How to ALLOW contributed software to serve legacies

When James B. Byrne threw out a call for documentation for the ALLOW program from the Contributed Software Library for the HP 3000, the MPE community swung into gear. The HP 3000 will be marking its 50th birthday next November, and HP hasn’t shipped a revision to MPE/iX since 2009. But the community’s memory is right up to date.

The HP 3000 community has a rich heritage of free help. The volunteering preceded the open source movement by many years. HP user group Interex did a good job of soliciting and distributing user-written utilities and some applications starting in the 1980s. But when Interex died in 2005, the rich trove of software had to go other places.

A lot of that CSL work remains useful. It might be hidden to the 3000 legacy manager who’s taken over the server since the Interex CSL heyday. So many CSL programs are out there that they could earn a prize for the best contributed program of the year. All were shipped out on something called a swap tape. It was a way to exchange files in the dark era before the Internet.

How to ALLOW

ALLOW is CSL program for delivering temporary access to restricted 3000 commands. A listing from Allegro Consultants, which created an enhanced version of ALLOW, reports the program gives a current user — either a job or a session — temporary access to all commands normally restricted to the system OPERATOR.

ALLOW is like “someone issuing a series of ALLOW commands at the system CONSOLE,” Allegro’s Donna Hofmeister explains. “When the job/session logs off, the user reverts back to default capabilities. When this program is run, it does a PRINTOP. A message similar to the following will appear on the CONSOLE, and will be logged if CONSOLE logging is enabled:

12:05/#S47/95/ALLOWALL run by JANE.GLAP,DATA

Allegro’s allowall is available on its freeware page.

Tracy Johnson, one of the last directors of the OpenMPE advocacy board, says that “if you have Security/3000, you can put ALLOWs in its SECURCON file.”

The original ALLOW from the CSL is hosted by Keven Miller on his 3KRanger website.  Miller also gives a tip of the cap to Johnson for providing 1990s-era CSL program tapes for 3KRanger.

Finally, a freeware Classic-grade 3000 emulator (one that emulates only pre-RISC 3000s)  includes “all of Keven’s collected CSL tape files,” says creator Gavin Scott, “in my virtual Series III setup. It’s a convenient way to find old stuff like this that goes back all the way to pre-RISC MPE days. And you get your own personal Classic HP 3000 running on any Windows system.”