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April 2005

OpenMPE adds two new directors

Volunteer group looks toward licensing decision

HP picked a new executive last month, but an HP 3000 volunteer group added leadership, too. Some could argue the new directors of OpenMPE could have more impact on the 3000’s future than new HP CEO Mark Hurd.

A three-week online election provided two new members of the OpenMPE board of directors. Although the turnout for the election numbered less than 60 voters, some HP 3000 customers are still looking toward OpenMPE as a source of confidence for MPE’s 2007 and beyond.

Chuck Ciesinski and Mathew Perdue joined the OpenMPE board after a three-week election added Ciesinski and then gave Perdue a chance to serve the future of MPE/iX. Both will serve two-year terms.

Three incumbent directors returned for two-year terms: chairman Birket Foster, Alan Tibbetts and Paul Edwards. Tibbetts, who works for PA-RISC emulator developer Strobe Data, and Edwards, chair of the MPE Forum, ran for full terms after they stepped in during 2004 to fill resigned seats.

Ciesinski, a two-time candidate for the Interex user group board of directors, led the field of first-time OpenMPE candidates in the voting.

Foster will begin his second complete two-year term. No other founding director of OpenMPE — the group started operations in 2002, and Foster has served since the first meeting — has returned for another term of volunteer service.

A 2005 board resignation, from former treasurer Ron Horner, left the group with another director slot to fill by appointment. Perdue, who operates an HP 3000 support and consulting business and launched a new ISP management app that runs on MPE/iX, won an appointment to the board.

Directors for the group are now Donna Garverick, John Wolff, Stephen Suraci, and John Burke, along with Edwards, Foster, Ciesinski, Tibbetts and Perdue.

Meaningful for many

Although the election generated a light turnout, the response shouldn’t indicate a lack of interest in MPE’s post-2006 future, according to members who missed this year’s election. These customers say the board’s work with HP, as a forum for the HP 3000 division’s management decisions, is more crucial than a count of votes.

“MPE is still vital to us, and OpenMPE plus a hardware emulator seem like our best hope,” said Dave Powell of MMFab. “An emulator, plus software support with someone able to fix whatever really needs it, might mean we can stay on the 3000 for longer than we currently plan.”

Sarbanes-Oxley audit work and 60-hour weeks kept Terry Simpkins from casting a vote. “I continue to support OpenMPE and sincerely hope we are able to accomplish our goals,” said the IS Director of Measurement Specialties. “My not voting was not a statement about my perception of the role or effectiveness of the group.”

Some members missed the election by waiting for a ballot to be sent to them. “OpenMPE is one of those initiatives that may allow HP system owners to justify a longer, safer homestead,” said Harley Shouldice of Pivital Solutions.

On the other hand, other OpenMPE members who skipped the election are simply moving away from the 3000 community, Tom Brandt, owner of EDI software firm Northtech, said he has only a handful of customers using the company’s package on the 3000, a group he expects to dwindle to nothing in the next few years because all his new development is in Windows.

“I wish the OpenMPE folks well,” Brandt said, “but I just don’t see MPE being used much in the next few years, except in a few companies with die-hard MPE supporters, or in companies currently running MPE where their business requirements are stable and their applications don’t need many changes.”

The OpenMPE mission will still help some sites, according to another member. “My current employer has no plans for converting from the HP 3000,” said Paul Christensen. “In fact, they just put their business onto the HP 3000 in 2000. That was a major contributor to their ability to grow.”


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