To Al Kossow at bitsavers

Johnny Billquist bqt at
Sat Nov 14 19:46:48 CST 2015

On 2015-11-15 02:32, Paul Koning wrote:
>> On Nov 14, 2015, at 8:27 PM, Johnny Billquist <bqt at Update.UU.SE> wrote:
>> On 2015-11-15 01:56, Mark J. Blair wrote:
>>>> On Nov 14, 2015, at 15:56, rod <rodsmallwood52 at> wrote:
>>>> I am of the opinion that RT,RSX M & D etc could be dealt with in exactly the same way as the very successful OpenVMS Hobbyists program.
>>> Has anybody contacted the RT-11 rights holder to see if they might be interested in a program like that? I think it could only work with their blessing and cooperation.
>> Jerome knows very well who owns it, and have tried various ways to put it into the public domain. Unfortunately, him wanting it to happen is not really enough to make it happen.
>> We need HP to release things.
> HP?  I know HP acquired VMS, but I always had the impression that all PDP11 stuff (except IAS???) went to Mentec, not HP.  So it's Mentec or its successors who own it, and who would have to do the licensing.  That might be anything from "no" to a hobbyist license to whatever they want.  Public domain?  I suppose one could imagine that being done, but it's rare for stuff to be released into the public domain.  A generous license of some sort is more common; open source is one good example, hobbyist or "not for profit" licenses are somewhat more restrictive but still not a bad deal.

It's murky waters, I'm afraid. But essentially, as I understand the 
state of things, DEC "sold" the PDP-11 software to Mentec, but at the 
same time they retained the intellectual property rights. So Mentec 
could develop and release new versions, but they were not free to 
actually release sources to anything without approval by DEC. And 
anything that says "DEC" should now be read "HP".

Compare it to the deal VSI did with HP about VMS. VSI now "owns" VMS, do 
development and releases. Support, and all that. However, VSI are not 
free to release the sources to VMS without HP saying so. (Or that is how 
I've understood the agreement anyway.)

Another thing that I don't know is if XX2247 would possibly be required 
to pay a fee to HP for each license sold. It might be, which would make 
it hard to even give licenses for binary distributions tricky.

And there are things in the sources that could be claimed to still be 
relevant. Such as RMS-11, which in a further developed form is still 
sold as a part of VMS.


Johnny Billquist                  || "I'm on a bus
                                   ||  on a psychedelic trip
email: bqt at             ||  Reading murder books
pdp is alive!                     ||  tryin' to stay hip" - B. Idol

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