Paths to success (episode 7-8)

, par Gérard Calliet

Paths to success (episode 7)

I’m truly grateful for all the comments to my previous text (Will the relaunch of the OpenVMS ecosystem succeed (episode 1-6) ? )

It’s extremely reassuring when analytical hypotheses meet real concerns.

This allows me to propose another form of work for the OpenVMS ecosystem.

Personally, I’m more of an IT researcher and epistemologist, hoping to contribute ideas to what’s happening in the field. And as my previous article concluded, I’m looking to build the right arguments to open up the most concrete reinvestments possible.

I’ve been doing this work since just before 2013, and now I’d like to bear witness to what gave it a chance to land. In France, I was lucky enough to meet a group of people capable of relaunching what was DECUS France, then Interex France. And together we founded VMSgenerations. VMSgenerations provides a place where exchanges can move from the virtual to concrete proposals, and where the concerns of users can be presented to the main suppliers.

It seems to me that in this new phase of re-emergence of the OpenVMS ecosystem, this kind of venue is essential. We can’t do without forums for exchange and joint development. As I’m delighted to see today, a thought taken up for discussion is something quite different from a mere thought.

I would therefore advise all those interested in my text to take up the good habits of the old DECUS days.

All the while bearing in mind that times have changed. I’ve been struck lately by a certain use of complaining about others. Difficulty with a center whose centrality is not disputed. But what’s missing is the "we". "We" can reinvest, decide and negotiate. The time of DECUS was a time of sowing. A new harvest is possible. But the topology has changed as a result of fructification. And the new DECUS will certainly be more independent.

Paths to success (episode 8)

I’ll conclude with what I think is important to bear in mind. The irreplaceable quality of OpenVMS has produced an ecosystem whose two main characteristics are topological and temporal dispersion. Digital’s immense success has made OpenVMS a universally adopted system. This implies considerable topological dispersion. It’s no coincidence that VMS is spoken not only in Boston and Los Angeles, but also in Eastern Europe, Asia and France.

It’s a resource, and a difficulty to be taken into account. I’m not forgetting (cf. DEC is dead, Long Live DEC, Schein) that misunderstandings between Europe and the USA were one of the causes of Digital’s failure. From this point of view, the choice of Darya Zelenina as VSI’s new ceo, one of whose acknowledged talents is her mastery of many languages, is very interesting. It’s a multicultural approach that can address the topological dispersion of the ecosystem.

Another specific feature of the ecosystem is its temporal dispersion. At the last VSI webinar, we saw discussions going back to pdp, at the same time as a conference presenting the transition of OpenVMS to hypervisors. Astonishing.

It’s only if we can recapture the full extent of this temporal dispersion that we’ll be successful. The headlong rush of Microsoft and other giants is not our model. We have a long experience of Single Point Of Failure - the avant-garde can be one - and it’s the alliance of the very basic and the very new that can succeed. From this point of view, the appointment of Camiel Vanderhoeven is an excellent sign. I well remember one of his presentations, in which he explained how he had developed the hardware adaptation layer in collaboration with the previous generation’s expert. And we all know his taste for the "VAX museum". He will unite all his passions to invent an innovative strategy for the re-emergence of the highly exceptional OpenVMS ecosystem.

VSI is far from alone at this very special time, when the undeniable success of OpenVMS on x86 is being paralleled by the revelation of very real concerns. At the last VSI webinar, I asked : "What makes a good business case ? I believe that if we put together all the expressions of dissatisfaction that have appeared recently, and if we respond to them by turning them around, we’ll have won a good business case.

All we need to do is perhaps to adopt the right discussion methods.