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Little things expend OpenMPE's efforts

Update: We've located a "Contribute" button on the OpenMPE website that connects with the group's PayPal account. Benefactors can type in any amount at the PayPal site to make a donation. Subscription invoices for Invent3K are another matter.

Favicon-OpenMPE OpenMPE's curator for its website Tracy Johnson sent a note that defines the level of detail the volunteers work on this month. A favicon -- the little graphic that appears in a browser bar next to a site's address -- has been added for The graphic is a picture of the owl that the 3000 homesteaders used back in the middle of the previous decade for the "Who Knew?" campaign to celebrate the 3000. Senior Software Specialist Rick Gilligan at CASE created a handsome shirt with the logo for an effort back in the early years that followed HP's exit announcement.

That tiny favicon pops up in the bar now, but there's no evidence yet on the website of the PayPal account that will accept contributions, or $99 membership fees for Invent3K accounts. We'd hope that an automated method to accept micro-contributions -- those of under $99, for example -- would become more prominent for a group that's trying to raise $50,000 to survive.

As of today, there's no deadline for raising that money, because aside from legal expenses and a fee to prepare its taxes, a modest director insurance premium, and electricity for hosting 3000s, the group has few other regular costs to meet. It owes its director Keith Wadsworth $5,000 for a loan. Conference call expenses have been donated by MB Foster for years, and now Abtech has started to pick up that tab. The servers dishing up Invent3K, classic tech papers, CSL programs and the like have been donated by Client Systems; there were costs to ship these, of course. But all of the above is now in place. From an outsider's perspective, it looks like there are no ongoing expenses that will go unpaid if a lot less than $50,000 gets raised.

This group has said it wants to be a corporation, but the most tangible evidence of its work post-2008 is up on those servers and other Web locations. It's a virtual collective of efforts today. A more current list of MPE/3000 consultants is up at the OpenMPE News blog, hosted for free at We'd like to see more consultants up on that list, and there's a simple comments section underneath to submit particulars and get onto the list. Chuck Trites nudged us to be sure he was included (the NewsWire is donating a bit of time to help on that blog and catalog the list, but the group's Johnson also has his hands on those reins.) Trites reported on his 3000 engagements of late.

We have been working on writing FORTRAN programs to extract data from MANMAN databases and load them into SQL databases and ORACLE databases, to either use them to migrate to another relational database package or simply to archive the data. This allows people to unplug their 3000s -- if all they are keeping them for is a lookup of historical data after a migration to something else. It’s also easier to load data to a relational database from the one we load MANMAN onto.

This group of volunteers has posted significant success in getting HP to do more for homesteaders, back when HP was listening. Now there's been a long period of searching for something to do that might help here in 2011. At least as of this month, the useful work can be handled on a minimal budget. The bigger dreams, like coordinating patches and contracting for integration, is what will demand donations.

Johnson has told the community that he's still working on the getting out invoices for Invent3K subscriptions "We had a moratorium on billing," he said. "Some of it had to do with our legal woes. I'm trying to get a PayPal 'Subscription' button on our website to make it easy. To pay for subscriptions, don't use the 'Contribute' button. I'd like to keep the accounting for Subscriptions separate from Contributions, if I can.