The news today, provided by The Register, is that HP has decided to put an end to VMS.

Somehow, the only thing happening in me is a sigh and a silent final goodbye. I think I've seen this coming for years, even though not very consciously... it's been ages since I wrote a single line of DCL, it's a couple of years since I last logged in on a VMS machine... I think I personally let VMS die a long time ago, a slow death.

VMS is worth remembering, though. In many ways, it's a fantastic operating system. Not for the command line, but for the internal functionality. In my mind, nothing beats the system services provided, nothing beats the $QIO and events functionality, it was possible to write a completely event driven program with just a few lines of code.

My life with VMS started 1989/1990, when I landed a part time job as a system manager. Shortly before, I had fallen in love with GNU emacs, and was amazed that there was a pretty damn good port of version 18.55 for VMS. That was a somewhat aged version, though, and I knew that I wanted to be able to use version 18.59 that was the current version at the time. So I started working on porting it and sharing the results, and enhancing things that I wanted to work better than before.
In a few years, I had learned OpenVMS (Digital renamed the operating system to indicate that it got POSIX certified), grew into a good system admin as well as programmer, dived into the free software/opensource community and gained some fame for working on and maintaining the port of emacs for VMS.
A few years later, I started enhancing the port of SSLeay for VMS, later to become the port of OpenSSL. This lead to a job, further enhancements of OpenSSL and a membership in the OpenSSL development team, and somewhere along the way, I became fairly good at writing code that would build and run smootly on multiple operating system families (OpenVMS and Unix, first of all).

In the end, I can't thank VMS enough. It provided me with an entrance to so many things that shaped me for some 20+ years, and has been fun to play with and work with for many of those years.

Today, it's like finally parting from a friend that I've seen slowly fade away over a few years.

Goodbye, friend...

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