Every month, VMS Software Inc. (VSI) is rolling a new release of the x86 version of OpenVMS. A new set of features for the month of August joins the ones from the end of July. VSI wants to keep increasing its outside user base. After 21 users in July, the number is up to 25 for August.
This port of OpenVMS is a virtual appliance. All users run x86 OpenVMS as a Virtual Box or KVM guest. After it released version 9.0-C in July, VSI announced this target feature set for releasing 9.0-D:
- DECnet IV
- VAX floating point
The release’s feature set for version D, though, just out in late August, shows these after a month’s work:
- XFC (file cache)
- CSWS (Apache)
The DECthreads, Hypersort, and DECnet IV are going to have to wait until mid-October’s release. DCPS is also in the forecast. “We have much testing work yet to do,” the company reports from its website, “but the fundamentals of multiprocessing are now in place.” The first customer, SCI, booted OpenVMS in Virtual Box on May 15. SCI is a deep-dive technical software and services provider. This is a typical starting spot for the earliest users of any massive rewrite of a legacy product.
A reducing gorilla
In a webinar from this summer, the concept of the rewrite’s massive scope rose up. One VMS user on the call asked about portability to other platforms. Now that the heaviest work is underway, won’t the next port arrive with a smaller footprint? VSI’s CTO Clair Grant took the question with a small chuckle and replied, “When we ported from VAX to Alpha [at DEC], we turned a thousand-pound gorilla into a 950-pound gorilla. With the next port and the next port, we cut off a few more pounds. Is it more portable than it was? Probably yes. You now have a universal back end code generator in LLVM. However, you’re still talking about a monstrosity, no matter how you cut it.”