Who's still on the field for the game between HP -- the owner of MPE/iX -- and the user community? Connect is a user group representing HP customers, but the only 3000 advocates left are on the board of directors. Chris Koppe is past president and current business strategist for Fresch Legacy, nee Speedware. The current Connect president Steve Davidek manages a 3000 shop in Sparks, Nev.
OpenMPE had a good run from 2002-2009, but that's become a volunteer group for online resources like the Invent3K site. The days of advocacy over MPE might be over, some say.
But perhaps not. Stromasys is working on arranging the license and delivery specifics for a personal, freeware edition of its new HP 3000 emulator, HPA/3000. There was once a license offered for that emulator by HP. But the vendor's cutoff date to sell such $500 licenses was December, 2010. Stromasys hadn't even announced its designs by that time.
A license for freeware in HP's Digital VAX/Alpha customer base doesn't face this dilemma. Digital created a hobbyist license for VMS so long ago that HP was still building 3000s at the time. This hobbyist license gives the users of the Stromasys VAX/Alpha freeware all rights to run OpenVMS on that emulator. The same kind of license needs an advocate for MPE/iX users. Even a 60-day grace window to run MPE/iX on the emulator would be a good start.
As members of both Connect and OpenMPE can testify, advocacy is no hobby. Especially not with a company as lawyered-up as HP. But the MPE community now has an ally in a former HP executive, one who has just begun to lead Stromasys.
A hobbyist's license for MPE/iX was discussed during the OpenMPE heyday, but HP never followed through on a plan that would serve former customers like Digital does today. (It sounds funny to say Digital when we mean HP, but the HP staff who are Compaq- or Digital-bred know the distinction.) One of those ex-HP staffers believes there's a good reason for a hobbyist MPE/iX license. Ling Chang is the new CEO at Stromasys. Here in her first week leading the company, she suggested this idea needs an advocate. She nominated the NewsWire.
I understand that for years, there has been a VMS hobbyist license available on www.openvms.org. I assume that this is still the case. Would you like to look into that, and see if a similar approach could be established between HP and the HP 3000/MPE end user group -- led by you?
We'd like to take up that job, even if some might think of it as tilting at a windmill. Publications do operate on other levels than information sources -- like the Le Equipe sports tabloid running the Tour de France. We'll all need to pull together like a cycling team to climb this Category 1 mountain of MPE hobbyist. If you'd like to help, we can use the aid and counsel. Email me, or leave a comment below this article.