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A Listserv Doing More Service to 3000s

The 3000 NewsWire seemed possible to me in the middle 1990s once I read the 3000-L listserv mailing list. During that decade the list's traffic would swell with every passing quarter, passing more than 2,000 messages a month that traded technique, examined IT and vendor strategy, and yes, observed current events and a steady stream of Friday Humor.

What followed, over the back half of the decade just past, was far from funny. Off Topic posts overran the traffic in the years leading up to and just beyond our last Presidential race. "The L," as the community members called it, became a shouting chamber dotted with few 3000 reports. That's all changed now, thank goodness. It's become safe to use this resource for 3000 savvy.

We're not sure why. The mailing list membership is counted -- that is, those who receive the advice via e-mails, classic computer style. Where it was once more than 1,500 readers by mail, it's now less than 500. More IT pros than the 500 peruse what's up there, however, because the listserv's contents are echoed to the newsgroup comp.sys.hp.mpe. (Remember newsgroups? Well, Google tracks them these days.)

You can read the revived L of today without feeling like you need to shower off spittle from frothing politicos. In the last few weeks the list offered advice about how to create and expand tar and zip files; how to know if you're running in batch; managing the AutoRAID 12H arrays for 3000s; even the going rate for consultants. The L operates as a kind of open forum for consulting on tactical 3000 issues.

The OT's were such a plague that even to this day, some 3000 experts feel they need to include [On Topic] headers in their subject lines. The lowest point came when one misguided person wished for an attempt on the President's life. I scuttled all the Off Topic posts straight into my bit bucket from that day onward.

But what has popped up in the place of all that removed refuse? Useful nuggets of operational technique which are becoming harder to find. Alan Yeo of ScreenJet called the other day and mentioned that the L was returning to a technical resource for 3000 customers, and both of us marveled at the slow and steady transformation.

The list remains hosted at the HP 3000 site of the University of Tennessee at Chatanooga, where Jeff Kell established it (and many others) more than 15 years ago. You can search and browse it online through the UTC listserve Web interface, which includes a search feature, too.

One genuine treasure of the L, far removed from its current renaissance, is the writings of Bruce Toback and Wirt Atmar, both deceased but leaving large footprints in the community. Just type Toback or Atmar into the "From" field at the UTC interface and get ready to be entertained and educated. Their writings, along with the lessons from many others, make the L one of the foundational resources of your community.