Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Happy Birthday VAX!

From Yahoo! news, the VMS operating system just turned 30 years old. Amazing that there are so many VAXen still in use today:
Gareth Williams, associate director of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Minor Planet Center since 1990, has been tracking the 400,000 orbits of known asteroids and comets in the solar system using a cluster of 12 VAXes, from offices on the Harvard University campus. The Deutsche Börse stock exchange in Frankfurt runs on VMS. The Australian Stock Exchange runs on it. The train system in Ireland, Irish Rail, runs on it, as does the Amsterdam police department. The U.S. Postal Service runs its mail sorters on OpenVMS, and Amazon.com uses it to ship 112,000 packages a day. It has "a very loyal installed base of customers," says Ann McQuaid, general manager of OpenVMS at HP, who shows no signs of wanting to give it up.


I haven't sat in front of a VAX terminal in years; the last time was in the late eighties when I was a CS student at UMASS, Amherst. It was a VAX 11-780, which I did C programming on. I still recall the VAX lab being reserved for junior and senior-year students only, as it was light-years ahead of the horrific Cyber mainframe freshman CS and Engineering students were subjected to.

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