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Drive to free MPE wraps with read-only code

HP announces source code licensees

The usual suspects — leaders among the HP 3000 development and support communities — made up the list of MPE/iX source code licensees announced today. One developer of 3000 database utilities, suppliers of healthcare and ERP applications, four independent resources for HP 3000 and MPE/iX support, and the OpenMPE advocacy group filled the list of companies who will receive read-only access to most parts of the 3000's operating system source.

Adager and Ordat -- the latter a European supplier of IMAGE wrapper technology and ERP systems, the former the market leader in IMAGE tools -- were among the software development companies, along with healthcare application supplier Neil Harvey & Associates. Pivital Solutions, Allegro Consultants, Beechglen Development and Terix will employ the source code in support of their HP 3000 customers who use non-HP service. And OpenMPE Inc., the advocacy group which plans to build patches for sale to the support companies, is also receiving a license for the source to MPE/iX and TurboIMAGE/XL.

The licenses will deliver code that cannot be used in the marketplace until January, 1, 2011, the first day that HP will no longer offer HP 3000 support services. HP described the read-only licenses as a means for "delivery of system-level technical support." It also termed the holders of these licenses "HP e3000 End-of-Life Licensees," a curious description that made one last attempt to define the end of 2010 as the end of the 3000 -- when all that's happening is HP is leaving the marketplace.

The HP announcement also included a note on the companies which can distribute the HP 3000 documentation as of the start of next year. Speedware and Client Systems will be able to let the community download manuals and HP Communicator issues hosted today at the site.

HP reiterated the few terms that it has made public in these confidential license agreements, using a posting at its e3000 Web page.

Hewlett-Packard announced in 2008 that they would create a limited number of fee-based source code licenses that will allow third parties to use MPE/iX source code as reference material for providing technical support to HP e3000 customers, where technical support includes investigating problems, developing workarounds, and creating instruction-level, binary patches. The license is targeted at those third parties whose business model is to provide technical support on HP e3000 products. HP worked with interested parties and we are pleased to announce the HP e3000 End-Of-Life Licensees.

As always, this announcement does not reflect a change in HP's continued strong recommendation that customers proceed immediately with planning and implementing transitions off the e3000. However, we recognize that some customers may still need some level of MPE/iX support after HP exits the HP e3000 Support business on December 31, 2010. Thereafter, customers will have multiple options for MPE/iX assistance by contacting the applicable source code licensees.

Client Systems and Speedware were also the only companies listed who can host HP's content from the former Jazz server for freeware and shareware tools. OpenMPE was not listed as a resource for Jazz programs. Speedware was the only company listed who's hosting HP's MPE/iX training materials for migration.