Discussion:
VAX VMS going forward
(too old to reply)
Alice Wyan
2020-07-17 11:42:07 UTC
Permalink
If I understand the situation correctly, HPE is completely dropping support for VAX VMS, but the rights haven't been transferred to VSI. This means starting next year VMS on the VAX is essentially abandoned.

If HPE is no longer going to be making money out of it, what would be stopping them from selling it/give the rights away to, say, a hobbyist collective that could be set up to preserve this system? I guess there'd be quite a legal mess of rights behind the old code, but... would it be a doable thing? What sort of money could we be talking about to get this sort of transfer done?
Scott Dorsey
2020-07-17 12:21:37 UTC
Permalink
If I understand the situation correctly, HPE is completely dropping support=
for VAX VMS, but the rights haven't been transferred to VSI. This means st=
arting next year VMS on the VAX is essentially abandoned.
Yes.
If HPE is no longer going to be making money out of it, what would be stopp=
ing them from selling it/give the rights away to, say, a hobbyist collectiv=
e that could be set up to preserve this system? I guess there'd be quite a =
legal mess of rights behind the old code, but... would it be a doable thing=
? What sort of money could we be talking about to get this sort of transfer=
done?
Nobody knows. Nobody even has a clue. Write a paper letter to HPE's legal
department and ask.
--scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Simon Clubley
2020-07-17 12:29:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alice Wyan
If I understand the situation correctly, HPE is completely dropping support
for VAX VMS, but the rights haven't been transferred to VSI. This means
starting next year VMS on the VAX is essentially abandoned.
HPE dropped support for VAX/VMS a long time ago, but continued to issue
hobbyist licences for it.

What is new is that HPE are no longer issuing hobbyist licences, including
those for VAX/VMS. (That should have been at the end of this year, but it
appears to have happened already.)
Post by Alice Wyan
If HPE is no longer going to be making money out of it, what would be
stopping them from selling it/give the rights away to, say, a hobbyist
collective that could be set up to preserve this system? I guess there'd be
quite a legal mess of rights behind the old code, but... would it be a doable
thing? What sort of money could we be talking about to get this sort of
transfer done?
The "legal mess" is one of the reasons why this is unlikely to happen.

Do HPE even still have people available with enough VAX/VMS knowledge
to navigate the "legal mess" from their side of this ?

HPE are also unlikely to sell it or give the rights away for various
other reasons. At best you might get them to licence the rights to
someone else as they did with VSI for Alpha/Itanium/x86-64 and DEC
did with Mentec for the PDP-11.

The most viable course of action (but still extremely unlikely) is for
HPE to maintain all control over VAX/VMS but to issue a final set of
non-terminating licences. That is also unlikely because there is no
motivation for HPE to invest the time, resources and legal costs in
investigating this option.

Simon.
--
Simon Clubley, ***@remove_me.eisner.decus.org-Earth.UFP
Walking destinations on a map are further away than they appear.
Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
2020-07-17 16:44:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Simon Clubley
The most viable course of action (but still extremely unlikely) is for
HPE to maintain all control over VAX/VMS but to issue a final set of
non-terminating licences. That is also unlikely because there is no
motivation for HPE to invest the time, resources and legal costs in
investigating this option.
I don't know how much it would cost. Someone could collect money from
those interested, say, $500 per person, and when a substantial sum comes
together, ask HPE if they are interested. If they say that it will cost
more, then get more people to pay in and/or get them to pay more.
John Dallman
2020-07-17 17:57:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
I don't know how much it would cost. Someone could collect money
from those interested, say, $500 per person, and when a substantial
sum comes together, ask HPE if they are interested. If they say
that it will cost more, then get more people to pay in and/or get
them to pay more.
Do you think you can get 200 people to pony up $500 each? I think that's
the minimum you'd need to have any chance of interesting HPE in doing the
legal work. Their lawyers have plenty to do.

John
Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
2020-07-17 20:46:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Dallman
Post by Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
I don't know how much it would cost. Someone could collect money
from those interested, say, $500 per person, and when a substantial
sum comes together, ask HPE if they are interested. If they say
that it will cost more, then get more people to pay in and/or get
them to pay more.
Do you think you can get 200 people to pony up $500 each? I think that's
the minimum you'd need to have any chance of interesting HPE in doing the
legal work. Their lawyers have plenty to do.
I don't plan on doing it, but I don't think that that is completely
unrealistic. I'm sure that there are a couple of hundred people still
running VAXen as a hobby, and $500 is probably less than they pay for a
year of electricity for them.

Of course, someone would have to organize this, goto HPE and offer
$100,000 in return for the production of such a license, and if they say
no then refund at least almost all of the money. Would such a license
be only for those who paid? If so, could they sell them? If there is
just one license, could the consortium make it available to others? For
a fee? There would be many details to work out.
John E. Malmberg
2020-07-17 12:35:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alice Wyan
If I understand the situation correctly, HPE is completely dropping
support for VAX VMS, but the rights haven't been transferred to VSI.
This means starting next year VMS on the VAX is essentially
abandoned.
As I understand it, VSI only has the rights to distribute and license
software binaries that they have built and tested.

This does not restrict them from producing a VAX release, but they do
not have the resources add a VAX build to their backlog of work.
Post by Alice Wyan
If HPE is no longer going to be making money out of it, what would be
stopping them from selling it/give the rights away to, say, a
hobbyist collective that could be set up to preserve this system? I
guess there'd be quite a legal mess of rights behind the old code,
but... would it be a doable thing? What sort of money could we be
talking about to get this sort of transfer done?
From OpenVMS Customer Lab Special Notification:

"Users who wish to avail of HPE OpenVMS long term licenses are
encouraged to purchase permanent licenses at standard prices. You may
contact [Fellman, Jon] <jon.fellman at hpe.com> for the same."

I do not know what the current standard prices are for a license.

The price may still vary based on the size of the system.
And license are needed for every Layered Product or SIP that are used.

If someone knows those prices and are not restricted from posting them,
it might be nice to see them.

I do not know how long that offer is valid for either.

As far as contacting HPE at a level that could make that decision, I
have no idea where to start. If you own any HPE stock, you can make a
stock-holder's request for the board to vote on at the next election.

The OpenVMS hobbyist program was created at a time where the executives
of the company actually attended events where their customers of all
sizes could meet with them. That is not happening any more.

I think I am going to try NetBSD/VAX out.

I also just discovered that the SimH/VAX project supports building
infoservers and the infoserver license software and keys are on the
OpenVMS freeware disks.

Regards,
-John
Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
2020-07-17 16:45:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by John E. Malmberg
Post by Alice Wyan
If I understand the situation correctly, HPE is completely dropping
support for VAX VMS, but the rights haven't been transferred to VSI.
This means starting next year VMS on the VAX is essentially
abandoned.
As I understand it, VSI only has the rights to distribute and license
software binaries that they have built and tested.
That could change, theoretically.
Post by John E. Malmberg
I think I am going to try NetBSD/VAX out.
What sort of license does that have?
Simon Clubley
2020-07-17 17:15:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
Post by John E. Malmberg
I think I am going to try NetBSD/VAX out.
What sort of license does that have?
Standard BSD style licence for the stuff written by the NetBSD people
themselves and a mixture of the usual licences for the other packages
in the distribution.

Simon.
--
Simon Clubley, ***@remove_me.eisner.decus.org-Earth.UFP
Walking destinations on a map are further away than they appear.
Bob Eager
2020-07-17 21:07:37 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, 17 Jul 2020 16:45:30 +0000, Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
Post by Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
Post by John E. Malmberg
Post by Alice Wyan
If I understand the situation correctly, HPE is completely dropping
support for VAX VMS, but the rights haven't been transferred to VSI.
This means starting next year VMS on the VAX is essentially
abandoned.
As I understand it, VSI only has the rights to distribute and license
software binaries that they have built and tested.
That could change, theoretically.
Post by John E. Malmberg
I think I am going to try NetBSD/VAX out.
What sort of license does that have?
Probably a BSD licence. Which is very free, in both senses.
--
My posts are my copyright and if @diy_forums or Home Owners' Hub
wish to copy them they can pay me £1 a message.
Use the BIG mirror service in the UK: http://www.mirrorservice.org
*lightning surge protection* - a w_tom conductor
Bill Gunshannon
2020-07-17 22:29:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
Post by John E. Malmberg
Post by Alice Wyan
If I understand the situation correctly, HPE is completely dropping
support for VAX VMS, but the rights haven't been transferred to VSI.
This means starting next year VMS on the VAX is essentially
abandoned.
As I understand it, VSI only has the rights to distribute and license
software binaries that they have built and tested.
That could change, theoretically.
Post by John E. Malmberg
I think I am going to try NetBSD/VAX out.
What sort of license does that have?
That's a silly question. A BSD License, naturally.
It's free, much freer than Linux.

bill
Dave Froble
2020-07-17 22:46:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by John E. Malmberg
"Users who wish to avail of HPE OpenVMS long term licenses are
encouraged to purchase permanent licenses at standard prices. You may
contact [Fellman, Jon] <jon.fellman at hpe.com> for the same."
Well, I did ask.

---
Do you just need VMS base?


Thank you,


Jon Fellman
Product Manager
Hewlett-Packard Financial Services
C#508-250-3676
Skype#508-467-0134
FX#978-474-2665
---

Notice where he works ...

I replied that I'm interested in VMS, TCP/IP, DECnet, and Basic.

So far I have not heard back.
Post by John E. Malmberg
I do not know what the current standard prices are for a license.
The price may still vary based on the size of the system.
And license are needed for every Layered Product or SIP that are used.
If someone knows those prices and are not restricted from posting them,
it might be nice to see them.
I do not know how long that offer is valid for either.
If I ever get that info, I'll post it here.
Post by John E. Malmberg
As far as contacting HPE at a level that could make that decision, I
have no idea where to start. If you own any HPE stock, you can make a
stock-holder's request for the board to vote on at the next election.
Now, this is the best idea I've heard yet. Mention the past hobbyist
program(s), that HPe has no forthcoming revenue from VAX/VMS, and the
"goodness" of promoting historical things.

Find someone with stock, or, purchase a share. Who knows, might even
make some money when selling it.
--
David Froble Tel: 724-529-0450
Dave Froble Enterprises, Inc. E-Mail: ***@tsoft-inc.com
DFE Ultralights, Inc.
170 Grimplin Road
Vanderbilt, PA 15486
Robert A. Brooks
2020-07-17 23:39:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave Froble
Notice where he works ...
I replied that I'm interested in VMS, TCP/IP, DECnet, and Basic.
So far I have not heard back.
Give him a call; those cell and skype area codes are in MA.
--
-- Rob
Arne Vajhøj
2020-07-17 14:46:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alice Wyan
If I understand the situation correctly, HPE is completely dropping
support for VAX VMS, but the rights haven't been transferred to VSI.
This means starting next year VMS on the VAX is essentially
abandoned.
VMS VAX became EOL years ago.

Only recent event is that HPE dropped VMS hobbyist program and that
the VSI replacement will not include VMS VAX because VSI can only issue
licenses for VSI VMS and they will not release VSI VMS for VAX.
Post by Alice Wyan
If HPE is no longer going to be making money out of it, what would be
stopping them from selling it/give the rights away to, say, a
hobbyist collective that could be set up to preserve this system? I
guess there'd be quite a legal mess of rights behind the old code,
but... would it be a doable thing? What sort of money could we be
talking about to get this sort of transfer done?
Possible? Yes.

Likely? No.

The relevant point is not that "it will not cost HPE much"
but "it will not gain HPE much".

Why would they want to do it??

Arne
Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
2020-07-17 16:41:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alice Wyan
If I understand the situation correctly, HPE is completely dropping
support for VAX VMS, but the rights haven't been transferred to VSI.
This means starting next year VMS on the VAX is essentially abandoned.
Right. I can understand VSI having little interest in it; it surely
couldn't be justified financially.
Post by Alice Wyan
If HPE is no longer going to be making money out of it, what would be
stopping them from selling it/give the rights away to, say, a hobbyist
collective that could be set up to preserve this system?
Nothing, except that they figure that it is not worth their time.
Post by Alice Wyan
I guess there'd be quite a legal mess of rights behind the old code,
but...
I'm sure that they have a lot of experience with that, and the situation
wouldn't be that much different than Alpha or Itanium.
Post by Alice Wyan
would it be a doable thing?
Certainly.
Post by Alice Wyan
What sort of money could we be talking about to get this sort of
transfer done?
No idea. Of course, money talks, bullshit walks. I'm sure that they
would consider an offer which worked out to a good hourly wage for all
involved. I have no idea how high such an offer must be.

Legally, there is no concept of "abandonware". Even if no-one is making
money from it, no-one cares about it, etc., that doesn't give anyone any
extra rights. A more viable solution might be to buy, for whatever
price you agree on, non-hobbyist licenses (which won't expire). There
used to be a transfer fee of $300. I don't know who handles that now.
But if you buy such a license and send a registered letter to HPE asking
how to pay the transfer fee, then I doubt that you would have any
problems if they don't answer.
John Reagan
2020-07-17 17:35:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
Post by Alice Wyan
If I understand the situation correctly, HPE is completely dropping
support for VAX VMS, but the rights haven't been transferred to VSI.
This means starting next year VMS on the VAX is essentially abandoned.
Right. I can understand VSI having little interest in it; it surely
couldn't be justified financially.
Post by Alice Wyan
If HPE is no longer going to be making money out of it, what would be
stopping them from selling it/give the rights away to, say, a hobbyist
collective that could be set up to preserve this system?
Nothing, except that they figure that it is not worth their time.
Post by Alice Wyan
I guess there'd be quite a legal mess of rights behind the old code,
but...
I'm sure that they have a lot of experience with that, and the situation
wouldn't be that much different than Alpha or Itanium.
Post by Alice Wyan
would it be a doable thing?
Certainly.
I have said several times, to several people, in several forums: The day you ask me to starting making VAX compilers again is the day we'll start planning my retirement party. I ain't got no time for that stuff. The thought of the VAX VCG and PL/1 (much of the VCG is written in PL/1) is a hard NO. I will use my safeword on that one.
Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
2020-07-17 20:41:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Reagan
I have said several times, to several people, in several forums: The day
you ask me to starting making VAX compilers again is the day we'll start
planning my retirement party. I ain't got no time for that stuff. The
thoughtof the VAX VCG and PL/1 (much of the VCG is written in PL/1) is a
hard NO. I will use my safeword on that one.
I don't think any VAX hobbyist seriously expects any work on VAX
compilers. Almost all would be more than happy to have a license to
allow them to run whatever VAX stuff they have now.
Bill Gunshannon
2020-07-17 22:26:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by John Reagan
Post by Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
Post by Alice Wyan
If I understand the situation correctly, HPE is completely dropping
support for VAX VMS, but the rights haven't been transferred to VSI.
This means starting next year VMS on the VAX is essentially abandoned.
Right. I can understand VSI having little interest in it; it surely
couldn't be justified financially.
Post by Alice Wyan
If HPE is no longer going to be making money out of it, what would be
stopping them from selling it/give the rights away to, say, a hobbyist
collective that could be set up to preserve this system?
Nothing, except that they figure that it is not worth their time.
Post by Alice Wyan
I guess there'd be quite a legal mess of rights behind the old code,
but...
I'm sure that they have a lot of experience with that, and the situation
wouldn't be that much different than Alpha or Itanium.
Post by Alice Wyan
would it be a doable thing?
Certainly.
I have said several times, to several people, in several forums: The day you ask me to starting making VAX compilers again is the day we'll start planning my retirement party. I ain't got no time for that stuff. The thought of the VAX VCG and PL/1 (much of the VCG is written in PL/1) is a hard NO. I will use my safeword on that one.
What happened to the compilers that were used to build VAX
versions in the past? I would have thought there was one
big archive with everything VAX related in it. Were they
really so incompetent that they lost some of it? I would
have expected that all it would really take for someone new
to build a VAX version of VMS today would be to have the
archive and a machine (today, probably an emulated system)
to load it on and run the build process.

bill
Terry Kennedy
2020-07-17 20:05:54 UTC
Permalink
I would expect to see someone pull a rabbit full of non-expiring VAX hobbyist licenses out of a hat sometime shortly before or after the HP final expiration date. There are a large number of people capable of easily doing this. The issue becomes how someone anonymously and untraceably makes these available to the community.

I have no idea if this is still the current status, but it is the latest I could find on copyright.gov: https://www.copyright.gov/1201/docs/librarian_statement_01.html

Note exemption number 3: "Computer programs and video games distributed in formats that have become obsolete and which require the original media or hardware as a condition of access." That may be applicable to the current situation.
Dave Froble
2020-07-17 23:02:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Terry Kennedy
I would expect to see someone pull a rabbit full of non-expiring VAX hobbyist licenses out of a hat sometime shortly before or after the HP final expiration date. There are a large number of people capable of easily doing this. The issue becomes how someone anonymously and untraceably makes these available to the community.
I have no idea if this is still the current status, but it is the latest I could find on copyright.gov: https://www.copyright.gov/1201/docs/librarian_statement_01.html
Note exemption number 3: "Computer programs and video games distributed in formats that have become obsolete and which require the original media or hardware as a condition of access." That may be applicable to the current situation.
Interesting.

Note that the exemption provides coverage of one attempting the use the
exemption, and, if there is objection, the case would be adjudicated.

Now who thinks HPe will give a damn and spend one red cent on any legal
action?

Rather than a "rabbit full", why not a single license usable by anyone?

I think Terry deserves an "atta-boy" for this information.
--
David Froble Tel: 724-529-0450
Dave Froble Enterprises, Inc. E-Mail: ***@tsoft-inc.com
DFE Ultralights, Inc.
170 Grimplin Road
Vanderbilt, PA 15486
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