Ten summers later, OpenMPE’s memory shimmers

June of 2021 marks the ten-year anniversary of the last hurrah from OpenMPE. The advocacy group that soared up around HP’s ending of its 3000 line counts much among its accomplishments. But an array of lawsuits from a former board member dogged the volunteer group right into its last active year.

Despite earning a source code license for MPE/iX from HP — an asset OpenMPE worked hard to pay for — its volunteers posted no firm plans to use the code. The source code went back to HP after resting in the group’s coffers. Seven other companies use the code they licensed, but the efforts of OpenMPE made the special source possible.

In the final year, while fires were being tamped down on the legal combustibles, secretary Tracy Johnson, chairman Jack Connor, and other supporters continued to build a durable resource for the community. And for more many of these last 10 years, Invent3K (a cloud-based development resource), a Contributed Software Library, and HP’s Jazz utilities were hosted on a pair of 3000 servers under OpenMPE’s command.

By the time OpenMPE entered its final active year, its primary mission was over by more than 18 months. By 2012, there was no advocacy to pursue with an HP that had ended its 3000 operations.

Little encouragement or praise

The volunteers who last arrived on the group’s board did not hear much praise or encouragement for their efforts. For much of that time since the final election in 2010 — with only 45 ballots cast — the volunteers’ efforts were spent on pro se lawsuits filed by the former board member Matt Perdue.

OpenMPE’s last year presented a point of purchase for HP’s classic MPE/iX subsystem software. An arrangement between OpenMPE and then-distributor Client Systems was a means for anyone who wanted to buy licensed HP software for their systems.

OpenMPE was the user group that survived beyond HP’s change of heart about the 3000. Much of the protection for the server during HP’s interminable slide away from the 3000 came from OpenMPE’s efforts. In 2005 the group took its solo step as the last surviving 3000 user group, gathering in the HP facility’s Maple Room. The location was notable for hosting many HP meetings with its 3000 customers and MPE partners.

Advocacy mounted by customers to make a vendor change its plans is a legacy system tradition. Only the Connect user group remains from a field of a half-dozen national and international groups. OpenMPE can stand on its achievements with pride. Without the advocacy, HP’s MPE/iX source code might still be a mystery.

Photo by Alfred Leung on Unsplash

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