DEC's Legacy in Hardware and Software

Last weekend, I attended the DEC Legacy event in Windermere with Peter and Ben, two volunteers from TNMOC. It was a chance for enthusiasts to show off the fantastic range of equipment from one of the great computing companies.

There was something very special about Ken Olson’s Digital Equipment Company and it continues to attract a lot of interest in its history and products. Its machines were innovative and high quality and its software, particularly OpenVMS, has almost fanatical advocates.

From a museum conservation point of view, the wealth of printed documentation that DEC produced is a godsend. Not only do we have all those handbooks, but also sales literature, operating manuals and complete technical descriptions of the systems themselves.

In our attempts at TNMOC to restore as many computers as we can, DEC’s solid technical backup is priceless.

Although TNMOC has DEC systems from the early 1960s, we still rely on OpenVMS running on nice new HP (who merged with Compaq who had preciously acquired DEC) hardware for the internal services of the museum – our intranet for example.

We plan to re-instate our retro operating systems machine soon. This is a publicly accessible web server allowing different systems to be used in virtual machines – everything from CP/M to RSTS/E and VMS. If anyone has a spare DS10 we would love to hear from you!

TNMOC provided prizes for the best displays and presentations and it was a pleasure to able to attend the event. Congratulations to the winners and to the event organiser!

Many of the people exhibiting at this event will also be coming to the first Vintage Computer Festival in June so more people will have a chance to see these cared for systems running again.

Finally, readers of this blog might like to know that they can get even closer to TNMOC, by joining and becoming a member and receiving extra benefits and information.