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/vaks/ (Virtual Address eXtension) The most successful minicomputer design in industry history, possibly excepting its immediate ancestor, the PDP-11. Between its release in 1978 and its eclipse by killer micros after about 1986, the VAX was probably the hacker's favourite machine, especially after the 1982 release of 4.2BSD Unix. Especially noted for its large, assembly code-programmer-friendly instruction set - an asset that became a liability after the RISC revolution.

VAX is also a British brand of carpet cleaner whose advertising slogan, "Nothing sucks like a VAX!" became a battle-cry of RISC partisans. It is even sometimes claimed that DEC actually entered a licencing deal that allowed them to market VAX computers in the UK in return for not challenging the carpet cleaner trademark in the US.

The slogan originated in the late 1960s as "Nothing sucks like Electrolux", Electrolux AB being a rival Swedish company. It became a classic textbook example of the perils of not knowing the local idiom, which is ironic because, according to the Electrolux press manager in 1996, the double entendre was intentional. VAX copied the slogan in their promotions in 1986-1987, and it surfaced in New Zealand TV ads as recently as 1992!


(Virtual Address eXtension) A venerable family of 32-bit computers from HP (via Digital and Compaq) introduced in 1977 with the VAX-11/780. VAX models ranged from desktop units to mainframes all running the same VMS operating system, and VAXes could emulate PDP models (Digital's first computers). Large VAX multiprocessing clusters served thousands of users.

A Very Successful Computer Line
Throughout the 1980s, software compatibility among all models caused the VAX family to achieve outstanding success for Digital. The last VAX order was taken in 1999 (for VAXstation 4000s), 22 years after the first VAX. HP supported OpenVMS on VAX through 2010 while offering migration to its 64-bit Alpha platform.

The Vax 11/780
The VAX series was an outstanding success and made Digital a major competitor of computers in all sizes from workstation to mainframe in the 1980s. This is the first VAX. (Image courtesy of Digital Equipment Corporation.)
References in periodicals archive ?
If they need access, they can simply dial up the VAX by modem and download whatever records they need.
For more information on VAX, please contact 212 863 9655 or sales@navatargroup.
Short background on the history of VAX, Alpha and OpenVMS
Explanation of reasons why companies continue to use VAX and Alpha
With the Technology Refresh program, Nemonix Engineering ships a customer's VAX or AlphaServer to its own plant to thoroughly inspect the system for failing parts.
We support clients utilizing legacy Alpha and VAX hardware ranging from 10 to 30 years old and these systems support critical IT infrastructures which are not easily replaced," said Bruce Claremont, Senior Consultant of Migration Specialties, a leading reseller of IT solutions.
As an advocate for travel agents, VAX VacationAccess is committed to the success of the leisure travel agent, by providing them comprehensive access to relevant information, agent-friendly suppliers, and tools to grow their business on a single platform.
Rick Karnes VAX VacationAccess rkarnes@vaxvacationaccess.
Agents have quickly adopted using VAX VacationAccess Air Only, especially considering that 10,000 agents have signed up after only two months," said John Ische, president and CEO of Trisept Solutions.
The rapidly increasing number of agency bookings taking place through VAX VacationAccess Air Only on a weekly basis is proof that G2 is providing industry-leading airline shopping and ticketing functionality matched with great airfares through our airline partners," said Alex Zoghlin, president and CEO of G2 SwitchWorks.
The company is the world's only provider of a wide range of VAX and AlphaServer hardware upgrades; and a major depot-level repair center for legacy computer systems developed by Digital Equipment Corporation and Compaq Computer (now part of Hewlett Packard Corporation).
Process brands include, PMDF, a high-performance standards-based Internet messaging product suite, PreciseMail Anti-Spam Gateway, eliminates spam at the Internet gateway, MultiNet and TCPware, a suite of TCP/IP applications and service for HP Alpha and VAX systems running OpenVMS, and SSH for OpenVMS, a client and server software that provides secure encrypted communications for HP Alpha and VAX systems running TCP/IP Services for OpenVMS.