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November 2004

Net.digest summarizes helpful technical discussions on the HP 3000 Internet newsgroup and mailing list. Advice here is offered on a best-effort, Good Samaritan basis. Test these concepts for yourself before applying them to your HP 3000s.

Edited by John Burke

The IT news Web site The Inquirer, in a story at www.theinquirer.net/?article=19221, reported that HP is planning massive layoffs in favor of off-shoring jobs, but will not announce it until after the US election. This report was followed, of course, by the usual comments on 3000-L about the advisability of off-shoring HP CEO Carly Fiorina’s job.

As you read this we may know if the Inquirer article is fact or fiction. If fact, we can only wonder how it will affect both what remains of CSY and the OpenMPE initiative. While these HP job losses are still just a rumor, a USA Today article reported “At least 19 major executives have left the No. 2 PC maker since its controversial acquisition of Compaq in 2002, including some of the company’s best-known leaders.” Also, several more subscribers to 3000-L announced in October they are now out of work and looking. It feels like we’re dying a slow death here, folks.

Off-topic political rants continued unabated with the nastiness reaching new heights in October. Fully two-thirds of the posts to 3000-L were off-topic, the vast majority political diatribes. Reasoned discourse took another beating. I only hope we will have both good losers and good winners after November 2, and there is neither too much gloating or too many claims of fraud.

It was again difficult to find amusing off-topic posts amidst all the political wrangling, but there were a few. Fortunately, Alfredo Rego came through again by providing a link to the perfect hardware for those migrators who feel like they are both coming and going at the same time (public.fotki.com/wackydave/car_shows/ california_autofest/dsc09486.html).

I always like to hear from readers of net.digest and Hidden Value. Even negative comments are welcome. If you spot something on 3000-L and would like someone to elaborate on it, let me know. You can reach me at john@burke-consulting.com.

Are you backing up those IMAGE log files?

The Sarbanes-Oxley law of 2002, dubbed SOX (for Sarbanes-Oxley), is all about record keeping and audit trails. It has prompted many MPE sites to increase use of, renew interest in, or in many cases use for the first time, IMAGE logging. As the law went into effect this year, many questions about IMAGE logging have been posted to 3000-L. One question this month had to do with backing up log files; in particular, is there a way to associate log files with a database so that backup software automatically picks up any log files while storing a database? The questioner added that “a log file’s modify date doesn’t change until it is stopped, restarted, or switched over” so that even “online” partial backups do not store the associated log files.

Jerry Fochtman noted, “At one time SIGIMAGE had a number of discussions about having a facility whereby the DBA could identify files to be included with a backup of a database. Thus, not only TurboStore, but also the third party backup products, could safely and accurately backup a database environment. Unfortunately this enhancement request was never fulfilled.” It appears that most people overcome these limitations by doing a CHANGELOG command before starting the backup and/or by explicitly naming log files or groups containing log files.

HP’s treat for HP 3000 homesteaders

Just before Halloween, Mike Hornsby reported “If you plan on homesteading on your 9x8 (E-Class), 99x (T-Class), or 9x9 (K-Class) HP 3000 system and it has a CD drive, I would recommend taking advantage of the free offline diagnostics CD at software.hp.com. If LDEV 1 fails (usually this is the oldest disc on the system) and you do not have this CD, the only option is to load ODE/MAPPER from an SLT tape. Having this CD already in the drive will minimize the time to get ODE/MAPPER running and won’t require anyone to manually insert a tape. Available at this link (software.hp.com/portal/swdepot/ displayProductsList.do?category=ER) is a FREE Version of the PA-RISC Offline Diagnostics CD. You can also download a zip file of an ISO image and burn this CD yourself. Click on the ‘Receive for Free’ button next to ‘PA 0409 Offline Diagnostic Release Note’.”

Two weeks after Mike’s post, Keven Miller reported, “I got my CD today (PA 0409). Booting from the CD, from the ISL> prompt, issue LS

ISL 04/08/10 (runs)
XMAP 04/08/10 (fails on my 918 — invalid processor)
ODE 04/08/10 (runs)
EDBC 04/08/10 (fails ...)
EDPROC 04/08/10 (fails ...)
MULTIDIAG 04/08/10 (asks for password)
TDIAG 04/08/10 (fails ...)
CLKUTIL 04/08/10 (runs)

“Under ODE, I only checked MAPPER which ran okay. Under Windows, my PC lists five text files: License.txt, Notice.txt, pa_ode_overview.txt, version.txt and warranty.txt.”

Homesteaders take note. If your 9x8, 99x or 9x9 does not currently have a CD-ROM drive, you should be able to add one. Talk to your equipment broker.

Executing a remote Windows command from the HP 3000?

If you are migrating from the HP 3000 to a Windows environment you almost certainly are faced with the following problem: how to trigger an event on the Windows server after successfully transferring a file or files? If transferring data to a Unix or Linux system, the usual approach is to use the FTP SITE command with the “exec” command to launch something on the Unix/Linix system. However, the standard Windows FTP server does not support the SITE command. People seem to be using two different approaches.

The first approach is to purchase a third-party (cost is very modest) FTP server for your Windows system that supports the SITE command. The second approach is to have either a process scheduled to run periodically on your Windows system or a process running continuously that loops, checking for some condition. When the condition is true, the process kicks off whatever task you want.

The trick to the second approach (in addition to the need to write something on a Windows system) is to be sure the files are ready to be copied. A file on Windows is visible to other processes as soon as it is created, not just when it is closed. Some people use the sending of a “flag” file trigger to indicate the other (data) files have been sent. Others prefer to use a “temporary” name for the file being transferred and then rename it to the proper destination name after transfer is complete, thus triggering the polling program to launch the appropriate tasks. Either way works fine.

A third approach to transferring data to a Windows system that works well, especially if the file sizes are modest, and which I’ve used, is to have Samba/iX running on your HP 3000. A Windows process then accesses the data files directly from the HP 3000 as if the files were local attached storage. Of course the files on the HP 3000 must be in bytestream form; but this can either be done when they are created or afterwards using tobyte.hpbin.sys.

Interesting, but almost entirely useless, information about KSAM

Old-timers, like myself, remember that MPE V KSAM (CM KSAM now) marked a record as deleted by placing hex “FF” in the first two bytes. You could actually “see” deleted records with FCOPY, or anything else that could read the data file (CM KSAM used two files). It turns out that KSAM/XL does things rather differently. A consequence of this is that you cannot “see” deleted records in the same way.

FCOPY, for example, can not display the deleted records of a KSAM/XL file. KSAM/XL keeps track of deleted records in a bit map that is not normally programmatically available (KSAM/XL also supports a REUSE option that, if activated, will reuse the space occupied by logically deleted records, so I’ll assume here that REUSE is not activated). The only way to “see” a deleted KSAM/XL record is to create your own deleted record field, which you update before doing the actual delete. You can then do directed reads on the KSAM/XL file, checking your deleted record flag to determine if the record is deleted or not. KSAM/XL does not complain about a directed read of a deleted record.

An absolutely indispensable tool
for the MPE/iX system administrator

Donna Garverick (Co-Chair of SIGMPE and frequent on-topic poster to 3000-L) recently contributed several jobs (online at invent3k.external.hp.com/~MGR.GARVERIC) that can be used to audit the system configuration of an HP 3000 system. From the readme file: “This job is designed to collect almost every conceivable bit of configuration information from your MPE server. In the event that you ever have to recover your system from a disc failure (especially any disc in your system volume), you are going to be really glad you have this data collected!” This is not an understatement. Get it. Use it. Now.

Securing the use of a program from one or more users

A favored approach dating back to Classic MPE days is the lockword, which is really just a password to control access to a file. The trouble with this approach is it denies access to everyone who does not know the password. Thus it is a difficult strategy to manage if in fact you do want to allow access to some group of users, but not others.

If you give someone access, by telling them the password, they can then make their own personal copy for later use, even if later you change the password. ACDs give you a way to control “execute” access to a program. For instance, Lars Appel provided the following example.

:altsec query.pub.sys ;newacd=(x:@.@ ; none:lars.appel)

:listfile query.pub.sys ,acd


@.@ : X

“So poor little Lars will not be able to run QUERY in the above example, whereas other users on the system will not be able to read, copy or modify the program file, but can run it.”

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