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Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 9:01 am 
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Patching my HP-UX server via SWA last night failed - further investigation turned up this rather unpleasant explanation:
Quote:
Important note: As of September 18 (or shortly thereafter), HP will institute a change in the way that Patch services are accessed. Beginning at that time, Patch access will be through the ITRC support portal. You need to have a valid ITRC user ID and password and will now also need an active HP support agreement that includes Software Updates linked to your ITRC profile to access Patch content and services. We urge you to review your current support coverage now to ensure you have valid coverage and can maintain uninterrupted access to Patch. To obtain support coverage, please contact your local HP office or representative or visit http://www.hp.com/go/contacthp access HP via Chat or phone. For more information, please read the FAQs at this link.
http://www.itrc.hp.com/service/cki/docD ... -c02476621

As of 6th October the 'entitlement-enabled' SWA C.02.75, a valid ITRC login and an ongoing HP support contract are required to even check current HP-UX patches, let alone download them. The FTP server holding the patches has of course been removed already. This also impacts OpenVMS and presumably Tru64, etc.

Although HP have been quite gentle with the hobbyist/non-commercial sector (implicit license to use HP-UX with hardware ownership, free patch access) until now it seems like the good times have finally come to an end. The situation on the HP forums doesn't imply that this decision will be reversed or restricted hobbyist licenses issued either, although it's likely that security patches will be free, along with firmware updates for older machines.

Not good news for tinkerers, hackers or indeed anyone who likes to keep their system patching/admin skills up to date outside of a fully licensed data centre!

HP Management strikes again. Even IBM do a better job than this with AIX...


Further information can be found below (you'll need an ITRC login though):

http://forums13.itrc.hp.com/service/for ... Id=1444293
http://forums11.itrc.hp.com/service/for ... 8+28353475

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Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 7:32 pm 
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That sucks, I loved HP's awesome patch system.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2010 8:15 pm 
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My guess is more to follow. Oracle pioneered it, now the mainstream boys are playing along.

I guess there must be many commercial installations who are flying without support and the various companies are hoping to encourage them to cough up.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2010 8:09 am 
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I guess there must be many commercial installations who are flying without support and the various companies are hoping to encourage them to cough up.


That only touches half the issue - many of the complainants on the ITRC forums are long standing HP shops with a lot of in-house expertise who paid small fortunes for licenses and hardware/software but eschew the expensive support contracts because, well, the economy is in the crapper so the support contracts are the first to go, and HP support is quite frankly awful anyway(in my experience HP vie with Oracle for the worst support ever). Either way, HP did have a lot of customers who are fully legit with licensing, etc, but are now out in the cold with regards to ongoing patch support: it's not just the hobbyists who are going to get hit by this stroke of genius.

One poster with a 20 year old ITRC account working for the US Dept. of Defense (!!) said they lost all their support info in a post-Katrina emergency move and until government bureaucracy digs out the information, they're now running patch-free. Yikes. Obviously that's not directly HP's fault, but it is yet another corollary a generally stupid decision.

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No wonder x86 crap is winning.


Don't worry my friend, GPGPU is going to eat x86's lunch shortly so we'll all have to relearn half our skill sets once again. Good times!

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Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2010 10:02 am 
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It was never intended to get money from the hobbyists. Looking at costs neither Oracle nor HP (nor SGI for that matter) have a support option priced for hobbyists. They're gunning for the commercial guys, just like the ones you pointed out.

x86/Linux is winning because it looks cheap on paper. x86/Windows is winning because you can get cheap AAS CS guys to run it (or even less than that) and it looks cheap on paper (compared to OpenVMS or proprietary UNIX). x86 hardware is winning because you can get 2 or 3 for the cost of one propbox, and if one dies so what.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:59 pm 
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Friggin hell :shock: I'm HP employee, and even I can't get in anymore without pulling some strings.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 8:33 pm 
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eMGee wrote:
All I hope for, at the moment, is that the OpenVMS Hobbyist program is at least not going to end up being scrapped. (Which it sure is starting to look like, as HP doesn't seem particularly interested in putting out I64 hobbyist media.)


The hobbyist program has always had slow refreshes. I wouldn't worry about it too much, there are still plenty of OpenVMS zealots in HP who will fight for the hobbyist program.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2010 11:57 pm 
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SAQ wrote:
x86/Windows is winning because you can get cheap AAS CS guys to run it (or even less than that) and it looks cheap on paper

When Wall Street management types started making it clear they'd prefer to replace every non-mainframe with Windows NT, we joked that to handle upgrades and maintenance across large numbers of machines that needed somebody pounding on a keyboard, there would be pickup trucks full of migrant NT administrators backing up to a different loading dock each night...

Now of course in this amazing modern age we have the likes of Altiris, Tivoli, etc. But I often wonder, do those cost your average mid-sized enterprise less than a couple truckloads of itinerant Windows admins every night? :)

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Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 4:34 pm 
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eMGee wrote:


That's the way big business works. You provide them something (money, occasionally a service such as ISVs or software that runs on their systems) and they'll work with you. You don't and you are just a bother that might as well not exist. Depending on the circumstance a company might "support" you by looking the other way (SGI), or might have employees who bend corporate policy to do stuff for you (or do it on their own time, e.g. the DEC Midnight Engineering group), but there are very few companies who have an official policy to go out of their way to do things for people where there is little to no tangible return. When profits don't meet what they want companies tend to clamp down on this type of thing in the hope that they'll get a couple more paying customers out of it (Sun, HP now), or have a pretty rock-solid corporate policy of "nothing without initial cash outlay" (IBM).

I used to be a star-eyed optimist - "Oh, they're supporting Linux - of course they'll want to encourage people to also learn their own proprietary O.S.es and hardware so everyone can see how great they are and recommend them ..." It doesn't work that way.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2011 11:17 am 
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This week a good friend and customer asked me about changing a Sun server with Oracle for a HP Itanium with HP-UX. He told me he had a cost-effective server budget.

I powered up my PA-RISC machine and when I gone to search software updates I found this new limitation, the explanation is so stupid ...
Quote:
Q: Why is HP making this change?
A:
This change brings HP in alignment with accepted industry practices for software patch delivery and ensures entitled customers and partners are provided with the most current software patches for their IT environment. In addition, standardizing on key patch availability services reduces structural cost and enables HP to provide better support on the standardized access points. Customers should check their existing support agreements to confirm they are covered, or they may obtain a valid support agreement with software update support.

"accepted industry practices" ? What the f*ck accepted practices ? Accepted by customers or imposed by HP ?

After having a look to the budget and the "accepted practices" of Oracle (Sun) and HP y said him: "choose who's gonna sodomize you, the policy of these companies changes as wind, use Linux to minimize this dependence".

I think it's a terrible error of HP, if a customer choses a propietary system he supports a system and a company, please make his life easier or the manufacturer will lose market share.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2011 9:54 pm 
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chatuser wrote:
Quote:
Q: Why is HP making this change?
A:
This change brings HP in alignment with accepted industry practices for software patch delivery and ensures entitled customers and partners are provided with the most current software patches for their IT environment. In addition, standardizing on key patch availability services reduces structural cost and enables HP to provide better support on the standardized access points. Customers should check their existing support agreements to confirm they are covered, or they may obtain a valid support agreement with software update support.


An excellent example of using many words to say very little. A better answer: "We hope that this change increases our revenue stream by encouraging people to buy support contracts".

It really isn't "accepted industry practices" yet. Not even MS and SCO go quite that far, and IBM still has free patch access.

Quote:
After having a look to the budget and the "accepted practices" of Oracle (Sun) and HP y said him: "choose who's gonna sodomize you, the policy of these companies changes as wind, use Linux to minimize this dependence".

Linux comes with its own set of challenges. Debian and Debian derived systems are on their third different main C library, for Pete's sake...
but, the updates are free...

That reminds me of something... something about UNIX booting fast...

Quote:
I think it's a terrible error of HP, if a customer choses a propietary system he supports a system and a company, please make his life easier or the manufacturer will lose market share.

It does change the value equation a bit. It used to be that you could say "it costs more upfront, but the hardware works well and support/patches is/are guaranteed and good". Now it costs more upfront and any support, including security support, costs more as well.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:21 pm 
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Don't hate the player, hate the game.

The service side of things is where moneys are nowadays, or at least that is where things are going. From a profitability standpoint, HP may be making more money/margin off a surport contract on a machine, than they may be making off the HW itself. I assume some pointy head spreadsheet warrior realized they were giving out "worthy" stuff for free. And well, them short term profits is what it is all about.

So HP probably does not give a rat's ass about leaving hobbyist high and dry, if there is a possibility of the new policy forcing a few sites to purchase support contracts. Money, in the current silly ism we decided to base our existence around, talks as they say...

I for one would like to see someone turn the tables on these sort of practices: a big customer suing the shit out of one of these vendors because they required them to pay for patches. The case could be made that if a product requires a patch, it is by definition defective, and thus the vendor and not the customer should be the ones liable for the cost of the repair. :-) Oh, well...

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Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 10:38 am 
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There exist(ed) companies offering full support for HPUX while not being related in any way with HP. These companies used the freely available HP patch bundles to build a business case of "We are cheaper than HP's support engineers and we can still use their patches so you're fully covered and up to date kthxbye". Rumour goes that this was another drop that added to this decision being made.

I doubt this decision is going to cause many customers to buy a new support contract, but it sure will cause the customers of those freewheeling UX support companies to switch to HP. Hobbyists won't have had anything to do with it, but it's collateral damage. Dog eat dog world :)

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Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 10:32 pm 
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Alver wrote:
There exist(ed) companies offering full support for HPUX while not being related in any way with HP. These companies used the freely available HP patch bundles to build a business case of "We are cheaper than HP's support engineers and we can still use their patches so you're fully covered and up to date kthxbye". Rumour goes that this was another drop that added to this decision being made.


Methinks that there are many companies that offer free patches and yet still manage to make money. IBM's service contracts are expensive, but my experience for the limited time that I was dealing with them was very good, yet they give out free AIX patch bundles. Microsoft offers free patches, Apple offers free patches (for a very limited time), etc. For all of them patches are a cost of business that is added into the product price.

Indeed, it seems only Oracle and HP have a blanket "no patch without a support contract" setup. SGI and pre-Oracle Sun offered critical patch access with no contract. HP's service must be singularly bad if they need to stoop to this level to gain customers.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:38 am 
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chatuser wrote:
"accepted industry practices" ? What the f*ck accepted practices ? Accepted by customers or imposed by HP ?


I suspect this may have something to do with the move of all major UNIX vendors to x86/Linux. In the days when everyone had their own architecture and their own UNIX, it seems like there was a considerable markup on hardware since, to some extent, there was no competition. If you needed IRIX to run a certain piece of software very fast (as my lab did), you will pay $12,000-$20,000 per workstation (as my lab did), much of which is profitable markup. Sure, cheap AMD+Linux products were available, but that was at a time where AMD (and Intel) simply couldn't compete with SPARC/MIPS/Alpha in terms of performance.

Now that commodity x86+Linux is (arguably) a viable enterprise/hpc solution, all the big vendors have to sell their hardware in an extremely competitive, x86-dominated market where profit margins on hardware are extremely slim. The profits can no longer come from hardware, so they've got to start bending people over in support.

I hate these new changing practices as much as the next guy--our university, which has relied heavily on Sun hardware and software for the last decade, has made it an official policy to begin migrating systems away from SPARC/Solaris because Oracle's new support terms are uneconomical. Unfortunately, Intel+Linux has transformed the playing field by eroding the profit margins of hardware sales for everyone except the highest-end enterprise vendors (IBM and Oracle).

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