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.
"It did not occur to me," Morgan said of the NewsWire, "to think that it might still exist after so many years of HP 3000 neglect from Hewlett-Packard." Just because HP is retiring from your community in about a year doesn't mean your platform is ready for its final toast. You decide when that day will occur.
Morgan is sympatico about how much more a vendor of any "proprietary platform" -- his term -- could do for its customers who are bound so closely to one company's designs. IBM is being accused of the same sort of neglect in Morgan's Web pages. Meanwhile, there are more than a few Fortune 500 companies who have diverged from HP's master plan to shed the 3000 in the wake of the Compaq merger. It's not that tough to find a CIO who'll take issue with the HP timetable. Endgames happen on a customer's terms, and the departure of HP's support on Dec. 31, 2010 -- which HP reminded us about yesterday -- doesn't shape timetables much.
In truth, IBM's day to state the demise of its AS/400 is just one boardroom meeting away from landing in Morgan's lap.
The late-night labeling, stupid or unfortunate, arises from frustration you have in common with any advocate of the AS/400. "If you want to dance on my retirement, I had it coming to me," Morgan said. "Hell, I will even send you a homebrew to make it interesting, and we can toast our respective proprietary platforms. If you are at all like me, you feel the HP 3000 is as much yours as it was HP's, just like I sometimes think of the AS/400 as my own to care for, which I could have done much better than IBM has done. For certain."