OpenVMS Community License

Antonio Carlini a.carlini at
Wed Jul 29 13:01:23 CDT 2020

On 29/07/2020 15:21, Bill Gunshannon via cctalk wrote:
> It also only covered SIMH until Bob Supnik left DEC.
> "MENTEC grants to CUSTOMER a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free
> license under MENTEC's INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS to use and copy
> the SOFTWARE TECHNOLOGY solely for personal, non-commercial uses in
> conjunction with the EMULATOR."
> Note that EMULATOR is highlighted with capitalization.
> " EMULATOR shall mean software owned by Digital Equipment Corporation
> that emulates the operation of a PDP-11 processor and allows PDP-11
> programs and operating systems to run on non-PDP-11 systems. "
> Here it is defined.  "owned by Digital Equipment Corporation".
> That condition ceased to exist when Bob left DEC and DEC allowed
> him to take SIMH with him.

Why? I can't find (after several minutes of searching) exactly what 
happened when Bob Supnik left DEC.

Did DEC give him the software or did DEC release it under the "modified 
X-Windows " licence? If the latter,

then DEC continued to own it and the PDP-11 release continue to be legal 
to run under SIMH.

> This is plain English.  One does not need to be a lawyer to see
> what it actually says.  They were very explicit in their wording.

One *always* needs a lawyer! They were clear, although they don't seem 
to have said *which* DEC-owned emulator.

I just don't see that you can immediately dismiss the possibility that 
DEC still owned the software.

DEC certainly permissively licensed other code. The OpenVMS BLISS 
compiler was released on the Freeware CD, but I bet DEC still thought 
they owned it.


Antonio Carlini
antonio at

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