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March 2005

SIB requests for enhancements surface for 2005

HP has asked, and customers have answered its question of whether anything needs enhancement in the HP 3000 system operating environment. A wide array of requests outlined problems to be solved and access still required for the customers with long-term plans for their HP 3000s.

The most sweeping request — and one already on the minds of HP’s MPE engineers — was to back-port the HP 3000’s MPE/iX 7.5 enhancements to older releases 7.0 and 6.5. Much of the customer base is working on releases older than 7.5. HP engineer Jeff Vance broached the topic during SIB 2005 discussions, but OpenMPE board member Donna Garverick had already wondered if this task would find an audience — especially among customers who will change very little on their systems.

”If stuff is back-ported will anyone install it?” Garverick asked. “[HP] really needs to get a clear answer to this question. If most people say no that’s clear. What we don’t want is people saying yes when they can’t actually patch their systems, probably because they’re locked down.”

Leaders of Special Interest Groups like Garverick were taking customer suggestions through mid-February, after which HP said SIG leaders would work with the vendor to decide if a formal SIB process would be warranted.

Regardless of HP’s decisions, customers clearly have functionality they need for their HP 3000s. FTP enhancements could include security protection for netrc files to shield passwords, as well as a chmod command to correct rwx permissions during an FTP session. New CI functions abounded in the customer requests.

Several customers want perl, supported on the 3000 but requiring a site to compile it, to gain a version that could simply be installed — and include a filecode to let the 3000’s CI automatically run perl scripts.

Help text updates and backporting were the only enhancements which HP suggested might be completed in the time remaining before the vendor quits the 3000 market. But the loose ends in MPE/iX still earned mention for a handful of customers.

“Then there is the my special pet peeve,” said Dave Powell. “I often type comments into jobs like ‘this/that’ or ‘and/or’ — and often the characters after the slash are replaced by spaces in the stdlist, making my helpful documentation look like incoherent idiocy. I can’t see any valid reason for character substitution in comments.”

OpenMPE director John Wolff suggested a return of HP-IB printer support for more recent versions of MPE/iX. The enhancement would permit “those that are stuck on 6.0 to upgrade to a later, supported version of MPE. The HP2567x [HP-IB] line printers are still great workhorses.”

HP is already working on volinfo, devinfo and spoolinfo CI functions for the 3000, and the vendor was gathering input on design choices during the first week of March. The SIB request process has usually concluded by the end of March in previous years; a vote through an Interex Web site has delivered results for prior ballots.


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