Letter to Jennifer Millier, VP at Hewlett-Packard

After decades of free patch updates for OpenVMS, Tru64, HP-UX and other HP operating systems, the HP support organization has decided to allow access only to customers with paid support contracts, effective September 18th. HP VP Jennifer Millier was grilled extensively at the OpenVMS Bootcamp yesterday. She invited us to send her email about how we are impacted. Here is my email:

Dear Ms. Millier:

Thank you for coming to the OpenVMS Bootcamp. Those of us at the front lines of VMS support appreciate your participation.

My company is very small. I provide support for a number of customers who do not have HP software support. Instead, I have been providing them with patch services and system administration services on an “as needed”, time-and-materials, basis.

I also provide patches for my CHARON-VAX and CHARON-AXP emulation clients, who are typically running ancient versions of VMS, in some cases all the way back to VMS 5.0. Support for VAX version 5.5-2 is available under Prior Version Support, and has had a few critical patches released over the last couple of years.

Now that ITRC is going to a “paying customers only” model, I will not be able to provide these services. My enterprise-level customers (General Electric, Northrop Grumman, etc.) typically have software support contracts, but most of my customers do not. In fact, many of those customers feel abandoned by DEC or Compaq, not realizing that HP now owns the VMS operating system.

This situation leads me to several questions:
* Do I have to buy HP software support for each customer?
* Can I buy a single “small” support contract for my company, and then provide patches for all my customers?
* What are the costs? I see no benefit to my company, just an increase in the cost of doing business.
* Can I get access to patches from AllianceOne (formerly known as DSPP)?
* Can we continue to get FTP access to the patches? The web interface is fairly painful to use, all but requiring Internet Explorer (which is not available on VMS, Linux, or even HP-UX).
* What about hobbyist systems? These are the only entry-level way to get exposed to VMS.

I know that you are not in a position to solve the problem, but I trust that you can take these concerns to the support-side of HP and come up with a solution. Their uni-lateral action has caused damage to dozens, if not hundreds, of small entities. And these entities are HP Partners!

Stan Quayle
Quayle Consulting Inc.

Author: Stan

I was born in Ohio, and have lived most of my life here. I was into technology from an early age: math, chemistry, physics, electronics, amateur radio, flying, scuba diving. My business is an extension of my techological interests. I love what I do.

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