OpenVMS Community License

Bill Gunshannon bill.gunshannon at
Thu Jul 30 10:06:35 CDT 2020

On 7/29/20 8:20 PM, Warner Losh wrote:
> On Wed, Jul 29, 2020 at 3:00 PM Bill Gunshannon via cctalk 
> <cctalk at <mailto:cctalk at>> wrote:
>     On 7/29/20 4:22 PM, Bob Smith wrote:
>      > I am not sure I understand your "as it turns out there was only
>     one" Bill.
>      > Am I correct in assuming you are talking about DEC owned, and meaning
>      > that Bob Supnik one?
>      >
>      > John Wilson's Ersatz 11, aka E11, was and is a great functioning
>      > emulator, but not owned by DEC.
>      >
>     We were discussing the Mentec Hobbyist License.  It never covered
>     E11 or anything other than the Supnik Emulator when he was a DEC
>     employee and DEC actually owned the IP.
> How much of the IP does DEC need to own (the license is unclear on this 
> point)? Unless they conveyed the Copyrights to Supnik in writing (which 
> is possible), they (well their successors in interest) still have an 
> ownership interest in the emulator. 

This has been done to death years ago.  DEC gave up all ownership of
what is now known as SIMH.  Look at the sources.  There are no DEC
Copyrights.  There are Bob Supnik Copyrights from 1993 forward.

>                                     One could make a case that the 
> wording of the license is imprecise enough 

The wording is only imprecise to those who do not wish to follow it.
It is, by far, the cleanest and plainest written Hobbyist License I
have ever seen.

>                                             (it didn't exclude successors 
> in interest, for example). 

Successors to who?  It stopped being the property of DEC before DEC went
away.  It became the sole property of Bob Supnik as reflected in the
Copyright messages contained in the source files.

>                                 Though finding out would require litigation, 
> which is an expensive game... and is apparently against the wishes of 
> Mentec, at least as expressed privately over the years...

Expressed privately to who?

> The problem with the license being that it's written in a bit too plain 
> language which makes it a bit ambiguous once DEC was sold to Compaq and 
> then to HP since they are a successor interest for many other things...

The EMULATOR in question ceased to be DEC's before DEC was bought by
Compaq.  They were never owners of or in control of SIMH. Period.

And with this, I am done. At least until this silly question comes up
again in the future as I am sure it will.


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