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At 8:15pm on April 15, 2010, Eric Leung said…
Dear Thomas,

I have not touched VS for over 10 years and I doubt if I can help in any way.

At 12:15pm on September 29, 2009, Juanita Sciullo said…
Nice to see what you look like, I have talked to you several times, if you need anything please let me know. I have in stock 5 pmo17 printheads
At 12:17am on August 15, 2009, Warwick Halcrow said…

Congratulations on your 100th New VS Community member. Maybe champagne and caviar when you hit 1000!

At 7:50pm on August 2, 2009, Albert G. Martin said…
Hi and thanks for adding me to your network. I spent a number of years (16 or so) working with or around the VS. In association with Mark Workman and Sal Pasinni (sp? its been a long time). Did the WITA portion of Infosharer on both the PC and the VS. It was great fun back then!
At 9:15pm on July 27, 2009, Michael Barrett said…
Hi Thomas, we are part of Scholastic Australia so are on their VS.
At 4:07pm on July 23, 2009, Marvin Percival said…
Thanks Thomas. I will probably be a rather silent member for a while as I read comments and get an idea of what is going on.
At 9:30am on June 22, 2009, Howard Mackrory said…
Thanks for that Thomas, I'll attempt to make contact.
Kind regards,
At 3:59pm on June 10, 2009, Warwick Halcrow said…

I will keep batting-up some 'spring practice' softballs as you are the repository of the VS BOK. I revisited your old website and realised to my erudition that you have covered much of the material, body politic and technical ideas, many, many times before!

So in my memory dumps, I hope we can glean something more substantial, than remember when, aide mémoire!

I have been trying to come up with a "Killer App", so that once it is on the NEW VS, the selling process becomes automatic enough to be able to push it out to lower cost channels/portals for market awareness, acceptance and YES, Revenue Streams!

I come back in my mind to Community Services such as home based palliative care of out-patients, Medical Gerontology for home-bound aged care, medical alerts for attending physicians, outsourced locums and home nurse attendances. This requires a centrally based but transactionally distributed system context. I know you are familiar with SMS ICQ/Cell TEXT applications from tjunker WS, so using this as an inexpensive POI device for service providers communication based around Short_Message_System technology.

I know from reputation of the fantastic world class Texas Surgical Hospitals ( real Mayo Clinic stuff! ); Austin, FTW/Dallas and Houston who do the cutting; but don't do the curing. This requires all the complex management of an out-patient system ( New VS ) integrated back into/with the HIS's and out back into the community.

With an internationally ageing Western population it is not just a local issue it is an international imperative, both for the first world but to economically resource the health of the third world.

Exciting a large base of medical professionals and US Federal Health administrators and economists should be a doodle, just kidding! What is H. Ross Perot/EDS doing in this area today? President Obama wants to fix these problems, give him some ammunition and ideas!

I am excited;find it, feel it, do it!
At 10:06am on June 8, 2009, Dave Jenkins said…
Thanks! I worked on the VS from early on. Our fist VS was serial number "E-12". I wrote a number of system utilities (FileOwner (originally SORTFILE), TapeDump, TapeDup, ListPort, etc.), untold numbers of little tools, a couple of the SVC Subs, and the microassembler that the firmware guys used to write the CPU microcode for CP7-CP9. No involvement today.
At 4:39am on June 8, 2009, Ian Hockey said…
Many thanks, look forwards to reading about the continued success of the VS
At 7:35pm on June 6, 2009, Warwick Halcrow said…

Thank you for the heads-up on the privacy requirements. My comments are all public, well, within the context of this Website, they just had an unmoderated personal bias. So following the thread, your reflections are much appreciated.

At 6:29pm on June 6, 2009, Warwick Halcrow said…

Too blog or not to blog, that is the Question?

Is it greater in my mind to share my rantings with others who you may be trying to attract to a gentler, less complex world. I did mention in my earlier post that their are VS Tragics (You ), VS Orphans (Me), WLI Social Tragics ( Will attend the Opening of an Envelope ), VS Tragics & Orphans in Rehab and finally VS Virgins ( A very rare bird ).

In my text chats with you, I've taken a more personal than purely analytical exchange, to mainly to establish where I have come from; NOT where I am sure thee and me would like to see T_V Ventures go in the future.

We and more particularly you have been fighting for the past, no matter how right, for a long time. It is now time to do what we do best, that is lead, not follow. It is the how and what direction that is the trick.

The blog should be a venue for the open, frank and hopefully more pragmatic aspects of our opinions and I am sure we can address this in the near future. I definitely like The Forum approach, it is much more analytical and requires a measured response.

Without appearing a snob there are orders of WANG VS technical knowledge ( hardware, software architecture, systems programming ), applications knowledge ( COBOL, RPG II, BASIC ), applications usage ( operators, administrators, WP/OIS and User Packages ), others ( eg Sales, Human Resources, former WLI employees ). The connection experience will be different for all and require some separation, otherwise the site will be overloaded and blogs will become a birth, relationships and death register.

In every society there are The Discoverers, The Adventurers, The Early Opportunists, The Ranchers, The Farmers, The Long Term Investors and The Settlers. Then come The Drifter, The Vicarious and The Tourist. Each has a need and some are more needier than others.

Primus inter pares (Latin), the first among equals.

Maybe blogs should be clearly Business/Enterprise, Technical & Utility, VS User Applications, and a Social Blog. The where to, why to , how to blog is very hard to manage when blogging is greater than 1 or 2 exchanges per day ( 100 max. ), it all becomes chat, becomes noise.

I will work on my blog framing, just more suggestions, still no solutions.

At 1:39pm on June 6, 2009, Warwick Halcrow said…

Thank-you for such a rich and comprehensive supply of post-WLI Meltdown history. Succinctly, it has to be a miracle that the VS, Trans_virtualization, Tewkesbury 2 1/2 still exists at all. I have to say I have been reading your Website for at least 7 years and was always impressed by your approach to the ever darkening clouds over the Getronics/WANG VS malaise.

I read how many of the WSN HDLC issues could have been solved if someone had known the Cisco nexus at the time. So it goes with the VS hardware emulation. I looked at it when Digital designed and released it's AXP 64-bit processors in 1992-1994 and as it had a "user loadable microcode" feature with all the tools, I thought this would be a brilliant solution for a company that no longer supported processor design and developent. Just emulate processor and IOP instruction sets in microcode, re-write the boot/IPL block on a disk, boot it up and voila, problem solved, but NO they had to screw the blood out of the stone by getting greedy on licence fee charges.

I even convinced a client to buy a VS 6000 in 1996 as an upgrade from a VS85 from WANG Australia ( Getronics Inc ) with the hope that someone in Lowell would have the nouse to buy in a MIPS, SPARC or AXP machine and port ( not emulate ) the VS environment to modern hardware.

As you are more than aware hardware emulation requires a lot more grunt with anywhere from 100-1000 host emulation machine instructions for every emulated hosted CPU/IOP instruction. Thankful we are, that 1, 2, 4 & 8 GHz micros are available. We all are grateful for the grossly inefficient concept of Object Oriented/GUI, HTML/XML & Java Interpreters that require more and more grunt just to muddle on.

This has been, in this cases of Trans_Virtualisation and the WANG VS's a saviour, but imagine if Getronics had been mildly pro-active and did the same in AXP microcode emulation with full hardware instruction de-coding, caching in parallel rather than interrupt driven serial emulation.

I am terribly impressed with your approach to using "Big Pipes" something that took the generic Unix/Linux world a long-time to grasp the need of; SUN SPARC O/S and some BSD implementations implemented these from the 'get-go' and that's why CA-Ingres, Sybase. Informix, Ingres, Oracle; the big data-base players had powerful and early success in the 1990's against IBM ES/370/390 which since the early '70's had all these goodies in hardware Block-Multiplexor Channels and Large Buffer management in User Address Space ( only the Pointers passed to the O/S for fast I/O SVC's ). VSAM/ISAM was optimized for this buffer management as was the IBM multi-threaded ( record level locking ) SHARER function, unlike the VS's poor relation.

I am jumping around a bit, but yes you are right, I had forgotten about the ADA Compiler which I understood at the time of writing was a complete, comprehensive and integrated implementation and this and the .mil spec O/S were obviously aimed at Orange Book compliance.

As with PL/1 for god knows what reason WANG Language Integration Group failed to grasp the importance of fully implementing DMS Primary/Alternate and DMS/TX Commit/Rollback Sentence SYNTAX ( As done in COBOL -76, -85 ). I know you could access secondary keys by writing COBOL-entry/exit subroutines, but this is like running six-inch tyres on a Shelby Mustang, all burnout and little traction.

Similarly miss-hits and miss-fit implementations of PASCAL, FORTRAN-IV '66 and minimum ANSI level C Compiler. The original 1977-1980 Rel 5.-6. VS Editor was brilliant for COBOL and RPG II which came from the world of Hollerith 80-column card, but by the early 1980's the slash/back-slash character editors had been replaced by whole of screen ( block_mode 1920 ) editors with syntax directed editing more suitable for Extender Basic, PL/1 and C block/indented coding language syntax. Obviously the guys like Lee Story who got the original WANG VS O/S and Utilities developed and who understood 'The Man-Machine' Interface; had by that time evaporated from the powers of influence and been replaced by the "I've never done anything like this before", cheap graduate code hackers who were neither creative or careful.

I am certainly not anti-Macro Assembler and I am enormously supportive of systems programmer level langauges such as C/C++ and Chief Programmer Teams, but I would have loved to have had a full featured PL/1 compiler when we wrote our Data Entry/Capture and Information Management suites instead we used mainly Extended Basic (90%) and Macro-Assember subroutines. Basic does not have an automatic COPY/INCLUDE Source function as COBOL and PL/1, so it makes source control a bother and we were in large-scale green fields software development, not COBOL/RPG II conversion. And if the wheels weren't turnin', we weren't earning. Source and Object Library Control is essential to the software engineer/manufacturer as distinct to the applications programmer writing customised modules, as staff are often highly mobile, quickly exceed cost/productivity ratios as well as the normal human factors of relationships, relocation, family and sickness issues.

I know this because even though I loved system development, I moved into sales/marketing & mangement to be appropriately rewarded for my ability. I went from passionately writing device drivers and real-time process management in RSX-11/M ( Read Dave Cutler, read VMS, read MS Server ), integrating hardware/software solutions and absolutely being intellectually immersed. Then the next month I joined WANG Australia ( 1979) and started selling, I earned four (4) times my former technical salary of 1978 despite being a complete 'newbie' and I didn't make quota club until late-1980. I am/was acutely aware of the inequity and disparity between technical ( they do ) and sales ( they walk the walk and talk the talk ). I think your comparison of 4 times SCSI-2 device pricing was right on the mark, it should be no more than 2 times retail and posssibly 1.5-1.8 in OEM form.

We are not alone, I know many ex-DEC, CDC and WANG people who can truly distinguish between true innovation, who have stood on the shoulders of the giants of creative genius; and those marketing and industry hip-hops who think a good glossy brochure is worth a thousand hard hours of technical innovation. When Burroughs, CDC and GE were making great and innovative 1960's mainframes; ICL, Honeywell HIS & IBM were making crap and selling it by the truckload. In the 1970's the commercial mini-computer/mid-frames started to dent the fortresses of corporate arrogance and by the 1980's WANG, DEC, HP and to a lesser extent Prime were tearing up the market from workstation to mid-frame. Once the mini's burst through the small-address to use either the IBM/WANG 360/370 24-bit address architecture or the VAX VMS 32-bit direct address, it changed commercial computing forever. Unfortunately, it didn't last long enough and by 2000 we were in the grasp of MS and Intel and hooray henry hackers, who can't even put a contact detail on the front of a Web page.

You are quiet right also about putting systems, particularly the multi-million dollar ones on your systems, without involving a whole mess of operational and legal go-around. I have been thinking about this for sometime. I would love to see you offer a Browser-connect applet and give me WANG VS Workstation Microcoded Multi-Windows ( full support ), thin client access so we could do test, set-ups, remote demonstrations and development. I would love to offer financial reciprocity for T_V on a fee-connect, fee-per-Transaction, user pays basis. To put this in perspective I was part-owner of a VS software development company that employed from 5 FTE developers in 1984 to 40 FTE developers in 1989 we were the first in the world to use PACE for a massive RDMS development, we broke PACE, we Broke our VS100 & VS 85 development machines and realised it was more trouble than it was hyped-up to be. We wrote/re-wrote the Primitives/VSSUBS so that we could make alpha/beta released-WIIS integrate properly in a production Imaging environment ( Forms Processing ). In all we had over a 100 clients/ 1000 VS Client Processors and probably the best part of 300 Man Years of Hard System accepted, documented and installed software packages. I place a BOK replacement-insurable value of at least $USD50K per man year X 300 Years on that software and that means $USD15 Million in Uncle Sam's; so yes, I do fully comprehend what you have potential to deliver; it is getting from the dusty shelves of destinies past to the passing, critical assessment of 'newbies' and making it commercially practical for that to happen for ALL parties. I wish I had the financial resources of Mr Klaas Wagenar, but I think I make decisions in NYC seconds rather than Amsterdam afternoons.

Don't get me started, I don't have your extraordinary patience or forgiveness. However, I do wish that this could be the vehicle for re-invigorating non-productive systems.
Anyway, thinking-time for me, doing time for you!

At 12:38am on June 6, 2009, Warwick Halcrow said…

Along those lines, why don't you try to attract the attention of the second tier players in the world of PC ( client ) to Mainframe ( network server ). Microsoft and The World of Intel Lego Land uses them up and spits them out ( eg Why write a single rich macro instruction on a 64-bit architecture machine when you can write a thousand potentially bug-vulnerable RISC instructions on an 8-bit architecture trying to address/emulate 64-bit performance, this is just planned obsolescence! ).

I see invaluable synergy between Lightspeed/NVS Architecture and The Citrix Corporations 'thin-client' client architecture. I see partnerships with the more technical and creative consultancies such as SPL and Logica in Europe and BBN in Boston, USA. I see the need to give the WANG VS user screen utilities a facelift and an opportunity for entities like Wordperfect and Lotus Corporations Symphony/Lotus 1-2-3 a unique defence platform against the Apple/Intel/Microsoft trilogy of software isolationism.

I see opportunities to deal with the former Borland and Ryan -McFarland compiler developers who can't get onto the IBM Enterprise Servers against existiing CICS/IMS, DB2 and Oracle RDB's.

There must be a thousand 'Grey Army' legacy organisations just like you were before trans_virtualisation. The WANG VS never needed UNIX/Linux it just needs a Unix command shell, subroutines and utilities; it need's PASCAL, C++ compilers, Borland would be ideal particularly if they have written the compiler primitives in ANSI C and have piped/SSL'd or subroutine machine dependencies such as Port/File I/O.

The WANG VS PL/1 compiler could do with some updating to handle the DMS Alternate Key I/O not just the Primary Key and maybe DMS/TX transaction protocol handling. All of this is de riguer for compiler specialists instead of part-time CS 'newbies' having their first Lexical experience.

Compiler Companies

On the database side WANG VS has SPEED II, it's protege APPX and Progress all looking for home to be loved in. Cincom's TOTAL and Software AG's ADABAS/Natural ( Europe ) must also be suffering the same feelings of abandonment. All these companies have vast arrays of applications and more importantly, an even more loyal customer base; who haven't jumped to IMS/DB2 ES or worse SAP, Peoplesoft, Oracle trilogy of dis-integration services.

WLI always had problems with establishing strong tight relationships with complimentary suppliers such as Cincom and Software AG and to that end never completely bonded with their customers, unlike IBM System/3/32/34 RPG II converts who fell hard and quickly after initial concerns were overcome. I believe in second chances and the IT market is looking for a stronger 'second tier' offering particularly with the Global Recession forcing a re-look at internal procedures and controls. It comes down to choice, belief and proof and all these players offer that commercial distraction or is that abstraction?

Ask any WANG tragic, they loved the VS, but even in the 1980's thought the WLI executives didn't have a clue. "If you don't know where you are going, any road will do!"

Dr WANG' traditional Chinese family nepotism, Horace Tsu obsession with proprietary systems, the lack of Domain central Network Architecture, the lack of a Generalised I/O Interface Gateway IOP ( eg IEEE Standard's ), slow introduction of Open System cabling and software, poor internal accounting, inventory and management controls and ultimately the public announcement of end of VS production, Chapter 11 and lack of executive direction and imagination. This and compounding external macro-economic forces, ease of PC adoption and customer alienation led to the final WLI death-throws.


Dust off the WANG USER software libraries, tart up the VSSUBS' and SSL's and invite the players in for a test drive, they might not buy straight away, maybe never at all, but they will know that you are back in town, know what you have done is profound and significant, maybe recommend a legacy VS client that isn't on your radar, and know that your organisation is serious. ( In Australia we use the colloquialism "'Fair Dinkum'", meaning very serious, the shortened "Dinkum'" is more familiar, but with a reduction in gravitas ). This requires the full "Fair Dinkum'" moniker and I think it is overtime to give the VS horse a strong run, remember it's pedigree is pure thoroughbred, and should handle these lead-up races easily.

At 10:58pm on June 5, 2009, Warwick Halcrow said…

We sold a lot of Tempest security systems ( mainly DOD WP/OIS Systems ) in Australia during the 1980's.

I know at that time WLI also developed The Orange Book, DOD-5200.28-STD standard WANG VS Operating System for 3C ( Command, Control and Communication ) requirements and mandatory Tempest software compliance for certain NSA/DOD contracts.

I don't know what standard they met at that time ( B1, B2 or B3 ) and I don't know where the code source, etc lives/archived now, Tewkesbury? I also don't know if it was ever supported in later post Chapter 11 events or Y2K+ O/S releases.

However, if it does live in an orphanage, and it or its particulates can be transferred/grafted from the remnant tissue, there is a growing and significant need for higher and higher levels of Server security ( not just for Spooks, NSA & DOD types ), but just simply because of all pervasive access of information through inexpensive Internet access. There are simply no real rugged secure O/S's out there, except high maintenance specials and 'legacy one-offs'; with even more hand-crafted and dilapidated applications and sub-systems.

The rise and rise of the Cisco IPSEC routers/switches and more and more elaborate Hardware/Software Firewalls, is the current market response to poor network server systems architecture. This is both a reactive work-around, rather than a strategic response, to security breaches and in the long run is an incredibly expensive, in terms of capital replacement/upgrade, operations time, network maintenance and loss of SPC ( Single_Point_of_Control ) administration.

I just though I would add this contemplation to the Trans_Virtualisation wish list, futures and nice If's!

However, if you are looking for Marketing Move Forwards ( New VS Clients ), rather than existing VS legacy transfers, this is a Real Big_One. By, not so simply, complying with DOD high security requirements you jump over many marketing objections and revenue resourcing obstacles.

May require a bit of detective work around Tewkesbury.
At 9:16pm on June 5, 2009, Warwick Halcrow said…
No. the thanks are all mine, I have been a silent Web Stalker of for many years and passed this URL on to many of L'Grand Armee of VS devotees ( bored by Visual Somethings, Object Disorientation ) many of whom still require VS Withdrawal Rehab see ; for our last hurrah for MD Mke Clarkin who died in early 2008.

Mike ran his own 'Skunkworks' during the 1980's, when WLI was saying NO even before the question was asked, he understood the market, people and customer needs. His greatest legacy was WANG SNA, IBM3278/9 Colour emulation and manufacture of VS screens in Australia and unreleased but highly productive 'X' Windows product from the 'Skunkworks'. MS/Citrix 'thin client' technology grew out of another of his projects.

He had his fingerprint on at least another 10 or 12 enabling technologies/companies from 1980-1995, One for WANG and All for WANG; WANG LI collapse was a shame, DEC's collapse was unforgivable and creativity is more about Dick Tracy watches than making real corporate productivity gains.

Just as an afterthought, on a system conversion of a reasonably large commercial ( WANG VS COBOL ) to itsybitsy Visual Basic/SQL Server with all relevant metrics matching up ( eg applications understanding, technical knowhow and adequate developer environment ) the in-line developer productivity ration was 1 ( for the VS ) down to 14 times longer ( for MS environment ) per application screen ( eg Initialize, Get Data_Record(0), (Re-) Enter/Update Screen Data, Write Data_Record, Loop_End; ). This and natural inflation has meant that a once spectacular VS application cost $USD50,000, now costs +$MMMD500,000 'Mythical Man Month Dollars'. Not even outsourced 'sweat-shops @$USD1 per hour' can deliver that level of end_to_end productivity!

If you add operational issues such as distribution, education and data security/backup the time/cost loss ratios go off the Richter scale. Since 1979 I have been a Systems/Software Engineer first, Whole_of_Process_Life_Cycle disciple second and a prophet of productivity; not just bright shining or Big Blue.

I have worked on everything from the PDP-8, 11, 15, VAX; VMS, RSX, RSTS; IBM 360/30/40/50/65 OS/MVT/MFT, ES/370 VM/CMS/MVS; Intel PC's, Industrial Controllers, Process Controllers and devices from A/D, D/A, DIO, Serail and Parallel; Bits, Bytes, Words; Time-Spliced, Timeplexed, PCM'd and FSK'd, splitting infinitives, denominations and derivatives!

The WANG VS2200 was the most impressive, easy to use, productive, gracious, forgiving environment I worked with, on and about in my 40 years of IT wonderment. There will always by unique Eureka moments, but from the start ( get-go ) the VS had it all and more than you wanted. It was VMS with a human interface, RSTS with multi-language re-entrentcy, TOPS-10/20, TSS/360, CMS/370 with cost effective demand paging. It did little badly and everything else spectaculary, it made me a lot of money at times, as it did WLI, and it saved thousands of organisations millions of development and operational dollars. The problem was that 'newbies' never had a hardship comparison, I am sure they do now and wish for days past of WANG VS IT invisibility and productivity.

Bring it back I say, and you did! You kept the faith, you put your money where your heart is, while we wandered in the desert of disbelief.

Thank-you and Congratulations.

PS: I hope that I may be able to surf your new wave, because the first time, I WANG VS Surfed, it was fantastic!
At 8:12pm on June 5, 2009, Charlie Cassel said…
That would be Nice. Need to check the schedule. The October trip to MA was very informative. Talk to you soon.
At 6:57pm on June 5, 2009, Bob bruce said…
Don't know how I managed to do that
At 6:14pm on June 5, 2009, Richard Noël said…
Yes, you and I have talked about this before ... I could provide material and, more importantly, all of the contacts you'd need. Let me know what you have in mind, and I'll send out a request for material ...

At 4:46pm on June 5, 2009, Richard Noël said…
Thanks, Thomas ... Hope all is well. Raf would have enjoyed this ...


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