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Six Years of 3000 News by Blog

DSC_0533 Six years ago this week the 3000 NewsWire's blog opened up on the Web. We've posted almost 1,600 stories since that day in June, when we started to report on the upcoming 2006 end of HP support for the server. Just like our ongoing 3000 NewsWire print edition, we worked to report what homesteaders and migrators were doing to accept or prepare for the changes.

It's hard to describe how much the world of the Internet has also changed since 2005, except to note that we don't even see the word Internet used much these days. There's also the accepted fact that everyone has a blog these days, if they're interested in sharing their news, or their lives, via computer. Some call Facebook their blog, and others use Twitter. But regular updates on what's changed are part of the fabric of our social network.

DSC_0534What were we talking about in that summer of 2005? Some in the community were hopeful that the new CEO Mark Hurd might revitalize the HP 3000 business. The same kind of enthusiasm had mounted when Carly Fiorina took that job in 1999, a year when the vitality of HP's 3000 operations was slowing but not curtailed. Hurd did no revitalization, of course. And by today, six years later, the community has stopped hoping for any change in HP's heart. Its new CEO Leo Apotheker has his heart in software (a good thing for a platform like MPE). But the only HP-driven software platform turning heads on Leo's team is WebOS -- facing the same kind of stiff competition that MPE/iX faced in 1999 against Windows and Linux.

A lot has changed for the HP 3000 -- HP has stopped selling everything but support, a hardware emulator has been booted, migration's pace slowed and homesteaders stabilized. But much has not changed, too. During this week in 2005, Quest Software was using Taurus Software's Bridgeware for migrations. More than 100 of them, Quest boasted. The same link we used to Bridgeware-cum-Quest in '05 is operating today. (Taurus is planning some fresh 3000 products, we've heard.)

Just as in 2005, HP still isn't out of the 3000 support business altogether. Its appetite continues for collecting support money when a 3000 site is willing, a sort of on-paper insurance that gets tested once in awhile. That 2006 end of support that we anticipated became 2008, then 2010. HP's 3000 activities aren't part of our coverage today, but we always reached beyond the vendor for the 3000's stories.

Another thing that hasn't changed: Sun is still poking HP about software. Today Sun's owner Oracle is cutting support for its databases that use HP's Unix. In '05 Sun started to offer Solaris source code through OpenSolaris. HP didn't green-light any limited sharing of MPE/iX source for three more years, but we were eager to hear if OpenMPE might get HP's approval at the just-announced HP Technology Forum.

The Tech Forum would become most notable for helping put Interex in its grave, but source code discussion was not on the agenda of that HP-sparked conference. More pertinent news came in June: The Sarbanes-Oxley compliance rules were stalling migrations. But Measurement Specialites -- still a big 3000 site today -- had just learned that "staff would not expect testing of general IT controls that do not pertain to financial reporting."

In 2005, our survey of migrating HP 3000 sites didn't turn up a single one making the jump from Ecometry on the 3000 to the HP-UX version of the e-commerce software. HP-UX Ecometry is pretty much expired as a product choice for migrators today; Windows reigned over HP's enterprise software platform.

We reported that Jumbo datasets in IMAGE were finally going to get eclipsed by LargeFile datasets. HP's engineers said alpha testing to fix a critical bug in LFDS was going well. The critical bug was discovered and reported by Adager -- six years later, still the community's best resource on IMAGE/SQL. Adager's CEO Rene Woc recently noted that the LFDS bug was one of the last that was identified while there was an IMAGE lab still working. Those engineers have long since moved on to other companies or other HP work.

In 2005's June we were tracking patches to MPE/iX, hoping that dozens of them could escape HP's testing jail that locked them away from users. By now, some of those patches are available through the HP ITRC for free -- but that's a resource that's also in migration phase this week. We reported just last week that you'd better do your downloading from the ITRC by this weekend -- because the new HP support forum is likely to have some migration bumps after Saturday. Changes have often sparked our news over the last six years. Starting this blog has been the biggest expansion of 3000 news in our business life. We've been delighted to make every workday reports a part of the community's life.