Keeping track of OpenVMS: harder than it first seems

The era of Hewlett Packard help for OpenVMS is passing away swiftly. The OS is moving out of the product lineup from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, taking up a new home at VMS Software, Inc. Support is leaving HPE to go to VSI, too. There are other places where OpenVMS isn’t referenced anymore, even while it seems the information is available everywhere.

A good example is the website FAQs.org. FAQs is a tremendous repository for lots of computing information. Plenty of the content of FAQs is about legacy systems. The difficulty is in finding good reference links from such places.

At the FAQ website, there’s an 11-part FAQ on OpenVMS. The commentary is still valid there, but following a link often leads to a “Page Not Found” 404 link. For example, finding software for OpenVMS can be a task that’s not easy, in some cases. FAQ.org promises a solution by saying this:

Where can I find freeware/shareware/software for OpenVMS?

• Details on many commercial OpenVMS products are available in the catalog located at http://www.hp.com/go/dspp_catalog

• The OpenVMS Freeware is distributed with OpenVMS, and is also available for download at various sites, including the following:

http://www.hp.com/go/openvms/freeware/
ftp://ftp.montagar.com/
ftp://mvb.saic.com/freewarev40/

Unfortunately, you can bypass every one of those links. Written in 2005, the FAQ.org pages bristle with plenty of 404 web addresses.

Up to date information about a legacy OS has to be curated and monitored. A tree with legacy branches sometimes loses those limbs.

Fortunately, this website is a great resource for information on the care and feeding of the legacy OS. There’s a fine page full of OpenVMS documentation links, as well as another that’s growing about MPE/iX. We’re building out pages for Alpha systems (Tru64) and for SPARC, too.

A SPARC page is a little easier to find alternatives for, since Oracle is still supporting Solaris and SunOS (the latter to a lesser degree). Oracle’s support is current, at the moment. SPARC users probably remember when Solaris slipped away from Oracle and went into open source territory. It’s good to have a non-vendor resource for legacy wisdom, just in case.

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