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November 2002

Number 80 (Update of Volume 8, Issue 1)

Defining an emulator: software or hardware?

With all the talk of emulators in the HP 3000 market -- you'd think the vendor was going to stop making HP 3000s sometime soon -- some clarification on what's being emulated is in order. Gavin Scott, VP of Allegro Consultants and the primary architect of one of the 3000 hardware emulator projects, posted just such an outline not long ago. Everything can be emulated in computing, but some projects are a lot more ambitious than others. MPE emulators already exist from Neartek and Ordina Denkart, providing a way to run MPE under Unix. Allegro and SRI will be building hardware emulators, which simulate the HP 3000 hardware on Intel-based processors.

As we noted in our last Online Extra, HP began to ship out a poster showing emulators as part of the platform's future. When Jon Backus of OpenMPE took note of HP's emulator, Scott cleared the muddle of terminology a bit, first taking a stab at HP's use of the term on its poster:

"I'm pretty sure this just refers to "MPE emulators", i.e. migration tools that simulate various components of MPE to make porting easier (and without using any HP code), and not "Platform Emulation" that would allow one to run the actual MPE/iX operating system on a non-HPe3000 system."

"[HP's] George [Stachnik] used the term "emulators" in his last migration Webinar in the former sense as well, so there's plenty of confusion surrounding the word "emulator," so it's best to avoid any unqualified use of the term, since each person in your audience will assume you're saying something different.

"Again I prefer [HP's] Mike Paivinen's "Platform Emulator" term to refer to a program that simulates the HPe3000 "platform" (i.e. software that simulates the hardware) thus allowing software for that platform to run unchanged, specifically MPE/iX itself.

"And if one really wants to be pedantic, the correct technical term is probably "simulator" rather than "emulator" as emulator originally implied that special purpose hardware was involved in the solution as opposed to a pure software simulation. But this distinction has gotten rather vague over the years and most people now use the term emulation to refer to software simulations."

Samba has new features en route for 3000

A new security advisory for Samba helped show the way to an improved version of the file and resource sharing software for the HP 3000. Samba 2.25 is available from the Web site of Lars Appel, the HP support engineer who ported the product across to the 3000 in the first place.

In his space on the HP Invent3K server, Appel explains that he's added "code to allow for "printing = mpe" in smb.conf, which can be used to let a client PC view or modify the MPE spoolfile queue:

printing = mpe

print command = /ORG/SAMBA/v2.2.5/lib/rawlp %s %p %U 8 && rm %s

lpq command = callci 'spoolf @ ;seleq=[dev=%p] ;show'
lppause command = callci 'spoolf %j ;defer'
lpresume command = callci 'spoolf %j ;undefer'
lprm command = callci 'spoolf %j ;delete'

lpq cache time = 60

He's also noted that he's generated a 2.2.7 version of Samba, and "I haven't excercised the new binaries a lot. I also don't think that the security advisory does affect MPE systems (as it is a buffer-overrun attack, which don't work on MPE because MPE uses PA-RISC features more effectively than Unix/Linux), so I haven't uploaded the 2.2.7 binaries to my Samba/iX web pages. If someone should want/need the code, just let me know

CAMUS sets up ERP advice for 2003

The Computer Aided Manufacturing User Society (CAMUS) dedicated to helping ERP and manufacturing sites sort out their transition plans over the next few years of 3000 ownership has announced its 2003 conference. CAMUS officers hope to have full participation from SSA Global Technologies at the May, 2003 conference.

Since conference travel is a perk that requires planning, we thought we'd forward the dates and particulars for next spring's meeting, Harnessing Change - Back to Basics, May 4-7, 2003 in Dallas, Texas:

ERP managers are invited to participate as a Speaker at the 2003 CAMUS Conference. If accepted as a Speaker:
- CAMUS will waive your registration fee
- Travel to/from and meals are on your own
- You will need to provide a written version of your presentation for the CAMUS newsletter. An abstract of your topic and your biography will be due February 3, 2003. Speakers that are selected to participate will be contacted in late February. An on-line form for submitting your abstract will be available at the CAMUS Web site, http://www.camus.org.

Early Bird Registration is $500 for CAMUS Members and $800 for Non-Members. The registration fee includes access to conference sessions and exhibits, meals (except dinners), event night, and conference materials. The rate goes up after March 31, 2003. An online conference registration form will be available in December at the CAMUS site.

The headquarters hotel is the Hotel Inter-Continental Dallas in nearby Addison, Texas http://dallas.texas.intercontinental.com/index.shtml.Please make your hotel reservations early, as space fills up fast; the cut-off is April 1, 2003

Your reservations can be made directly with the hotel at: 972.386.6000 or e-mailed to ihcdallas@interconti.com. Hotel conference rate is $119 for a single/double per night. Be sure to mention that you are part of the CAMUS Block.

Interex maintains leadership after election

Elections for the Interex HP Users Group board of directors closed out at the end of October, and the results maintained the group's leadership. Denys Beauchemin was re-elected to a second three-year term, defeating Dillon Pryon 311-156 for the only elected board seat this year. Interex also re-appointed Barry Breig to the board, and added one new member in David Pellone.

467 users out of the 14,000-member organization cast ballots in the election. Breig was re-appointed to a seat which Interex placed him in two years ago. Interex reports that new director Pellone "is the vice-president of finance for Flash Electronics, Inc. in Fremont, Calif. He brings a strong operations and finance expertise to the board. Pellone has an extensive background in high-tech manufacturing and international operations. He received his BBA, operations management from Kent State University and his MBA, accounting and finance from the University of Santa Clara."

Beauchemin takes the board seat being vacated by Bob Combs, the current Interex board president. Announcements about the new Interex board officer posts are expected in the next month or so.

Time change still smoother on 3000 than iSeries

HP 3000 customers may have had some snarls in getting their systems to update the time automatically over the past time change in late October, according to our careful editor John Burke's report in the November NewsWire being mailed this week. But at least the vendor provides a SETCLOCK function to gradually shift the time by one hour. No such utility is included with the iSeries or AS/400 systems, according to Al Barsa of Barsa Consulting Group. Third-party tools do this job in the iSeries environment for the moment, including one that Barsa sells at http://www.taatool.com These TAA Productivity Tools look to fill cracks in the OS400 functionality the same way that Allegro Consultants' Nuggets package once stepped in for MPE/iX's shortcomings. (And still do, in Nuggets' latest incarnation at Lund Performance Solutions: see Lund's System Manager's Toolbox, including the "idiot-proof" BETIMES, at http://www.lund.com /products/systmantoolbox.html

Allegro's president Steve Cooper noted that the time-handling functionality looks to be served even better by the Unix versions in the marketplace, however. Talking about gradual clock change features, Cooper said:

"You rarely need this in HP-UX or most other Unixes. They all have their clocks running in GMT, all of the time. GMT does not change for "savings" time. The machine knows its own default timezone, and each individual can override that with his/her own timezone. It keeps track of historical timezone savings time info as well. All file timestamps, etc. are stored in GMT, but displayed to you in your own timezone, so it is easy to keep things straight when users are not all in the same timezone. Plus, historical timestamps will always be displayed to you correctly, even if countries change the way in which they switch to/from savings time. And, this all happens automatically."

"I can be an MPE bigot as well as the next guy/gal. But I'm afraid that HP-UX and most other Unixes do a much better job at date and time handling than MPE, no matter how much we hate to admit it."

MBS, Cognos partner on BI solution

HP 3000 Platinum Migration partner Managed Business Solutions (MBS) has announced a partnership with Cognos, providers of the PowerHouse and Quiz 4GL tools as well as business intelligence (BI) software. The BI business at Cognos has grown much larger than the development tool sector there, and MBS is integrating its Enterprise Application Development expertise with Cognos Series 7. Cognos describes Series 7 as "the industry’s most comprehensive, enterprise-class BI solution." The MBS-Cognos alliance is designed to provide enterprises with "a proven solution that integrates business intelligence components into a single, end-to-end business intelligence framework that optimizes enterprise efficiency."

“The expert BI planning, development, and implementation services provided by Managed Business Solutions make them an ideal fit for Cognos’ Solution Provider Partners program,” said Ted Jandl, Cognos Area Vice President of North American Partner Channel Sales. “By combining this expertise with our comprehensive business intelligence solutions, we ensure the successful implementation of a business intelligence solution that helps achieve enterprise-wide corporate performance management.”

MBS reviews business initiatives and technical infrastructure to understand the enterprise strategy and architects a seamless way to globally collect, extract, and report data across multiple applications to produce meaningful, easily accessible information. By utilizing Cognos Series 7 BI framework, MBS reports that it will be able to provide scalability to tens of thousands of users, robust Unix and Microsoft support, unsurpassed performance and reliability, and a ‘no-compromise’ breadth and depth of application choice that reflects the unique needs of enterprise user communities.

“The MBS/Cognos partnership ensures the seamless integration of critical knowledge capital into a globally-accessible location, enabling enterprises to make better business decisions, improve efficiency, and increase customer retention,” said Anne Foster, MBS Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development.

New patches deliver improvements for 3000

HP continues to roll out fixes and enhancements to the HP 3000 through patches, a process that will outlast the vendor's commitment to selling hardware next year. Recent patch releases that rolled past our desk included MPELXU7A for MPE/iX 6.5, which addresses "Application and backup hangs during shadow file attach phase of an on- line backup when the applications require access to a CM KSAM file which is in the process of being closed while a process still has it FLOCKed. This has been seen with TurboStore and RoadRunner backups. During fclose we attempt to lock the gufd open semaphore while the flock semaphore is still held. We should unlock the flock semaphore first."

Also, patch NSTGDK3A went into general release for for MPE/iX 6.0 just one day before HP stopped its support for 6.0 on Oct. 31. It applies improvements for Telnet and transport network services for HP 3000s, and along with patch NMCFD99 can increase the number of TCP connections to 10,000. NSTGDK3A fixed more than three dozen Service Requests related to the 3000's NS Transport services.


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