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

Liam Proven lproven at gmail.com
Fri Jul 15 12:39:41 CDT 2016

On 14 July 2016 at 22:50, Swift Griggs <swiftgriggs at gmail.com> wrote:
> Strengths versus Unix:
>  * More granular authentication/authorization system built in from very
>    early days I'm told. "capabilities" style access control, too.
>  * Great hardware error logging that generally tells you exactly what's
>    wrong (even if you have to run a turd like WSEA to get it out of a
>    binary error log - same as Tru64 though).
>  * Lots of performance metrics and instrumentation of the OS's features
>  * Very solid clustering. (no, it's not incredible and unsurpassed like
>    some people still say - other OSes have similar features now, but it
>    took a very long time to catch up to VMS.)
>  * Some fairly nice backup features (but not as advanced as, say,
>    whats in LVM2 or ZFS in some ways).
>  * Regularity. It's hard to articulate but VMS is very very "regular" and
>    predictable in how it does things.
>  * Crazy stable.
> Downsides versus Unix:
>  * There is a lot of software ported to VMS, but a lot still missing too.
>    Open source projects often lag by years. It's all volunteers
>  * No x86 support, you gotta find a VAX, Alpha, or Integrity/IA64 box.
>    Maybe VSI will fix this, and maybe they are so politically screwed up
>    they will never get it off the ground. We'll see. I have an open mind.
>  * DCL is very very weird to a UNIX user and I miss tons of features from
>    UNIX. I say "weird" but when it comes to scripting, I'd go as far as
>    saying "weak". I mean, no "while", no "for", and lots of other things I
>    dearly miss.
>  * No source code for the masses and licenses out the yazoo. It nickel and
>    dimes you for every feature (but so does Tru64 and many others to be
>    fair).

I am no VMS expert. I used it, I liked it, I did very basic sysadmin
on VAXen, but I've never brought up a machine from bare metal, for
instance. (OK, once, kinda, on SIMH.)

But that sounds like a very fair summary, perhaps the best I've seen.

I'm hoping that VSI actually manage to rectify some of these. A modern
x86-64 port, for generic hardware, with the GUI and everything all
thrown in, *no* extra premium-charged anything, and perhaps an
enhanced POSIX environment with some FOSS tools to facilitate porting
stuff over from Linux. And it needs to be priced very very
competitively, to make it cheaper than Windows Server on VMware at the
very least.

I'm not confident of its chances, though. Apple's OS X Server was a
very solid product, keenly priced (0 cost user licences), and with
excellent functionality and admin compared to Linux -- but nobody much
used it and now it's almost forgotten, a sideline.

Liam Proven • Profile: http://lproven.livejournal.com/profile
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