February 2004

Open source parts of MPE are pretty future-proof

One request for an HP enhancement to MPE/iX has asked the vendor to make it easier to update subsystems like Apache and Samba when those open source modules gain improvements. The request led to advice from HP’s Mark Bixby that homesteading customers get more familiar with applying these changes. Bixby is willing to help, too. “The most recent versions of open source products like Apache, Samba, Sendmail, etc, are all designed to coexist with older versions because each product version resides under a separate MPE group,” Bixby explained. “It’s a simple matter of changing as little as one symbolic link to switch between runtime versions.”

Bixby said the real issue for homesteaders wanting to move to newer versions of these products is obtaining practical Unix to MPE porting experience. “What will your solution be when, say, a new Apache release becomes available that makes mandatory use of some whiz-bang Unix feature that doesn’t exist in MPE’s implementation of Posix?” he asked. “You can often just steal a solution from another MPE port, or will you have to end up writing custom code that attempts to implement the expected system call functionality.”

The HP engineer who ported sendmail and Apache to the 3000 has asked if homesteaders would find it useful for him to make such future Internet and interoperability product updates include the source trees and build scripts used to create the binary releases. “There would of course be extra disk space consumed by this, but it might make it easier for you to self-upgrade to a newer version if you had the exact same source code that I last worked with to use as a porting reference.” But customers would have install the required gcc bundle from HP’s Jazz Web server in order to actually compile.

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