Veterans resign their skills to transitions
HP's Instant-On to light largest datacenters

OpenMPE resource revives source server

The CAMUS manufacturing user group held a phone conference meeting today, an event I chronicled at the offices of the Support Group inc here in Austin. The one-hour confab of questions and presentations was well worth the time spent, and you should sign up for the next meeting this legacy group schedules in the spring.

But I needed a much shorter amount of time at the TSG headquarters to find a legendary resource up and running once more. TSG has volunteered its datacenter as the host for the official Invent3k public access development server, something HP hosted for the community until the end of 2008. For close to two years Invent3k was dark, but starting this week the primary host burns with a light that may seem everlasting.

The server that's up and running, with a fresh master password, came from HP's labs by way of a Client Systems 3000 contribution. This Series 959 4-way arrived with HP's name for it labeled on the rear access panel. The yellow sticker reads MPESOURC. Those eight letters -- it's an MPE system, after all, and is so limited to those characters -- suggests to TSG's founder Terry Floyd that this is the HP Labs server where the 3000's source code once lived and grew.

Those millions of lines of code have been wiped off the 54GB of SureStore disk arrays attached to MPESOURC. HP shipped out major parts of that code to eight licensees this year, an accomplishment that OpenMPE takes a reasonable share of credit for sparking. But the whole MPE/iX enchilada once coursed through the same PA-RISC processors and memory which just started serving OpenMPE and its members. Another part of the day's news was an affordable offer to use Invent3k during 2011 and beyond.

Chairman Birket Foster used about 20 minutes of the meeting to update the OpenMPE membership offerings. Invent3k will be the first asset to generate money for the group, but access won't cost much more than the free trial membership of 2010. In 2011, a $99 per year fee will get you access to working with Invent3k. (A DR version of the system runs at Measurement Specialties' 3000 shop, managed by OpenMPE director Tracy Johnson.)

"You'll have an Invent3k box where you can log on and develop and test things," Foster said of the system maintained by TSG's David Floyd and Johnson. "You can use it to train, so in your succession plan you can show a person how to log on and manage an HP 3000, without affecting your own production machine," he offered as an example.

And the fact that Invent3k, fully patched up on the 7.5 level of MPE/iX, once housed the source code that drives the heartbeat of 3000s worldwide? If you've got any sense of history at all -- and many homesteaders do -- you might sign up for the $99 plan just to tap the resources of the very same machine where MPE grew up into its ultimate version at HP.

OpenMPE's going to get a link to its PayPal account posted up at its website to collect these $99 memberships. Before too long the user-built utilities of the Contributed Software Library, just arrived at the TSG datacenter this week, will also be online. The hardware may be legacy-grade, and the software will remain stable and static. But those are benefits of working with a solution handed down from its creators to curators, for extend the use of the 3000 for the community.