Solid software
for HP Servers
Robelle News   May 2004

Highlights from our recent on-line customer news. The links
and full articles are available at

Whatís Up DOCumentation

Summit Users Conference

The Summit users meeting will be held May 17-20 at La Costa resort near San Diego, with a golf tournament on May 16. Bob and Mary Ann Green from Robelle will attend. Bob Green will be presenting a training session on Suprtool and Qedit during the conference:

Title: Special Suprtool/Qedit Features for Summit Users

Description: Those migrating to HP-UX will receive all Robelle tools, including MPE versions. Learn some powerful data manipulation features for working with Summit application data.

Move Successful!

Our move into our new quarters in Surrey BC went fine last month. By Monday we were open for business, phones were ringing and email was being answered.

Since we moved across town we had to get new phone numbers:

Office Phone : †††††††† 604.501.2001
Fax : †††††††††††††††††††††† 604.501.2003

The old numbers will be forwarded for 6 months. The Tech support phone is unchanged at 800.453.8970

What Are Your Favorite Enhancements?

As our all-time favorite improvements to HP 3000 Software, we all agreed that disc caching for the original MPE was a fabulous. It not only boosted the performance of the existing HP 3000s dramatically, but the timing was perfect. It was released just in time to save the bacon of a lot of HP sites while they were waiting for the new RISC processors to be released. Click the link to see all-star improvements to MPEX, IMAGE, Qedit, Suprtool and more.

Feedback from a Customer

John Bawden of QualChoice writes:

"Been reading the newsletter since 1988 and it has provided many good tips that have saved me time and effort and increased my HP 3000 knowledge. Robelle's support and service are consistently among the best in the business."

Homesteading and MPE Tips

Feedback from the Front Lines

The first in a series of interviews with frontline people about the state of the 3000 world. This time it is Taylor Lumpkin of Hire Experience, an Ecometry expert out of Delray Beach Florida who provides reports, extracts, interfaces, bug fixes, modifications, tech support, system review, EDI, XML, and whatever else his Ecometry customers require. Clients of his firm include Brookstone, Childcraft, Lego, Hickory Farms, and Tiger Direct.

HP To Reconsider Converting 9000s to 3000s

Here is the quote from Ross McDonald, MPE/iX R&D Director of Engineering: " We are reviewing the complex situation regarding HP 9000 to HP e3000 conversions. As recently as HP World 2003, we said that we would not pursue this. However, after listening to the input provided by the OpenMPE Board, we have reopened the subject. So far, we have had limited internal discussions on this topic. We intend to provide an update in June 2004."

Ron Seybold of the 3000 Newswire brought this announcement to our attention. The Newswire also points out that this doesn't mean that HP are going to run MPE on HP-UX - they are talking about allowing MPE itself to run on 9000 PA-RISC hardware, which has the same instruction set and I/O architecture as the 3000 hardware.

And it doesn't mean they have promised anything yet. However, such conversions would give existing 3000 users new alternatives for server upgrades. But there would still exist the issue of who would verify that MPE actually works on the 9000 hardware (probably not HP!).

Datagate: HP Hardware Support

Here is what they say on their web site: "Since 1978, Datagate Inc. has been the largest alternative support company for Hewlett Packard computer and instrumentation systems. Our excellent company reputation has been established by providing THE highest quality maintenance support in the industry... Nationwide support, with Customer Engineers (CEīs) averaging over 10 years of experience. DATAGATE has never considered any HP product obsolete. We service all HP equipment regardless of age."

DDS Cartridge-Drive Compatibility

This chart by APPIC on the OpenMPE site shows DDS tape cartridges from 60m to 170m in size (1.6 Gbyte to 72 Gbyte) versus DDS drives from DDS-1 to DDS-5. For each combination, it shows whether the drive can read or read and write the media. Warning: the chart is in French and English.

SIB (System Improvement Ballot) Results

The SIB results are posted on the OpenMPE web site. Check out the bottom of the page and the number of homesteaders -- not sure that this is an accurate reflection of the market, but is still quite a lot of homesteaders. The number one requested tactical improvement was "network printing to work with non-HP printers" via addition of a new pcl_supported = false option.

HP 3000 Support: Azurri

Azurri Computer Systems offer support (both hardware & software) on all HP 3000 servers (whether currently supported or not by HP). Their support services will continue well past 2006 with no plans to discontinue HP 3000 support. Hat tip for the link to: John Dunlop


Hidden Value for February

The second February column from The 3000 Newswire is up at John Burke's web site, with answers to questions such as "how do I find all the IMAGE databases on a system?" and "What is the command to kill a session that refuses to die?" - lots more good information.

net.digestfor February

The February column from The 3000 Newswire is up at John Burke's web site, with good information on patches, Stage/iX, MPE/iX date formats on :Store tapes, and DSCOPY vs FTP.

Qedit Tips

Feedback on Qedit/HP-UX

"I absolutely LOVE QEDIT! It is helping to make the move off the HP3000 at least bearable. I could never have lived with vi."

Rex Dickey, IT Director
Columbia Steel Casting Co., Inc.

Qedit Enhancements - A Busy Year!

We started 12 months go with a new release (version 5.4) that resurrected our beloved "visual mode" on HP-UX 11 - after HP had changed the run-time libraries to remove the block mode routine that Qedit used. We end the period with another Version 5.5 - jam packed with enhancements.

Suprtool Tips

Fast Suprtool-Eloquence Reads

Suprtool/UX version 4.7.12 has a new option that enables "fast block reading" for Eloquence databases. Performance improvements can be up to five times. Another important enhancement for Eloquence is that Suprtool will now dynamically load whatever version of the Eloquence routines you have on your system. You can also dynamically load test versions of the Eloquence libraries, to try with Suprtool.

HP-UX and Migration Planning

Credit Union Migration Story - Summit is converting a number of sites from MPE to HP-UX every month, using Robelle's Suprtool and Qedit in the process. Here are comments from one credit union.

Transport Migration Tools -From Sungard-Bitech, developed since 1988, tools for migrating COBOL, KSAM, IMAGE, VPLUS applications to UNIX.

Sector 7 Migration Services -This migration services firm uses the Sungard-Bitech Transport toolset, linked above.

HP-UX Resources:

HP-UX FAQ - Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about HP-UX, the operating system of the HP 9000 line of servers.

HP-UX Quick Reference -From the Univ of Iowa: Working with Directories, Working with Files, Finding and Organizing, System Operations, and Network Operations.

HP-UX Documentation -The HP corporate web site.

HP-UX Technical Articles - An excellent collection of technical tips for running an HP-UX site, by Beechglen, with topics such as: Proper Patch Installation Verification, Copying Data Utilizing CPIO, Creating a Bootable Recovery Tape, Managing Mirrors, Mirroring the Root File System and Primary Swap, and many more.

Links/ Resources/ Industry News

New ORBit Product: Rosetta Store

"Rosetta Store is a new utility that lets you restore data from MPE backup tapes onto non-MPE systems such as HP-UX. Besides just extracting the raw data from tape, Rosetta Store knows the internal format of things like TurboImage databases so it can actually provide the information in a format thatís immediately useful. It knows how to convert TurboImage databases into Eloquence databases, XML, and other formats. Not just databases but all kinds of MPE files can be restored using Rosetta Store."

Some Useful Free Programs for the 3000

Allegro provides a web home for many useful 3000 tools, including CHKTAPE to check tape drive state (by Terry Tipton) and MASTEROP for job scheduling (by Carl Kemp). Also programs that have been ported to the 3000: the Ruby and Python programming languages, Analog to analyze web stats, Ploticus to display data, and Tidy for format HTML. And many others that they wrote themselves, separate link.

HP 3000 Freeware

This Beechglen web site has many useful scripts and programs (store-to-disk format) such as a utility to dynamically change the logon prompt to display a message *before* users attempt to log on, and a command file to translate subsys and err numbers, plus many others.