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December 2009

Top 2009 Stories: Bigger ideas for the future

Grand2010 On this final day of 2009, the 3000 community in transition or entrenched can look back on a year of actions that edged toward 2010. Software emerged that would keep the computer compliant with new auditors' standards, the kind predicted to end the 3000's life. At the same time, groups formed and re-formed to smooth the path of transition with information exchange.

No fewer than three software solutions emerged to support using the 3000 with the latest PCI credit card security standards. Paul Taffel released a fresh version of IDent/3000, a PCI compliance utility, in mid-year. He's been selling the solution to the Ecometry e-commerce customers, a group of online retailers who once represented the hottest growth of the 3000 installed base. The year before HP announced it was ending its 3000 business, Ecometry sites led the computer's market in growth.

Taffel's product was not alone in making a way to take the 3000 into a new decade and comply with standards an auditor will have to check to satisfy Visa and Mastercard. Minisoft also introduced software that would "allow a user to specify the PCI-compliant levels along with the type of encryption (Change Cipher Spec Protocol) required by an organization's auditor or compliance officer" using Minisoft's ODBC, JDBC and OLE database middleware drivers.

PCI is among the standards and technologies which HP did not engineer into the 3000's future. Independent developers have bigger visions for the system's future, however, views prompted by the needs of customers not ready to migrate. 2010 may bring more of these visions, just as the year is certain to contain ideas on doing your own migration work along with several means to connect with like-minded 3000 owners. As proof of both, the community saw the Connect user group reorganize in 2009 to stay healthy, while the e3000 Community Meet pulled together veterans for a second in-person meeting.

Continue reading "Top 2009 Stories: Bigger ideas for the future" »

Top 2009 Stories: Open and extended futures

In reporting on the 3000 community during 2009, two top stories emerged that look toward the year to come. Owners of these systems who are migrating are searching for affordable replacement apps. The homesteading user hopes to extend the 3000's value for many years to come.

Opening up the solution we've called the HP 3000 is essential to accomplishing those tasks. During 2009, open source enterprise software gained notice and traction among community members, Meanwhile, the free utility and subsystem programs developed by independent and HP engineers -- many of which are open source modified by developers -- gained some fresh hosts.

• Several 3000 suppliers started to embrace cloud computing concepts during the year, but no company did more than the Support Group inc, and its Entsgo division, to promote enterprise open source. OpenBravo is on a path for the delivery in initial 3000 shops during the coming year, according to tSGi's Sue Kiezel and Donnie Poston. Enterprise open source is a good match for the cost of ownership the 3000 delivered for decades. Cloud computing plays a role in the tSGi OpenBravo solution, too, and Speedware, Hanover Direct and DST Health Solutions also offer some sort of Software as a Service (SaaS) solution. All want to host 3000s in a cloud service solution.

• On the 3000 open source front, two companies stepped up to give the software from HP's closed-down Jazz server a new home. Client Systems broke ground first on a new virtual location, while Speedware hosted both the Jazz utilities as well as migration training and command reference tools. These companies showed that the independents in the community will step in where HP has stopped delivering 3000 services. This is a backstop important to the homesteading customer as well as the migration site that requires another three years or more to leave the 3000.

In one of the more significant offerings for the system's future, Stromasys announced that it was starting pilot testing for a 3000 hardware emulator product this fall. While there's no guarantee such a product will be sold very soon, tests of a product at an alpha level are an encouraging signal for a smooth decade to come.

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Top 2009 Stories: Exits and Migrations

We're practicing the newsman's tradition of reviewing 2009 stories to select those most important for the year -- as well as the years to come. At week's end we'll look at our '09 forecast to see how well we predicted your year, as well as choose the most significant stories of this decade.

To start an '09 review, let's consider two items important to the future of the 3000 Transition: moving onward as well as away from the platform, both from an HP position as well as the view of the independent community.

HP exits lab business, leaves source license promises — in January the doors on the development lab for 3000 work got shut at HP, even though the lab itself doesn't have doors, and the engineers in cubicles remained employed at HP doing other work. But 2009 was the first year the vendor wouldn't deliver patches for the 3000, software development HP performed in its Cupertino offices.

At the same time that HP ended its creation of the MPE/iX heart of the 3000, the company outlined its conditions and restrictions to license source code for the operating system to third parties. A key software tool, SS_UPDATE, is not part of the license plan. HP's best offer was read-only source, to be used for support purposes and not for creating new MPE/iX features. The license terms were secret, negotiations were covered by confidential disclosures, and HP got unhappy when the OpenMPE advocacy group announced it was halfway to raising its money for the source code license fee.

A few weeks later, HP's Jennie Hou announced that the vendor will announce the winners of the licenses by the end of March, 2010. Support companies and software icons of the community will wait and see what difference seeing the MPE source might make, but source should simplify workarounds for companies both homesteading and doing long-term migrations.

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New entry emerges for 3000 encryption

A new product appeared under the data encryption tree for the 3000 last week, on Christmas Eve no less, when Brian Donaldson announced software which encrypts flat files.

The unnamed product uses the AES256 encryption standard for flat files, KSAMXL, circular and message files under MPE/iX. Spoolfiles can't be encrypted with the new product.

New software for the HP 3000 is a novelty all by itself, here in the shadow of 2010. Much of what you're likely to see in the year to come will emerge like this product: announced on a newsgroup, developed, sold and supported by an individual. Some of the greatest software in the 3000's history was built by teams of three or fewer engineers.

It might be enough -- if you're attempting to show an auditor how the 3000 can comply with a PCI DSS credit card standard, any encryption solution is better than none at all. Donaldson will provide more details via an e-mail contact

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Generous guidance still sits under HP tree

Even though much of the Hewlett-Packard expertise in the 3000 has moved on, users of the system can still find a few gifts of advice during this holiday. A show of goodwill and stewardship, admirable in its novelty, is on the Web and in e-mail readers this month.

CathleneMcCrae The giver is Cathlene Mc Rae, an HP Senior Response Center Engineer who's been making a habit of teaching the community about nuances of the 3000. There is no template for how HP will work its experts during this time of decline of the vendor's 3000 services. Mc Rae is giving away instruction on the 3000-L mailing list, answering questions with the experience of a lab engineer. (She also attended this year's e3000 Community Meet, as shown in the video snap above.)

During the last 30 days Mc Rae has posted advice and procedures to resolve a dead LDEV2 drive, secure the 3000's FTP services, follow IMAGE jumbo dataset rules and practices, and fix a customer's problem with a LISTFILE command and a KSAMXL file.

A more personal notice shows the intention of this remarkable HP resource. Mc Rae has posted the first online animated Christmas holiday card from HP to the 3000 community. "It's warming to know that HP still has a soul," said Ray Shahan of 3000 site Republic Title of Texas. When you visit the Blue Mountain card, you can reply to keep the holiday spirit flowing. Staying in touch with each other will be important in the year to come, especially to celebrate a message of peace.

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Give an HP history for your holiday

HouseMemoir If yesterday's news from HP about looking into a charge of racist software has you shaking your head, wondering what has shifted in the world of computing, a new book can help recall the glorious, gritty Hewlett-Packard. This thick tome also offers a way to understand how HP has changed, while the company continues its habits of learning from mistakes.

HP 3000 customers should enjoy The HP Phenomenon, the new book from Chuck House and Raymond Price. It's the first company history written by an executive insider. House was an HP employee and executive for 30 years at the company, including a long tenure as director of Corporate Engineering. At last year's HP 3000 Software Symposium in the Computer History Museum, House had some of the best stories about the earliest days of MPE applications and utilities, along with the angst and ardor that surrounded them.

In a show of old-school Hewlett-Packard tradition, House picked up the check for a table of 30 symposium attendees at the closing dinner. House is just as generous with research and stories in his book, written along with his co-author, who worked eight years at HP after completing his Stanford PhD with a dissertation about the HP.

The HP Phenomenon would make a great holiday gift to take back to the office after your break. At more than 500 pages of narrative and another hundred of back-matter, notes and indexes, it's a value to rival the 3000 itself. Some of the book's greatest value lies in a reminder that HP's good old days were not as good as remembered -- and the company stumbled its way through misjudgments en route to its top status of today.

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After its pros retire, MPE remains employed

L-Class Mapper The greatest change for the 3000 marketplace during this year and into 2010 won't be the exit of HP support for the server. Yes, Hewlett-Packard is now renewing its last round of annual service contracts for the 3000. However, the more significant departures will come from outside the vendor, where some lucky IT pros head into retirement. MPE will serve beyond them.

Screens like the one above show how this departure of talent is not always in lock-step with decline in 3000 use. Customers continue to be creative at keeping their 3000s up to speed, running at limits far beyond HP's designs. Some companies have just begun long-term service arrangements to keep MPE/iX applications online. I heard another such report from Steve Pirie, one of the promoters and managers of the Generic "3000-REplacement" PA-RISC Box offer that he started in 2006. These GREBs are still keeping MPE/iX employed on low-end hardware that makes any HP RISC machine a potential 3000 replacement.

L-ClassAs3000 Last week I ran into Pirie in the Las Vegas airport while I was returning from a holiday visit with my mom. He seemed to have little reason to embellish the state of what he launched. Pirie's retired from the industry and the 3000 community but mentioned that GREBs, which employ PA-RISC servers to deliver unhampered MPE/iX performance, just added another customer. Although HP has full knowledge of this tech solution -- which lets 3000s use all the CPU power on any PA-RISC server -- the vendor has never asked that GREB sites be taken offline. Some of that tolerance, of course, is because GREBs customers resolutely decline to be identified.

You might almost be tempted to believe that such a Generic REplacement Box for 3000s, using HP's own RISC hardware, doesn't exist. But I saw one early in 2007, when Pirie booted up MPE/iX 7.5 on an L-Class PA-RISC server (shown above).

Continue reading "After its pros retire, MPE remains employed" »

COBOL moves upward with new Java client

Veryant, the COBOL provider which specializes in integration with the added networking of Java, has introduced an SP2 version of its app suite that can embed JavaScript into COBOL clients. These are the sorts of features which can motivate a migration off a 3000. Java/iX has become as static as the rest of the MPE environment, another example of HP's dropped developments.

The Veryant product is called isCOBOL, and its Application Development Suite (APS) improves the thin client performance by way of a 2.0 version of Web Direct and a retooled Indexed Sequential Access Method (ISAM). Veryant boosted the ISAM performance by taking the what it calls JISAM into an all-Java design.

Veryant is also targeting the users of Micro Focus products such as ACUCOBOL with this latest release, promising that the latest isCOBOL has "greater compatibility with outdated platforms such as ACUCOBOL-GT and RM/COBOL, further simplifying the move to isCOBOL from alternative COBOL compilers."

The ACUCOBOL approach to migrating COBOL has also offered extended COBOL features for the 3000 user who migrates from HP's COBOL. ACUCOBOL was built with the 3000-specific intrinsic calls of COBOL II in mind, so that ACU software can be used to lift-and-shift as an initial migration phase. Veryant's reps say that these 3000 nuances need to be rewritten for when deploying isCOBOL. But the latest Veryant solution adds much more for fans of Java.

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Misfortune paints a misdeed more accurately

Last week we paid heed to some late-night gnashing of teeth in the IBM world. There, in a part of the universe that mirrors your own 3000 community, editor in chief Timothy Prickett Morgan used the word stupid in an editorial to describe the choice of a 3000 over IBM's AS/400.

He's written to recant the word stupid, which "was not the right choice. 'Unfortunately,' would have been a better word. I said stupid flippantly on a late Friday when I was working too late, as usual." You certainly know about working too late, since you're probably from the generation of IT that needed late nights to get some new magic conjured up from time to time. Morgan also knows that generation, since he's got 21 years of time served covering servers like the HP 3000 and AS/400.

He adds that it didn't occur to him to look up the 3000 NewsWire when he quipped that things could be worse, and his own publication could be called The Three Thousand instead of The Four Hundred. Lots of things haven't occurred to IT analysts and chiefs about your platform since HP named the day of its 3000 business demise. Much of this dearth of awareness comes from a lack of looking at the genuine rate of an endgame -- no matter what the vendor or its largest partners predict it will be.

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HP to unveil source licensees in Q1, 2010

The hallowed MPE/iX source code license, long the holy grail of the homesteading community, will be displayed next year by licensees. HP has agreed to reveal the names of the companies and organizations who have been approved and paid for the read-only license. Although the fee for the license has not been leaked by any applicants, discussion at the recent e3000 Community Meet indicates it's a five-figure expense.

Jennie Hou, the final e3000 business manager before HP closed up its development labs around this time last year, commented on a NewsWire blog post to add information about the release of license holder names. The Nov. 19 story updated the fundraising drive that OpenMPE is pushing to come up with the money for the license.

"HP is working with multiple third parties who wish to procure from HP the read-only source code license for MPE/iX and TurboIMAGE/XL to provide system-level technical support services," Hou said in her comment to our article. "HP intends to publish the names of the approved licensees in the first quarter of 2010 on the web site."

The balance of the message reminds 3000 owners that there are many places to procure support for an HP 3000 when HP leaves the community on Dec. 31 of next year. What's more, the source code will be an asset that those independent support providers can use -- on HP's terms.

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ScreenJet eases migration into new generation

    HP 3000 migrations strive to change an environment that customers believe has a limited future. But a new utility aims to preserve as well as extend the most productive part of a company’s IT solution: the user interface. ScreenJet’s EZ View will reproduce an application’s VPlus screens using XML, even while those screens continue to run on a 3000 during fast-track testing for a migration.

    Alan Yeo, founder of ScreenJet (, said the product he introduced at the recent e3000 Community Meet operates on both 3000 systems and migration target environments. It’s designed to carry apps out of the VPlus development era while being faithful to the current look of a user’s screen.

    EZ View allows the screen migration to be tested while the application remains on the HP 3000. “It reduces the risk,” Yeo said. “We have the only VPlus migration product that runs on the 3000 as well. You can switch to our API and the XML forms files.”

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Using Webforms to Convert 3000 Screens

By Mike Howard
Unicon Conversion Technologies

Second of two parts

    Webforms, like Winforms, are from Microsoft. They are created and maintained in Visual Studio, have full GUI facilities and are maintained completely outside the COBOL program. But that is where the similarity ends. Webforms are full ASPX .NET and therefore employ a completely different method of processing.

   With Webforms, the user PCs are not connected to the host through any terminal services software. The host server must have a Web server installed on it. User PCs connect to the Web server through a Web browser and the Internet or an intranet. The user typically has an icon on their screen that starts the app when the user clicks on the icon. This launches an instance of the Web browser and gives it the URL of the Web server and the name of the Webform to be displayed. The form displays on the user PC.

   Now remember we fired up a Webform, not a COBOL program. The form is presented onto the screen but there is no application program running on the server. The user enters the data into the form and presses a function key or screen button and the Webform creates an event request and sends it to the Web Server. The Web Server receives the request and the Webform’s “code behind” processes the request by calling an application program to service that request. When the application program has performed its function, perhaps to obtain account information from the database using the account number entered by the user, it terminates and returns that information to the Webform code behind. The Webform code behind populates the form with the information and sends the form to the terminal.

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3000 Screen Conversions to Windows .NET

By Mike Howard
Unicon Conversion Technologies

Before 1998, all of our customers were asking us to migrate their mission-critical applications to Unix. What a difference the last 10 years have made. Today our customers’ new platform of choice is predominantly Windows. This is true for migrations from the smaller DEC VAX systems though the midrange HP 3000 systems and up to IBM mainframes. It’s true that over 25 years we have migrated more customers to Unix than Windows. But today that ratio is changing fast.

The decision is purely the customer’s choice. So why do more of our customers choose Windows? Each has their own reasons, from finding it easier to recruit Windows-knowledgeable staff than Unix staff; to consolidating all systems onto one platform type throughout the organization; to wanting to establish a Visual Studio .NET shop.

So what does an HP 3000 application look like after it is migrated to Windows? To a large extent that question is answered by what method is chosen to perform the migration. But the most obvious distinction in appearance are an application’s screens. Let’s take a look.

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A Quick Cheat Sheet for Reloads

When a 3000 drive goes dead, especially after a power outage, it often has to be reloaded. Dave Powell of MM Fab had his Logical Device 2 (ldev2) fail on him in such an instance. He asked for a cheat sheet on reloading a volume, something that our Homesteading Editor Gilles Schipper was quick to provide to Powell.

By Gilles Schipper

Assuming your backup includes the ;directory option (you’ve already said it includes SLT),

1. Boot from alternate path and choose INSTALL (assuming alternate path is your tape drive)
2. After INSTALL completes, boot from primary path and perform START NORECOVERY.
3. Use VOLUTIL to add ldev 2 to MPEXL_SYSTEM_VOLUME_SET.
4. Restore directory from backup (:restore *t;;directory)
5. openq lp
6. Perform a full restore with the following commands
:file t;dev=7(?)
:restore *t;/;keep;show=offline;olddate;create;partdb;progress=5 7.


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Strobe sidelines its 3000 emulator work

A decline in the amount of non-3000 business at emulator vendor Strobe Data has pushed the company's PA-RISC system emulation project to the sidelines, reports Strobe's Alan Tibbetts.

Strobe Logo The vendor was among three whose hats were in the ring to create a solution that would permit non-3000 computers to run MPE/iX applications and software. HP has made an MPE/iX emulation license available, but none of the emulator vendors has released the rest of the solution.

Allegro Consultants was mentioned in the early talks about emulation, but president Steve Cooper long ago put rumors of an Allegro-branded product to rest. Over the past five years Allegro has been mentioned as a partner in a project that Strobe would lead, since Allegro boasts one of the best stables of PA-RISC experts in the world.

Strobe's business revolves around emulating Digital minicomputers and the HP 1000 mini, systems which are used to control processes in real-time computing. The current economic lull -- HP was still reporting declines in all of its businesses except services -- has set the 3000/PA-RISC emulation work onto Strobe's back burner.

"We are just trying to survive the lull in government orders right now," Tibbetts said. "The trouble is that the sales of our [Digital] PDP-11 line are down. The PDP-11s became unreliable more quickly and we have sold a bunch of them in the past, but the easy ones have already been captured."

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Not a word from HP about extensions

We're well into the first full week of December, so customers are asking if HP will consider extending its support deadline into 2011, or even beyond. This has been the month of the year when customers, some running migration projects, have found a gift of extra time delivered by HP.

When we got this year's call about this perennial holiday wish, a podcast was born. Our 6-minute report might have no news from HP, but it describes the kind of deal to keep 3000 customers in a relationship once they migrate away from the server. Taking a page from HP, customer credits play a role. Have a listen and see if there's another place to look for stimulus to your support and supplier relationships.

Yes, things could be worse — for everyone

AfterlifeTShirt You could be using IBM's AS/400 servers to run your business, exhorting Big Blue to pursue the path to goodwill instead of profit.

In this holiday season I've stumbled upon a steaming pile of snark about your Transition. There's a shortage of goodwill in many places, but maybe nowhere as obvious as the Web site IT Jungle, where an editor in chief has called most of you stupid. He's even measured the folly of running a newsletter like ours, though he missed calling us out by name by one word.

Timothy Prickett-Morgan writes in The Four Hundred this week to exhort his readers, who love their AS/400s as much as you have adored your HP 3000, that things could be worse for his faithful. In almost 3,000 words of manifesto he chirps that no matter how dire the future looks for a return to IBM's hegemony of the 1980s, life under the ticking clock of AS/400 futures could be worse.

I think the first thing to realize is that things could be worse. Imagine if this newsletter was called The Three Thousand and all of us, seeing the incredible RISC technology that Hewlett-Packard had on deck for its future PA-RISC workstations and servers in the late 1980s, had banked our careers on the MPE operating system, with its own integrated database management system and COBOL applications.

None of us were that stupid, of course.

I can weather that schoolboy name-calling, because in an era of Photoshopped integrity, respect is in short supply. But only from the distance of a New York office could a man with a few decades of IT experience think your Transition arises from stupidity. You believed, like a lover or a disciple, to nurture your relationship. Now your life after the affair is different; your career may be better, perhaps worse.

While it was not Prickett-Morgan's main mission to hoot at your challenge, he did lead with this slapdash foolishness to start preaching to his choir. My aim is to represent your reality in about half as many words. The HP 3000 has been that kind of efficient -- which is why so many of its customers' applications will live on other environments in the decades to come. Precious few will ever boot up under OS400, though.

Continue reading "Yes, things could be worse — for everyone" »

Does IA-64's future fail on emulation ability?

IPF It's a good question to ask when a customer is considering where to migrate 3000 applications. Common sense advice from migration service suppliers says "It's all about the apps," meaning that target choices are determined by which applications a migrator must choose. But often in the 3000 marketplace, the applications remain the same during a migration, as companies execute a lift-and-shift move of code.

When the app remains the same, then choosing via architecture and environment is the fork in the road away from the 3000. Towards the x86/Xeon world of Windows, or into the land of Unix and HP's IA-64 Itanium designs? (HP-UX and IA-64 are a matched set of solutions, since Itanium is the only host for HP's Unix.) An analyst said recently that only three architectures will survive the consolidation of solutions, and Itanium isn't one of them. Joe Clabby has promoted IBM's solutions before his latest report, which claims the z architecture of IBM mainframes and IBM's POWER architecture will be survivors, along with Xeon.

But the reasons Clabby dismisses any survival for Itanium don't fit the technical view of one of the 3000 community's best IA-64 experts. Gavin Scott, a VP at support and development house Allegro Consultants, says that Clabby's wrong about x86 emulation being the fatal flaw in the Itanium fabric.

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Securing 3000 FTP: Clients yes, servers no

When long-time 3000 customer Eveready Insurance asked if Secure FTP (SFTP) is available for the server, the short answer was yes. And no.

A client version of the software to secure file transfers has been available for the 3000 for some time. What the 3000 lacks for now is a secure FTP server module. This means that the HP 3000 must initiate each secure file transfer process.

HP's response center engineer Cathlene McRae has pointed customers to a 2008 HP white paper on the subject of securing 3000 file transfers, a document which is honest about how far MPE goes to support the FTP industry standard. McRae admitted that MPE/iX doesn't provide a version of SFTP in addition to the 3000's regular FTP/iX. Once the invent3k public access development server accounts are restored for the community -- a project OpenMPE has been working on since September -- a true SFTP server module might proceed toward a release. A volunteer for that project would have to step up, too.

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Migrations lift, shift, exchange commands

Speedware announced the third phase of its online tool transfer from HP yesterday, as the migration partner rolled out the old MPE-to-HP-UX utilities on a new Web resource. The tools include a Commands Cross-Reference, an MPE to HP-UX Programming API Cross-Reference, as well as a cross reference for MPE to HP-UX System Administration Functions. All are in sync with the most reliable means to replace a 3000 application, something Speedware's Chris Koppe calls lift and shift.

At this year's e3000 Community Meet, Koppe related the story of how essential it was for a client to retain the logic and architecture of its 3000 apps in a move to HP-UX. ScreenJet's Alan Yeo, a provider for tools for do it yourself migration projects, said that some customers making a migration have asked "I'd like my bugs migrated, too."

In our video from the Meet, Koppe reveals background from the migration story of Australian insurance firm ING, which Speedware helped migrate during 2008. The alternative to lift and shift is replacement applications. The ideal situation for minimum change is the same third party app hosted on a new environment: more often Windows for the typical 3000 user, but sometimes HP's Unix.

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Snapshots form pictures for 3000 repositories

Official documentation for the HP 3000 has a lifespan, a period of time that's not measured like a book's bindings or any crumbling foundation of a library. Manuals and documents about how to operate a 3000 thrive upon the interest and care from the community. Speedware said at the latest e3000 Community Meet that it wants to be a repository for such 3000 knowledge.

Chris Koppe, the company's marketing director who is also the 2010 Connect user group president, reported that Speedware took snapshots of the documentation that was removed from the HP's Web servers last December. "If you're missing anything that was in HTML, some see us," he said at the Meet. Documents which used to be available in either HTML or PDF formats now only appear as PDFs. Koppe said that while Speedware still can't host official 3000 documentation, HP advised them to "take a snapshot of all of it last year -- early, just in case."

HP spread that advice around the user community about this time last year, when it had begun to issue its final communications with the community. The vendor's migration effort may be erasing some edges of HP's picture of documentation, so outside respositories are important to preserve 3000 practices. "As part of the migration," said Eloquence database creator Michael Marxmeier at the Meet, "some documents might just vanish, and it's difficult for a large organization to restore them."

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Minisoft joins PCI compliance team

Penalties for unsecured commerce via credit cards run up to a half million dollars for companies using the HP 3000, Unix and other environments. The card industry's new PCI standards were supposed to leave the HP 3000 unprepared for the July, 2010 deadline to comply. But a few vendors have stepped in to add security that could satisfy PCI auditors.

And in a best-of-both-worlds development, the newest entry for PCI compliance tools runs with both the IMAGE and the Eloquence databases -- so 3000 users en route to migration can have encrypted connections now, and later.

Minisoft announced its database connectivity tools have been updated to include security that can help in PCI compliance. Starting today the company's ODBC, JDBC and OLE database middleware drivers incorporate the SSLv3 and TLSv1 encryption technology to secure connections. Minisoft says that its new options for the middleware "allow a user to specify the PCI-compliant levels along with the type of encryption (Change Chiper Spec Protocol) required by an organization's auditor or compliance officer."

In matters of PCI compliance -- important at the e-commerce companies where the 3000 was once strong in number -- those auditors determine what will escape the credit card penalties.

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