Those of you who have known me for a while know that I go back to the ‘old’ DEC days of PDP-8, PDP-11, RSX, RA81, etc. So it was with great surprise and excitement that I read in the Wall Street Journal that HP has paved the way for VMS to live on (at least for now).

Despite being quite partial towards Linux for the last 15 years, in my heart, the original and the best operating system is still VMS. While I have no software that I can run on it; the romantic side of me feels invigorated by the prospect of OpenVMS on Intel x86.

Many of you youngin’s out there won’t remember VMS. The operating system came with roughly 30 volumes of instructions, and had the option of a relational database, aptly called RDB. (RDB was acquired by Oracle in 1994, and is marketed under the moniker Oracle Rdb, and the latest version is 7.3).

VMS was one of the first clustering operating systems available, and used a system of distributed lock management. It was very stable, and still in use in many critical enterprises including stock exchanges. Dave Cutler, who worked on VMS for DEC, was also a key contributor to Windows NT clustering. Although very different platforms, Cutler brought the idea of integrating multiple less expensive servers together to form a virtually more powerful computer.

Although HP has only committed support for OpenVMS in its current incarnation through 2020, the new company VMS Software, based not far from DEC’s original headquarters expects to port and support OpenVMS to x86 to allow enterprises to sustain their investment in VMS based software.

In the WSJ article, as it relates to actually porting OpenVMS to x86, Duane Harris, CEO of VMS Software, is quoted as saying “We are very confident we can actually do it.” 


Source: Wall Street Journal