Loyal Hewlett-Packard (HP) users in the UK may have won a major reprieve for the HP3000, but they still feel the company is not doing enough to promote its proprietary system.
At the Hewlett-Packard Computer Users Association (HPCUA) UK conference last week, HP3000 users quizzed the company on its long-term plans for the system. Users were concerned the company will not put enough marketing weight behind the proprietary mini-computer which runs the MPE operating system.
In July, HP finally announced a reprieve for the 3000 with the news that it would port MPE to Intel's IA-64 architecture. Users had thought HP was trying to kill off the system and encourage everyone to move to either Unix systems or Windows NT.
Peter Bradley, general manager of HPCUA UK, said that HP UK had tended to ignore the HP3000, even though it provides a steady income through upgrades and support.
Ewart North, an IT manager at Birmingham University, said: "With the HP3000, you buy it and it runs. It doesn't fall over four times a day like NT, and you don't need to employ 20 Unix gurus." North recently went to help a company with its year end audit, and found even the accounts department didn't know where the HP3000 box was located.
"I followed cables from terminals and eventually found it in a cupboard. The company thought it was part of the air conditioning system. The system hadn't been backed up for more than a year," North said.
Bradley said that in the US, HP had belatedly recognised the HP3000's continuing potential, and had started selling new systems into niche areas such as airline reservations.
Joanne Wallen is a reporter on Computing
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