Re: VAX software available for download

From: Bill Gunshannon (
Date: 06/28/05

Date: 28 Jun 2005 12:43:50 GMT

In article <>,
        "AEF" <> writes:
> Bill Gunshannon wrote:
>> In article <>,
>> "AEF" <> writes:
>> >
>> >
>> > Bill Gunshannon wrote:
>> >> In article <>,
>> >> "AEF" <> writes:
>> >> >
>> >> > Then why couldn't the owner of Grand Central Terminal tear it down?
>> >>
>> >> Because we have a warped court system.
>> >
>> > I beg to differ in this case! GCT is a magnificent building that
>> > deserves to be protected. Not as good as Penn Station was, but still,
>> > pretty good.
>> Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I have no artistic sense at all
>> and see most things that others consider "great art" as just so much
>> junk. (Like the recent fiasco in Central Park) That being the case,
>> I see no reason to limit ownership rights because of someone else's
>> artistic sense. If you think it should be preserved, buy it yourself.
>> At what ever price the owner asks. If you think it is worth it you will
>> raise the money but if not, what right do you have to tell me I have to
>> incur the monetary loss in order to please your aesthetic sense?
> Well, I don't know the details of the GCT. Maybe the owners were
> compensated. I don't know. But I'm glad it's still there. We're just
> going to differ on this one. Also, the train station has a great
> economic value for getting commuters to and from NYC. So, it's not just
> artisitic in value. Also, many, many advertisements contain pictures or
> footage using GCT as a backdrop, giving more benefits. It's also
> valuable as a tourist atraction, bringing yet more money to the city.
> It's more than just "art".

None of which is relevant to the owner. If someone wants it put to
a diferent purpose than the owner then they should buy it at the owners
asking price (or whatever price the two parties can negotiate) and then
whne they own it, do what they want with it. Recent history (especially
as covered by a number of recent news programs) would seem to imply that
he was not likely to be compensated. Governments are running rampant
with the "right of emminent domain" of late.

> In one sense it's just a zoning decision, but admittedly a very focused
> one.

And one that takes from one person for the gain of another. Punishing
one man for his accomplishments while rewarding another for nothing.

>> >
>> >> > Then why are companies sued for defective products?
>> >>
>> >> For the same reason they are sued when some idiot does something really
>> >> stupid with their product that it was not designed for and gets hurt.
>> >> (Remember, we have the court system that awarded several million dollars
>> >> for loss of psychic ability after a CAT-scan.)
>> >
>> >
>> > Well, there's a down side to everything. And that's either the fault of
>> > the court system and/or some particular bad laws.
>> >
>> >
>> >> > Why does Exxon have
>> >> > to "use" its Esso trademark to protect it?
>> >>
>> >> Because trademarks are a totally different concept with different
>> >> rules entirely. A more important question would have been what right
>> >> did the government have to tell them they had to change their name
>> >> in the US? But that isn't generic to the discussion. :-)
>> >
>> >
>> > Depends what you mean by "right". Rights are decided by people. Since
>> > people will in general differ on what's right, we have government. Not
>> > perfect by a long shot, but certainly better than anarchy. And even if
>> > there is some ultimate set of "God-given rights", people have no way to
>> > know exactly what these are and will differ on what they are anyway. So
>> > ultimately they are decided by people and are subject to discussion as
>> > to how things "should be".
>> >
>> > People who succeed in the US do so, in part, because the U.S.
>> > Government, as imperfect as it is, has established and maintains an
>> > environment in which businesses and individuals can succeed. For this
>> > reason I find it not unreasonable that *something* is owed to the govt
>> > for this. What exactly that should be I'm not here to say. But I don't
>> > believe the "I did it all on my own so I can do what I want with it"
>> > story. And in a similar, but slightly different vein, some sports
>> > person once observed, "Some people are born on third base and act as if
>> > they had hit a triple."
>> >
>> > Yes, ownership means a lot. I'm just trying to say that it is not the
>> > be all and end all that you appear to be saying. If I misunderstood you
>> > about this, I apologize. In this particular case it there may well be
>> > no law to prevent HP from dropping VMS. But maybe there *should* be.
>> Again, I ask why? If Steven King wanted to take the original manuscript
>> for "It" or "Carrie" or any other of his many successes (mind you, I
>> only ever liked one of his stories and tend not to bother reading most
>> of what he writes) and burn it in his fireplace so that no one ever saw
>> it, is that not his right? What will become of VMS at the end of it's
> I have no problem with that. No essential information is lost. But I
> don't think he should be allowed to burn all copies of his books.

Why? It's his book. No one has any rights to his IP unless he grants

> Then
> all the information would be lost. Sources and images are not the same,
> however. I suppose you could reverse engineer though.

In most cases, not legally, But then, that's the crux of the argument.
The many people who believe, for some strange reason, that their wishes
and desires out-weigh everyone else's.

>> days is stuill unknown. Like others, I would like to think that when
>> the owner at that point (and we also have no way of knowing who that
>> may be) will just release it all to the public trust. But they have
>> no real obligation to do so. And, this whole discussion may be academic
>> as, if most of us have our way, VMS will last for a long time to come
>> and will only die when it is no longer needed or wanted by anyone.
>> >
>> > And even in the computer biz, there are restrictions. Export
>> > restrictions for national security,
>> Another good reason not to let the government get involved any more
>> than they already are. Do you know how many VAXen running Unix were
>> found behind the Iron Curtain when it finally fell? (Both were
>> restricted export items!)
> Well, someone, maybe it wasn't you, mentioned that there are no
> ownership restrictions in the computer biz.

Not I. There are lot's of restrictions, most imposed by the owners
and therefore proper. I only object to the government getting involved
especially when their actions hurt the innocent while letting the guilty
do as they please.

> I was just countering that.
> I am not, in general, a fan of restrictions on trade unless there is a
> very good reason. National security certainly ranks high for me. And
> some VAX systems were running there. So? No restriction is perfect.

Perfect? That's a hoot. Basicly, the restriction limited access to
some of the parts of Unix by all of our allies (England, Germany, etc.)
while basicly being totally ineffective as regards the acquisition of
the technology by the Communists. We won't even go into things like
the badly flawed export law on 3D milling machines or companies that
openly shipped technology to Russia and even bragged about it on USENET.

> The
> Space Shuttle blew up, twice (okay, broke up the second time)! There
> still going to send up more.

Yeah, well some of us think the shuttle is a bad idea wether it works
or not. Some of us think if the government were out of the picture the
private comapnies who have held licenses for space craft operations
would have been doing it for decades and the competition would have
resulted in more efficient and less expensive methods.

>> > for one. Anti-trust restrictions
>> > (ask BG!) for two.
>> I don't necessarily agree with most anti-trust legislation. Most
>> monopolistic practices involve breaking enough other laws that
>> special ones (especially ones without teeth) are never necessary.
> I see this as government at least trying or pretending to act for the
> public good. Yes, govt does a lot of stupid and bad things. Like the
> odd/even licesne plate scheme during the gas-line days (1973, 1979) to
> name a minor grievance of mine. But people succeed in the U.S. in part
> because govt. has done many things right. Who's going to protect
> ownership? The govt.! If someone starts cranking out free copies of
> software, who's going to stop it? You have to give govt. credit for
> that. They do do some things right!

Even a blind hog finds an acorn once in a while.

>> >
>> >> > Why can't GM make sell cars
>> >> > that don't have pollution controls?
>> >>
>> >> For the same reason I can't drive on the I81 at 150 mph. Our elected
>> >> government decided that it was in the public good to limit pollution
>> >> and it isn't worth the cost of making two differnt models in order to
>> >> service those places that have less strict requirements. (it should
>> >> be noted that even after both the US and Europe had strict pollution
>> >> requirements VW still manufactured the old Beetle without emissions
>> >> control in Mexico for sale in those places that still allowed them.)
>> >
>> > I was just making a point with this one, as with the others.
>> Actually, GM does "make" and sell cars without pollution controls as do
>> most of the other car manufacturers worldwide. You can't drive them on
>> the street, but they are free to make and sell them. I have piles of
>> catalogs for parts for my cars that specifically say if I put these
>> parts on my car it will no longer be legal on the street. They have
>> no problem making or selling them.
> OK.
>> >
>> >>
>> >> > Why can't a developer build an
>> >> > office building ON HIS OWN LAND when it is zoned as a residential area?
>> >>
>> >> Because it affects others than himself. And the one legitimate purpose
>> >> of government is to protect it's citizenry. He is free to convince those
>> >> he would affect that his plan is good for them and the zoning should be
>> >> changed.
>> >
>> > And eliminating VMS would also affect others.
>> Matter of opinion. It is doubtful that more than .002055% of americans
>> would even notice it if it went away tomorrow. :-)

Gee, I thought someone would ask where I got a number with that
precision. :-)

> But without VMS our military will have a harder time protecting us! :-)

I'll comment on this the next time it comes up. :-)

>> >> > Copyright laws are another example. Patents expire.
>> >>
>> >> Copyrights also expire.
>> >>
>> >> >
>> >> > There are tons of laws about restrictions on ownership. There are even
>> >> > some things you are not allowed to own at all!
>> >>
>> >> Most restrictions are about protecting others from the stupid acts of
>> >> the few. Exactly how does this apply to the licensing of VMS?
>> >
>> >
>> > My primary point is that ownership does not automatically mean you can
>> > do what you want no matter what.
>> True, up to a point. SO it looks like you need to find a way to
>> convince the Congress that saving VMS is somehow int he public
>> interest. Considering that they don't even condsider it valuable
>> enough to use themselves, I don't hink you'll have much success.
> OK. But the gov't's military depends on VMS! So they have an interest.

OK, You've said this twice now. What evidence do you have to support
it? I am rather deeply involved in computing within the Army (as will
become apparent to many people here in the not to distant future) and I
can assure you that VMS has never come up. There may have been a time
once when VMS was important to DOD, but I fear that time has passed.
VMS is no more important to DOD than to any other business. There are
bound to be legacy applications that still run on VMS but there isnot
likely to be any future development being done there now. The people
who work in the trenches are not even told of the existence of VMS and
it is doubtful the people who teach them know anything about it either.
(Didn't we visit this subject just a little while ago?)

>> > I, for one, am very glad GCT was not
>> > torn down. It's too bad they couldn't save Penn Station, but I digress.
>> And as I said above, I don't agree. But in any case, I don't see why
>> someone else should bear the cost of pleasing your aesthetics. That is
>> a flaw in our legal system.
> Maybe they were compensated? I'll see if I can find out.

Even if "compensated" the question would be was the owner compensated at
the level he expected as the owner of the property or was he "compensated"
the amount the other party wanted to pay?

>> > Some restrictions are for the public good: patents, copyrights, zoning,
>> > which have nothing to do with protecting anyone from stupid acts.
>> True, their purpose is to support ambition and not stifle it. Otherwise,
>> we will end out like the rest of the world.
> Ah, so you agree there is some good that flows from govt. OK.

Of course, I am not an anarchist. Heck, I'm an officer in the Army.
That's about as far from anarchy as you can get. :-)

> I understand your concerns about govt. abuse and such.

I am much more concerned with stupidity than outright abuse. The
road to hell is paved with good intentions.

> I think that is
> an important concern. However, much good comes from govt (no one
> notices the engine when it runs well and quitely!) and I think it is a
> good thing to try to make govt better. The U.S. is an awesome economic
> power, and I think govt. should get at least some credit for that
> (certainly not all credit, of course!)

Actually, in too many cases our economic success is in spite of rather
than because of government intervention. Most other governments have
their hands even deeper in business's pockets and the results are very

> Relax, man. This is just a discussion and we are "honorable debating
> opponents". I respect your point of view.

Oh, I'm relaxed. I enjoy a good debate. And I also respect everyone's
right to have their own opinion. That is, of course, one of the reasons
why I am still in the Army at the point in life where most people are
retired. But I will admit that sometimes I read things here that make
me just shake my head and chuckle.


Bill Gunshannon          |  de-moc-ra-cy (di mok' ra see) n.  Three wolves     |  and a sheep voting on what's for dinner.
University of Scranton   |
Scranton, Pennsylvania   |         #include <std.disclaimer.h>