December 2002Take to the Road with OpenMPE
By Jon Backus
To borrow a famous phrase I have a dream, and to convert it to HP-talk: I have a roadmap. Picture if you would an IT community made up of users and vendors that collectively control their own destiny. That, at the highest level, is the vision of OpenMPE.
Lets create a trip ticket for our roadmap. We are starting out at HPs front door where HP has played many roles in the MPE community. On November 14, 2001 HP announced they no longer want to play these roles so we need to find new roads. The first road is a virtual lab. Imagine many talented, trained, and experienced MPE professionals working for many different companies all across the world coming together to create a virtual lab for bug fixes and possibly enhancements to the MPE environment. Each professional would either work alone or in small groups, depending on the project, to code and test until they believe they have accomplished their goal.
The next road would be a centralized lab. This would be a physical facility, most likely just one, that would bring together all of the various changes made by the virtual lab into a single comprehensive set of code. This set of code would then go through the needed build processes, regression testing, and performance bench marking to make sure the bug fixes and/or enhancements met their objectives, played well together, and were done in the best possible way.
The next road to be taken would be the distribution of patches and new versions of MPE/iX and/or sub-systems. Distribution of patches through a single web site is one aspect but distribution of physical media through multiple locations around the world is another part of the road.
In the last few years there have been some private roads built to facilitate things like OS support, HP 3000 hardware support, and MPE training. All roles HP has played, although in a diminished capacity compared to earlier days, and will continue play until the end of 2006. There are new private roads to be built as a result of HPs announcement, such as PA-RISC emulation and the HP toll road of MPE license creation and transfers.
The OpenMPE organization is the one non-profit part of this roadmap. Its mission is to make sure that all of the roads are built, maintained, and pointing in the right direction. All of the roads require expenses; not just HPs toll road, to be maintained. The companies that provide coding, testing, distribution, support, and training are all for profit companies. Most, if not all, of them previously existed as vendors in the MPE community.
What can you do to make sure this vision becomes a reality? You can sign up for your official OpenMPE membership and join the OpenMPE discussion group. Right now membership does not cost anything as we try to define just how heavily traveled these roads will be. We need your input and support, not only in making the decisions but also in showing HP the true size and loyalty of the OpenMPE community.
You can sign up for free membership and the discussion group by visiting the Web site at www.OpenMPE.org. To close with another famous phrase, You may say Im a dreamer, but Im not the only one. See you on the road.
Jon Backus is the Chairman of OpenMPE, Inc. and is President of Tech Group, an MPE consulting company located in the eastern part of the United States. He has been a strong and loyal member of the MPE community for over 20 years. Jon can be reached at 301.988.0614 or JMBackus@TechGroupMD.com.
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