February 2003

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A homestead hope rose from a migration Webcast

Even though HP set up its January Webcast to promote migration, the vendor updated its customers about the progress of homesteading initiatives at the end of the latest round of transition advice. HP reported that it plans to announce more details on licenses for running MPE on Intel-based 3000 hardware emulators “in the coming weeks.” The time period for the licensing announcement has slipped from the “early in the new year” promises made in the fall of 2002, but HP’s commitment to its homesteading customers shows no apparent signs of slipping.

One customer among the small group of attendees asked HP for a “yes or no answer” to the question of whether it will make an emulated HP 3000 a possibility. The vendor holds the key license to MPE that could stop any efforts to build such a hardware emulator. The question came from Rich Trapp, working on the technical team at Managed Business Solutions (MBS), one of the HP Platinum migration partners. But we’ve also heard from MBS that it’s also building up a consulting practice for the homesteading HP 3000 customer, in addition to offering migration advice. HP’s answer to the question, by the way, was “We haven’t provided the details yet,” according to e3000 business manager Dave Wilde. “We’re moving forward and working closely with OpenMPE on that.” Wilde said HP was making sure “the OpenMPE team” has the information “to move forward with an update on that [issue] as soon as possible.” That reply showed evidence that the announcement of an official HP emulator licensing arrangement will come from OpenMPE first, rather than HP. Wilde said he wants OpenMPE “to have the lead on this.

Wilde said further homesteading updates will be forthcoming at the Interex e3000 Migration and Solution Symposiums this spring, and HP will release more information around the HP World conference in August. “If there are other updates that warrant further information releases during the summer, we’ll try to make sure those are also provided,” Wilde added.

But homesteaders listening to the Webcast did hear a report on HP’s intentions to help them stay on the platform. After the homesteading questions surfaced, Mike Paivinen of HP said that HP will be keeping 3000 documentation online as well as patches for the system beyond the end of support date on December 31, 2006. Webcast host George Stachnik noted that the continued availability of patches and documentation would be useful to third party firms who want to extend their support of the HP 3000 beyond 2006.” Paivinen said “we’d remove those barriers we control, mostly around licensing and license pricing, so that third parties can make their own business decisions about creating an emulator.” HP also reiterated that it’s investigating how third parties can play a role in supporting the HP 3000 after HP’s support runs out at the end of 2006. (We’re not sure yet what that investigation might produce, since third party firms are already providing about 40 percent of HP 3000 sites with support today. Perhaps HP is studying how much of its 3000 knowledge base it will share with those third party firms that it’s been competing with since the 1980s.)

Homesteaders also heard that HP is going to keep gathering information about them in the coming months, to better understand how it can help. “We’ll continue to work with OpenMPE to understand the needs of the users they represent,” Paivinen said. HP plans to hold teleconferences with some of the homesteading community, to “better understand how customers expect to use their 3000s after HP’s end of support date.” HP didn’t have enough information to commit to any dates on when it will hold the 2003 teleconferences with OpenMPE and homesteading customers. It promised to announce these dates in the “HP Customer First Times,” a marketing newsletter that recently took the place of the e3000 Advisor. Paivinen said HP’s bottom line on homesteading is “We absolutely understand that some of our customers, either by choice or some type of business constraint, are going to continue to run their 3000s after we exit the 3000 support business.”

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