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HP Operating Systems

HP Gives OpenVMS New Life and Path To X86 Port 136

Posted by timothy
from the diversity-in-action dept.
dcblogs (1096431) writes Hewlett-Packard has changed its direction on OpenVMS. Instead of pushing its users off the system, it has licensed OpenVMS to a new firm that plans to develop ports to the latest Itanium chips and is promising eventual support for x86 processors. Last year, HP put OpenVMS on the path to extinction. It said it would not validate the operating system to its latest hardware or produce new versions of it. The move to license the OpenVMS source code to a new entity, VMS Software Inc. (VSI), amounts to a reversal of that earlier decision. VSI plans to validate the operating system on Intel's Itanium eight-core Poulson chips by early 2015, as well as support for HP hardware running the upcoming 'Kittson' chip. It will also develop an x86 port, although it isn't specifying a timeframe. And it plans to develop new versions of OpenVMS.
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HP Gives OpenVMS New Life and Path To X86 Port

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  • Re:All the happy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Em Adespoton (792954) <slashdotonly.1.adespoton@spamgourmet.com> on Thursday July 31, 2014 @05:59PM (#47577747) Homepage Journal

    I used to have an account on DEC's Alpha test servers, and remember testing out VAX/VMS back in the day.

    Seeing OpenVMS being pushed for Itanium products though... that's running one doomed OS on another doomed and believed extinct platform.

    I don't really see where they're going to make a profit on this, at least enough to survive until they can port it over to a modern x86 architecture.

    After they do THAT, I can see it being viable, especially if they provide legacy binary support. There's still a lot of iron running VMS, and most of it, while necessary infrastructure, is running on hardware that I can't imagine can last much longer.

    But they'd better get the port and compatibility layer rock solid before they try selling it, or we're in for some painful times (brownouts, water service outages, etc).

  • by mcrbids (148650) on Thursday July 31, 2014 @09:49PM (#47578853) Journal

    The most bad-ass server I've ever had the pleasure of working with was a Digital VAX 11/750 generations ago. It was *built* to be reliable from the very first rivet.

    Oh sure, my pocket phone has far more power, memory, and storage. Despite the ample square footage of my "McMansion" house, It would not have fit in my kitchen. It ate power like global warming really was a myth. But as a server, it was in its own class.

    It would automatically detect memory that was failing and rebuild from memory (like ECC) but then would remap that address so it would no longer be used.

    You could upgrade its CPUs one at a time without shutting it down.

    It was like a hoover with data, versioning files was intrinsic to how the O/S worked.

    One time, the A/C in the computer room went out. It mapped *everything* in RAM to disk as the temperature rose and the chips became unreliable. We literally pulled the plug on it because it was completely unresponsive, as all operations were working directly off HDD. When the A/C was fixed and it was powered up late that night, it spooled all of RAM out of the HDD swap, and everybody's workstation resumed exactly where they had left off that afternoon - we couldn't find any data loss at all.

    I will forever bow in deference to the greatest server I have ever had the pleasure of working on. How HP managed to acquire such a legacy and turn its back... part of me cries inside.

  • by evilviper (135110) on Friday August 01, 2014 @03:44AM (#47579787) Journal

    I am surprised that people still want to use OpenVMS.

    OpenVMS is the most mature microkernel OS out there. You can have flaky hardware, flaky drivers, flaky software, and it'll just keep running perfectly, restarting whatever services as need, as often as needed. You can't make it panic.

    It also has more advanced clustering than most people believe exists... A server's full state is replicated in real-time, so a hardware failure doesn't even need to be handled by applications, they just think everything has been running for the past decade...

    OpenVMS has ridiculous uptimes, over a decade, even on heavily utilized systems. Far longer than anything else out there.

    http://www.uptimes-project.org... [uptimes-project.org]

    http://www.osnews.com/comments... [osnews.com]

  • Re:Excellent! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by donaldm (919619) on Friday August 01, 2014 @06:25AM (#47580137)
    For budding Necromancers and magic users in general, did you know that by incrementing the letters of VMS by one you get the following:

    V --> W
    M --> N
    S --> T

    The original letters summoned and bound the Old Ones in clusters to do your bidding. Unfortunately the incremented symbols have not bound the Old Ones properly so take care not to summon up something that could bind you into the darkest depths were there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. ;)

Any sufficiently advanced bug is indistinguishable from a feature. -- Rich Kulawiec

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