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VAX Users See the Writing on the Wall

CmdrTaco posted more than 10 years ago | from the wait-they-just-noticed-that-now? dept.

Digital 463

Snot Locker writes "An informative piece at ComputerWorld talks about how VAX users are anticipating the costly migration to more modern systems. Several noteworthy tidbits, including hints of the port of OpenVMS to Itanium and the tale of VAX systems that have not had a reboot in 6 years!"

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Oh man! (5, Funny)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645805)

I didn't see THAT coming!

Re:Oh man! (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9645866)

Should I even ask how the first post on the page gets a redundant MOD? Especially when it's supposed to be funny?

Kerry and Edwards kissing? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9645807)

Kerry and Edwards kissing? [google.com]

Ok... you have to admit they've been pretty damn touchy feely recently. I think they're in love...

From the news.google.com story:
"I've been covering Washington and politics for 30 years. I can say I've never seen this much touching between two men, publicly," e-mailed one wire photographer.

And slashdot editors: nice "Related Link" on the side there. I mean really, the top two links are just ads, and not labeled at all as such.

Re:Kerry and Edwards kissing? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9645841)

Goddamn liberal freak.

All you need now is Tony Blair to join the love-fest.

Makes me want to puke.

Re:Kerry and Edwards kissing? (-1, Offtopic)

strictnein (318940) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645943)

Goddamn liberal freak

are you talking American democrat liberal [democrats.org] or european liberal democrat [libdems.org.uk] ?

I'm confused!

Re:Kerry and Edwards kissing? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9646094)

Does it really matter? They're both communists.

FAG0RTZ! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9646059)

WH4T TH3Y 1Z I5 F4HG0RTZ!

Sudan (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9645812)

I was wondering if my fellow lefties can help me out here. As you are aware, there is currently a huge humanitarian crisis in Sudan. Some would even call it genocide. I have no problem with that. But what I can't seem to figure out is how the United States is to blame, as we usually are at fault.

Please advise. Thx.

Re:Sudan (-1, Offtopic)

strictnein (318940) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645881)

I was wondering if my fellow lefties can help me out here. As you are aware, there is currently a huge humanitarian crisis in Sudan. Some would even call it genocide. I have no problem with that. But what I can't seem to figure out is how the United States is to blame, as we usually are at fault.

The problem is that the US is in no way to blame. The problems are a direct result of the ineptitude of the United Nations. And people wonder why the US didn't want to have to hold hands with the UN.

It's well known: if you're a bad boy and want to get the UN out of your country, all you have to do is to start shooting at the pretty blue helmets and they'll pack up and leave.

It's absolutely unacceptable and disgusting the UN hasn't done anything about this issue.

1st fags (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9645824)

GO TO HELL FAGGOTS NO ONE READS THESE ARTICLES YOU JUST SPAM HERE FAGOTS I HATE YOU GO TO HELL FUCK YOU!!! So what is three times three? Not the square root of 82, fag. That's right. It's the square root of 81, much like you, faggot. fag. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads.

Don't trash them if you don't have to. (5, Informative)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645826)


If any VAXs admins are reading this and are preparing to send their machines to the landfill, why not check to see if your hardware is on OpenBSD's wanted hardware list [openbsd.org] ? They actively maintain a native VAX port (and it's damn good geek karma!)

Re:Don't trash them if you don't have to. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9645877)

Makes sense. Dead OS, dead hardware.

Fact: *BSD is dying

Re:Don't trash them if you don't have to. (2, Insightful)

i_r_sensitive (697893) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645968)

No no no,

It's frigging excellent geek Karma...

Let's face it, the only guy getting better Karma than you is the maintainer on the OpenBSD Vax port...

After all, you're just donating endangered hardware, he is actively developping for it...

But, it's not wasted work kids, not as long as we have a VAX emulator!

Re:Don't trash them if you don't have to. (2, Interesting)

davecb (6526) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646112)

You can do the inverse: contract with a private VAX maintainer/junkyard to keep your machines running. Of course, everyone can't do that, as then there's be no spares (;-))

6 years of uptime? (5, Interesting)

inkdesign (7389) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645842)

Seems to me that 6 years of uptime will have most likely saved the company about as much money as it would cost to migrate to an updated system.

Re:6 years of uptime? (1, Funny)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645930)

Possibly, but that money went into a CEO's golden parachute.

Re:6 years of uptime? (4, Funny)

Mick Ohrberg (744441) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645937)

My current employer had a VAX that had some monstrous uptime as well. But in the end the bootdisk failed, and the system couldn't be brought up at all. It proved an easy way to migrate users off of the system - a migration that had been in the works for the past 5 years. Now I hear the same thing is planned for our Alpha GS/140. I mean, to migrate off of it, not to have the bootdisk fail...

Six Years? (2, Insightful)

Mark_MF-WN (678030) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646172)

Six years of uptime is pretty impressive for a computer. But it's even more impressive for the facility. Seriously -- what kind of UPS and equipment redundancy would you need to get that kind of uptime?

Re:6 years of uptime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9645949)

Uptime in and of itself doesnt 'save' money. Downtime *can* cost money, but it is not necessarily so.

With these issues you need to see what the costs of uptime are; for a majority of companies and/or purposes, it doesnt amount to much. Non-critical applications are much better off on lower cost systems which are easy to admin. Linux isnt too bad with this, but unless you have an inhouse expert (Im not talking some guy who does Linux in his spare time at home, Im talking about a bonfide expert), which is expensive in itself if he is only supporting one machine. With the huge amount of Windows NT/2000/2003 experts, and the fact that you can use them for more than just situational events, its best to utilize them.

Either way, you are better off utilizing in-house talent than relying on costly outside consultants.

Re:6 years of uptime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9645987)

Downtime *can* cost money, but it is not necessarily so.

Troll....

Re:6 years of uptime? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9646050)

Give the linux admin cfengine and he'll be able to handle hundreds of linux servers, and won't be running around like a headless chicken windoze admin.

FOREVER (0, Offtopic)

skarps (688370) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645843)

VAX will live forever, HAHAHAHA!!

Ah, the VAX... I miss it. (4, Interesting)

jrj102 (87650) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645847)

Yeah, I worked on campus in the IT department all through college back in the early 90s. We had a VAX that ran pretty much everything, and I don't think it was rebooted a single time the entire time I worked there. When students started demanding shell accounts to access the Internet (remember, we're talking pre-Mosaic here) we just added a couple extra hard drives to the VAX to provide enough space for all the students to have a couple meg of storage, and the system handled the load without a problem. We're talking about a fairly large (10.000 student) system here... it just worked. Nary a hiccup.

These are rock-solid systems that are trouble-free to the point of being kind of silly... but replacement parts were hard to find even back then. (Their VAX had been purchased in the 80s I think.)

The article mentions a VAX emulator that sounds like a much better option than the one chosen by the school I worked for back in the day: an unbeleivably expensive (nearly million-dollar) migration to an Oracle solution that never did really wind up working. (They have since migrated many of the processes to PAPER for crying out loud.)

--- JRJ

UNC-Chapel Hill? (1)

mosel-saar-ruwer (732341) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645889)


Sounds like the way people at UNC-Chapel Hill accessed the internet, circa 1994 - via dialup shells, PINE, and FTP, all through a single VAX box.

Re:Ah, the VAX... I miss it. (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645947)

How many of those 10,000 students were actively using that machine any given semester?

Re:Ah, the VAX... I miss it. (1)

jrj102 (87650) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645983)

Oh, of course-- I didn't mean 10,000 simultaneous users. In a given day during peak hours I would estimate (and my memory is a bit fuzzy here-- it's been a decade) around 200-300 users online.

Re:Ah, the VAX... I miss it. (4, Interesting)

ewilts (121990) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646101)

I didn't mean 10,000 simultaneous users. In a given day during peak hours I would estimate (and my memory is a bit fuzzy here-- it's been a decade) around 200-300 users online.
I was the OpenVMS group lead for a government entity that had a user base of 10,000, 6 (SIX!) Vaxes, and a simultaneous user count of over 3,300. We were told by DEC at the time that we had the world record. I'm damn proud of that and the people I worked with to make that happen. Although I left there a few years later, the group maintained the cluster uptime and the last I heard they were over 7 years. The cluster at my new location has been up continuously for over 5 years - through data center power outages (we're split between 2 data centers).

Re:Ah, the VAX... I miss it. (3, Interesting)

deputydink (173771) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646045)

Years ago i had an RS/6000 AIX machine that ran a program called COBOL RESOURCE, it was essentially a VAX emulator that would run Cobol and RPG programs.
It also provided a very nice pseudo-shell with a VAX coding toolchain. The best part of it was that the system was simply made up of AIX executables and shared libraries, so we were able to integrate with our existing shell and awk programs.

Not sure who made it, but it was a great program, and is still running to this day which is 8 years since used it. Additionally, the original VAX code was at least 10 years old. So, i figure we'll never be rid of VAX, at least in spirit, as emulators give old code a new life.

Re:Ah, the VAX... I miss it. (1)

ScouseMouse (690083) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646150)

Yeah, VMS was my first encounter with a production grade operating system.
I ended up with DCL scripts to do loads of things when i was at Uni in Bolton UK.
Unfortunately, the SYSOP was a damn good Vax hacker, and had the system locked down so we couldnt do a great deal of experimentation without him knowing. he certainly used a lot of fanfold keeping it that way though.
I believe they actually still have some Vax's there, although as most of the normal lusers have been migrated to NT, I suppose the system is easier to keep pristine now without us lot there :-)

VMS was pretty secure out of the box. certainly more secure than Unix is by default. Also the process permission way of doing things is far nicer than unix's root/non-root designation. (Actually i think Linux V2.6 has something similar now, have to check)

Oh happy days.

It must be hard for Windows users to imagine... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9645852)

...a computer that has literally run from since before Windows 98 existed until now without being rebooted.

Hell, with the critical-update-du-jour lately, it's probably hard for Windows users to imagine a computer that's been running since the previous week without being rebooted.

Re:It must be hard for Windows users to imagine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9645962)

The sad part about this is that while funny, it's not far from the truth (especially pre Windows 2000).

Where's my "uptime" command for MS Windows?

Re:It must be hard for Windows users to imagine... (4, Informative)

McDutchie (151611) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646033)

Where's my "uptime" command for MS Windows?

Right here [microsoft.com] .

"Your uptime has been positively incremented.... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9646132)

You must reboot for the change to take effect."

[ OK ] [ Cancel ]

Re:It must be hard for Windows users to imagine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9646159)

ooo thanks...i always just looked to see how long my nic was connected to the network.

which i might add i am currently at 61 days uptime which i think is a windows record for me.

Error Starting Program (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9646192)

x86 version: "The UPTIME.EXE file is linked to missing export NETAPI32.DLL:NetRemoteTOD."

Alpha version: "This program cannot be run in DOS mode."

Re:It must be hard for Windows users to imagine... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9646083)

Look out! Here come the "Windows is much better nowadays actually" trolls!

Getting Rid of The Obvious (3, Insightful)

WombatControl (74685) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645858)

ComputerWorld confirms: VAX is dying

In all seriousness, the fact that VAX is still around is a testament to how damn well engineered those machines are.

Re:Getting Rid of The Obvious (1)

stinkyfingers (588428) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646048)

How long have people been saying Microsoft is going to die after {insert some seemingly-major-but-actually-minor event here}?

How long have people been saying Apple's really dead this time? Don't worry, it's cyclical; don't let the iPod's sudden acceptance fool you?

Hell, they said diesel would never take hold in the USA again, but but look what Benz and VW are starting to do.

How long will be hear that VAX is dead before prediction become reality?

MicroVax (1)

pinkfalcon (215531) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645860)

so what do I do with that MicroVax in my garage that I never cracked the root password on?

Re:MicroVax (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645969)

Get a VMS license for it or install a BSD on it. At least put it in a more dignified place.

Re:MicroVax (1)

CrypticSpawn (719164) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646184)

Hmm, sell it to me if it still works. :)

Uh? VAX? What year is this? (1)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645865)

The distant past called....

Re:Uh? VAX? What year is this? (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645897)

The distant past called.... ...from a galaxy far, far away [csd.uwo.ca] ...

Re:Uh? VAX? What year is this? (4, Insightful)

gclef (96311) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645926)

The distant past called...

...and they're wondering what the hell we did to screw up our computers so badly.

Re:Uh? VAX? What year is this? (1)

ALecs (118703) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646118)

...and they're wondering what the hell we did to screw up our computers so badly.

We made them affordable to the average household.

Big Deal... (5, Funny)

arcanumas (646807) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645875)

No reboot in 6 years?
Hahaha....i have a computer that has not had a reboot in almost 10 years.
In fact it's still somewhere in the closet.
I should plug it in sometime....

Reboots (1)

bwindle2 (519558) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645899)

Our vendor offically recommends we reboot our OpenVMS mainframe (ES47) once a week... when I first started here I laughed at that, until I saw how crappy the code our vendor had running on top of the box (full of memory leaks, processes that would loop and suck up 100% CPU). In three years, our Mainframe has never crashed, never needed to be "just rebooted"; it has worked, no questions asked. However, I will comment that VMS is *ugly*.

6 year uptimes... (5, Interesting)

NerveGas (168686) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645900)


About a year ago, we switched data centers, and had to power down our rack of x86 machines running Linux. A couple of them had redundancy in hardware (power supplies, RAID arrays, etc.), but the majority of them, working as a load-balanced web farm, had no redundancy at all.

Out of the rack of machines, nearly all of them had been up for the full two years that they'd been in the data center. Of the few that hadn't been up the entire time, *one* had a power supply die, the others were shut down for hardware upgrades.

Now, a year later, all of the machines are still up and running. I really don't have any doubt that a fair number of them would have achieved 6-year uptimes, had they been left in place long enough.

steve

VAX in modern poetry (5, Funny)

rkaa (162066) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645906)

Lizzie Borden took an axe,
And plunged it deep into the VAX;
Don't you envy people who
Do all the things YOU want to do?

[Unknown]

It sounds like they want new VAXs... (4, Insightful)

kabocox (199019) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645911)

The article mentions mainly about how they are looking at emulators because HP/Compaq isn't producing any new VAXs. I'm guessing HP will release a new "VAX" that is just a custom emulator running on top of intel's lastest. From a marketing point of view, it's what I'd do.

Binary translation? (2, Interesting)

hedley (8715) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645913)

Dec had a large program back when to move Vax binaries over to the Alpha. The VEST software.

VEST [uruk.org]

Is there really an "end of the road" when the binary keeps on living in sort of a Matryoshka
doll fashion?

Hedley

How many times have VAX users heard this? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9645928)

the_VAX_writing_is_on_wall.txt;252

i remember vax from college (1)

m2bord (781676) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645929)

ah...programming in assembly on the old vax. how i miss it.

64 bit words...outputting the data to the laser printers...

i miss changing disks....disk$A1:username and
using the menu system one of our grad students created to make it easier for incoming freshman...sigh...then the whole school moved over to nt4 and nothing was the same after that.

VMS had nice points, but it sure wasn't Unix. (2, Insightful)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645931)

Forking off a subprocess and reading its stdout was an extreme pain under VMS. I had to port a program there once. It took 60 lines to do it in Unix (lots of error checking), and 182 lines (3x the code) on VMS.

On the bright side, it had enough other POSIX stuff (file I/O, pthreads, etc.) that the rest of the port was pretty easy.

Logicals are actually kind of cool - a bastard cross between environment variables and symlinks, but you could do some neat things with 'em.

VAX replacement? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9645932)

The US Army is still using VAX systems for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle turret simulator to train crews in gunnery. Most of the simulators that were bought in the early 1980's are still going strong. AFAIK, no plans to replace them anytime soon. The damn things have be set on fire to get them to stop working.

Alpha? (4, Informative)

pesc (147035) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645946)

Well, most VMS users run on Alpha and has done so since more than ten years. It's not like all VMS users are stuck on VAX and only now has an alternative with Itanium.

Funny, the article does not mention Alphas. Has HP buried that architecture so well?

Re:Alpha? (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646091)

Yes they have, PA-RISC as well as I believe. HP is fully on board the good ship Itanic. My dad works on VMS again now, and I believe the word from their HP rep was that VMS will be supported for the next 15 years, and they made a big thing out of booting VMS on an Itanium and doing some simple math on it.

Re:Alpha? Alpha is dead (3, Interesting)

DarkMan (32280) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646157)

Yup. The end of life for the Alpha was announced a while ago. I belive that the current generation of chips (EV7) is the last, with the EV7z from HP the really last new Alpha.

Now, whilst it's perfectly possible to migrate from a VAX to OpenVMS on an Alpha it's a bit short sighted to migrate from a old platform to one that's about to enter the same state. The sensible stratagy is for something with a longer lifespan. The Alpha was intended to be that, back in the days of DEC, but Compaq basically folded the Alpha into Intels Itanium chips, which are quite different.

HP talks about supporting Tru64 on Alphaservers up to 2011. I read that to mean that after then, if it breaks, that's it, so you'd better be migrated off it by then [0]. So, given about a year to fully migrate, switching to Alpha would only give you 3 years (1 year to switch to, 3 years, then 1 year to move on). That's not a good proposition, at least to me.

So, the short answear was, yup, Alpha is buried, and the turf goes on top in 5 years.

[0] Granted, that's the possibly just the OS side. It's tricky to get hard details out of HP, short of cornering someone.

Re:Alpha? Its dead, Jim (2, Interesting)

decsnake (6658) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646194)

Alpha is on life support too. EOL is in 2012, I think. See HPs web site for the whole story.

A previous poster mention emulation on emulation. I've seen it done, and heard of others doing it.

When the PDP-11s were EOLed, we ran RT-11 apps using the RT-11 emulator under the RSX-11m emulator on VAX/VMS.

I've heard of people running IBM 650 apps on an emulator that ran on a 1401 emulator which they ran on OS/360.

Upgrade time! (1)

NerveGas (168686) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645948)


The article mentioned migrating from a 10-year old VAX machine to a dual Athlon. I'll bet that the dual Athlon is 4x faster, and cost 10x less.

steve

Re:Upgrade time! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9646151)

4x? Try something more like 400x. I'm not joking.

Reliability....Priceless (5, Funny)

Ag3nt (790820) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645957)

The fact that some VAX systems haven't had a reboot in 6 years reminds me of a story my HP/Compaq representative told me about the reliability of their Proliant servers. There was a server in a data center that handled user logons to the Novell client. One year the data center was remodeled but none of the servers could be moved because users still needed to be able to log on. So they finished remodelling the room and accidentally walled in the server. 3 years later someone finally decided that it was time to upgrade that server. When they went to look for it, it was nowhere to be found. It was still running after 3 years and hundreds of thousands of logons later. (They finally contacted the remodeling company and figured it out.)

For handy reference (1)

goatstuffer (794548) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645976)

$ @SYS$SYSTEM:SHUTDOWN

The first step to upgrading to Windows 2003!

itanium? (3, Interesting)

turgid (580780) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645984)

I don't envy those poor VAX folks having to migrate over to itanium, whose future is very much in question just now. Almost every week now, a report comes out about how disappointing itanium sales are, how software vendors are abandoning it, or not developing fot it in the first place, and how HP and intel keep revising their sales projections and PR fluff. itanium has gone from "going to be the defacto 64-bit standard CPU early in the 21st century offered by all major vendors" to the most widely deployed in 2-way servers and up, to 8-way servers and up, and now it will be regarded as a success if it achieves moderate acceptance in niches at the very high end. itanium was to rely on economies of scale to recoup its R&D expenditure and to become profitable. Now it will have to limp along as a costly, esoteric niche player. How long can intel and HP keep it propped up? When will the money dry up? When will HP cut its losses and move over completely to intel's Opteron clone?

getting there (0, Offtopic)

Phrack (9361) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645989)

I'm sure others will do this, might as well start the thread:

bash-2.03$ uname -sr
SunOS 5.8
bash-2.03$ uptime
3:33pm up 1213 day(s), 9:38, 1 user, load average: 0.43, 0.41, 0.45

Re:getting there (2, Insightful)

Lovepump (58591) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646086)

1 user at 3 in the afternoon - doesn't sound like a particularly busy machine - consider that the (large) boxes in question have had probably millions of logon/logoff cycles, compilations, test code, patch applications and so forth.

Re:getting there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9646105)

You'll probably be highest here. Linux and *BSD can't get past ~497 days (42949672.96 seconds)

Re:getting there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9646133)

4:44am up 1 day(s), 8:39, 1213 user, load average: 43, 41, 45

Re:getting there (2, Funny)

liquidsin (398151) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646155)

C:\WINDOWS\Desktop>uname -sr
Bad command or file name

hmmm...

Re:getting there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9646169)

** Ascend Pipeline Terminal Server **

ascend% show uptime
system uptime: up 1338 days, 2 hours, 23 minutes, 21 seconds
ascend%

Go custom hardware baby!

-trem

VAX tech? Hah! (4, Funny)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645993)

I like the supposed picture of the VAX maintenance guy in a dress shirt, tie, and short hair.

Right.

Show me RMS's heavier and less-well-groomed brother in Birkenstocks, a T-shirt, and suspenders and I'd be a little more likely to believe it.

HP consolidation has finally arrived. (1)

ErichTheRed (39327) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645995)

I remember working on OpenVMS on VAX and (later) Alpha systems. The OS was pretty cool for its time...it looks like Microsoft lifted a lot of its security features for NTFS in Windows NT.

HP is really keen on getting rid of their older inherited platforms...DEC systems are known for their reliability, and I know a lot of hospitals, etc. that use them for daily production work. It's definitely a minority now, but they were huge back in the day. Qualified VMS people will be very well-paid as migration consultants in the next few years as HP slowly pulls the plug on the Alpha line...they've already got OpenVMS running on Itaniums. (Side note: I SERIOUSLY hope that HP is planning on restoring their Intel server quality to what Compaq was before they were bought out...otherwise the VMS, Tru64 and HP-UX customers are not going to be happy. All the new ProLiant stuff we're getting from them seems to be cursed.)

The one thing I remember most about VMS was the _extremely_ long command lines with DOS-style switches. You could shorten them, of course, but the DEC manuals had the full text of the line written out.

Re:HP consolidation has finally arrived. (1)

proj_2501 (78149) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646108)

I remember working on OpenVMS on VAX and (later) Alpha systems. The OS was pretty cool for its time...it looks like Microsoft lifted a lot of its security features for NTFS in Windows NT.

the main architect for Windows NT, david cutler [winnetmag.com] , worked for digital on vms before leaving for microsoft.

Re:HP consolidation has finally arrived. (1)

ErichTheRed (39327) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646170)

The other thing that I noticed from VMS in Windows (but not well-implemented at all) was file-versioning. I remember that VMS would save n versions of any file you edit, with n being a settable number. Microsoft has metadata streams in "newer" NTFS filesystems that amount to a versioning trail, but it looks like it's mainly for "undo" purposes.

I do miss "real" computing environments...unix is about as close as we get these days, but adminning or even doing tech support for VMS was a challenge.

that's not writing... on the wall... (1)

enrico_suave (179651) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646005)

it's the orange glow from monichrome dumb terminals =)

e.

Not So Subtle Hint (1)

4of12 (97621) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646006)


including hints of the port of OpenVMS to Itanium

I guess porting to the Alpha wasn't enough of a hint that they wanted to kill VMS:)

Now, of course, the Itanic is going down in a big way since Intel decided to go with ix86-64...

I'm only surprised they didn't port VMS to the i860.

MicroVax II (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9646016)

I remember a MicroVax II we had in the early 90's. It ran great, but it could be a bit hard to start. The coolest thing was the disk drives. They had this great turbine almost jet engine sound when they started up. I think we had 2 reboots for the entire year. One was after replacing a failed disk drive.

Re:MicroVax II (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9646053)

It ran great, but it could be a bit hard to start.

It wasn't made by Ford, was it?

Migration to more expensive hardware (1)

jj_johny (626460) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646018)

Lets see if it hasn't been rebooted in 6 years, then it hasn't been upgraded in 6 years. But more likely its hardware that is better than 10 years, so its got CPU, memory, disk that all are easily ecplipsed by everything that is sold today.

So a PC from Best Buy should replace it just fine.

6 year uptime ? Phooey. (5, Funny)

TractorBarry (788340) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646019)

Uptime of 6 years ?

Pah. My abacus (which has been handed down through 3 generations) has had an uptime of nearly 100 years. And apart from missing a few of the counters (I was a curious child) it still works great.

Them thar 'puters are just new fangled junk.

Damn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9646020)

There goes the market for my copy of Programming In Assembly Language VAX-11

The good ol' days... (1)

jbarr (2233) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646023)

From about 1989 through 1999, I adminstered several VAXen. The handwriting was on the wall as far back as the late 1990's. With the dismal acceptance of Alpha-based system and the simple fact that Windows and *NIX platforms could provide similar functionality for cheaper, it was inevitable that we had to migrate. Not that they were any "better" but it was hard for IT to justify maintaining a system that 99% of the rest of the world won't touch.

I will say, though, that administering VAXen was very fun and educational. I learned more about IT in the 10 years on-the-job managing VAXen than I ever learned in college or in companies since. Unless you were willing to bring in high-paid technicians, you had to learn everything, program everything, and troubleshoot yourself.

Those were the good ol' days!

Oh, and, contrary to what some folks think, $ is the "real" command prompt!!!

WAAAAAH! (1)

azav (469988) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646056)

I want my DCL and my TPU editor!

Sniff. Sniff. I miss 1989.

VAX, Amiga, Digital Alpha, Betamax,... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9646057)

So, yet another technically superior product bites the dust.

Amiga, Digital Alpha CPU, Betamax, VAX, OS/2,...

We live in a world of mediocrity.

Shame on us for accepting it.

PS. Lyce Doucet [bbc.co.uk] makes my cock hard. That accent... I'd just love to have her dominate me - almost as much as I'd like to submit to Senator Clinton.

Linus on VAX/VMS (1)

wigle (676212) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646058)

"In my first year of studies, we had a VAX running VMS. It was a horrible operating system, certainly not an environment that made you say, 'Gee, I'd like to have this at home, too.'" - Just For Fun

GNAA!! GNAA! GNAA!! GNAA!! GNAA!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9646068)

w00t w00t w00t!!!!

There are STILL vaxen??? (2, Funny)

Pike (52876) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646072)

Holy crap! Did the phrase "Y2K" mean nothing to these people?!?

Geez... (2, Funny)

galo (716595) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646073)

What happened to /. today ?
It looks like troll's fest day!
First backup tapes, then Microsoft, now VAX.. what's next BSD, Apple and Sun ?
Oh.. and has Netcraft confirmed it yet?

Nostalgia (2, Interesting)

raider_red (156642) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646075)

I learned C on a Vax during my freshman year of college. I also maintained my email account on one for all five years I was there. We had three vax machines grouped in a DecNet cluster. One was the original 11/780 model, and was nearly as old as me. It still worked without a hiccup, and met the mail needs of nearly 20000 students.

The Vax will never die (2, Funny)

genner (694963) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646077)

My company is still the proud owner of a vax.

It's runs an enitre depratement and we love it.

Most people's problem with the vax is caused by

their reckless disregard for safety.

Always rember to bend at the knee's when you

bang your head against the wall. If you bend at your

waist you'll throw out your back.

Vaxen clusters won't die... (2, Interesting)

BookRead (610258) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646087)

I think there'll be some Vaxen clusters out there until cockroaches are extinct. We had a cluster once where I worked and no one could figure out what it did but were afraid to turn them off. We just moved the boxes around and rebooted them when they got in inconvenient spots. They'd just keep running and running. I'm sure there are factories running Vaxes that would shutdown if they stopped but its been so long they needed attention no one would know what to do if they died. Truly amazing reliability. Nothing's come close to them despite years of trying. VMS is ugly and slow but it's rock solid compared to its bastard step-child Windows.

Ahh the memories... (1)

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646102)

We had a cluster of VAXes where I went to college (all named after cartoon characters). Unlike other people's comments we did have to reboot at least one of them a number of times. That was thanks to a LISP interpreter we were running on one for an AI class that I took. On numerous occasions we managed to write AI apps in LISP that resulted in so much page swapping that VMS simply couldn't find any more virtual memory to swap so it just stopped. Sort of a computers version of painting oneself into a corner....

How many DEC repairmen are needed to make popcorn? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9646114)

Five.

One to hold the pot, four to shake the stove.

:-)

Come to think of it...did we ever NEED to advance? (4, Insightful)

TheTXLibra (781128) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646130)

I remember VAX quite fondly. I wasn't exposed to it until 1995, when I went to college, and haven't really bothered with it then. But now it begs the question: did we ever really -need- to advance?

Sure, now we've got amazing graphics capabilities, and games that can make real life seem dull and colourless by comparison. But you know, games were just as much fun back then too. Who here never played Zork? Who here never played on a MUD? Okay, okay, probably several of you, but still... Even with all the amazing graphics, it seems like games were more fun back then... so games aren't the reason...

Business? Businesses ran fine on the tools available at the time. It did just enough work to get the job done. Sure, people had to do some extra work here and there, but since there weren't a billion pre-packaged automated features, what work the computer saved them was considered a blessing, rather than a hinderence. So business isn't the reason.

Communication? Bah! We communicated just fine. Email worked, BBSes worked, phones worked, fax lines worked. If we needed to make a call away from home, businesses usually let you use the phone, or make change for the payphone. Unless you were a doctor, there wasn't a single phone call or message you just couldn't stand to go without for 10 whole minutes. So communications wasn't the reason.

Was it for the Entertainment Industry? Sure, computer graphics gave us amazing films like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, but before that time, directors knew how to make us truly -believe- we were seeing a monster in lieu of some puppets and paper mache. Alien had very little in the way of computer graphics. I don't know that Star Wars (ep 4) had any... yet they remain icons of the Sci-Fi film industry to this day. Their CGI counterparts are often lame in comparison. So it wasn't for movies or TV...

Why then, did we really need to advance so far, so fast, in the realm of computers? And why take a good thing like VAX and cash it in, just because it's old?

(pLus one Infor8ative) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9646134)

5[samag.com] in the your replies rather you should bring So on, FreeBSD went others what to so that you don't

The good ol' days of VMS and early IP stacks... (1)

rascanban (732991) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646139)

Pathworks is my friend.

don't despair! (1)

hyperstation (185147) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646149)

all this means is that there will be plenty of cheap VAX crap [ebay.com] on ebay!

VAX/VMS email (2, Interesting)

JayClements (247589) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646164)

Remember when you could (vax) mail escape codes to send the recipient's vt100 terminal into hardware-reset-until failure mode?

My Novell box had 5.75 years of uptime! (1)

B5_geek (638928) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646187)

hehe It might not have been supieror engineering that kept that Vax working for so long.

When I started my current job, they had a Nevell v4.10 server that was running as a file & print server inside of a TV stand-cabinet!!!

They didn't know where it was, they just knew it was working.

This box had never had any work done on it. It was just installed and setup one day and left inside the cabinet all those years.

The only reason it died: the power supply croaked on it.

When I opened it up, there was a good 3-4cm of dust and crap covering all the boards, CPU and vents.

So the moral of the story: Maybe the folks running the 6-year-uptime VAX's were just lazy llamas' too! =)

[the preceeding message was just a joke, I am sure all the honourable VAX's operators are very diligent at thier jobs, and should not be compared to lazy llamas.]

[[The preceeding preceeding message was in no way ment to insult the noble Llama.]]

Why migrate away? (1)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646188)

You are currently happy with it and you can get support/parts for it why scrap it?

The most I got from the article is;
>"But it's a dinosaur, and eventually it has to go," he said.

and that its not made anymore.

Thats not a solid business case to spend 200K and risk serious business disruption.
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