HP has decided to keep the e3000 alive two years longer than its stated plans to drop the system at the end of the 2006.

The company said it is extending the deadline after recognising "that some companies may need to run their e3000s after HP’s current end-of-support date due to business constraints, transition timelines, or to retain access to data for archive or regulatory reasons."

HP will now hold off until 2008 any decision about whether to release the e3000 operating system, MPE, as open-source code.

Users have asked HP for access to the source code so they could provide ongoing maintenance, patches and updates. HP said it was considering turning over the source code but that decision has now been put off for three years.

E3000 business manager, David Wilde, said HP has worked to keep the system updated and will continue to provide critical patches and monitor customer needs. The decision "is another demonstration of HP continuing to be dedicated and focused on meeting the needs of our installed customer base," he said.

The e3000 is a mid-range system that includes its own database, and has been widely praised by users for its reliability.