OpenVMS classroom chances get new lift from VSI

Leaving no opportunity to chance, VMS Systems Inc. (VSI) now has its own VMS in Classrooms program. While the terms and prices are not public, these aspirations of VSI are out on the legacy blackboard. Dave Sweeney of VSI posted a list of what’s got special pricing for OpenVMS. Integrity-based servers and software for OpenVMS have “almost everything” available in a long list. Alpha-based OpenVMS systems have every software feature and subsystem, Sweeney adds.

The special pricing is for universities and colleges that use OpenVMS in an educational or research capacity. When introduced by DEC, the DEC Campus program was to promote VMS curriculum in computer science departments.

“Dating myself,” Sweeney says in a post at the VSI site, “the Computer Algorithms class I took at Boston University used a VMS VAX cluster for class exercises and programming assignments. If you know of a university that still teaches OpenVMS, I’d love to hear about them.”

Learning to teach VMS

Getting VMS back onto computer science curriculums around the world is a challenge. It’s the same kind of effort that COBOL has faced ever since more modular and object-based languages took the fore. There is nearly zero chance, though, to make this happen without steep discounts. Colleges are in full retreat over budgets since Covid started to cut enrollments. Sweeney says, “It would help expedite the pricing calculation if the output of the VSI$SUPPORT.COM DCL script, downloadable at the VSI support webpage, is included for the servers you want to license.”

Simon Clubley on the VMS newsgroup handicaps the prospects for getting VMS into colleges again. “If VSI want VMS to see use in a university teaching environment in 2021, they had better have very low cost or zero pricing — and without any stupid license terms. There are many free and low-cost alternatives to present to students these days, if the lecturers want to show the students something different when it comes to operating systems.”

Returning OpenVMS to classrooms makes hiring next-generation datacenter help easier. The expertise is the resource in dearest supply in legacy markets.

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