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 www.hp.com/go/e3000 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.
"Customers will have multiple options for MPE/iX assistance after HP exits the Worldwide Support business on December 31, 2010," Hou stated in her comment. "Regardless of when the announcement of licensees takes place, they will not be able to use the MPE/iX source code in the delivery of system-level technical support until January 1, 2011."
It's unclear at the moment how HP would be able to determine if a third party company was using the read-only source code to deliver support services. In the publishing business we sometimes use "seeding" of names in a licensed use of a subscriber list -- so if an issue of a publication arrives with a special name on the label that includes a middle initial, we know who's used it.
HP will more likely rely on the integrity of the licensees rather than actual monitoring of support solutions from the independent firms. While the corporation's intellectual property arm HPDC is rigorous about intellectual property infringements, this kind of support solution policing would be nearly impossible without voluntary reviews of support fixes and workarounds.
That kind of review might be in the terms of the license, information that HP has not revealed -- and has no plans to share. We're just glad that HP has been reading the NewsWire's blog closely enough to come forward with new information about the date to celebrate the discovery of the 3000's holy grail.