A slice of the Austin 3000 community met last night at the County Line BBQ joint, where ribs and brisket hit the table to feed a brace of developers and sales experts. Everyone at the table had at least 25 years of 3000 experience, and almost everybody was still working on 3000 projects weekly. For many of us, the 3000 remains an everyday experience.
We didn't gather to share 3000 stories. We met to enjoy each other's company, prompted by a visit from Birket Foster. In places like Austin and elsewhere he swings through on sales and consulting calls and marshalls whoever can make time. (Seattle is his stop next week.) But even through the 3000 wasn't the primary topic, there were a few slices of fresh reports served up along with the meaty meal.
News that surprised me: one company counted its biggest sale of the fourth quarter as software and support of a 3000 tool. What's more, the software is being installed on four new HP 3000s. That's when Denise Girard, who worked for decades for Tymlabs and Unison Software, said, "There are new 3000s?"
Not new in a common definition of Just Been Built. But these 3000s were arriving where old systems had been, or none were in place. The better part of the story, from a homesteader's perspective, was the guaranteed end of support date for the new solution: 2015.
My analysis of these fresh slices of the future shows some promise for a measured transition course. Even though this kind of software and systems support will be offered for years to come, that doesn't mean a 3000 user should do nothing. The company installing four fresh 3000s made a financial commitment to sustaining their homestead. It doesn't work any differently than the homesteaders of the US in the 19th Century. They also invested their labor and resource to stay out on the prairie.
Transition means different things to different 3000 community members. For the company that wants to continue to enjoy the fiscal benefit of the 3000 model, in an era of no HP support, it means lining up agreements like that 2015 deal and paying annual support fees. Even for the interim homesteader, this kind of sustaining investment is essential to using a measured pace to step away from the system.
Some of your futures include an indefinite term for your 3000 service. You can take comfort in the news that some vendors are still working to keep the HP 3000 working into its fifth decade.