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Is This The End For VMS Hobbyists?

bobaboba

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Sep 7, 2013
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I received this email this morning:

“Dear HPE OpenVMS hobbyist,

This is to inform you that HPE is concluding the HPE OpenVMS Hobbyist license program in alignment with the HPE OpenVMS support roadmap.
If you wish to understand more details, please reach out to us at the earliest through the usual license renewal webpage.

Thank you.

HPE OpenVMS team”

Oh well there are other solutions, but I DO prefer not to hack. Mine expires next month. Perhaps they’ll issue a permanent license?
 
Last edited:

bqt

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Since VMS have been taken over by VSI, I would assume it is VSI that people will have to try and reach out to.
 

reinhardtjh

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I received this email this morning:

“Dear HPE OpenVMS hobbyist,

This is to inform you that HPE is concluding the HPE OpenVMS Hobbyist license program in alignment with the HPE OpenVMS support roadmap.
If you wish to understand more details, please reach out to us at the earliest through the usual license renewal webpage.

Thank you.

HPE OpenVMS team”

Oh well there are other solutions, but I DO prefer not to hack. Mine expires next month. Perhaps they’ll issue a permanent license?

This is being discussed on several lists. C.O.V., HECnet and the EncompassUS VMS lists primarily. If you reapply now (and you should, even if your licenses don't expire soon) you get a new license which is good through December 31st, 2021. HPE is assuming that VSI will have some sort of Hobbyist program set up by then. Technically, VSI can't produce licenses for any VMS product which they haven't produced themselves. So that means they are currently NOT able to create VAX licenses. They can make ones for Alpha and Itanium and the forthcoming x86. But this could easily change as HPE shuts down it's OpenVMS activity.
 

DECtechGuy

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I was expecting this based on the roadmaps from HPE, but this is still a shock.

I really hope VSI provides VAX licenses for hobbyists because all I run are VAXes. I have ways around it, but I'd rather use legit VMS licenses and not have to go that route.
 

bobaboba

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I have ways around it, but I'd rather use legit VMS licenses and not have to go that route.

My view too.
There have been VMS licence generation hacks around for years, but I’ve always preferred to support the official hobbyist program as HP to their credit have done.
 

DECtechGuy

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My view too.
There have been VMS licence generation hacks around for years, but I’ve always preferred to support the official hobbyist program as HP to their credit have done.

And I just supported it today when I read the announcement, my request for another license is in.

C.O.V. is of the opinion (and i'm sure they'd argue fact) that VSI cannot produce a VMS license for VAX, something I hope will not be the case when (or if) VSI starts a hobbyist program that isn't oriented towards students.
 

joev

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It's been nearly 30 years since DEC released a new VAX model. Any estimates about how many are left in production? If VSI is a viable business, are their customers primarily Alpha and Itanium users? Basically, does VSI make any money on VAX?
 

bifo86

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I've got my updated licenses in, and the expiration is 01-01-21, so at least there's that. VSI is very responsive though and they're on all the mailing lists so the only hold-up on getting a hobbyist program rolling will be licensing quirks which I have every confidence that they've been working out behind the scenes. They're very aware of how concerned people are about this.

Thing is, VSI isn't working on VAXen. So, no idea what's going to go on there. Hopefully we'll get some insight regarding the licensing issues for hobbyists soon. Otherwise, we'll all be rolling the clock back on our SimH setups in perpetuity.
 

gslick

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Otherwise, we'll all be rolling the clock back on our SimH setups in perpetuity.

Is setting the clock back to a date prior to the expiration of the license any more legitimate than regenerating the license yourself with an updated expiration date in the future, or with no expiration date?
 

reinhardtjh

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It's been nearly 30 years since DEC released a new VAX model. Any estimates about how many are left in production? If VSI is a viable business, are their customers primarily Alpha and Itanium users? Basically, does VSI make any money on VAX?

No. None. VSI initially only had the license from HPE to produce Itanium versions of OpenVMS. After they had released an updated IA64 version, they acquired the rights for Alpha and backported their IA64 updates to Alpha. But they nave never done a VAX version and, as far as anyone outside of HPE and VSI know, they haven't acquired the rights for such. Since the VAX OpenVMS updates stopped at V7.3 and there is much difference, I don't think they will ever try a newer version. If there were enough demonstrated use/demand for VAX V7.3 then they might be persuaded to do a new build so they could get revenue from that. But that is most likely up to the accountants.
 

bifo86

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No. None. VSI initially only had the license from HPE to produce Itanium versions of OpenVMS. After they had released an updated IA64 version, they acquired the rights for Alpha and backported their IA64 updates to Alpha. But they nave never done a VAX version and, as far as anyone outside of HPE and VSI know, they haven't acquired the rights for such. Since the VAX OpenVMS updates stopped at V7.3 and there is much difference, I don't think they will ever try a newer version. If there were enough demonstrated use/demand for VAX V7.3 then they might be persuaded to do a new build so they could get revenue from that. But that is most likely up to the accountants.

I think the thing to keep in mind is that VAX VMS licenses would be legacy customers, so presumably the license rights will stick with HP. Which is why it's a worry for those of us who want to keep our old VAXen running as hobbyists.
 

Unknown_K

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Eventually people will have to just pirate the software just like everything else because of bit rot and not being able to get fresh media.
 

gslick

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Eventually people will have to just pirate the software just like everything else because of bit rot and not being able to get fresh media.

Obtaining OpenVMS installation media has nothing to do with the current issue. The current issue is being able to or not being able to obtain a new license to run OpenVMS and various layered products after a hobbyist license expires at some point in the not too distant future.
 

AK6DN

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Obtaining OpenVMS installation media has nothing to do with the current issue. The current issue is being able to or not being able to obtain a new license to run OpenVMS and various layered products after a hobbyist license expires at some point in the not too distant future.

01-Jan-2022 is the license expiration date if/when you apply for a renewal now. Just got mine in an email today.
 

bifo86

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Pirating the install media is only necessary if you want to install an old, old version of VMS. The licenses still work in my experience, and as far as I know HP has never had a problem with people finding old versions of VMS to throw on to old VAXen. Living Computer Museum does it and HP is very happy to give them licenses.
 

Schroeder

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Beeing made aware by this thread I had a quick look into what I have and I can list around 25 DEC systems running or capable of running VMS.
This goes all the way from VAX to Intanium and I was actualy surprised seeing that almost all have an original license print or an export from LMF.
Only one uVax 2 and one VAXStation 2000 that I fetched from a "dumpster" do not have any media or licenses.

So, I thougth, no problem at all ... but, wait, what about all the applications I like to use and showcase. Anyway, I need to run most on a date prior to 2000.

I have only one system, a 4000 VLC, that runs 24/7. and my Cheetah cluster I'm building right now run the latest available VMS version luckely with valid licenses.
 

DECtechGuy

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I've been emailing the conatct person in the email that was sent out regarding permanent licenses and got this product code back:
QL-005AS-6A OpenVMS Base LIC VAX 4100 $500

Not wholly unreasonable and admittedly surprised that it's less than I was expecting.
 

reinhardtjh

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I've been emailing the conatct person in the email that was sent out regarding permanent licenses and got this product code back:


Not wholly unreasonable and admittedly surprised that it's less than I was expecting.

The only problem with that is that's just the OpenVMS license. Do you want more than one user on the console? That's the OpenVMS User license. You want BASIC? That's another license. Oh, you want FORTRAN? Another license. You want DECnet? TCP/IP? Another license... ad nausem. I wrote the guy too but they don't have a version of the Hobbyist license that lets you run a usable system. You have to buy them piece by piece just like a business.
 

DECtechGuy

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The only problem with that is that's just the OpenVMS license. Do you want more than one user on the console? That's the OpenVMS User license. You want BASIC? That's another license. Oh, you want FORTRAN? Another license. You want DECnet? TCP/IP? Another license... ad nausem. I wrote the guy too but they don't have a version of the Hobbyist license that lets you run a usable system. You have to buy them piece by piece just like a business.

You're very right about that, and I was aware of that going in. Plus the list price is apparently $4,000, so the $500 is at a huge discount, which is appreciated of course.

Obviously have a lot to mull over, but I'm only considering this because of the chance that VSI can't issue licenses for VAX.
 
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