OpenMPE treasurer Matt Purdue has updated us on the organization's drive to earn a license for MPE/iX source code. The volunteer group will be using the source as a way to create patches for community members who are served by independent support providers. Those providers are probably writing patches from the source knowledge, too. But only those who win a source code license.
OpenMPE, on the other hand, wants to launch a business to sell patches. Through memberships, probably, to be collected from customers directly or the support providers in the community. While it's an untested business model, it's also a good option to buttress the homesteader's needs.
The update is that OpenMPE is in "the home stretch" to raise the HP fee for the license. As of late last week, "We have in cash on hand and pledges approximately 65 percent towards the license fee," Purdue said. "Of course, additional donations of course are still needed."
That's why the NewsWire is pledging a modest amount to the drive. We respect the businesses of the support providers who are earning licenses, too. OpenMPE seems to want to operate in the patch business as a non-profit. That kind of dream needs encouragement. You should pledge, if you're going to be relying on a 3000 during 2011 for any reason -- and don't have an independent support company that can write patches, or buy them on your behalf.
Come to think of it, even buying patches on your behalf could require a non-profit lab like OpenMPE's model.
The OpenMPE volunteers who call themselves the Board are hunting for more contributions right now. Purdue said the group confirmed its application to HP for the license to get read-only source that cannot be modified.
"Some of the discussion on the Board conference call was to go ahead with the final paperwork for the source code access license application," Purdue said. "I have e-mailed [HP's] Jennie Hou to let her know OpenMPE is proceeding with the next step in the process, and I should hear back from her shortly. I did a ‘read receipt’ on the e-mail, and it’s already come back that she’s read the message."
The source has no guarantee of being a useful tool to help the community. It will take advanced developers to make sense of millions of lines of code and find workarounds and create specific patches. OpenMPE at least has access to them, but it will need budget, too. What's troublesome is that there's no provisions for source code licensees to share information about what they learn. HP made that clear when it revealed its intentions about source licenses more than a year ago.
In November we reported:
HP has not factored in any coordination requirement among licensees. For now, making patches consistent among the community's sites is up to the licensees.
"We won't be imposing any kind of organizational structure on the community in terms of how they choose to operate," Paivinen said. "We're going to be creating agreements between us and individual companies."
Source licensees cannot report on the terms of their licenses -- and no entity or company has done so to make today's report. That's a sentence for HP especially to read. We wouldn't want anything to impede a license approval. That would make our own contribution meaningless, as well as those of others in the community.
In about two months HP will say who's made the source code cut. It will come at about eight years after the community started asking HP about source for MPE/iX. Like everything in the 3000 community, success operates on a longer timeline here.