A hotel meeting room, filled with 40 men and women wearing Post-It notes, could be considered an unusual nexus of HP 3000 energy in the year 2009. But there's been little that's been usual or expected about the 3000 community's Transition since late 2001.
That's why the dominant feeling at this year's e3000 Community Meet was not shock, over seeing more than 40 IT pros on hand for a day devoted to the 3000, but delight over any reunion. Because the 3000 has been a business tool and commercial opportunity since the 1970s, most of the people in the room were well past 40 years of age.
The years of relationships between those developers, vendors and a few users made the event come together on the shortest of schedules. The organization was so tight that name badges were handwritten Post-It notes attached with large paper clips.
Chief instigator Alan Yeo of UK-based ScreenJet decided that a fresh edition of the Community Meet would benefit development plans and business strategy for his partners. Yeo contacted one of his closest, he said, to arrange to pay for a lunch, a room, and an invite to reconnect and share.
"I'd like to thank Michael Marxmeier," Yeo said at the start of a list of Meet supporters. "When I called him to ask, 'Are you up to pay half of this if nobody else is willing,' he said, 'Do it.' With that kind of enthusiasm, I could go and twist a few other people's arms."
In a reprise of the first Community Meet Yeo launched in 2007, this year's edition was sponsored and funded and supported by a raft of active 3000 community members. Yeo thanked Duane Percox of QSS for booking a Bay Area venue and offering wi-fi services for the day, the Connect user group which establishes a registration site, as well as Transoft and Speedware for kicking in support money.
The expenditures gave the community's transition suppliers a forum to connect.
"The chances to network with the people in this room are really difficult," Yeo said. "Some of you we need to meet for business, and flying back and forth over the Atlantic to have a meeting with just one person is a dumb thing to do. If we can put on something like this for the cost of flying over the Atlantic, it's a good deal for all of us."
"With a small group of people we can make these kinds of things happen," Yeo said, "provided there are people who want to get together. You have come because it's been useful to all of us in some way, so my biggest thanks is to you, for wanting to come."
News and views
Even though the event was wrapped around a system that HP stopped selling more than six years ago, there were solution developments and novel viewpoints during the day. Speedware's Chris Koppe said his company calculates there's 1,000 or less HP 3000 customers left using the platform. The estimate is based on Speedware's survey of some of its customer lists and others borrowed from other vendors. He said that the biggest 3000 customer lists from vendors such as Robelle, Adager and VEsoft were not part of the survey.
Speedware reported that it has migrated 106 of the computer's customers during the six years since HP ended sales. The migrations account for 729 HP 3000 servers.