2028 changes for MPE: a useful FAQ

HP 3000 managers, vendors, and developers are sharing techniques to get MPE/iX systems a longer lease on life. The upcoming CALENDAR issue hits 3000s at midnight, Dec. 31, 2027. The techniques clear the barrier of 2028 and beyond. Now it’s time to clear up some questions about the fear, uncertainty, and doubt surrounding the lifespan of the 3000’s OS.

Will my HP 3000 stop working on January 1, 2028?

The hardware itself may be worn out by then. But nothing in the operating system will keep PA-RISC systems — emulated or actual — from booting, running programs, or passing data through networks and peripherals. MPE/iX will do everything it can do today. The exception is any applications that rely on an older CALENDAR intrinsic. This hampers the ability to report dates correctly passing to and from applications

Is this a problem with the hardware from HP? Will an emulated 3000 prevent this?

The CALENDAR problem is inside the OS, not the hardware. That means that emulated systems are experiencing the same calendar issue as HP’s original iron. The old MPE intrinsic will record accurate dates until the end of 2027. Any resolution will involve work within applications’ use of intrinsics, among other software revisions. Replacing CALENDAR with HPCALENDAR is part of the solution. Stromasys Charon sites will have to deal with this, too. They are running faithful virtualizations of the PA-RISC hardware. And they use MPE/iX.

If I don’t change anything on my 3000, will the operating system know what day it is on January 1, 2028?

SHOWTIME will report that it’s the year 1900. SHOWCLOCK will report the correct year.

Will all file information remain correct?

All file creation and file modification timestamps will be accurate. Files that are created will have correct timestamps, too.

So what kinds of software will be reporting the wrong date starting in 2028?

Software that still relies on CALENDAR for its date-keeping may show incorrect dates. This software can be applications, or it might as well be utilities and reporting software. Changes to source code for the programs which use CALENDAR — replacing it with HPCALENDAR — take care of the issues. If software uses internal logic for data calculations, it will continue to work correctly in 2028. This is true if it doesn’t rely on CALENDAR. The problem actually occurs if FMTCALENDAR formats the date. Unless that call is trapped, FMTCALENDAR will always produce a date between 1900 and 2027.

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