Python, a development tool rising in OpenVMS

This week an OpenVMS group meets on Zoom for open source discussions. On the horizon for open source tools sits a Python. It’s a dynamic programming language for many kinds of software development. It integrates with other languages and tools, and it comes with extensive standard libraries. Most programmers can learn it in a few days.

VMS Software, where OpenVMS is spreading its wings, operates a technical forum on its website. Under the heading “Importance of Python,” several contributors are discussing who should care if a current version of Python gets into OpenVMS.

“I am convinced that Python support will be crucial for OpenVMS adoption on x64-64,” one forum member writes.

“Especially since Microsoft gave up Nano Server as a stand-alone version of Windows, OpenVMS might well be an engine for Python programs.” The OpenVMS engine can be more secure and more Windows-like (using ACLs and privileges) than Linux. “I talked to developers at work and Python is growing bigger. ‘We have lots of VMs running Python programs, some Linux, some Windows. All are much too big for the little Python program they are hosting.”

By streamlining OpenVMS licensing, including simple systems that are not too expensive, “I can see a future for OpenVMS as a Python OS in Windows environments,” the forum member writes.

Python is a barometer of a platform’s maturity for open source tools. It’s especially true for a legacy environment. Python programmers report substantial productivity gains. They feel the language encourages the development of higher quality, more maintainable code.

Andrew Shaw on the forum denotes a project where Python can help OpenVMS. “I am very quickly seeing it has a place,” he says. “I have a pet project where I am writing some Python routines as wrappers for some really handy VMS stuff like TRNLNM. This will let me call them cleanly from other Python programs and have the VMS OS-specific stuff hidden away.”

You don’t need an engineering degree in VMS in order to make use of its power. “In the world where all the developers have simply “learned to exist” with VMS, rather than actively embracing it, Python will be very handy for them.”

Shaw adds that he needs to get to the “TRANS=TERMINAL attribute, which is why I go to SYS$TRNLNM().” Brett Cameron from VSI notes that “we do actually have that in the Python 3.5 kit, but it’s not documented. We’ll see about addressing this, and maybe look to provide a set of hopefully useful examples. We’ll also see about adding knowledge of these functions into the IDE.”

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

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