to restore 3000 CPU boards with HP’s SS_CONFIG and SSUPDATE utilities are not spelled out. These services are available to HP’s support customers, but only until 2011.