[FreeVMS] Command and qualifier validation

Subject: [FreeVMS] Command and qualifier validation
Date: Thu Jan 01 2004 - 19:02:50 CET


One of the things I wasn't all that crazy about VMS-wise; was the fact that
commands and qualifiers were only validated to 4 character positions. After
that ... you could have whatever characters you wanted in the command or
qualifier and they were simply ignored.

For example, on OpenVMS 7.2, the following works like a charm:

   $ diredkdkd /sizedkdkdk=all

Oddly enough, parameters seem to get different treatment, note:

   $ showdkdkd memodkdkd /filedkdkdk
   %DCL-W-IVKEYW, unrecognized keyword - check validity and spelling

However, the following goes through:

   $ showdkdkd memo /filedkdkd

So ... this seems like an inconsistency within VMS itself. Why should there
be a 4 character limitation on command and qualfiers and not parameters? I
can't see any justification.

What I propose is to remove the 4 character validation; and that the command
has to validate completely to spec. No invalid characters would be allowed.

How do others feel about this?

I presume this was an optimization made; allowing the commands and qualifiers
to be stored in tables of 4-byte values (presumably blank-padded if less than
4 character). This is an optimization I would not buy into anymore. It may
have made sense in 1978 when VMS 1.0 came around; and VMS itself can't change
due to compatibility requirements. But ... what would we like to do here in

-Jay Pedersen

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