VMS on a PC
A longstanding wish that will almost certainly not happen: VMS running natively on an Intel I-32 based processor like Intel Pentium or Xeon, or AMD Opteron….
Not natively, but you can use VMS on a PC: VAX on Windows or Linux, Alpha on Windows XP (and with some restictions, on Vista). Wat’s even better: you can with no, or very limited cost. So you run the one and only REAL VMS, on a platform where the hardware (VAX or Alpha) is emulated and not the OS itself (there is FreeVMS and something similar, but that is not the real thing, just pretending to be).
Hardware emulators are available, both VAX and Alpha. Some are free, some costly. The costly ones require a big (multi-processor) box and, for Alpha emulation, a 64-bit version of the base OS. Free versions have less requirements but still you need a speedy processor and memory. Of course, you pay a cost in perfomance, available emulated hardware (Processor, memory, devices (both type and number) and probably some other things, where the licensed versions offer much more facilities. But for small use, these free versions are pretty well workable.
There is SIMH which seems to be quite good as a VAX emulator (amongst others) running on Windows and Linux. I’m not experieneced with it, but it’s usable:there is someone that runs VAX/VMS on a Linux-based PDA using SIMH.).
If you’re bound to Windows (XP at least, some issues with Vista) think of the freeware versions of CharonVAX (time limited, alas) and PersonalAlpha - NO validity limitations!).
A emulation of an ES40 system is being worked on at the moment.
What you need next is VMS licenses, you can obtain free license for hobbyist use - when your’re a memeber of an HP usergroup. Again: it doesn’t have to cost you anything: become an assosiate of encompasUS - look where to join. You will get an Id by email after some time, that you need to offer your VMS license at the one and only openVMS hobbyist site, where you can request for media as well (ok, this is NOT free but you pay just the media and shipping cost) - or ask your friends in the community for help.
Licenses need to be renewed on a yearly basis, and are for personal, non-commercial or educative use only. The Hobbyist license covers quite a lot of layered products, including compilers and some development tools - like CMS, MMS and LSE. But it alos inclused clustering, journalling, TCPIP, DECNET (endnode and router)….(It’s easier to EXCLUDE products!)
Some companies (like process.com) offer hobbyist licenses for their products. I use their anti-Spam gateway.
So nothing stops you using OpenVMS. Only the limitations of the emultated hardware in performance and offered devices.
By the way: each of the free emulators is way too small to run Java on it, but you can use webservers like SWS (Based on Apache), WASD and OSU. You may even be able to run MySQL and PHP (but I wouldn’t recommend it). Devloping programs however, in COBOL, FORTRAN, PASCAL, PL/I, Macro32, BLISS, SynergyDE - It can be done very, very well.