It began with an ending. Five years ago on this date the 3000 NewsWire's blog came to life, celebrating a notable death. Bruce Toback, a man of deep technical prowess and great humor, had passed away in that week of 2005, claimed by a heart attack that cut his life short too soon. He once noted a study which reported 10 percent of all tech gifts would be damaged after the year-end holidays by enraged low-tech users, then added, "Go team!" You might say the same about the cutting short of HP's 3000, except that only its HP life was cut short by 2005. We like to think we've lead the cheer over these years from the community of "Go team!" even as many have gone away.
Five summers ago we started our first week of workday articles writing about Quest Software's tools and a claim they'd already migrated 100 HP 3000 sites; about HP hiring this Todd Bradley fellow from Palm to run its PC group (Bradley bought up his old company for HP this spring); and a popular 3000 community topic of the day, open source code. Our story of June 15 was about Sun's new sharing of source for its Solaris flavor of Unix.
Some 203,000 page views later, after 1,320 articles, we know for certain that open source isn't a good answer to propel the 3000's future. Even while Sun opened up its OS internals (not that it did much good for Sun) the 3000 didn't have the same vast populace to enhance and maintain its OS. We said five years ago that a better quest for extension was in order.
Although MPE/iX's future development will have to take place in the third-party developer community, open source wouldn't work for the 3000 -- something most customers realize when they get honest about the size of the 3000 development base. You can't count up customers to measure the potential of open source resources; you have to look for people capable of doing their own builds of software such as perl, sendmail and the like. HP's Mark Bixby has warned 3000 customers who want to homestead they better get fluent in such development, or get to know a consultant who knows his way around the make command.
The summer of 2005 offered some once-in-a-career moments, like the overnight meltdown of Interex and the 30-year-old user group's conference; the last Systems Improvement Ballot to enhance MPE/iX, a document that didn't get a hearing at a conference because of said meltdown; and an HP conference postponed by a Category 4 hurricane. Interex lost millions, the SIB was reduced to wishes, but that HP conference roars to life once more this month in Vegas -- where the hurricane threats are few.
None of our many reports would be possible, however, without the steady support of our sponsors and avid readership of the community. Expertise, bandwidth, dedication and persistence come at a cost, one that our advertisers have believed is important to bear on behalf of 3000 users worldwide. This blog became the first step around the world, using system boots built to last like the 3000 itself.
In five years of reporting we've only gone offline once, when a six-block, five-alarm fire in San Francisco took down the servers of the NewsWire, LiveJournal, Second Life, Craigslist, Facebook and Yelp. We were restored along with the big boys within a day. Our 15-year-old gateway address, 3000newswire.com, has been offline from time to time thanks to the unpredictability of communication carriers, but the alternative 3000newswire.blogs.com address serves day and night. Moveable Type powers the NewsWire blog engine, but we admire the technology of WordPress, too. The latter is as open a source as any we're seen.
So Abby and I toasted today to five years of lifting our up-time, with glasses of icewater lifted at breakfast at The Frisco, the last remaining diner in the NightHawk chain here in Austin. The Frisco is a classic that's been refurbished and relocated to bigger digs, but still retains its sweeping breakfast counter, banana creme pie and chili over eggs charms. We still print ink on paper and size up headlines, buy staples and envelopes and fill post office tubs. But it's been fun to post and report quickly on this blog, even more fun to tweet on Twitter. (Follow us @3000newswire for the latest.)
By the time we started this online community rally point in 2005, we had no idea the 3000 world would never again see a major conference to pay heed to its needs. We now tend to gather around screens and smartphones and even tablets to stoke our community's fires. For us, the first steps started in the hot months of five years ago, when even the cooling embers of HP's dwindling activity tossed sparks that we turned into stories.
Thanks for reading and supporting us. We look to our next five years with relish and curiosity, as we push toward 20 years of HP 3000 storytelling.