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HP e3000 users join World Wide Wake

Collective cry on Oct. 31

HP e3000 users the world over are set to console each other and put the venerable product into the grave as part of a giant, shared wake.

Many tears were shed when HP announced that the e3000 would meet its maker at the end of this month. But loyal fans of the product will meet on Oct. 31 at bars and restaurants around the globe to put down several cold ones and discuss their good times with the server. Take a trip over the HP wake Web site to see your nearest venue.

Introduced in 1972, the HP 3000 was loved and adored as being one of the most solid systems around. Running the MPE operating system, HP 3000s chugged along for three decades, but in 2001 HP said it would stop sales and end support for the product in 2006. Not only does this move force users onto a new platform, but it also does damage to a number of companies that specialized in HP 3000 technical support.

But all good things come to an end.

"Well, if you're looking for sentimentality, you won't find it here," said Bruce Toback, a longtime HP e3000 user but not one of the sappy types. "There are people who get all starry-eyed over computer hardware, pining for the return of the Amiga or the GE 635 or (heaven forbid) the Sigma 9. I'm not one of them.

"The HP 3000 was ahead of its time through the mid-80's, with its ease of management and incredible reliability. I had systems stay up for over a year between reboots, which was really something back in 1985. But due to lack of investment -- which was in turn due to HP's conviction that Unix would take over the world -- it fell behind the competition, a classic self-fulling prophesy. The result is that there'd really be no compelling reason to pay the premium for an e3000 today, even if Governor Carly issued a reprieve.

"That said, I did buy an e3000 a few weeks ago -- on eBay, for $67."

While others are incensed at HP's decision to kill the e3000, they seem to be coming to terms with the End-of-Life experience in a constructive way. Along with the wake, there is a handy 101 Forced Migrations puzzle. The cover of the puzzle box pictures HP CEO Carly Fiorona and a well-armed henchman believed to be Winston Prather, general manager of the e3000 division.

So far, Loree's Little Shack in Roseville, California is set to be the epicenter of HP 3000 grief. Twenty-seven users have vowed to show up. The party may be less festive in Monterrey, Mexico where one angered user is scheduled to drink beer while having uncharitable thoughts about Fiorina.

For those who want to reminisce about the good old days before getting blotto, there is a nice history of the HP 3000 here. ®

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