World talk uncovers new alliances, functionality and dances
Taking a cue from a business server with everlasting
style, HP 3000 division general manager Harry Sterling wore a tuxedo
to address more than 1,000 customers at HP World, describing a new
look HP has unveiled for the systems interface using Java.
Sterlings speech also noted that new security
capability for the 3000s Apache Web browser is in the works, as
well as a Shared Source program that gives customers the ability to
improve some parts of HPs included software for HP 3000s.
Sterling also paid honors to a classic advocate of the HP 3000,
presenting Adagers Alfredo Rego with HPs 1999 3000
The hour-long talk was built
around the theme of The HP 3000: Always in Style, and
featured a video of customer interviews comparing the system to
classic dances such as the tango and the waltz. The general manager,
addressing an unprecedented fourth-straight conference as GM of the
Commercial Systems Division (CSY), finished his talk spinning a yo-yo
from his hand.
Just like this yo-yo and just like my tux are always
in style, so is the 3000, Sterling said.
New GUI vision
While pointing out that the 3000 has the durability of
that classic toy, HP said it is putting the newest interface on its
longest selling business system with the Java-based GUI plans.
Im very excited about our new graphical user
interface for MPE applications, Sterling said. For many
years youve told us HP should have a strategy for providing
graphical user interfaces for 3000 applications. Weve listened,
and today we want to share with you the direction we think you want.
We think we are dancing the right step, but we want you to take a
look at it and let us know.
The new interface is standards-based, uses leadership
technology, and employs the Java Foundation Classes (JFC). HP will be
bundling an advanced toolkit which requires a $500 third-party
development environment tool that it says will provide all
capabilities needed to create rich graphical environments for any
application. Our intended strategy is to run the JFC on a
client platform, Sterling said, which can be Windows,
Linux, Macintosh or many others. The JFC client can communicate with
the 3000 in a variety of ways and yes, this includes Web-based
access to your 3000 applications.
a special seminar the day after Sterlings speech, HP shared the
details of the GUI plan called Visage. Mike Yawn, the CSY engineer
whos leading the Java project for the 3000, outlined the
elements of using Java to build GUIs for existing 3000 applications,
as well as creating interfaces from scratch for new apps. CSY
engineer Bill Bennett and Chuck Townsend of Synkronix the
company that provides the $500 Blue/J development environment
also spoke on Visage.
Secure Web server promised
it has at prior HP World conferences, HP promised a version of a Web
server for the HP 3000 that can handle secure transactions. This time
Sterling backed up the forecast with news that HP is using the
BSAFE/SSL-C security toolkit that it licensed from RSA earlier this
year. This enables customers to perform secure Internet
transactions on the HP 3000, Sterling said. The secure Web
services will arrive using a secure version of Apache Web server,
which will be offered for a license fee to 3000 sites. (See our NewsWire Briefs item for more
Sterling also made note that Willow Technology has ported
the MQ Series client to the 3000. The software enables middleware to
link the 3000 with non-3000 systems, especially IBM mainframes.
Sterling also noted that Level 8 Systems announced Falcon MQ, a
utility to connect Windows NT applications with enterprise
applications on the HP 3000.
Shared source code
Sterling announced that the MPE programs QUERY and EDITOR,
as well as Java class libraries for TurboIMAGE and Vplus, are
available for 3000 customers to improve and modify. The program is
being called Shared Source, and the check-in and check-out of the
source code is managed by the Interex users group. Its similar
in spirit to the Open Source movement in its intentions, but the
software rights remain in HPs hands even after customers make
improvements to the code.
Interex had source code ready for check-out in the week
following HP World for EDITOR and the TurboIMAGE Java class library.
Customers do not need to be members of Interex to check out the code.
HP was cleaning up the QUERY source code before placing it on the
Interex Web site; details are at www.interex.org/t
The program deviates from the Open Source model in several
ways. For example, Interex not the programmer who adds value
to the source code controls re-distribution of derived works
from the HP source. That means that changes can be used by only by a
programmers company, or can be given to Interex, which will
distribute the changes according to its policies.
Quality of the contributed improvements will be evaluated
first by a team of volunteers at Interex, and then by HP. Only after
changes have passed these two levels will HP consider integrating
them into its versions of the products. Until those changes are
integrated, HP wont be supporting derived versions of things
like QUERY and EDITOR.
Despite some of these limitations, HP believes the program
can bring benefits through a new approach to enhancements. New
features and enhancements can be turned around quicker this way than
in the standard MPE enhancement request process, Sterling said.
In later phases we will include other parts of MPE. You are
seeing a new mindset at HP, doing the things that will make it
possible for us all to be a pivotal player in Chapter Two of the
Internet. Many of you are saying its about time and I
Sterling presented HPs annual HP 3000
Contributors Award to Adager founder Alfredo Rego at this
years conference, recognizing the programmer and 3000 advocate
for his work promoting the platform.
the years, CSY and our customers have benefitted much from his
efforts, Sterling said, as he has donated time, energy
and skill to increasing the value of the HP 3000. Teaching seems to
be a love and talent he gladly shares with anyone willing to listen
to his eloquent thoughts on the merits of MPE and its efficient
database. Hes a strong advocate of promoting the HP 3000 beyond
our loyal installed base, purchasing an ad in Computerworld with the
words HP 3000 and IMAGE in large bold
print. Sterling noted that Rego this year culminated a
seven-city, 12-day tour promoting the HP 3000 with a TV interview
with Apollo 13 commander Jim Lovell.
The fact that he is a programmer for his own company
seems secondary to helping customers understand the value of the
3000, Sterling said in presenting the award.
Rego, whose history with MPE dates back to 1975, displayed
surprise as he accepted the award, saying Im
speechless. But he then managed a forecast about the
3000s role in developing e-services on the Internet.
Chapter 1, Unix, he said. Chapter 2, Windows 2000.
Chapter 3, HP 3000.
Alfredo is an example of one of our greatest
assets, Sterling said in closing his speech. Its
important to note how much these people have contributed to our
success. As the 3000 experiences new growth and success and we
welcome new customers, we will remember how we got here. To all our
loyal customers, thank you.