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French fight the death of OpenVMS

Patrick Thibodeau | July 30, 2014
An OpenVMS user group in France has posted an 'open letter' to Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman urging her to reconsider HP's decision to begin pulling support for the system.

Calliet said the extension to 2025 for some support does little to help OpenVMS users. "Because 10 years for some OpenVMS customers is tomorrow," he said, referring to the complexities of engineering a migration.

Wayne Sauer, the CEO of Parsec Group, an IT consulting firm with a large OpenVMS practice serving some 350 customers running 7,000 systems, said he "concurs wholeheartedly" with everything the French user group brought up in the letter, although he said OpenVMS is more profitable than the French user group made it out be.

In an interview, Sauer and Paul Williams, vice president of technical resources at Parsec, said HP has never come out and said that OpenVMS was facing end of life, but if the company doesn't port OpenVMS beyond the Integrity i2, the software's life span will be effectively limited.

Sauer said OpenVMS users "are as rabid as ever in their devotion to OpenVMS," adding that big users of the operating system include healthcare companies, wireless carriers and lotteries.

OpenVMS was introduced as VAX/VMS in 1977 by Digital Equipment Corp., a company later acquired by Compaq, which in turn was acquired by HP.

In the letter to Whitman, Calliet wrote that HP failed to "comprehend the particularities of the OpenVMS market" and said the life cycle for the system is 10 or 20 years.

Calliet urged HP to reverse course and recognize that it is making a mistake with OpenVMS. It would bring no shame for HP to change direction, he said, adding, "The shame would be to not correct a bug when there is a bug."


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