How about an MPE hobbyist's advocate?
Now arriving: Calls for an HP breakup

Emulator freeware license needs hobbyists

HP doesn't have much impact on the 3000-only customer anymore, but the licensing terms which can matter to auditors are still in force in 2012. Although it's almost nine years since Hewlett-Packard built a 3000, the MPE/iX license tied to every server still carries some barbs.

HobbyistThe terms are "barbs" in sense of hooks or wire, since the audited 3000 owner will see these license items are designed to stick to the servers. You could download a personal freeware copy of HPA/3000 this month, or even next. But as things stand today, HP expects its customers to transfer their MPE/iX license to the freeware version of the Stromasys product. Even if the freeware is just there to experiment with, testing to see if it can duplicate the work of the HP-badged hardware. It still needs a license transferred. That's a $400 charge to test out freeware.

But being an MPE hobbyist might change that.

Jennie Hou of HP -- the last business manager for HP 3000s -- remains the decision maker for this kind of policy. Stromasys CEO Ling Chang, a former HP exec, checked out the chain of command last week. Bernard Determe, Service Lifecycle Planning manager for Enterprise Servers, Storage, Networking and software, said Hou is in his team and has the call on a fresher licensing concept: hobbyist copies of MPE/iX.

HP's Digital group has done this for more than a decade with VMS. The hobbyist licenses are limited to non-commercial uses. That's very good news for the 3000 user who's hoping for a hobbyist license. At least Hewlett-Packard has history of the goodwill needed to create this kind of MPE license.

Chang has asked me to lead the effort to encourage HP to consider and MPE hobbyist license. The vendor was ready to extend a low-cost license, which is a step towards a hobbyist license. But that 2004 offer of a $500 emulator license was just an offer. HP tied a 2010 deadline on selling that license, and the vendor wouldn't sell one until an emulator existed. The deadline expired without a single license sold. But HP's intention to support an emulator was clear.

We have about as much support here at the Newswire from migration suppliers as we do from homesteading resources. But there's not much advocacy for the former that's required with HP. The vendor has done nearly everything it can make the exit from the 3000 enterprise easy and cost-effective. To be helpful to everybody, someone has to step up and try to change things for homesteading licenses.

I would like to work on the advocacy with HP to make a hobbyist license for MPE available, "similar to the OpenVMS hobbyist license that HP makes available for the OpenVMS enthusiasts" Chang says. That's a hobbyist license at no cost. In the Digital arrangement, you need to be part of a user group. Connect membership is available for this purpose for the Digital users.

This all might get closer to being a reality with the participation a 3000 owner, user, expert or veteran who'd like to have such a hobbyist's license. The licensing document that would make an auditor happy could well become an interim document -- one that could lead from freeware to Stromasys emulator installations. Think of what 90 days of goodwill through an interim license could buy HP, a company whose CEO is courting enterprise business.