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May 2002

Number 74 (Update of Volume 7, Issue 8)

Finley, Sieler, Cooper defend against charges

HP security officer Tim O'Neill is at the heart of testimony which led to a State of California complaint filed against suppliers of third party HP 3000 support services, according to attorney Dan Barton, who's representing Stan R. Sieler and Steven M. Cooper in a matter before California's San Mateo County Court. Sieler and Cooper were named in a complaint along with Charles H. Finley, alleging that the three conspired to commit grand theft, stole a trade secret, wrongfully used computer data with intent to defraud and received stolen property sometime between 1991 and November 1998.

The complaint claims that Finley paid Sieler and Cooper's company Allegro Consultants to remove password protection from SS_CONFIG, the diagnostic software used to perform HP 3000 third party maintenance functions by Finley as part of his support business years ago. The complaint, which had a hearing in Redwood City the day before and the day after HP's merger launch, also alleges SS_CONFIG is trade secret HP software, and claims that Finley provided the un-passworded version of SS_CONFIG to his customers. Finley is represented by attorney Doug Horngrad, who was unavailable for comment in our last-minute deadline for the Extra.

Barton said the evidence in the matter should make it easy to dismiss all charges. "All of the evidence in this case shows that Allegro Consultants never intended for SS_CONFIG to be misused," he said. "Allegro Consultants only modified SS_CONFIG based on assurances that it would never be misused — and all the parties in the case agree on that." Barton added that Allegro didn't do anything until it received assurances that SS_CONFIG would not be misused. Evidence at the hearing verified those assurances, Barton added. "There's no evidence from anybody to the contrary," he said.

Barton said the prosecutors "fundamentally misunderstand a party's right to modify software that they have lawful access to. [This case] assists HP in pushing third-party maintenance people out of the picture. HP has undue influence over the law enforcement agencies investigating and prosecuting the case." Allegro has been capturing support business from longtime HP support customers ever since HP announced that it's stepping away from the 3000 market in 2006. The attorney has also filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on a statute of limitations violation. The prosecutors want an exemption, because they claim not to have learned of the alleged actions until after 1998.

Barton will cross-examine law enforcement agent Fred Adler, part of the High Tech Crimes Task Force, when the hearing resumes May 29. Barton said Tim O'Neill of HP's private security force is providing testimony by way of Adler's testimony; in a quirk of California law, Adler can testify to what O'Neill told him. Such hearsay evidence is permitted in preliminary hearings, but not admitted in a formal trial.

Prather steps out of 3000 division; CSY goes virtual

Winston Prather has exited HP's 3000 division, but he is retiring the CSY General Manager title -- because CSY is disappearing as a division, and becoming a virtual HP organization. After his work leading the Business Critical Systems merger integration team in a "clean room" job for the newly-merged HP, Prather has been promoted to the new High Performance Technical Computing division. Prather's new group is larger than CSY has been in a long time, and it's wrapped firmly around the products and technology of the Digital tech offerings. This is an area where both Compaq, using Digital's technology, and HP both claimed to lead in market share before the merger — so Prather's merged group can claim No. 1 status with little dispute. Prather checked in while on a road tour of HP and Compaq facilities in New England and Texas to update us on the changes in the 3000's HP organization.

While it is true that CSY no longer exists on any HP org chart, the division's customers will be represented in HP by Dave Wilde, who until May 7 was the R&D manager for CSY. Now "he's the leader of the 3000 group," Prather said. The shift away from product-based divisions is meant to give the group's staff some confidence to remain in their jobs. "We're trying to balance having a structure that's focused on the 3000 -- which I think we've accomplished virtually -- with putting the employees in places that removed any concerns they might have," Prather said. "It shows them that at the appropriate time in the future, they can evolve to something else. The feedback from the employees was pretty good."

Those CSY lab employees -- who customers might argue will be the most tangible asset left inside HP for the 3000 community -- will do their evolving from inside the Total Customer Experience and Support Division (TCSD, for those of you who want to follow on your post-merger scorecards). Prather said TCSD is not a support division, despite the name of the group. It's "an R&D division that's not the standard HP-UX Unix labs," Prather said, "I decided it was better to put the group in a team that was focused on customer satisfaction." Developing hardware and software diagnostics for HP's servers is part of TCSD, he said.

Although the 3000 assets in HP are part of TCSD, Wilde will report to Mark Hudson, leading a group that markets all the Enterprise Systems server offerings and putting HP's 3000 marketing team in a group alongside those pushing Linux, Unix and NT solutions. TCSD division head Barbara Bacile gets reports from new 3000 R&D leader Ross McDonald, who also reports to Wilde. Bacile reports to Scott Stallard, heading up the BCS group of HP's Enterprise Systems Group. Enterprise Systems is run by Peter Blakemore, the only one of the four main HP business operations to be led by a former Compaq exec. (Well, Compaq CEO Michael Capellas is the president of the newly merged company, but many more former HP leaders got moved up in HP's reorganization post-merger.)

Marketing of the HP 3000, a process that HP is still tied to for the next 17 months, goes outside the divisional structure as well. Hudson, who worked in CSY marketing many years ago, will lead a group changed with delivering "a consistent and compelling message” on HP servers, including those from Prather's new division. HP has used this centralized marketing strategy for its server business in the past. Christine Martino, the last person to hold a job of exclusively marketing the HP 3000, has left CSY to become the head of the carrier-grade Linux server business known as TSY. That's the division that Prather worked for as GM since the spring of 2001, duties he held while HP decided the fate of its future with the HP 3000.

The term general manager didn't sit well with Prather when asking him about job titles; "just think of us as heads of our organizations, for now," he said, reflecting a bit of work still to be done on HP's internal reorganization. Wilde is "the go-to guy" for the 3000 community from here on, he added, making the decisions on things like HP's licensing policies beyond 2003 and when HP will start working with OpenMPE Inc. to make a hardware emulator MPE license possible. Wilde had been leading the lengthy HP investigations on OpenMPE development, including meetings with the OpenMPE board members at the recent Solutions Symposium.

As for the employees in CSY, Prather said that "not one employee is doing anything different" as of mid-May, with 3000 offices still in place in California and Bangalore, India and no head count reductions underway. Prather couldn't promise that 3000 staff in HP wouldn't become part of the expected 15,000 layoffs resulting from the merger. He didn't think that CSY has ceased to exist, except in the sense that it's no longer an HP division.

"As far as a group of people dedicated to the 3000, it has not ceased to exist," Prather said. The reorganization "is a focus on employees, and trying to do the right thing by them to ensure their long-term career path. It sets us up to meet customers' needs in the long run. We needed our marketing teams and R&D teams to stick around for many years. Having them in a silo-ed organization, where they continued to be concerned about not being needed caused retention problems."

GHRUG postpones conference

Light attendance and registration for this month's scheduled All-Texas Regional User Group meeting in Houston forced the postponement of the event, according to conference organizers. "Traditionally, we hold two conferences per year," said board member William Goodoff. "The board has worked very hard to bring top notch presenters and workshops to this conference, yet we did not get the end user participation needed to make it happen." GHRUG is surveying the community to find out why its program didn't meet the needs of attendees, and plans to have their meeting in November. Look for more details at the group's Web site, <http://www.ghrug.org>

Samba gets a new version for the HP 3000

Lars Appel, the HP support engineer who ported the Samba file sharing tool to the HP 3000, has come up with a new version of the software available for free. HP isn't supporting the 2.2.3a version on the 3000, but such software usually gets better support from the Open Source community than from system vendors' organizations. Appel said "If you like adventures and would like to play with Samba 2.2.3a on MPE/iX (but beware, it is only weakly tested at present), then you can find MPE diffs, build instructions or precompiled binaries on my Web page at <http://invent3k.external.hp.com/~LARS.APPEL/ >" Appel has loaded precompiled binaries in this account on the HP invent3k server that were built on MPE/iX 6.0 PowerPatch 2, to get better forward compatibility.

PHP makes the Web talk with IMAGE, and it's free

Back in November of 2001 -- an historic month for HP 3000 customers -- we ran an article by Robelle's Bob Green about PHP, a language for creating dynamic Web pages and browser-based applications. PHP scripts can be embedded in HTML pages to generate HTML code that is inserted in the Web page at that point, or the PHP script can generate the entire HTML output.

This all runs on the HP 3000 under MPE/iX, and authors Campbell Fethers and Troy Jendra are still making improvements to the software that's available off the invent3k Web server. Through its MPE/iX and TurboIMAGE extensions, PHP supports the generation of Web pages directly from an IMAGE database.

"The intention is to create higher level functions that shield the script writer from some of the intricacies of IMAGE intrinsics, while hopefully enhancing performance under most conditions," Feathers reports. "I shall be interested to hear from anyone who has ideas regarding the script writer's function library. Code fragments or other suggestions for implementation will also be appreciated." The software works at about half the performance of Speedware 7.05 in a best-case testing. Bugs were recently resolved with a function that retrieves a single record using a chained or calculated read, starting at the end of the TurboIMAGE sort chain.

You can pick up this free software from the invent3k Web page at http://invent3k.external.hp.com/~MGR.FETHERS. Read the original Robelle Tech article from the NewsWire's November issue at <http://www.3000newswire.com/subscribers/RobelleTech-MPE-01Nov.html>

Webcast promises language advice

HP takes on perhaps the most straightforward topic of migrating off the 3000 later this month, when its Webcast on Language issues airs May 21. George Stachnik of the 3000's marketing department and host of the Webcasts promises this content, starting at 8:30 Pacific time:

"Most HP e3000 software was written in COBOL. However, many HP e3000 applications were written in other languages. FORTRAN, C, Pascal, SPL, RPG and a variety of 4GLs have all been used at one time or another. For customers who are faced with the task of moving software from MPE/iX to other operating environments, one of the first technical issues that must be explored is the availability of compatible compilers on your destination platform of choice. The availability of compatible compilers may be a determining factor in your decision to replace, migrate or rewrite."

"In this Webcast, we'll examine language options on HP-UX, Linux and Windows, and see what compatibility issues exist among them. We'll answer questions such as "When does it make more sense to port software to another platform, keeping the code that you have? When does it make more sense to rewrite software into another language (using your current code as a guideline, and rewriting the application in a different language)? When does it make more sense to walk away from your current application, and replace it with off-the-shelf software?"

HP plans to assume customers will choose to migrate, and then look at the issues involved in doing that. A new wrinkle in the broadcast will be "short, sample COBOL applications that run under MPE/iX as an example. Source code for these programs will be available for download immediately after each webcast, so that HP e3000 programmers may use them to do hands-on labs."

Register for a spot to see the HP Web page presentations (PowerPoint slides driven by the host) by browsing to <http://webcenter.hp.com/cgi/desktv/csy/2418/index.pl>. You can listen in on the phone by calling 800-289-0468 in the US, or 913-981-5517 from overseas, with passcode 758902.

Sendmail talk offers training on the Web

If you were one of the many 3000 managers who couldn't attend the recent Solutions Symposium in California, a dedicated HP 3000 engineer has made some of the training available over the Web -- and added more detail than was presented at the Symposium.

Mark Bixby of HP's 3000 group (we're at a loss about what to call this operation, now that CSY has been un-organized as a division) recently posted detailed training slides on Sendmail, the e-mail software which will be bundled for free on the 7.5 release of MPE/iX. HP will be supporting Sendmail on the 3000, too -- at least until December of 2006, when you're on your own to sign up with fine third-party support options.

Bixby reports, "All of my Solutions Symposium 2002 talks are now online at: <http://jazz.external.hp.com/papers> And as an added bonus, I have also put the Sendmail 7.5 Support Training Chalktalk online. This talk is the original Sendmail talk delivered internally for the HPRC and WTEC, and has about twice the content compared to what I was able to fit into my 50-minute SolSym timeslot." If you're cutting to the chase, Bixby's Sendmail slides are at <http://jazz.external.hp.com/papers/SolSymposium_02/sendmail-training.htm>

Security vulnerability stalks MPE systems

Under a heading of a Security Bulletin, HP told customers that malformed IP packets can cause a System Abort on HP 3000s without a patch that available from the HP Response Center. HP reports that "a malformed IP packet could result in a SA1457 out of i_port_timeout.fix_up_message_frame on MPE/iX." Patches (for MPE/iX 6.0) NSTGDB0, (6.5) NSTGDB1 and (7.0) NSTGDB2 are available at <http://itrc.hp.com>

In the Bulletin HP notes that the software product Security Patch Check "completely automates the process of reviewing the patch matrix for HP-UX 11.XX systems." We don't really need to ask why, considering we saw two different HP-UX security bulletins surface in 24 hours earlier this week. After all, automation pays off for processes you find yourself repeating frequently. Security vulnerabilities are so rare in the HP 3000 community that a recent patch to close a hole in SNMP that could cause denial of service on 3000s didn't even get rolled into the Express 3 release of MPE/iX 6.5. You have to ask for that patch, resolving SR 8606-248966, separately.

SIU goes to Version B

The free HP System Inventory Utility (SIU) which we test-drove in our April issue has been updated. Jeff Vance, the HP engineer who built the set of scripts to examine what's on your HP 3000, reports:

"There is a new version of the SIU (System Inventory Utility) now on Jazz at: <http://jazz.external.hp.com/src/scripts/siu>. This b.01 version has at least one more vendor in the SIUVEND file, and has lots more vendor specific and HP filecodes supported (thanks to Stan Sieler!)

"There is a tarball and store-to-disk file there on Jazz; however, the s-t-d WRQ labels version is not there now due to the fact that I cannot transfer files to/from my PC and a server now that I am using Win 2000 in the new HP work environment. It may be due to encrypted vs. clear text passwords -- I am not sure. Also, WRQ's FTP does not seem to support file transfer via LABELS, so for the moment that version of the archive is not available."

Vance hopes make another enhanced version of SIU available in May, which will start addressing filecode ZERO files. "I will try to determine what type of file it is based on content," he reports. "Any help that can be aimed my way will be greatly appreciated."

Speedware posts Q2 profit

Rapid application development tool provider Speedware posted a good second quarter, its sixth consecutive profitable period, with net income of $602,000 on sales of just under $4 million Canadian dollars. Profits were up from $138,000 for the same period one year ago. The company made a shift to begin selling a migration alternative for its customers leaving the HP 3000 more than a year ago, and says that its most profitable sales remain software license revenues, a sector whose revenue increased from $810,000 a year ago to $1.72 million this year.

"Overall, we are pleased that our revenue mix improved so markedly during Q2 despite weak global economic conditions," said Nick Cristiano, Speedware's CFO. Services didn't take off in the period that ended just before Speedware was named as one of three HP Platinum Migration Partners. HP made its announcements of the partnerships, which could generate services business in migration consulting, in the first week of April. "We were disappointed by our professional services revenues during the quarter, as customers continued to defer their development projects or undertake them in-house," Cristiano said.


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