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Beginners, Glossary and Background

OpenVMS began life as VMS, the operating system for Digital's VAX computer when it was brought out in 1979. VMS stands for Virtual Memory System because it employs virtual memory to make it seem to users that the computer has much more physical memory than is actually present. The operating system is multi-user and multitasking. Initially it only had a command line user interface but now it also has a graphical user interface (GUI) .

OpenVMS runs on two platforms; VAX and Alpha and each platform has its own version: OpenVMS VAX and OpenVMS Alpha.

The "Open" refers to support for open standards such as POSIX , which enables programmers to write software to run on all platforms that adhere to those standards.

Arguments rage about whether OpenVMS is better than UNIX. Individuals have their preferences and prejudices, but there is no single answer: the most appropriate choice will depend on the particular circumstances of a given case: what applications are required, what platforms are available, existing expertise and many other factors.

See also the OpenVMS Home page


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19 October, 2000
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