I'm surprised that VMS wasn't discontinued earlier. HP never marketed it, as though it were just a legacy product, and it's been that way for many years now. Eventually HP-UX will also be discontinued, and they are apparently adding "high-availability" code into Linux to ease the transition. I guess Solaris will also probably be discontinued (although Oracle stays quiet about that subject), and then IBM will be the only major Unix vendor left.
I think Solaris will be around on high-end SPARC boxes a little while longer since there's a hell of a lot of money and maybe some ego tied up in SPARC (and that's some seriously GOOD hardware) but Linux is cheap and popular on x86. I guess Larry doesn't need the money from the Solaris ecosystem but it does help him sell Oracle DB and probably a bunch of app software.
Moves like this show the weakness and vulnerability that companies open themselves up to when they rely on proprietary software that can be discontinued at any time.
I don't agree with this. VMS has been around longer than a lot of other OS open or closed. A few friends that have worked on it tell me it offers features the competition didn't and people and companies wouldn't have paid money for it all these years if they could get the features important to them for nothing. Any VMS customers on the forum here? I thought they did get the source when they changed the name to OpenVMS. Anyway it's not about open or closed but how good and marketable stuff is whether it's safe to use. Personally I work on a closed OS and hardware platform that's been around since 1964 and it's still a zillion dollar a year industry and nobody got screwed for using it. How long does something have to be in service before your "can be discontinued at any time" becomes irrelevant? How many new companies last more than a couple of years? How many companies started and went out of business since VMS 1.0 in 1978 and today?
If somebody is worried the vendor will go out of business they can write into the contract that they have to escrow the source. We have escrowed source more than once.
Just because something is open source doesn't mean companies will use it or pay money for it or should pay money for it. And it doesn't mean they can maintain it if the people they're relying on go out of business. If RedHat goes out of business does it really help the companies using RHEL and paying for service contracts that they could hire their own people to support it? It's usually not viable and most companies don't want to be in the IT business which is how this all started to begin with. A lot of people seem to think Linux is the answer to any question. Come back and talk to us when Linux has been in use in commercial/industrial settings as long as VMS and then we'll listen a little more. Until then...
If HP wanted to succeed with VMS, they should have open sourced it and let the community take over the bulk of new development.
No, if HP wanted to succeed with VMS they could have accomplished it without open sourcing it. They have the resources to do it. For most big companies business is just business and when Oracle bought Sun and got what they wanted it doesn't matter now to them if Solaris goes away, the Sun purchase already paid for itself. The same thing with VMS. It's too small a business for HP to worry about or they would have supported it better. They got the few sales and all the support contracts and it's paid for itself already.
Bottom line is today cheap is what matters. Personally, I remember the days when companies spent whatever it took to get the best stuff. Now everybody wants the cheapest stuff and it really doesn't matter if it's good bad or indifferent, as long as it doesn't make them bleed red on the next quarterly statement. In that kind of world good is hard to come by.