Reading Potential in the 3000 Sector
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Our 3000 reports move into a 15th year


The 3000 NewsWire celebrates its birthday today, tying a bow on 14 years of publishing which began in 1995. In the fall of that year my partner Abby and I began our delicious journey through your community, one that remains without an end in sight. While we move into our 15th year, I remember some in the community wondered how we'd find anything to publish in Issue 2.

The NewsWire's pages, both printed and those we flung onto the fledgling World Wide Web, had to prove the concept of a 3000-only publication. We promoted the platform by highlighting the changes to its solutions. HP was already calling the HP 3000 a "legacy" system during 1995, even while people in the 3000 division worked to bring the platform up to date.

In October of 1995, HP was just starting to embrace the idea of serving small customers with the 3000's fastest technology. We called the Series 9x9 servers Kittyhawks in our Page One article, using HP's code name. (Click on the image above to read that front page.) System configurations were a major part of a 3000 customer's duty in that day, so we reported HP was finally adding an 8-user MPE/iX license to the entry model of the 9x9 line. HP said you could get the latest generation 3000 at under $50,000, we reported with an asterisk,"before disks, console and networking cards are added." Most customers needed to add one or more of these elements, but HP was still trying to improve the image of the 3000's value.

Another kind of image was important in that first issue, the 3000 database of the same name. We launched our first at-deadline issue of the FlashPaper with a report on the new leader of the IMAGE/SQL lab, Tien-You Chen. The vendor community was pleased with the move, since it looked like the database group was getting a leader devoted to results rather than policy.

Chen has a can-do style. In a meeting with several partners over TurboStore integration, someone in the meeting suggested that “an HP file system engineer would really help us here.” Chen excused himself, got up and came back with the engineer.

Of course, much of what seemed novel and important 14 years ago has aged into history. We looked over the first issue's story lineup to see that top HP executives (like CEO Lew Platt) were still praising the platform in public, when pressed. HP could show a wrinkled side of its image to the 3000 faithful, too: 3000 division executives made a show of taking off their jackets en masse at an Interex conference roundtable. Although roundtables and HP executive comments on the 3000 have evaporated, our first issue carried news that resonates in today's community. A powerful object-oriented compiler was being launched, C++, "which promised better products sooner" for the 3000. It remains a key tool to keep the 3000's future smooth, no matter how long you've decided to remain on the computer's path.

HP once operated a repository for the 3000 version of GNU C++ source, hosted on the Invent3k public development server. But when HP closed down Invent3k almost a year ago, the compiler had to find a public home. OpenMPE will include the compiler on its resource, opening later this month.

This open source tool will be needed to keep the more modern ports to the 3000 up to date in years to come. It's so essential, said our columnist John Burke, that

Without Mark Klein’s initial porting of and continued attention to the GNU C++ compiler and utilities on the HP 3000, there would be no Apache/iX, syslog/iX, sendmail/iX, bind/iX, etc. from Mark Bixby, and no Samba/iX from Lars Appel. And the HP 3000 would still be trying to hang on for dear life, rather than being a player in the new e-commerce arena.

And our first issue covered a new HP initiative to spark integration in the manufacturing sector, carried out by six North American partners.

The integrators will offer customers one of three strategies to assist them in examining their information infrastructure, with the goal of implementing Customer Oriented Manufacturing Management (COMMS systems):
    1. To retain systems while expanding use of software features and increasing processing power using strategies such as COMMS;
    2. To supplement systems such as MRP II with more comprehensive software on current computer platforms or additional environments; or
    3. To migrate manufacturing systems to newer “Choices Approved” software solutions such as Ross Systems' Renaissance CS or  Spectrum's PointMan.

So even while the first NewsWire was hitting the mailboxes of October, 1995, this newsletter was acknowledging that migration was one choice in moving ahead. Something else hasn't changed since that month. One of those six partners remains vital in the 3000 community: the Support Group, inc.

Like a lot of your world, tSGi is concerned with continuity. Today the company's president David Floyd, son of the founder Terry Floyd, celebrates his birthday while tSGi leads customers into both homestead and migration futures. We're happy to share a birthday with him, while we work toward "many happy returns of the day." Thank you for reading us for 14 years, and for the support of our partners and sponsors into another generation, starting with today.