Charlie Brown shouts to the stars in the 1966 TV classic, "Isn't there anybody here who knows the true meaning of Christmas?" Linus leads him to the story that started the season which we're now ending. I like to think of that character's voice delivering an answer to the question, "Doesn't anybody remember the true meaning of MPE/iX?" Linus might say, "Its value, Charlie Brown, and its promises kept."
Like the commercial holiday that Charlie despised, there was always the phrase "you could just tell them to migrate" while discussing what HP's 3000 iron cannot do.
Feelings can affect choices and confirm faith. There was a design to extend the 3000's memory from 8GB to 32. But HP explained it couldn't justify doing that kind of work any longer. Adding "So migrate" might have sent people looking for systems with better memory, like a Christmas tree all shiny and new.
There are people who have known MPE/iX just as long as HP's lab experts, and some more deeply. A team of third party experts wrote the book Beyond RISC. HP bought thousands of copies. These two sides, first inside HP and now out in the expert community have wooed and rued that MPE gal, all while she has gained weight (years) and lost her tone (customers, demanding updates) and shown more grey (elderly versions of Ethernet, SCSI, all the tendrils of open source).
Yes, they've both had a relationship with her, but the outside experts still love her. HP's experts took her out, bought her dinner, even gave some gifts to show they knew her. The true meaning of MPE/iX and protecting a promise now resides in the wise Linus of our world, the independent software and support providers.
"They do, those new ones," I hear an indie expert saying. "But MPE knows more song lyrics than those new women will ever learn. Remember when lyrics mattered to make a song a classic? Poetry, that stuff. Plus, I still see her beauty. It was striking when she was younger. Fellas swooned over her—even the big guys who pass her by now."
"You could do better."
"Maybe so. But what about my commitment to her. What's that worth?"
"Lock yourself in with her, if you want," HP said. "I just wish people would stop hitting her website. I gotta maintain that place, you know. It doesn't feel like anybody appreciates that work that I do — or what I've done for years, really." And with enough time, even that web information became invisible. Third parties reposted it. To think that the documentation was once licensed by HP— it is as surprising as seeing that Christmas tree come to life in Charlie Brown's world.
"You could do more," your indie experts said to the vendor. "She deserves it."
"If my parents would let me, I could," HP said. "But they tell me that I should be with a younger partner, one who can give them more grandchildren, not a load of medical bills and health issues. Shin splints, geez. Next it'll be something else. It always is with the older ones."
Feelings are not facts, but they just lead to thoughts, and those led to actions. MPE/iX isn't a tool that's worn out, not any more than the words of Christmas carols are empty of faith. Words matter. Enjoy your loved ones during the holiday break — whoever they are, and whatever they have been or can become again.