You may have noticed recently that VMS got mentioned a few times. OpenVMS remains alive, despite people’s perceptions, because of a large (in numbers) user base and a proven track record for solid and stable performance and for security. In fact, at DEFCON 9 (2001) a VMS system (in a “out of the box” configuration) proved unhackable. The VAX, in comparison, is long gone (OpenVMS 8 does not support VAXes) and the Alpha was discontinued as of April 2007; OpenVMS on Itanium is the future (yes, OpenVMS 8 runs on Itanium!).
OpenVMS celebrates its 30th anniversary today. In the future, as I start my journey towards becoming a VMS System Administrator, I’ll post some details here and there about VMS for new system administrators.
That won’t take away from the primary focus: UNIX and Linux. However, UNIX does owe a lot to the VAX and to VMS: it was the VAX that the first UNIX virtual memory system was designed to take advantage of. To this day, there are parts of UNIX that are a direct result of that first VAX implementation (of the memory management system).