Previous month:
July 2009
Next month:
September 2009

August 2009

Emulator history assists in HP licensing

Members of the HP 3000 community have doubted any hardware emulator would ever surface, often pointing to HP's reluctance to make a license possible. More than five years elapsed between HP's initial promise of a virtual MPE/iX license for PC-based servers and the mechanism of right-to-use licensing. Even when HP issued an FAQ on the emulator, users didn't believe the concept could pass HP's legal muster.

"HP has demonstrated an intractable institutional resistance to admitting that the HP 3000 was a viable platform," said James Byrne, IT manager at 3000 shop Harte-Lyne. "This cannot but continue to have a baleful influence on efforts at cooperation with HP by those producing and intending to use said (non-extant) emulators."

Harte-Lyne was using a pair of Series 918 3000s when Byrne cast doubt on an emulator's future. Other long-time advocates of the 3000 described the concept as "an emulator that will never happen," according to Joe Dolliver, owner of consultancy e3k Solutions.

But early this year Dolliver also said he had "two part-time 3000 clients that have no Plan B, and I will be supporting them for several years to come." lf licensing can be arranged to allow third-party tools to run in emulation, such clients could find a Plan B in an emulator.

"If an emulator existed and cost less than the hardware support contract for our 3000," said Edward Berner of Yosemite Community College, "then I could save money and reclaim some floor space at the same time."

Continue reading "Emulator history assists in HP licensing" »

Marking up 25 years of 3000 stories

Editor's Note: This month marks 25 years of my career covering the HP 3000. From a company that posted just $6 billion in sales in 1984 to the juggernaut that now sells that much in less than a month, HP and its customers have been a delight, passion and challenge to chronicle. I'm happy to still call this task a big part of my life's work.

Over the next few Fridays (and a Monday or two) I'll be chronicling the history of 1984 in the 3000 world. I began to report and edit on the HP 3000 in a busy year, when the first office-sized 3000 was unleashed (I got scooped on that Mighty Mouse release), the HP LaserJets first appeared, and HP had to re-start its project to create a 3000 system that could catch up with DEC VAXes.

Now HP owns DEC, the PA-RISC goal of that mission is aged technology, and LaserJets run far behind  InkJet business that generate HP profits in consumables. What has not changed is the dedication to business IT skills that your community holds dear. By seeing what HP 3000 life of 1984 looked like -- as told in forthcoming stories by 3000 veterans -- you can set a bar at a reliable level for future IT environments you choose.

  1984's summer started this young journalist on 3000 road. After a quarter-century covering your community, my 25-year gold watch is getting to keep my job. Since 1984, HP 3000 users have taught me they're not a retiring bunch.

 RonScan84003   They've also schooled me on how the computer industry works, starting in a summer when HP's printer and PC business was just growing up while HP 3000 computers were growing smaller than ever. I brought three years of newspaper reporting into the offices of the monthly HP newspaper The Chronicle on Aug. 21 of that year, but I knew nothing about HP computers. A handful of college courses in Pascal, BASIC, Fortran and RPG let earn a computer science minor. IT work was called data processing back then; one course titled “Introduction to DP” filled out my University of Texas degree. To replace the slide rule that I retired along with my designs on an engineering degree, I bought a flowchart template.

   I came to your community at age 27, so my 25 years of reporting and editing in the 3000 world has spanned nearly half my life. The year 1984 was a milestone for me, but it was a watershed for your community as well. No commemoration of my quarter century would be complete without your contributed memories. You've already been generous, but I invite you to reply with even more.

Continue reading "Marking up 25 years of 3000 stories" »

3000 community to meet again in SF(O)

HP 3000 community members, both those migrating and those who are not, are invited to the second bi-annual HP 3000 Community Meet. On Wednesday, Sept. 23 there will be a single day of free lunch, networking, and 10-minute updates about the state of the computer still playing a significant role in companies and careers. Imagine, an in-person meeting of 3000 users and vendors in 2009. In 2007 it seemed unlikely that a 3000 meeting could take place, after all of HP's warnings about 2006 being the 3000's end of life. Save the date and meet at a rare event.

Hyatt The virtually-free meeting is scheduled to take place at the San Francisco Airport Hyatt, a swell hotel on Bayshore Highway just a few minutes south of the SFO Airport. The hotel operates a free shuttle to the BART station at the airport, according to organizer Alan Yeo of ScreenJet. Along with Marxmeier Software's Mike Marxmeier, Yeo is "standing a lunch" for up to 50 attendees, plus organizing a "cash bar" dinner that evening in the Hyatt's sports bar/restaurant. $109 rooms are being arranged for out of town attendees. We'll be there, and hope to see you too.

The event is wrapped around re-connecting with community members, the kind of networking that can be tough to accomplish at a Very Large User Group Event. The e3000, as HP and partners still like to call it, can hold on until migrations are completed or homesteading sustaining plans are in place. Yeo reminded attendees at the previous Community Meet by the Bay in '07 that the "e" in 3000 represents the essence of the computer's value.

Continue reading "3000 community to meet again in SF(O)" »

Lawson leads Aussie ERP firm to iSeries

RycoCouple A longtime HP 3000 customer headquartered in Australia is heading away from their HP 3000 ERP suite, taking a trip down the midrange lane to IBM's iSeries. The 3000 customer that's been in business since 1946 says they're looking for better technology to handle business growth.

RYCO Hydraulics, with operations in North and South America, Europe and Asia as well as Australia, will be moving to a Lawson Software ERP solution to replace its HP 3000 applications. The company will be serviced by Lawson along with IBM Partner Synergy Plus. The Lawson suite which will be installed during 2009 is QuickStep, software billed as easier to deploy than traditional ERP replacements used by manufacturing firms.

ERP has long been a core sector for the 3000 community, but the iSeries-AS/400 world counts tens of thousands of customers in manufacturing, too. Infor, which now owns the customer base and software rights to the MANMAN app for ERP, built its core business on the AS/400 marketplace. Even though the future of the iSeries looks sketchy to some veterans in that community, Lawson's suite operates in other environments as well. Cross-platform migrations -- where the initial deployment can be moved to another platform later with minimal fees and retooling -- are becoming a common strategy for 3000 sites looking for a change.

Australia has lost other HP 3000 customers over the past year or so. ING Software migrated its in-house apps to HP-UX servers using Speedware's migration services, citing a lack of HP lab support for patching its MPE/iX apps. Other companies Down Under point to a dearth of used systems and parts for their 3000s.

Continue reading "Lawson leads Aussie ERP firm to iSeries" »

Connect changes user group operations

HP user group Connect has altered its business organization following the latest HP Technology Forum & Expo by transferring the group's services to its own operations. Connect had contracted with services company Smith-Bucklin for operational support until late June, giving that company the duties of managing a user expo and delivering products to members of the group. Smith-Bucklin manages the services of hundreds of user groups and associations.

But president Nina Buik said the Connect board of directors saw the trends in the user association business and made changes that created two full-time employees while ending the Smith-Bucklin services contract. "Managed services is now our previous business model," she said, "but we will not be a brick-and-mortar operation in the forseeable future. We changed our model at just the right time."

Computer user groups in the  industry are retrenching, adding alliances with other groups as Connect did last year, or expanding user bases such as the IBM COMMON group, which now serves Unix users along with its core AS/400 and iSeries customers. "We looked at a lot of lessons of the past, and what we need to guide us into the future," Buik said. "In our previous model we were getting pieces and parts of different people throughout a given day. In this new model we're getting 100 percent dedication." The group is now relying on its 14-member board of directors for management and tactical operations, in addition to the new employees.

The two full-time staffers are former board president Kristi Browder, who was IT director for Silicon Labs, and member services manager Erin Anderson. Both are based in Austin, Texas, where Browder worked at Silicon Labs. She's a 30-year IT customer of Digital, Compaq and now HP, in addition to years of work on the board of Encompass (one group of the Connect alliance).

Continue reading "Connect changes user group operations" »

IBM iSeries follows in 3000 footsteps?

IBMSeriesi Once HP announced its exit from 3000 business, IBM turned up its efforts to woo abandoned customers. By some accounts, half of those who are leaving the 3000 have turned to non-HP solutions. It's easier to understand the migrations to Linux or Windows, a pair of industry standard environments. The former is rich with tools to generate custom apps. The latter has a vast array of packaged solutions.

Tougher to figure are the rare migrations to the IBM iSeries. Not because that platform is lacking in any technical prowess, or even that its ecosystem is evaporating quickly. Those customers who've found a refuge from HP's business pullout in the iSeries have to look at a large vendor supporting a niche platform -- then see a different strategy from HP's for sustaining non-industry-standard computing.

The 3000 customers who've moved to iSeries sometimes already used the integrated server elsewhere in their organizations. Others have settled on a packaged solution like Commercialware's e-commerce package, one that led straight to the iSeries. But every one of them might observe the same vendor behavior this year from IBM that HP demonstrated in the four years up to the 3000's exit from HP's futures.

Continue reading "IBM iSeries follows in 3000 footsteps?" »

3000 emulator marches onward

After the project lay dormant for years, work on an HP 3000 emulator is preparing for its first-level alpha testing by October, according to the CEO of Stromasys. The Swiss-based company was named SRI when 3000 emulators were a hot topic among 3000 homesteaders and the OpenMPE group. This fall, the company says, an all-software product to enable Intel PCs to become HP 3000s goes into serious testing.

Stromasys CEO Robert Boers reported that the company that's been selling VAX, Alpha and PDP-11 emulators for more 15 years has gained HP's cooperation with 3000 MPE licensing. An earlier version of the emulator was designed to mimic the MFIO board of the PA-RISC 3000s. HP wanted that work suspended, and so the project was shelved. But a new design bypasses the MFIO work and creates the equivalent of an rp2470 server, a PA-RISC system rated at more horsepower than current 3000 hardware.

Of course that rating is subject to the testing of the emulator, since the product uses Intel hardware to drive what Boers calls a low-end, single-CPU HP 3000 clone. The product won't create new HP 3000s because it complies with HP's MPE/iX licensing for emulators: no new systems, only transfers of existing 3000 licenses.

Continue reading "3000 emulator marches onward" »

TV news streams from the Tech Forum

KoppeAtHPTF The Connect conference that drew 2,700 attendees is long over, but some of the user group and HP messages from the HP Technology Forum & Expo live on, streamed from the Web. SDR News, a video interview service, gathered more than a dozen one-to-one interviews at the event. SDR was "invited media," according to Connect president Nina Buik.

The coverage includes a talk about the future of the Connect user group from its incoming president, Chris Koppe of Speedware. In 11 minutes of Q&A, Koppe talks about the efforts to raise the user group's visibility inside HP. There are also fundamentals about what Connect's mission is during a year when all user groups are working to remain relevant and vital resources.

The SDR coverage is interesting because it was recorded and streamed live at the conference -- so it's not as dressed up and controlled as the HP-created videos all over the Web. Koppe was one of only three people interviewed by SDR at the HPTF who were not HP employees. (There's also five minutes with the winner of a $10,000 drawing, but that probably qualifies as "human interest" instead of news.) Koppe takes his office in January for the user group and has been a board member or volunteer since 2005. He has brought the tribal knowledge of the HP 3000 user community to the group from his work on the Interex board of directors.

The 20 SDR videos also include a word from a company that began an HP 3000 emulator project, although that platform and the ongoing project aren't mentioned.

Continue reading "TV news streams from the Tech Forum" »

Fiorina flips hat toward Senate rack

Align these three compass plot points, if you can, all announced within one week:

1. HP announces its toughest quarter in five years
2. Former CEO Carly Fiorina announces an exploration of a run for US Senate
3. Sentencing is delayed on the '06 HP phone spying case

The HP 3000 can provide a path across all three. Migrations are afoot or finished by 3000 owners because of Fiorina's business strategy. Not any specific swipe she took to cleave the 3000 from HP, but the natural evolution of shedding legacy business. Growth across all HP businesses was the 2001 mantra, increases that the 3000 community would not provide for the HP bottom line. "If it's not growing, it's going" was the mandate handed to intermediate managers.

Growth at HP in 2001 led to pruning the enterprise computer line by one notable system. Eight years later, enterprise servers and storage run a weak fourth to Services, PCs, and Imaging/Printer businesses. Three of the four legs of HP's chair are wobbling this year. It's the first genuine challenge CEO Mark Hurd has faced since he was brought in to replace the fired Fiorina. Enterprise solutions that are rich in profitability offered a profound sticky loyalty like the 3000, but they won't lift enterprise fortunes now. HP's moving away from hardware and proprietary environments in favor of services through The Cloud.

Fiorina told 3000 customers at a summertime HP World conference that HP “had never stranded a customer on legacy technology,” the only reference that even came close to a mention of the HP 3000 customers’ transition. Seven years later, HP World is gone forever, but Fiorina is mounting a comeback despite her legacy.

Continue reading "Fiorina flips hat toward Senate rack" »

HP Q3 shows G6 rise, Integrity fall

G6-Blade HP released its third quarter '09 results this afternoon, numbers that showed ProLiant G6 server revenues on the rise while Integrity-based system sales dropped for the third straight quarter. The Intel Xeon-based G6 units like the blade at left operate with Windows and Linux environments, while the HP-UX alternative to the HP 3000 can call upon only Integrity servers.

The quarterly report shows HP managed to beat earnings estimates for the period. However, it took soaring revenues and profits out of the EDS operations to offset steep drops in most other HP sectors, including the Business Critical Servers group that sells Integrity and HP-UX. BCS revenue declined 30 percent from Q3 of 2008, results from a much stronger fiscal year. But not even blade revenues could lift BCS. Blade sales were down 14 percent from last year's quarter. Integrity sales were off by 34 percent versus last year's Q3.

HP CFO Cathie Lesjak said that the G6 ProLiants, just rolled out in April, have performed well in the server sector. These Industry Standard Servers which run Windows and Linux were the only bright spot on a tough enterprise storage and server picture.

"While each of the businesses within ESS was down compared with the prior year sequentially, ISS grew 14 percent as a result of strong customer demand for our newly launched G6 platform," Lesjak said.

In contrast, BCS sales slipped to $578 million for the period, compared to $2.2 billion of the Intel Xeon server revenues. While HP is now selling $4 of ProLiants for every dollar of Integrity, the profitability from the more advanced Integrity revenues is what's keeping Integrity in HP's futures. But the next month or so could tell the tale of how HP enterprise server business will fare in 2010, according to HP CEO Mark Hurd's prior report.

Continue reading "HP Q3 shows G6 rise, Integrity fall" »

E-mail PDFs using the HP 3000

Although computer vendors have been promising the paperless office for more than 20 years, modern business is not even close to eliminating paper in offices. Paper is such a rich business that HP's profits include sales of Hewlett-Packard-branded reams of the white stuff. But the shortfall between dream and reality can be closed with some software built for the HP 3000, as well as other enterprise computing systems.

Hillary Software created a paperless solution for reports that moves PDF versions of HP 3000 output. Connie Sellitto of the Cat Fancier's Association asked about Hillary's byRequest, requesting references. "We'd like to have the ability to generate PDF documents from our HP 3000 and e-mail them to various customers," she asked in a message to the 3000 newsgroup. "I'd like to hear from anyone who has used this product, and what your experience was regarding ease of setup."

While other products such as Sanface's txt2pdf have been bent to serve the HP 3000, byRequest is built to extract and distribute reporting from any HP 3000 application. Kim Borgman of National Wine & Spirits said, "We [use it to] e-mail all our reports now. Hardly any printing happens on the line printer anymore."

byRequest has been tuned up to support secure FTP as well, according to another 3000 manager. Chuck Nickerson, president of Hillary, said the company's 3000 plans are set for the future. "If your 3000 is plugged in, we'll support it," he said. "If it's unplugged, we'll help you plug it in." Hillary will also help move byRequest to a migration platform after HP 3000 use.

Continue reading "E-mail PDFs using the HP 3000" »

OpenMPE assists HP with end of life process

At this summer's HP Technology Forum & Expo, only two meetings covered the life cycle of the HP 3000. Hewlett-Packard showed up in a room with three customers to confirm its migration campaign was unchanged. Meanwhile, the other side of the 3000's lifespan was discussed at an OpenMPE meeting in the conference in Las Vegas.

While HP continues to call its 2010 support exit "the HP e3000 end of life," OpenMPE's homesteading advocacy sees a very different future for the system in 2011. OpenMPE chair Birket Foster said that some customers are still hoping for an HP reversal of its "quit the 3000 business" edit of 2001.

"We're in a funny phase where people are still hoping for a miracle that HP would do something different" than exit the market, he said. "And HP's not going to." Since neither the migration or homestead camps came to Las Vegas with new wagers, what would constitute news from the show? Foster said the Connect user group directors attended the OpenMPE meeting to learn how HP was treating an "end-of-life" mission with HP customers. Foster said there are lessons to be learned for customers who might move from other HP-proprietary environments.

Continue reading "OpenMPE assists HP with end of life process" »

IT pros prefer serving own software

In a spot poll we launched yesterday, a majority of IT pros who manage HP 3000s want to keep software close to their own infrastructure. Although Software as a Service (SaaS) is at the top of HP's new offerings, these computing clouds don't appear to be forming yet for many 3000 customers.

Some of the resistance might rise from a mismatch between the size of companies using the 3000 and the target for HP's cloud computing, says migration provider Birket Foster of MB Foster. Since IT staff is the most costly element of keeping software out of the services category, eventually companies will purchase software for use from the cloud.

"If you won't be able to afford to run an IT datacenter, you'll buy those services from a large provider," Foster said, a firm such as Bellsouth or an ISP. HP's messaging on clouds is aimed at these large companies, he added. 3000 customers who are processing cloud messages at events such as the HP Technology Forum "go because they want to understand how the framework operates."

For the moment, a small share of our poll respondents are considering clouds in their migration plan. But many still see outsourcing as the most compatible strategy to move computing infrastructure offsite. In the Ecometry e-commerce community, Cliff Hart of Shar Music said his firm evaluated "an ERP system that was basically SaaS. They have the servers offsite and you lease seats for your users."

Continue reading "IT pros prefer serving own software" »

Migrations net lower cost, even performance

HP 3000 migration supplier UNICON Conversion Technologies compared the HP 3000 to a few target platforms recently. These performance comparisons show the server holds its own against newer and more popular technology on transaction processing. But UNICON, while praising the 3000's speed, takes a sharper look at cost of acquisition.

"Here are two interesting observations from our conversion work regarding the HP 3000," said Mike Howard of UNICON, which is migrating the Medford, Ore. school district off a 3000. "First, when we migrate applications from a late-model HP 3000 to a Windows SQL Server platform, we are happy to achieve equivalent performance statistics. When we migrate applications from an IBM Z Mainframe to a Windows SQL Server platform, we are unhappy if we don’t see a gain of at least times times performance statistics.

"The migrated systems in both cases use only pure native Windows components, with no emulation layers to affect performance, so it is a true comparison. That HP 3000 sure was some kind of machine."

Continue reading "Migrations net lower cost, even performance" »

Locating the eldest running 3000

[Editor's Note: A few weeks back I started a search for the oldest HP 3000 still running in production mode in your community. We're still on the lookout for the winner of this contest. Don't be shy; share your story. As for Gilles' report below, HP built its last computer capable of running MPE/VE in 1989.]

By Gilles Schipper
Homesteading Editor

I got a call a few months ago from an HP 3000 user somewhere in the Los Angeles area, who had gotten my name from our good friends at Allegro, who were no longer supporting MPE/VE machines.

This customer had a major problem with their main application - some distribution software running on a Micro3000XE, with MPE OS version Platform 3P (I believe).

After first ascertaining a serious disk space shortage issue, I finally was able to circumvent that problem by performing a “recover lost disc space” exercise which I had almost completely forgotten about. (The real trick was how to get to that option with the “streamlined” menu choices that were available only on the Micro3000 hardware family. It could not be approached via the too-obvious “COOLSTART” choice, which offered no further human intervention to choose “recover lost disc space.” Rather, one had to choose the “boot from disc” option and then proceed from there.)

Continue reading "Locating the eldest running 3000" »

Use a Web console on a 959

Our Series 959 has a DB25 remote console socket, rather than the 9-pin of the N-Class servers. Can I still connect and use a Web console on this system?

Mark Ranft replies:

With the correct cable the Web console should definitely work on the 959. I had it working on a 989. I am not sure why you would compare the 959 to the N-Class. Anyone using Web console on the N-Class should switch to using their GSP console. For a better, more reliable, faster, more fully featured console on pre-GSP systems, I have set up remote console via DTC, using back-to-back DTC switching. It is very nice.

Continue reading "Use a Web console on a 959" »

3000 tools still en route to release

In the middle of a summer where security patches seem to fly at the top of IT consciousness, tools and programs for the HP 3000 are still winging their way to a Web site near your browser.

Speedware licensed all of HP's available content for 3000s off the Jazz utility server earlier this year, as well as training programs for migration platform HP-UX. Those free training tools made a debut online this spring, but after a detour of a few months the Jazz utility programs will also be hosted on a Speedware Web site.

"I am probably halfway through what needs to be done for the Jazz [software]," reported Speedware's Webmaster Andre Dubreuil. "I figure by the end of this month everything should be up and available for download."

Some of the rescheduling came as a result of Speedware's new initiative to get more migration projects started before 2010. The vendor points to the end of HP's 3000 support as a good reason to launch a transition to a platform such as Windows or HP-UX.

Continue reading "3000 tools still en route to release" »

Can Google Go Where 3000s Went?

This week Google unveiled a campaign to bring small businesses under its cloud service. The effort is called Going Google, a subscription to a range of office applications run through the Google network and servers. Google wants $1,335 to set up 10 users with a package of apps which enable collaboration, video and hosting, as well as messaging. Yearly administration is another $3,300

Analysts say this push will crowd Microsoft, whose Office and Exchange apps now rule on workstations around the world. But the effort also recalls the HP 3000 enterprises of the 1980s: a full range of software such as HP Deskmanager for mail, HP Word, graphics and more, all driven by HP 3000 centralized servers. In time HP tried to push New Wave to bring PCs into the host application loop, a plan with feet of clay from its very first day. Where Going Google differs is in the administration. 3000 users had a local DP manager to call when problems cropped up. The solutions didn't always come immediately from their computer department. But the responsibility rested inside the organization.

In contrast, a Google customer will have to endure service outages as if they were an Act of God. No matter how big the service group, everyone can get hacked. This morning Twitter went offline completely for about two hours, victimized by a Distributed Denial of Service attack. The IT group at Twitter's HQ has had a very long day already, one that's not over since Twitter services are still spotty as of this afternoon.

This is the reality of the 2009 cloud: A broad reach that HP could only fantasize about in the 1980s, even while 50,000 of its employees connected via an HP Desk network. Jump forward a couple of decades and collaborate with anyone without building network infrastructure. Just remember to tell your management that working in the clouds means you risk running afoul of Internet demons.

Continue reading "Can Google Go Where 3000s Went?" »

What's Missing This August

KickButt Late summertime once signaled face-time in your community, the opportunity to network at an Interex user group conference. The user group has long since folded, in part because it became a pulpit for the people who purchased HP 3000s when HP still sold the system: small and mid-size companies and partners, for the most part. Some voiced displeasure in conference sessions that HP grew to deplore.

Conference sessions today are without contention at HP's meetings. The candor has been replaced with civility, but summertime used to be prized for its hot exchange with the vendor. It's unlikely we'll ever see a civil demonstration like the football-field-sized poster above, unfurled in August, 1996. This month used to be hot in more than climate. HP customers could reclaim this heritage to get action from their vendor.

This part of August has a lot of memory attached to it, something like a 3000 internal drive with most of its sectors filled. With the summertime's quiet now well upon your community, it's easier to hear those echoes of input from customers. During one week of August in 1990, and another 12 years later, 3000 customers spoke their truth to HP's power. The 1990 week marked the turning point for Interex, a shift from communication to advocacy. The 2002 August included a rising tide of protest over HP's decision to exit the 3000 business -- a strategy then nine months old that had to endure its first customer response at Interex's HP World conference in LA.

August of 1990 brought a Interex meeting of the IMAGE Special Interest Group, a session with HP that came to be known as your community's Boston Tea Party. HP had announced its plan to sell 3000s with no IMAGE included to try to capture new customers -- but that plan would orphan 3000 vendors and customers dedicated to 14 years of bundled IMAGE. The Party has been celebrated by some of the system's homesteaders as a victory over unbundling. HP changed its mind about the strategy for 11 years, but ultimately tilted its game table toward Transition. A leading -- and now late -- advocate for the 3000 wanted the system and MPE/iX to roll off HP's plate and into independence in 2002.

Continue reading "What's Missing This August" »

HP keeps rolling Unix security patches

The 3000 community doesn't patch its systems often, but moving your operations to the HP-UX platform will trigger more updates. HP-UX is based on Unix System V, one of the most widely installed environments in the world after Windows and Linux. No environment is breach-proof, but a shift to HP-UX requires a closer watch on patches than in MPE/iX.

While many of these HP-UX patches are only recommended, some critical security holes have to be closed by a patch. HP's rolled out two of these over the last three weeks. One patch only applies to HP ServiceGuard, a product not included on every HP-UX system, but in wide use on mission-critical servers.

But a patch from July 21 identified an "arbitrary code execution" hole for XNTP, the standard time service for Unix systems. called the exploit and the patch highly critical in its advisory. Kerberos also got a critical security patch, HPSBUX02421, last week.

HP has a free program that administrators install on HP-UX servers that "simplifies patch and security bulletin management." Did the HP 3000 ever need such a utility? 3000s eventually received PatchMan to monitor patches of all kinds, though few of the patches were created to respond to security holes. But the server's environment isn't built from an industry standard such as Unix.

Continue reading "HP keeps rolling Unix security patches" »

Use and understand byte stream 3000 files

Although HP's labs for the 3000 closed at the end of last year, some HP engineers continue to help the community. The HP help was offered most recently on the community's newsgroup, where system architect and former community liaison Craig Fairchild explained byte stream files on the 3000.

These fundamental files are a lot like those used in Windows and Linux and Unix, Fairchild explained. HP engineered "emulation type managers" into MPE/iX, an addition that became important once the 3000 gained an understanding of Posix. In 1994, MPE XL became MPE/iX when HP added this Unix-like namespace.

It's a rare gift to see a primer on 3000 file types emerge from HP today. Understanding the 3000 at this level is important to the customer who wants 3000 third party companies to take on the tasks HP is dropping next year. Fairchild explained the basics of this basic file type:

Byte stream files are the most basic of all file types. They are simply a collection of bytes of data without any structure placed on them by the file system. This is the standard file model that is used in every Unix, Linux and even Windows systems. MPE's file system has always been a structured file system, which means that the file system maintains a certain organization to the data stored in a file. The MPE file system understands things like logical records, and depending on the file type, performs interesting actions on the data (for example, Circular files, Message files, KSAM files and so on).

Continue reading "Use and understand byte stream 3000 files" »