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November 2002

Thoughts on Installing an OS

OpenMike is a guest editorial space and talking point for the 3000 community to express its views. In an era where emotion and analysis run abreast for the community’s attention, we want OpenMike to be a forum for the way you feel about the future and what you believe is important to the 3000 community. Send your contributions of less than 1,500 words for consideration to editor@3000newswire.com.

By Yosef Rosenblatt

I installed MPE/iX 7.5 today. It was unremarkable as far as installations go. First you mount the SLT, then the FOS and the Subsys; you all know the routine. We’ve all done it at least a hundred times. This time was different.

This was the last time I will have a first encounter with a new version of MPE. I will never again see devices come to life after configuring them in SYSGEN. I have made my way, one last time, through the maze of NMMGR and lived to speak of it. VOLUTIL has created the last private volumes that structure my system. The final DBSCHEMA and DBUTIL CREATE commands have built my final IMAGE database. My last CSLT has been cut and I am up and running one last time.

If all of this sounds nostalgic, well, that’s because it is. There is a bittersweet feeling about it all. Sure, MPE and the 3000 are only tools we use to get the job done, but so what? Doesn’t a carpenter have a favorite hammer, a plumber a favorite wrench? MPE was my tool of choice, and I will miss it.

I am not advocating living in the past. This installation was the first new thing I had done in MPE in almost a year. For better or worse, I have been living in an HP-UX world.

HP-UX has its merits. Ioscan beats having to configure all the devices in SYSGEN. SAM simplifies configuring the network. You have a choice of products for volume management and there are features we never dreamed of in MPE. Installing an OS from a CD takes half the time it does from a DAT. (As for databases, all I can say is, bless you Fred White, wherever you are. Nothing touches IMAGE.)

Still, it’s just not the same.

My life did not end today any more than it did on November 14, 2001. There was no catharsis, no epiphany and no tears. There was the acceptance of the end of an era, an era I am glad to have been able to share with many others. Computing will continue to change. Very likely, a changed MPE will continue in some form or the other. What has changed, for me, is that some of the enjoyment has gone out of it. I am not against change, but I am all for enjoyment.

I will go back to my servers, 3000 and 9000 alike, and run the applications that make them such useful tools. While I may reflect about past, present and future, I know life will go on. Funny, though, how that Don McLean tune “American Pie” keeps running through my head, “sayin’ this will be the day that I die.” If I were to use a literary quote as a metaphor for the HP 3000, I would quote “The Song of Mehitabel” from “The Life and Times of Archy and Mehitabel”:

my youth i shall never forget
but there’s nothing i really regret
wotthehell wotthehell
there’s a dance in the old dame yet
toujours gai toujours gai

Yosef Rosenblatt is a Design Engineer for EMC, specializing in HP 3000 systems. He has been a user and devotee of the HP 3000 for 17 years and hopes to retire as such in another 17 years.

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