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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!
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(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.)
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References in periodicals archive ?
Later this year a team from Vax will compete in the Birmingham Half Marathon.
The innovative and flexible design of the Maxiva VAX transmitter allowed it to be fitted with an integral IP/EDI input card, which is unique to the Harris Broadcast solution.
The fuel that fired Vallum and the VAX came from firsthand experience both had watching organizations purchase large software packages, yet having only the resources or time to deploy small pieces of those packages.
The high pressure spray jets and 24cm wide cleaning nozzle combine with the static brushbar of the Vax carpet washer to gently agitate carpet fibres and loosen then lift embedded dirt.
Now, Vax intends to put Tyler's innovative machine into production.
VacationAccess Island Routes Caribbean Adventure Tours has chosen VAX VacationAccess to debut their collection of premiere adventure tours to travel agents.
JO, Leigh, Naomi and Joanne -- four women working at Vax, the UK floorcare company, have launched their blog: 'We Love Clean'.
The Vote & Vax campaign provided more than 21,000 flu vaccinations at the November polls, and almost half of those who were vaccinated said they did not regularly get flu shots.
When he went to investigate he looked out of his window and saw a man going into Wilkinson's home with his Vax carpet cleaner, said prosecutor Jolyon Perks.
The Vote & Vax project resulted in an increased number of vaccinations among this age group.
According to Assured Automation, their line of NO or NC VAX valves are for applications that require fast actuation, as well as durability and reliability.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has funded the "Vote and Vax" vaccination drives in Houston and 24 other American cities.