July 18-19 isn't a date that lives in infamy like November 14. The latter is the date HP announced it was leaving the 3000 customers to find their own futures. The former is a pair of days in 2005 when a 31-year-old user group died, followed by HP's announcement of a layoff of 10 percent of its workforce.
That's a one-two that rocked 3000 shops still trying to concoct a transition plan toward their next computer platform. First, the storied resource of 3000 know-how switches off the lights without warning, freezing up things like a Contributed Software Library. Then 15,000 HP staff including some one-of-a-kind experts in MPE, got their termination orders.
By this July week of 2005 HP had done good work for the 3000 customer, in the form of promises, intentions, and plans, much of it by people in what was called Virtual CSY. The layoffs didn't help any of those intentions, or reinforce the business decisions that could still make a difference to a 3000 customer.
HP's layoffs happened so long ago the vendor made the announcement before the stock market opened. That would be a post-trading news item today.
Interex, on the other hand, made an announcement that sounded like it was written standing over a terminal before someone cut out the power to the office.
It is with great sadness, that after 31 years, we have found it financially necessary to close the doors at Interex. Unfortunately our publications, newsletters, services, and conference (HPWorld 2005) will be terminated immediately. We are grateful to the 100,000 members and volunteers of Interex for their contributions, advocacy, and support. We dearly wish that we could have continued supporting your needs but it was unavoidable.
Your community reacted with resignation and invention. There was no panic or an accelerated drumbeat of exiting the 3000. In fact, just a few months later HP announced it was extending its exit date— and adjustment in plans triggered by the fact that customers had no intention of being done with MPE/iX by 2006.
In San Francisco, where many an airline ticket was already booked with no chance of a refund, the 3000 team decided to hold a last supper for user group conferences.
Donna Garverick, an OpenMPE board director, put out the word about a prospective meeting. All that was needed was a place to meet and some interest from the community. HP opened a conference room for an MPE update meeting on August 18.
Since many people will already be in the SF Bay area (gotta do something with those plane tickets), we’d like to have a meeting for both HP and OpenMPE to provide updates to the community. We also want to provide a way for people to attend over the Internet. The board proposed using HP’s virtual classroom technology to host the on-line connectivity.
At this point, we simply cannot afford to lose any opportunity to find out what’s happening and have a forum for asking questions. Both HP and the OpenMPE board of directors want to know what you think of this idea. We need your feedback to help us plan the meeting.