Along its offering of HP 9000 Unix systems, Hewlett-Packard introduced three successive, distinct families of Netstations —ie. RISC-based X terminals, namely the 700/X and 700/RX, the Envizex and Entria, and the Envizex II and Entria II— providing the client solution in the client/server computing scheme.
In 1998, Hewlett-Packard closed down the Panacom Automation Division located in Waterloo, Ontario (Canada), and transferred the second-level support of the HP Netstation Software to HP Grenoble, which in turn outsourced it to CAP Gemini.
In close co-operation with HP engineers, the transfer of the support activity occured in several steps, from in-depth training, to full ownership, including:
- Rebuild from scratch of the Token Ring, ThinLAN and Ethernet networks, as well as re-install of the HP-PA Servers and Workstations, necessary for the QA,
- Follow VxWorks and ClearCase (user and admin) courses,
- Follow, debrief, and retro-document in-depth courses and/or informal talks provided by the HP engineers about the HP Netstation Software : i960 vs. MIPS specifics, the kernel and its drivers, the X11 server, the CDE window manager and the local clients, as well as general courses about BOOTP, DHCP, TFTP, NFS, XDMCP and X11 protocols, but also debugging techniques such as target attachment, kernel instrumentation, network trace dump, cross-compilation, and more,
- Browse the various branches of source code, and compile debug and release binaries,
- Produce installation images of the HP Netstation Software for the three product lines of X terminals.
After these six months of intensive training, I and teammates were able to:
- Provide feedback and guidance to HP first level support,
- Analyze and reproduce issues using the QA platform,
- Debug and fix defects in the HP Netstation Software when necessary,
- Provide patches delivered within the official HP-UX Software Depot.
On January 31, 2004, Hewlett-Packard ceased official support for Netstations.
All this is now History.