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Community Counts Homestead Resources

Homesteading sites in the 3000 community must consider resources when they plan a transition or a sustaining plan. The primary resource in deciding to homestead is knowledge and talent of 3000 IT pros. There's no clear way to measure the available brainpower in the community. Consultants come and go, but support companies come and tend to stay. Some migration-transition suppliers -- Speedware and MB Foster come to mind -- have experts on call to help homestead.

But you can count five kinds of software and documentation resources that can help a homesteader. HP's 3000 documentation is the easiest to count and has the widest reach. Speedware licensed that resource and can start to serve those docs and manuals next year. HP will also serve docs until 2015 on its current plan.

Second on the resource list are white papers and some programs from the Jazz server that HP closed in 2008. Jazz contents are hosted, and have been licensed, to Speedware as well as Client Systems. Only HP's white papers and its software are among the Jazz contents; independent developers' work isn't covered. In some cases, those open source programs have become unavailable, for the moment.

The third resource? That's the Invent3k public access development server. HP granted a license for Invent3k to OpenMPE. Speedware and Client Systems don't want to get into this resource, although you can make a  case for how they might manage it with competence. After all, both of these companies have put Jazz online within six months of HP shutting off that server.

When you get down to resources four and five, among these assets, you find the longest-buried and most restricted items. Buried are the Contributed Software Library programs. Restricted are the parts of MPE/iX source that HP licensed to eight entities. Numbers 4 and 5 are different -- nobody seems to be releasing the CSL, while seven support firms and software developers have paid for that source license.

The eighth licensee is OpenMPE. It's being challenged to open a portal to the CSL as well as develop a means to use MPE/iX source. Until this group shows off a business and operational plan for source, and publishes access to a CSL portal, invent3K is the only resource the group might offer you can't get elsewhere. Instead of five resources, you've got three: docs, Jazz and source. All come from genuine, estabished independent companies.

Can you even count to three to number the homesteader's software resources? You can if you include the seven companies using the MPE/iX source. But resources Numbers 3 and 4? Not yet available. And that free resource looks to become a for-fee one, while the other is stuck in OpenMPE discussions.

About the free, soon-to-be paid resource: Invent3k was operated differently when HP ran it for more than a decade. Mark Bixby, who was HP's curator of invent3k and an "inventi2" Unix server, invited free use of these Public Access Development resources like this in 2004:

"If you'd like to get a taste of HP-UX on Itanium2 to help with your MPE migration planning, come and give inventi2 a spin. Simply register at the same place where you can register for the other virtual CSY public access systems,"

Like a lot of what's on the bubble for OpenMPE, its Invent3k offering is in flux, unsettled, under-decided. We read from the revived meeting minutes that the server's future will be fee-based. For sure, OpenMPE needs some money from somewhere. It's gone house-to-house to collect its source code license fee. Even on a generous 60-day-net license, that HP bill is going to be due this weekend. All licensees received code no later than mid-March.

The CSL's future is in OpenMPE limbo altogether, too. The group holds a copy of one edition of these contributed programs. The full set of tapes is filed with Chuck Shimada and one other individual for safe keeping. Shimada, who worked very hard for free for Interex as an IT volunteer for years, reports that he's working to stay employed as a consultant. He could pass along the full set of CSL programs, if OpenMPE could arrange the exchange. Chuck might even be paid for his time.

Three out of five resources is a great shooting percentage, a fine passer rating, an extraordinary batting average. But the hits, passes and baskets are coming from companies, already lined up, holding the ball or in the batter's box, profitable for many years around the world. They pay experts to do the needed work, buy licenses out of operating budgets. They attract customers and communicate. Connecting with a customer base -- that's something OpenMPE needs right away. In the meantime, homesteaders can count on three out of five, and whatever 3000 brainpower they can find.