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VAX/VMS (was: Re: Debian/GFDL)

From: Per Abrahamsen
Subject: VAX/VMS (was: Re: Debian/GFDL)
Date: Thu, 23 Nov 2006 11:38:13 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.110003 (No Gnus v0.3) Emacs/21.4 (gnu/linux)

Dieter Wilhelm <address@hidden> writes:

> You made curious, how could--I assume--an old, probably not further
> developed OS be better than our modern OSs?  I guess you've purity or
> cleanliness concerning the design in mind, haven't you?  Would it be
> advantages even nowadays to run VAX/VMS from a user point of view?
> Sorry for my total ignorance of VAX/VMS.

VAX/VMS had a strongly typed file system, which made it impossible to
do any kind of generic file operations, and forced you to learn a
separate set of commands for each type of file.  It also had a really
obscure syntax for file names, using []:. among other special
characters.  And a zillion different kind of hardwired interacting
privileges that meant that ordinary users rarely were able to do what
they want, but hackers could do anything as there were always some
obscure path from "may use the printer privilege" to "can overwrite
system files privilege".

The editors were EDT and later TPU.  They were much better than vi, I
have to give them that.  You can suffer them in Emacs with M-x
edt-emulation-on <ref> or M-x tpu-edt <ret>. (TPU was really a system
for writing editors in).

Some people liked VAX/VMS, typically the same who preferred Wirth
Pascal over K&R C.  For the rest of us, Ultrix was a much more
productive environment, once you had installed Emacs in it.

(There were also an Emacs port to VAX/VMS, but as EDT was never as bad
as vi, the need for it was less desperate).

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