OpenVMS in the media - National Grid Control Centre, Britain fromAbove, 10/08/08 - VMS

This is a discussion on OpenVMS in the media - National Grid Control Centre, Britain fromAbove, 10/08/08 - VMS ; On 12 Aug, 20:06, johnwalla...@yahoo.co.uk wrote: > What would we call it though? Open OpenVMS? Can't call it > FreeVMS, that's taken. > Opener VMS ??? ) > A sensible global hobbyist program could still > make VMS truly affordable ...

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Thread: OpenVMS in the media - National Grid Control Centre, Britain fromAbove, 10/08/08

  1. Re: OpenVMS in the media - National Grid Control Centre, Britain fromAbove, 10/08/08

    On 12 Aug, 20:06, johnwalla...@yahoo.co.uk wrote:
    > What would we call it though? Open OpenVMS? Can't call it
    > FreeVMS, that's taken.
    >

    Opener VMS ??? )

    > A sensible global hobbyist program could still
    > make VMS truly affordable (currently that doesn't apply in, for
    > example, the UK, where membership of HPUG to get the hobbyist licence
    > is 50+ ($100+?) per year... may not seem much, but times are hard).
    >

    - Hide quoted text -
    >
    > - Show quoted text -


    Unfortunately, HP don't run the User Group in the UK. It has to stand
    on its own two feet. So, free membership for the masses isn't a
    realistic option. If those that say, "it's too much, we can't afford
    it," were to commit to membership in sufficient numbers I'm sure that
    the organisation could reduce the membership costs. However, those
    that say it's too much tend to just run away in my observations rather
    than suggest ways of reducing the price tag.
    i.e. more members could result in a lower price. If you don't join,
    how can the price be lowered? The User Group still needs to raise
    funds in order to run.

    Just my $0.02, not speaking for anyone else.

  2. Re: OpenVMS in the media - National Grid Control Centre, Britain fromAbove, 10/08/08

    On Aug 12, 11:19 pm, johnwalla...@yahoo.co.uk wrote:
    > On Aug 12, 9:32 pm, maxoutr...@gmail.com wrote:
    >
    >
    >
    > > On Aug 12, 2:13 pm, AEF wrote:

    >
    > > > On Aug 12, 4:20 am, maxoutr...@gmail.com wrote:

    >
    > > > > This might not be too well known or in the media but over 50% of
    > > > > mobile text messages sent in the world are on OpenVMS systems.

    >
    > > > > --Peter.
    > > > > On Aug 11, 12:04 am, urbancamo wrote:

    >
    > > > > > Spotted an LK201 and an LK401 at the console of the controller at the
    > > > > > National Grid Control Centre in the programme 'Britain From Above'
    > > > > > broadcast on BBC1 in the UK on 10/08/08.

    >
    > > > > > The National Grid Control Centre is responsible for providing the UK's
    > > > > > electricity supply. The programme focussed on the unique problem in
    > > > > > the UK of supplying the peak demands of power required after
    > > > > > mainstream TV programmes such as East Enders. The controller had
    > > > > > direct influence at an instant over several hydroelectric power plants
    > > > > > dotted round the UK that are solely used for providing temporary extra
    > > > > > power to satisfy peak demand. The controller monitored a display
    > > > > > showing the mains frequency which required action when it dropped to
    > > > > > 49.8 Hz - the normal in the UK being 50 Hz.

    >
    > > > > > I found it absolutely fascinating that hydroelectric dams are opened
    > > > > > temporarily because East Enders has finished and a large portion of
    > > > > > the UK public are making a brew!

    >
    > > > > > OpenVMS was not mentioned in the programme but it can be assumed that
    > > > > > it is used in some major capacity at the control centre.

    >
    > > > > > Can anyone provide more details?

    >
    > > > > > Regards,

    >
    > > > > > Mark.

    >
    > > > Hi,

    >
    > > > I'm not challenging your claim, but it would be great if you could
    > > > provide a reference for this.

    >
    > > > Thanks!

    >
    > > > AEF

    >
    > > I work for Acision so I know first hand how many customers we have.

    >
    > > The original company was called CMG and created the first SMSC and
    > > sent the first text message back
    > > in the early 90's using VAX and VMS.

    >
    > > CMG merged with Logica who were our main competition and became
    > > LogicaCMG. Logica had a competing product that was based on Unix.
    > > After the merger it was decided to proceed with the CMG / OpenVMS
    > > based product as the performance and stability were better but the
    > > Logica product was still maintained and sold to customers who still
    > > wanted it. LogicaCMG then spun off the telecoms division to become
    > > Acision last year.

    >
    > > If you look on the Acision product page, the SMSC IP product is based
    > > on OpenVMS. It says IP now because it is possible to communicate with
    > > telecoms equipment IE STP, MSC and HLR's using IP as well as
    > > traditional means.

    >
    > > In the US AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile are the biggest carriers using our
    > > SMSC. The largest systems are 14 node OpenVMS clusters that can
    > > sustain 14K messages per second delivered to a handset. Now at
    > > 10-15cents/message you work out how much they make!!

    >
    > > --Peter.

    >
    > Thanks for the clarification, I think I got my early Logica/CMG
    > history wrong way wround (byteswapped?) Sorry.
    >
    > Are you also able to clarify the comment re the spinoff of Acision,
    > along the lines of "this is now a commodity market" or words to that
    > effect ? E.g. Is a Windows-based or Linux-based SMSC now a viable
    > market sector, especially for the smaller Cellcos? (What you or I
    > think makes sense matters little, it's what folks are buying that
    > matters)


    It was really different parts/conflicting parts of the business. CMG
    and Logica both has large consultancy
    divisions and the telecoms was really just a small part. It was deemed
    better to spin off the telecoms part
    as its own company. This was also helped by the fact that a group of
    venture capitalist approached LogicaCMG
    and offered to buy just the telecoms part and so Acision was born.
    Telecommunication companies really demand what is called "carrier
    grade solutions". This means 5 9's
    uptime and redundancy. Multiple, large OpenVMS clusters provide this
    and the software takes advantage
    of the cluster principle for software redundancy.
    We do use RedHat Enterprise with a lot of success with other products
    and has proved to be reliable but
    I find there is a lot more maintenance required. As I saw in another
    poster sig here "VMS just works". Having
    said that I have nothing against Linux and use it daily on my laptop
    instead of Windows for regular work.

    --Peter.

    --Peter.

  3. Re: OpenVMS in the media - National Grid Control Centre, Britain fromAbove, 10/08/08

    On Aug 13, 1:01 am, "Tom Linden" wrote:
    > On Tue, 12 Aug 2008 13:32:48 -0700, wrote:
    > > I work for Acision so I know first hand how many customers we have.
    > > The original company was called CMG and created the first SMSC and
    > > sent the first text message back
    > > in the early 90's using VAX and VMS.
    > > CMG merged with Logica who were our main competition and became
    > > LogicaCMG. Logica had a competing product that was based on Unix.
    > > After the merger it was decided to proceed with the CMG / OpenVMS
    > > based product as the performance and stability were better but the
    > > Logica product was still maintained and sold to customers who still
    > > wanted it. LogicaCMG then spun off the telecoms division to become
    > > Acision last year.
    > > If you look on the Acision product page, the SMSC IP product is based
    > > on OpenVMS. It says IP now because it is possible to communicate with
    > > telecoms equipment IE STP, MSC and HLR's using IP as well as
    > > traditional means.
    > > In the US AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile are the biggest carriers using our
    > > SMSC. The largest systems are 14 node OpenVMS clusters that can
    > > sustain 14K messages per second delivered to a handset. Now at
    > > 10-15cents/message you work out how much they make!!
    > > --Peter.

    >
    > What was the implementation language? Bliss?
    >
    > --
    > PL/I for OpenVMSwww.kednos.com


    The implementation language is 'C'.

    --Peter.

  4. Re: OpenVMS in the media - National Grid Control Centre, Britain from

    In article <97773d08-1c63-4ab1-aee8-607189f82b78@f36g2000hsa.googlegroups.com>, johnwallace4@yahoo.co.uk writes:
    >
    > A sensible global hobbyist program could still
    > make VMS truly affordable (currently that doesn't apply in, for
    > example, the UK, where membership of HPUG to get the hobbyist licence
    > is =A350+ ($100+?) per year... may not seem much, but times are hard).
    >


    Are free associate memberships in the US DECUS still available, and if so,
    can they still be used to register for a VMS Hobbyist license ?

    That's how I got my hobbyist licenses even though I'm in the UK, but since
    I don't do any VMS hobbyist work these days, I'm a bit out of touch with
    what the current situation is.

    > Open sourcing chunks of Tru64 might have been an interesting option...
    > this week at work so far I have mostly been building a pre-emptible
    > Linux kernel with a 1ms tick, 'cos unlike later Tru64s, many/most
    > Linuxes still don't ship as such by default (and I have been finding
    > that the "real time Linux" vendors like MontaVista and SuSe make it
    > very difficult to get at their GPL-based sources without signing up
    > for an expensive subscription, hmm does *that* comply with the GPL?).


    Yes, that does comply with the GPL.

    While the standard use of the GPL is to make source code freely available
    to everyone, the GPL can quite legally be used to by a company only wishing
    to make it's source available to those who purchase binaries from that
    company.

    What that company apparently cannot do is to further restrict distribution
    of that source code by the customer to a third party; however I'm not a
    lawyer, and you really should run the company's policies by a lawyer to
    make sure that you aren't been restricted in other ways before making that
    source code available to a third party.

    Simon.

    --
    Simon Clubley, clubley@remove_me.eisner.decus.org-Earth.UFP
    Microsoft: Bringing you 1980's technology to a 21st century world

  5. Re: OpenVMS in the media - National Grid Control Centre, Britain from Above, 10/08/08

    As others have said, UK power generation was very VAX/VMS orientated.

    I worked (and still do) for a company building power stations and even post
    the breakup of the CEGB the VAX/VMS ethos still existed. For one power plant
    our contract required us to deliver an "As Built" database to the customer,
    to run under VMS &RDB. When we met the requirement and delivered our product
    together with a small microvax to run it on. The operators IT people then
    rewrote the requirement to include a large cluster, 100 times the disc
    storage than the app needed, etc. about 500,000 of kit & licences. Cheeky
    sods were after us upgrading their datacentre on the back on a 5 line
    requirement in a power station requirement document.



    With Y2K, we didn't do anything with in house apps. As they had been coded
    to use VMS quad word date structures from day one. Pity about all the later
    apps that used Oracle etc. We had contracts that required us to maintain our
    records for 20+ years. I wonder with what confidence my colleagues of today
    will sign off this sort of requirement with multi million dollar penalties.



    "Ashley Shepherd" wrote in message
    news:l3e3a4pj072g9418bshflp8q7vk2nnil0e@4ax.com...
    > Where to start?
    >
    > I worked for a regional electricity company in the 90's. Everything
    > technical was based on VMS, all the inter-company and national grid
    > billing, all of the planning and strategy of supply & demand, and of
    > course the control of the ENTIRE grid network was managed by.......
    > PDP11's. And old ones at that. The year 2K planning was interesting,
    > when I said "are these Y2K compliant" there was just silence. When I
    > pushed it was a case of "well, the programs were written 20-30 years
    > ago, nothing was documented and we suspect all the programmers have
    > died of old age, certainly we know of none of them. All we know is
    > that it all works, even though we don't know how. If your can boil
    > your kettle on New Years Day, you'll know everything was Y2K
    > compliant!" It was a classic case of "if it ain't broke, don't fix
    > it"
    >
    > As for today, I suspect VMS is still embedded in the electricity
    > companies, for the very same reason it was chosen. In 5 years (except
    > for when an over zealous system admin typed DEL *.* whilst in
    > SYS$SYSTEM and ensured that 2,000 users had an extra half-day
    > holiday), we never had a single day of unplanned downtime of any
    > application.
    >
    > Regarding the SMS systems, I also worked for a mobile company, and VMS
    > is indeed embedded in those organisations too. As with most
    > companies, there is an edict that VMS is "non strategic" and that it
    > needs to be replaced, but when you get down to it, nothing else can
    > touch the reliability and scalability of VMS
    >
    > IMHO, if Ken Olson had the vision to release prior versions of VMS as
    > open source, we would see VMS everywhere that we now see Unix and
    > Linux.




  6. Re: OpenVMS in the media - National Grid Control Centre, Britain

    In article <0uKdnT1Qz677UzzVnZ2dnUVZ_iydnZ2d@comcast.com>, "Richard B. Gilbert" writes:
    >>
    >> IMHO, if Ken Olson had the vision to release prior versions of VMS as
    >> open source, we would see VMS everywhere that we now see Unix and
    >> Linux.

    >
    > Wouldn't the reliability, usability, etc. be about the same as
    > Unix/Linux, or worse? IOW, thank God that Ken Olson did NOT release the
    > source "as open source".


    The original prorietary version might not be, if kept separate, but an
    open source version would likely fall into the "it works" trap.

    Code that does what the author wants it to do is also often the code
    that can do things the author doesn't want it to do. Like old
    sendmail bugs, the mail did go through just fine. But it's a lot
    easier to prove that software will do what is wanted when used as
    intended than it is to prove it won't do something when abused.

    Not many software organsations are even intrereted in the upward
    compatability, reliability, and security, that VMS Engineering has
    historically produced.


  7. Re: OpenVMS in the media - National Grid Control Centre, Britain from

    Simon Clubley wrote:
    > In article <97773d08-1c63-4ab1-aee8-607189f82b78@f36g2000hsa.googlegroups.com>, johnwallace4@yahoo.co.uk writes:
    >> A sensible global hobbyist program could still
    >> make VMS truly affordable (currently that doesn't apply in, for
    >> example, the UK, where membership of HPUG to get the hobbyist licence
    >> is =A350+ ($100+?) per year... may not seem much, but times are hard).
    >>

    >
    > Are free associate memberships in the US DECUS still available, and if so,
    > can they still be used to register for a VMS Hobbyist license ?


    Hi Simon,

    You can still use your DECUS membership number to register hobbyist
    licenses - the folks at the hobbyist site still honor "old" DECus
    numbers. If you need to know what your DECUS number is, log on to
    EISNER:: - show process/all will show you your account number, which is
    your DECUS number.

    Happy hobbying!
    [...]

  8. VMS Hobbyist licenses, was: Re: OpenVMS in the media

    In article <48A3639B.20207@comcast.net>, bradhamilton writes:
    > Simon Clubley wrote:
    >> In article <97773d08-1c63-4ab1-aee8-607189f82b78@f36g2000hsa.googlegroups.com>, johnwallace4@yahoo.co.uk writes:
    >>> A sensible global hobbyist program could still
    >>> make VMS truly affordable (currently that doesn't apply in, for
    >>> example, the UK, where membership of HPUG to get the hobbyist licence
    >>> is =A350+ ($100+?) per year... may not seem much, but times are hard).
    >>>

    >>
    >> Are free associate memberships in the US DECUS still available, and if so,
    >> can they still be used to register for a VMS Hobbyist license ?

    >
    > Hi Simon,
    >
    > You can still use your DECUS membership number to register hobbyist
    > licenses - the folks at the hobbyist site still honor "old" DECus
    > numbers. If you need to know what your DECUS number is, log on to
    > EISNER:: - show process/all will show you your account number, which is
    > your DECUS number.
    >
    > Happy hobbying!
    > [...]


    Hello Brad,

    Oops, my message was obviously unclear, but thanks for taking the time to
    reply anyway. :-)

    The implication in my message was that if free associate memberships
    are still available to new members, and if they are still then passed
    onto Montagar for hobbyist license processing, then John could become an
    associate member of Encompass US for free, and get hobbyist licenses
    that way.

    I'm also in the UK, and had no problem joining DECUS US as an associate
    member for free a few years ago and obtaining hobbyist licenses that way.

    As for me, times change. I still know my membership number, but I don't
    use VMS at home any more, as most of the infrastructure for the hobbyist
    stuff that I do these days will not run on VMS, so I've a Unix/Linux
    home infrastructure these days.

    Simon.

    --
    Simon Clubley, clubley@remove_me.eisner.decus.org-Earth.UFP
    Microsoft: Bringing you 1980's technology to a 21st century world

  9. Re: VMS Hobbyist licenses, was: Re: OpenVMS in the media

    In article ,
    clubley@remove_me.eisner.decus.org-Earth.UFP (Simon Clubley) writes:
    >
    > As for me, times change. I still know my membership number, but I don't
    > use VMS at home any more, as most of the infrastructure for the hobbyist
    > stuff that I do these days will not run on VMS,


    and how about getting that stuff to run ?

    > so I've a Unix/Linux
    > home infrastructure these days.
    >


  10. Re: VMS Hobbyist licenses, was: Re: OpenVMS in the media

    In article , m.kraemer@gsi.de (Michael Kraemer) writes:
    > In article ,
    > clubley@remove_me.eisner.decus.org-Earth.UFP (Simon Clubley) writes:
    >>
    >> As for me, times change. I still know my membership number, but I don't
    >> use VMS at home any more, as most of the infrastructure for the hobbyist
    >> stuff that I do these days will not run on VMS,

    >
    > and how about getting that stuff to run ?
    >


    I've looked at that before in the past and came to the conclusion that it's
    a major project as there's no point in getting one or two packages working
    on VMS; I would have to get all the packages working or I would really be
    no better off than I am now.

    In other words, the scope of my hobbyist projects is such that I am using
    a lot of packages on Linux, and I don't have the time to port those tools
    as well, especially when they are already available on Linux; I would not
    be spending any actual time on my projects if I went down that route.

    There's also one other practical problem: I need to be able to power up a
    laptop outdoors (it's been used as a control station). You can't exactly
    power up a VMS box in the middle of a field. :-)

    $ set response/mode=good_natured

    And don't suggest SIMH. :-)

    If I have to run a host operating system anyway, then I may as well run my
    control station software on that host operating system directly. There's
    also the major problem of making VMS see the various gadgets plugged into
    the laptop in a SIMH environment.

    Simon.

    --
    Simon Clubley, clubley@remove_me.eisner.decus.org-Earth.UFP
    Microsoft: Bringing you 1980's technology to a 21st century world

  11. Re: VMS Hobbyist licenses, was: Re: OpenVMS in the media

    On Aug 14, 2:22 pm, clubley@remove_me.eisner.decus.org-Earth.UFP
    (Simon Clubley) wrote:
    > In article , m.krae...@gsi.de (Michael Kraemer) writes:
    > > In article ,
    > > clubley@remove_me.eisner.decus.org-Earth.UFP (Simon Clubley) writes:

    >
    > >> As for me, times change. I still know my membership number, but I don't
    > >> use VMS at home any more, as most of the infrastructure for the hobbyist
    > >> stuff that I do these days will not run on VMS,

    >
    > > and how about getting that stuff to run ?

    >
    > I've looked at that before in the past and came to the conclusion that it's
    > a major project as there's no point in getting one or two packages working
    > on VMS; I would have to get all the packages working or I would really be
    > no better off than I am now.
    >
    > In other words, the scope of my hobbyist projects is such that I am using
    > a lot of packages on Linux, and I don't have the time to port those tools
    > as well, especially when they are already available on Linux; I would not
    > be spending any actual time on my projects if I went down that route.
    >
    > There's also one other practical problem: I need to be able to power up a
    > laptop outdoors (it's been used as a control station). You can't exactly
    > power up a VMS box in the middle of a field. :-)
    >
    > $ set response/mode=good_natured
    >
    > And don't suggest SIMH. :-)
    >
    > If I have to run a host operating system anyway, then I may as well run my
    > control station software on that host operating system directly. There's
    > also the major problem of making VMS see the various gadgets plugged into
    > the laptop in a SIMH environment.
    >
    > Simon.
    >
    > --
    > Simon Clubley, clubley@remove_me.eisner.decus.org-Earth.UFP
    > Microsoft: Bringing you 1980's technology to a 21st century world


    *Assuming* problems such as availability of your time and availability
    of compatible devices were sorted, then
    you could (if you were feeling so inclined) look at a Tadpole
    Alphabook, or its close but differently-packaged relative, an Alpha
    Multia. Also assuming that you don't need much in the way of compute
    power. But that only addresses the hardware, the real problem sounds
    like time available for doing the software, which isn't so easy to
    fix, and when the underlying software is mostly already out there on
    x86, what's the home brewer with limited resources supposed to do?

  12. Re: VMS Hobbyist licenses, was: Re: OpenVMS in the media

    In article , johnwallace4@yahoo.co.uk writes:
    >
    > *Assuming* problems such as availability of your time and availability
    > of compatible devices were sorted, then
    > you could (if you were feeling so inclined) look at a Tadpole
    > Alphabook, or its close but differently-packaged relative, an Alpha
    > Multia. Also assuming that you don't need much in the way of compute
    > power. But that only addresses the hardware, the real problem sounds
    > like time available for doing the software, which isn't so easy to
    > fix, and when the underlying software is mostly already out there on
    > x86, what's the home brewer with limited resources supposed to do?


    Exactly. :-)

    The tools are just that: tools. They are not the project, but just a means
    to help achieve that project, so if they are already available on a platform
    that I am comfortable with, then there isn't a lot of motivation to spend
    a lot of time trying to get them to work on another platform, especially
    when there's no guarantee that you would be able to achieve the port in a
    reasonable amount of time.

    Sadly, the reality is that there's a whole ecosystem of design tools
    available for Linux, and the thing that really interests me are the
    projects I am using those tools on, and not the tools themselves.

    Anyway, to bring this back on topic: I had a quick look at the Encompass US
    website at http://www.encompassus.org/ and it appears that associate
    memberships don't appear to exist for new members any more, although they
    are carried over for existing associate members like myself.

    However, when you go to the joining page, you are given a Guest option.

    Does anyone know if that still allows someone like John to obtain a free
    hobbyist license ?

    Simon.

    --
    Simon Clubley, clubley@remove_me.eisner.decus.org-Earth.UFP
    Microsoft: Bringing you 1980's technology to a 21st century world

  13. Re: OpenVMS in the media - National Grid Control Centre, Britain from

    In article <48A3639B.20207@comcast.net>,
    bradhamilton wrote:

    > ou can still use your DECUS membership number to register hobbyist
    > licenses - the folks at the hobbyist site still honor "old" DECus
    > numbers. If you need to know what your DECUS number is, log on to
    > EISNER:: - show process/all will show you your account number, which is
    > your DECUS number.


    I didn't realise that was there. Thanks for the tip.

    --
    Paul Sture

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