Open Source for OpenVMS 
Wednesday, July 15, 2009, 01:54 PM
Posted by Administrator
In a recent series of posts Stephen Hoffman of HoffmanLabs noted that the current state of Open Source product for the OpenVMS environment is both in a disarray and is seriously lagging the rest of the industry. Hoff equates this current state of affairs as a train wreck or at least a train wreck in progress.

The efforts around open source product by HP and others seem to be too tightly tied to the issue of stability versus the issue of currency. In this day and age we somehow need to balance the issue of stability - OpenVMS is well known for this - with requirement to be on the cutting edge once again. Remember when OpenVMS (actually VMS) was on the cutting edge? It can be done. It was done! It needs to be done, AGAIN!

HP and its OpenVMS predecessors are all guilty of attempting to appease the user community with "open source" while not really embracing the concept. All too often, if not always, there has been the renaming of applications and the slow release and poor support of the application once they have placed their hands on it. You can go off and get Apache just about anyplace you want and you can use it or modify it as you desire. CSWS (aka Apache on OpenVMS) is really only available from HP, even though the product is Compaq Secure Web Server - no mention of Apache - ah the confusion. The list goes on...

Why not get the model back in place of open source? That's right, get it back to where the code is updated and the overall development community for an open source product and then apply its collective skills toward improving it. That is the idea behind open source - you have the COMMUNITY INVOLVED.

HP needs to get its resources focused on making OpenVMS a viable and growing environment. If that it thinks that means involvement in the open source community it needs to really participate on a timely basis. On the other hand, if the OpenVMS community wants to have product then it should stand up and get involved in open source directly and not wait for HP.

I support Hoff in his quest to push the OpenVMS community and HP to move forward more in the spirit of Open Source. Along these lines we are considering how to place a focus on this as well as other issues as we move as a community to centralize information about OpenVMS and related products and services.

Step forward. Comment. Participate. Contribute!
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A Call for Participation - OpenVMS Community needs to rally 
Wednesday, July 8, 2009, 11:27 PM
Posted by Administrator
Just after the middle of June I started a discussion on on the following topic:

How do we expand OpenVMS to new environments? How do we attract companies to use OpenVMS? How would you get more young people interested in this environment rather than Windows and *nix?

Click on the above headline to go to the discuss. You will have to join the OpenVMS Community Group on but you should find the comments and energy encouraging.

This has been a fairly successful discussion and has reach the point where we are starting to pull things together so we can establish goals and have an action plan and create some real improvements in the OpenVMS Community. This is a copy of a recent post on that discussion:

Like any significant endeavor this program has many different levels of interaction and complexity. Yes, this is a program, not a project. Multiple independent but inter-related projects within the effort as we move forward. Delineating these efforts and breaking them down will then aid us in focusing on moving forward.

I started trying to convince HP their implementation of OpenVMS Evangelism was not properly focused and as I have been pushing this for a while in the background I am willing to take the lead on this. I look to those with close, special relationships within HP and other companies to act as our liaisons and provide either introduction to right people or take on efforts to bring each entity into the fold as we move forward.

As Michelle has pointed out this is multi-leveled in terms of communication. Taking her breakdown and expanding on it:
  1. C level management and Board members
- Primary Goal: name recognition for OpenVMS and its strengths

2. IT management
- Primary Goal: educate on why they should choose OpenVMS

3. ISVs
- Primary Goal: why they should develop and/or
support their products on OpenVMS

4. Open Source Developers
- Primary Goal: why they should include OpenVMS
as a supported platform /
benefits of native OpenVMS operation

5. Practitioners / OpenVMS Enthusiasts
- Primary Goal: education and resources
to be volunteer ambassadors

6. Potential practitioners / OpenVMS Enthusiasts
- Primary Goal: introduction to / hands on OpenVMS

7. Students
- Primary Goal: introduction to /
hands on OpenVMS /
lowering the average age of the OpenVMS Community

That said we need to consider how we move forward with this effort. I have been discussing with some the idea of a need for a centralized site dedicated to OpenVMS that is accurate, up-to-date, thorough, and easy to navigate which presents the following:
Open Source
Open Source
Open Source tools to aid implementation/porting
of open source code to OpenVMS
User stories - SUCCESS STORIES
White Papers
Best Practices
WHY OpenVMS vs ...
Marketing communications resources

In other words, create a site that runs entire gamut of what, where, how, who, why, when, why not, which of OpenVMS.

The site that seems to make the most sense as far as a starting point is It already has a certain amount of name recognition and is a perfect starting point.

I am proposing a WIKI oriented approach here. Get the community involved QUICKLY. One difference is we need a mechanism so the owner of the product or service can CLAIM the page and lock it down. The owner can get involved and maintain this resource to most accurately and thoroughly reflect their product or service. ANYONE could go to this site and find out about applications or services on OpenVMS. I have looked at some wiki engines and currently think a good starting point is the TWIKI engine. It has a good structuring mechanism and many extensions/plugins and should be able to be enhanced to fulfill our requirements. Comments and suggestions are welcome.

This site then becomes a mechanism of communication and the focusing of the OpenVMS effort. There is nothing that says the wiki could not also be used to provide coordination on the project. Documentation and coordination are the basis of the wiki anyway.

With this first step we can then start getting an idea of how someone might configure a "base" environment for SMBs using OpenVMS as a foundation - tool for introduction into that spectrum.

We need to start developing the breakdown of how we work to accomplish each of the areas we have identified as areas needing focus. I do not see any specific tool needed here at present.

I would like to keep this as much out in the open as possible. I want to see the support of organizations such as HP Connect and the OpenVMS SIG but I also want to make sure we keep it easy for people to participate. Even is a bit of "club" but it offered a forum that was easy to use as a starting point and had a decent exposure. I have started a blog on my website: I will cross post this entry as a start.

I personally am working on the education aspects of OpenVMS. More on what we are doing here as we move forward and finish some development and start some new initiatives.

Please keep involved and keep bringing the new, good, ideas to the table!
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Expanding the OpenVMS marketplace 
Sunday, June 28, 2009, 12:53 PM
Posted by Administrator
I started a discussion on recently where I asked others to explore how we could break down the barriers of adoption of VMS as an application platform. Some of the comments have been enlightening.

There has been the belief that VMS is in maintenance mode. This is far from the fact but is part of the FUD that needs to be dispelled to help all who support and depend on the VMS environment for their livelihood.

Another set of comments has focused on the lack of developer exposure to VMS while in college or other training. A fairly easy, but long term issue to resolve by once again pushing to get VMS in front of students. HP and its VMS predecessors have had the Educational Licensing Program in place for a long time - but not much marketing behind it to push to product into the arena. Many people are unaware of the this program.

Still more comments on the idea that VMS is just too good. No hordes of support and development personnel - unlike much of its competition. If this is the case then the managers of the organization are not pushing their pencils very effectively to see the TCO for VMS is generally lower than any other solution.

And of course then there is the application issue. VMS has been losing applications each time it has been migrated to a new platform. When Alpha was introduced fewer applications were there than on VAX. Now with the Itanium/Integrity platform fewer applications still. It is not that the migration of the applications should be difficult, it just that it appears management must think that the customers do not want the applications on the platform and then do not migrate them and they fall behind.

So, now the discussion needs to be how do we get more applications available on the platform - FAST?

I do not think I have the answer to this yet. If I did I would expect HP or others would be beating a path to my door. As we explore this I will report back. Or, better yet, go to the discussion and comment yourself.

VMS is too good of an environment to wither. More exposure by more people is one of the keys to moving it forward.

Spread the word.

Train the people.

Implement the solutions.
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The Virtual System Manager 
Friday, June 19, 2009, 04:29 PM
Posted by Administrator
Over the last few months I have been engaged in support activities for new customers on VMS in areas remote from my offices here in the Southeast. These have been clients new to VMS but very familiar with their own business. They have needed a some specific help in various areas of VMS with which they are not experienced.

These new clients have been in Puerto Rico and Lebanon. Access to their sites have varied. We have initially used the client as our extended hands and eyes by communicating with email. This has had the effect of giving these new clients more confidence in knowing the commands and functions they are executing on their own systems. A more effort has been required my clients have enabled VPN connections for us to access the VMS environments as well.

This is not unlike work we have preformed for clients over the years. During the time of the Y2K "crisis" I was committed to spending time with my wife's family in England. So, I managed the Y2K transitions for a major client entirely from the Yorkshire area of the UK. This transition came off with a glitch - customer HAPPY!

Virtualization has been a function of my service offerings for many years - the Virtual System Administrator or Remote System Manager. This allows the client the flexibility of having me available at anytime, day or night and yet lets me spend time with my family or other clients as necessary.

VMS has been well suited for this remote/virtual administrative function since it was introduced. Little if any of the administration of the system must be done from the physical system console. Truly a great operating environment.

Well, back to work for a client someplace in the world.

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Welcome to the VMSblog sponsored by CCSS - Computer Consulting System Services 
Thursday, June 11, 2009, 09:02 PM
Posted by Administrator
We are starting this blog to keep you informed of our efforts to push OpenVMS forward and out of the stagnant position it is in both within Hewlett Packard (HP) as well as in the world of IT in general.

The cry is NOT "VMS is dead, LONG LIVE VMS!" But more appropriately, LONG LIVE VMS! It is the BEST EVER!.

We want to emphasize that we are not part of HP, BUT we are strong supporters of VMS and want to see it succeed and grow as the best development and computing environment available for most any application - not just the business critical applications.

A bit about myself, Bill Pedersen. I am a self admitted "VMS Bigot". I have been around VMS since before it was released. NO, I was not part of the development team. I was customer in the mid-1970s when VMS was just being thought of and had minor input as far as requirements from a scientific prospective. I was at the University of Washington at the time in the Department of Oceanography and was the project manager for a "portable" computer system we used at see. Portable meant we had a computer room we built inside a 20 foot shipping container we loaded on the ship and took to see - PDP-11/45s and such.

When VMS was announced in San Diego at the Fall 1977 DECUS Conference I ported a user mode application while at the conference - Chess-11. Possibly the first user application ported to VMS.

Since then I have worked for DIGITAL, run my own consulting company with many customers, participated in several startups, run a Vermont Country Inn and many other things. I still PUSH VMS. I still work with it. I also work with other systems and environments but VMS IS the BEST!

You might note that I do not always say OpenVMS. Open is silent most of the time when I talk about this environment. I have been around it way to long to worry about the full name. And in ways think that the "Open" should be dropped. It has caused too much confusion along the way - complaints about people thinking VMS is open source - which is not - and therefore should be "cheap". Well, VMS is not cheap, it is not as expensive as it used to be but...

I look forward to many more contributions to this blog and also look forward to discussions with others as they comment on my blog and other activities I discuss.


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