Feeds

Nuke plants to rely on PDP-11 code UNTIL 2050!

Programmers and their walking sticks converge in Canada

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

The venerable PDP-11 minicomputer is still spry to this day, powering GE nuclear power-plant robots - and will do so for another 37 years.

That's right: PDP-11 assembler coders are hard to find, but the nuclear industry is planning on keeping the 16-bit machines ticking over until 2050 – long enough for a couple of generations of programmers to come and go.

Now that you've cleaned up the coffee spills and finished laughing, take a look here, at Vintage Computer forums, where GE's Chris Issel has resorted to seek assembly programmers for the 1970s tech.

Issel is responsible for talent acquisition at GE Canada, and her post says there's a “fantastic opportunity” for a PDP-11 programmer at GE's Peterborough operation in Ontario.

“The role supports the nuclear industry who has committed to continue the use of PDP-11 until 2050”, she writes.

It seems that Ms Issel has decided that an unorthodox approach is needed to find this skill: GE had tried the more conventional approach of advertising on its recruitment site, but the ad has since been taken down. Here's a Google cache.

The GE ad – presuming it's for the same role as Ms Issel wants to fill – describes the role: “Lead the design, implementation and testing of legacy PDP-11 based control systems for robotic applications in nuclear power plants and products. Coordinate follow-on support and service of installed systems.”

Unsurprisingly, as well as designing new software and maintaining existing code, GEO also wants the lucky winner to train others.

Your humble scribe was actually taught the basics of PDP-11 in the early 1980s, which prompts Vulture South to wonder: we know there's plenty of COBOL in use, but what other undead operating systems and programming languages do our readers use? Answers in the comments. ®

Updated to add

HP has taken issue with my brief mention of VMS's EOL schedule – your correspondent initially started this article with "HP might have nuked OpenVMS..." following our earlier article here. This is what HP had to say in full:

"HP has committed for OpenVMS Integrity 8.4 Software to provide Standard Support (which includes OpenVMS Engineering support, including bug fixes, some new hardware support (the OpenVMS Roadmap specifically mentions 3PAR storage support), and of course telephone/chat/e-mail technical support) through at least the end of 2020. 2020 is a minimum date, which HP might extend; in any case, 24 months’ notice will be provided before the end of Standard Support, according to the support chart.

"Then, once the 24-month notice of the end of Standard Support is announced, HP may choose (as it typically has in the past) to offer Extended Engineering Support or Mature Product Support with Sustaining Engineering, and then, after OpenVMS Engineering finally closes up shop, HP Technology Services may choose to offer Mature Product Support withoutSustaining Engineering.

"So to say that all support will end in 2020 is a bit soon to predict, and would differ from past practice." ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft WINDOWS 10: Seven ATE Nine. Or Eight did really
Windows NEIN skipped, tech preview due out on Wednesday
Business is back, baby! Hasta la VISTA, Win 8... Oh, yeah, Windows 9
Forget touchscreen millennials, Microsoft goes for mouse crowd
Apple: SO sorry for the iOS 8.0.1 UPDATE BUNGLE HORROR
Apple kills 'upgrade'. Hey, Microsoft. You sure you want to be like these guys?
ARM gives Internet of Things a piece of its mind – the Cortex-M7
32-bit core packs some DSP for VIP IoT CPU LOL
Microsoft on the Threshold of a new name for Windows next week
Rebranded OS reportedly set to be flung open by Redmond
Lotus Notes inventor Ozzie invents app to talk to people on your phone
Imagine that. Startup floats with voice collab app for Win iPhone
'Google is NOT the gatekeeper to the web, as some claim'
Plus: 'Pretty sure iOS 8.0.2 will just turn the iPhone into a fax machine'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.