VMS stability back in the day (was Re: NuTek Mac comes)

Mouse mouse at Rodents-Montreal.ORG
Fri Jul 15 09:08:40 CDT 2016

> DECnet might be totally integrated and awesome, but it's also
> proprietary, seldom used,

I think it is only semi-proprietary.  I've seen open documentation that
at the time (I don't think I have it handy now) I thought was
sufficient to write an independent implementation, both for Ethernet
and for serial lines.

However, IIRC it also has a fairly small hard limit on the number of
hosts it supports.  I don't remember exactly what the limit is;
different memories are handing me 10, 12, and 16 bits as the address
size, but even the highest of those is sufficient for at most a large
corporation.  (Maybe it was 6 bits of area number and 10 bits of host
number within each area?  I'm sure someone here knows.)

Perhaps if DEC had enlarged the address space (somewhat a la the
IPv4->IPv6 change) and released open-source implementations, it might
have been a contender.  For all I know maybe they've even done that,
but now it's much too late to seriously challenge IP's hegemony.

But the real shining star of DECnet/VMS was not the protocols, but the
ground-up integration into the OS.

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