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Character information
Common name VMS-tan
Also known as OpenVMS, Virtual Memory System
Human name(s) Vanessa Cutler
First appearance 2007
Height 173 cm (5 ft 8 in)
Hair color Navy w/ silver streaks
Eye color Lilac
Weapon(s) Broadsword/cleaver hybrid, knives, sabre
Faction CIOST
DEC Military (formerly)
Lineage DEC, PDP-11/VAX line
Rival(s) UNIX-tan
Computer criminals
Technical information
System personified VMS (OpenVMS)
Developer(s) VMS Software
Hewlett-Packard (2002–14)
Compaq (1998–2002)
Digital Equipment Corporation (1977–98)
Debut 1977-10-25
Latest release OpenVMS 8.4-2L2 (2017-07-10)

Technical details

OpenVMS — popularly shortened to VMS — is a server, mainframe and (super)minicomputer OS that runs on the VAX, Alpha and Itanium architectures; a port to x86-64 is underway. Originally released by DEC in 1977, VMS is notable for having among the best security, stability, clustering/networking and fault-tolerance features of any modern operating system. It maintains a small but dedicated userbase in the high-end server, commercial, scientific and hobbyist markets.

Character details

OpenVMS-tan is depicted as a somewhat tall, athletically-built woman, perhaps late 20s or early 30s in apparent age. She has light skin, numerous fencing scars, has lilac-colored eyes and long navy blue hair, usually tied in a high ponytail, and two long silver forelocks (bangs). She tends to be on the expressionless side - shows of strong emotion are rare, and because of this the smallest of smiles, shows of sadness or anger are usually treated as a serious event by her companions. In public, she typically wears a light gray half-mask to keep her identity hidden and her usual attire is dark in color and utilitarian in nature. She is often depicted wearing a high-collared, black button-up shirt, waistcoat, cargo-type pants, knee-high, strapped leather boots, fingerless gloves and a trenchcoat, as well as a leather belt and leg-holsters for her throwing knives. She carries a few knives at all time and also wields a large, silvery-colored broadsword - cleaver hybrid, its blade covered in a row of razor-sharp "shark's teeth". Her current style of grooming and dress is a far departure from the fashion of her youth; during her time in the DEC Faction (the late 1970s to late 1990s) she dressed in a slightly modified DEC Military uniform and kept her hair shorter.

VMS-tan is clear-minded and quick-witted, although she received little of the education afforded to the Unix-tans with whom she competes (although this wasn't exactly atypical among the native DEC OS-tans). In spite of this, she gets by quite well with her inborn intellect and is considered one of the finest self-defense and survival experts in the OS-tan community. Although she has good common sense, she is also prone to her own special brand of survivalist-related extravagance and it is thus debatable whether or not she is a pragmatist in the truest sense of the term.

Her demeanor is outwardly emotionless and personality likewise stoic, composed and attentive. Because of this, she is often mistaken as sociopathic or psychopathic, however her mind is perfectly sound and she is not lacking in conscience. Although she has a "hard shell", VMS-tan does indeed posses a warmer side known mostly to her friends and family. She has a fine - albeit rather caustic - sense of humor and a good capacity for recreation and fun. She is a lifelong lover of the outdoors, particularly the ocean, and had been involved in sailing since her youth; she started off sailing for sport, but has more recently taken to boating as a means of transportation and has sailed all over the world. As well, she is also involved in scuba-diving and especially enjoys swimming with sharks, her favorite animal.

VMS-tan has a strong sense of justice and feels a duty to keep others safe. Because of this, she hunts down malware and other security threats whenever possible (or practical), a pastime that has secured her a rather unfortunate status as "vigilante". Although she is a capable and brave fighter, she is not without her fears - although the majority of hers center on trivial subjects rather than anything truly terrifying.


Like many other high-end server and mainframe OS-tans, VMS-tan has been depicted as having supernatural powers - in her case, practicing a brand of geomancy that gives her power over water. However, she eschews magic for the most part, instead favoring the tangible and tactile nature of physical weaponry. As with many of her DEC-tan peers, she is a classically-trained fencer and used a variety of swords during her youth, becoming especially skilled with the rapier and sabre.

Family and Relationships

VMS-tan had a somewhat starchy relationship with her DEC peers. At the faction, she was closest with her mother RSX, step-sister VAX, as well as RSTS-tan and the eternally-affectionate PDP-1. She has a younger sister, VAXELN, but they rarely see each other due to differences of social circles and geography.

Her relationship with the Unices is mixed. While generally antagonistic toward the family, she and UNIX-tan started a rather decorous, but also vitriol-soaked friendship in the late 1970s. While she and Ultrix-tan started off as enemies, they later found common ground as "outcasts" within the faction and warmed to each other.

As leader of the CIOST, VMS-tan commands a rather large but disorganized and somewhat disparate following of OS-tans. She gets along best with VME, Primos and VOS-tan, although they are more akin to "comrades-in-arms" than friends in the traditional sense of the word. Although they were rivals for many years, TOPS-20-tan is a part of her faction, and she and VMS-tan have reconciled for the most part.

VMS-tan has few close friends but those she does have tend to be loyal and affectionate in their own unique ways. She and VAX-tan are still close, despite drifting apart geographically in recent years. eCOS-tan is her companion and self-proclaimed body-guard. She has two "adopted" children - FreeVMS and OZONE-tan - although she is rather clueless about raising kids and leaves the majority of the work to RED-kun - her personal text editor and long-time friend. It is implied that RED-kun at one point had romantic feelings for VMS-tan, although she didn't reciprocate his affection due to a differences of personality and a chronic lack of interest in romance or dating. His feelings seem to have dissipated in recent years and they now maintain a close platonic relationship.

History and background

Early life and rise to power

OpenVMS-tan debuted 1977, under the name VMS. Born to RSX-11 during the golden era of the DEC society, she was a reserved and responsible with a dry sense of humour – and a habit of snarking. Trained extensively in swordfighting (by her mother) and the art of geomancy (by Multics), she was inducted into the DEC military that year as a colonel. By 1988, she was a major general.

Her meteoric rise through the ranks ruffled the feathers of several of her coworkers and endangered the livelihoods of a few others, notably Tenex; outside of DEC, her popularity led to ITS's eventual deposal from MIT. While she viewed these “betrayals” as strictly a matter of business and something not in her own control, her rivals weren't as understanding; although recently she has made good with her old coworkers.

During the early 1980s VMS and unix became locked in fierce rivalry, one that continues to this day through BSD and her children. Unlike many rivals, VMS and Unix don't hate each other; their relationship is marked by good-natured, if not somewhat antagonistic, jousting.

Witnessing DEC's decline

Her name was changed to OpenVMS is 1992, but she continued to use her old moniker out of convenience. The first major trauma in her life occurred in 1993 when Windows NT was born and VMS subsequently discovered that she was, in part, a genetic copy of herself. The cloning was purported by VMS' creator who, after leaving DEC, was hired by the rising Microsoft empire to create their next generation of OS-tan – one capable of seizing the then-elusive server and minicomputer market. Taking advantage of the disarray of the Unix and OS Wars, NT was able to conquer already divided nations and secure the Windows empire in the professional market.

One of NT's targets was the already-weakened DEC empire; she faced off against VMS in a duel, completely unaware that her opponent was her mother. VMS, holding back for fear of injuring her daughter, was defeated; this experience made her rethink her life and pushed her toward her current-day mentality.

Post-DEC years

In 1998 the tattered DEC society was conquered by HP, and its -tans scattered to all corners of the earth. VMS, too powerful to be let go of, was kept on; she was one of only two ex-DEC officers not deposed of. Their stepsister is HP-UX, whom VMS doesn't get along with.

Feeling no allegiance to her new company, VMS set to wandering the world, gathering disparate OS-tans of all cultures and races together to fight the mainstream powers. This was the beginning of the Confederation of independent OS-tans, an underground group of technologically-advanced, but largely unknown OS-tans.

VMS's mother is RSX, has one sister, VAXELN, and two adopted children – OZONE and FreeVMS. She occasionally meets with her old DEC comrades, but lives on her own for the most part.

Theories and notes


VMS-tan's asexuality (and likely, aromanticism) has been more or less confirmed, in various comics, proposed storylines as well as two character interviews. While most of VMS' coworkers and friends know of - and accept - her orientation, her text editor assistant RED-kun tried for many years to win her affection, to no avail.

It has been speculated that VMS-tan was the most psychologically-affected of all the DEC-tans by the breakup of her company. In fear of becoming without a house or homeland once again, she took up residence on her ship - an old military vessel named DECADE - knowing that nobody would ever be able to put her out of her home again if she made a life on the sea.