Opening Up with Needs for Funds
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OpenMPE chair appraises a future in play

Yesterday's letter to the community from OpenMPE, soliciting another round of funds, was crafted to spark contributions. The state of the volunteers' effort has been assessed more completely by its current chairman Jack Connor.

Connor, who joined the volunteers last spring, has had a handful to consider and organize in his first month as chairman. He's shared his view of where this group is going, if anywhere, when it ever gains the funding it needs to expand and become a company. Shutting down a group that's returned its source code to HP, as well as hosting servers in locations not tied to the group, wouldn't be a complex matter once a suit against it by a former member has been settled. Connor believes a shutdown is not warranted yet.

"I think a major disconnect in our discussions has been the 'shut down OpenMPE' thread," he said. "What I believe the board desires is to see OpenMPE become an asset to the community. Our intent is to offer services and products which are needed by the community that are not present otherwise in the marketplace." His experience sounds dramatic, though.

When I was elected to the board, I was not aware of the morass I was stepping into.  This first year has been much like enlisting in the service; initially, it’s all bright eyes and for God and Country, but then you step off a bus in the middle of the night and into total chaos.

"To establish and continue to offer services/products, we need to have revenue streams to support business operations," Connor adds. "I believe, by definition, this would make OpenMPE a for-profit corporation." Procuring that source code looks to him like the only purpose the volunteers have pursued for the last three years.

With no extra funding, he says the offerings OpenMPE can sustain are Invent3K, the resale of HP subsystem software, and "perhaps sale of tools such as a HPSUSAN/HPCPUNAME bypass for system board replacements I’ve developed," Connor said. "The last is still waiting for approval from HP to offer it."

Since the elections, we have managed to implement two Invent3K boxes and load the CSL and parts of Jazz -- I might add, all without the originally-contributed equipment. We’ve implemented standard business “best practices” such as two signers on checks, monthly review of the books, and forging ahead to create a viable corporate structure. We still have much to do. 
The response to the open letter we released will allow the community to determine whether we can regain their confidence and serve their needs, or if our tangible contributions have been too few and far between.