Q: What was VAXELN written in?
A: The software for the target (OS, drivers, tools, etc) was largely written in
PASCAL-like language, EPASCAL. The intention was that complete VAXELN systems
(including drivers) could be developed with no need for knowledge of VAX assembler.
There was at one time a VAXELN Source Kit available, which had very little assembler in
There intentionally wasn't enough in the Source Kit to rebuild a complete VAXELN OS.
In later VAXELNs, other languages besides EPASCAL were added: VAX C, VAX Pascal, VAX
Ada. Maybe FORTRAN. And VAXELN's own debugger was supplemented by a host/target
variant of the standard VAX/VMS debugger.
VAXELN V4.5 or later (mid 1990s?) is a good place to aim for if you want a fully
version, rather than a historically interesting version.
Q: What's VAXELN's current status?
A: Retired, since a long time ago. Not ported to Alpha. VAXELN customers were
to move to VxWorks for Alpha, which would have been a major effort. I wasn't aware of
in UK (or Europe) that bothered making the move.
Q: Who owns VAXELN now?
A: Unclear. It became part of DEC's Embedded + Realtime group, which was eventually
(by Compaq) to SMART Modular Technologies and has since had various owners in the world
high end embedded/RT systems. When I last looked, last year, Emerson Network Power owned
at least E+RT's PICMG hardware, but that again now seems to have moved elsewhere...
It has been claimed in comp.os.vms that VAXELN wasn't included when CPQ sold the E+RT
which is entirely plausible.
Definitive info welcome.
Q: What documentation is there for VAXELN?
A: The documentation that exists is to DEC's usual standards. Hardcopy and bookreader
versions of most VAXELN docs exist; the bookreader stuff is available online. I am not
PS or PDF versions (there were internal-only PS versions).
There was/is a PC version of Bookreader, for those that don't yet have a VMS system.
The VAXELN Technical Summary is an excellent mini-book, if you happen across one. It'd
nice if there was a copy online; I'm not aware of one.
The excellent VAX Realtime User's Guide, EK-VAXRT-UG001 (1986!) covers using VAX for
realtime applications on both VMS and VAXELN, in some considerable depth. Also not
immediately locatable online, sadly.
DEC EduServices used to have some nice training materials for VAXELN, going back a very
time. Unlikely to be online.
There have been occasional VAXELN-related discussions in comp.os,vms, e.g. on 1 March
I replied re VAXELN to a query on "History of VMS and related operating
systems", see e.g.
(Google Groups links are not helpful as they are very likely to rot over time).