Setting up a VMS system

Antonio Carlini a.carlini at
Wed Sep 22 08:05:50 CDT 2021

On 22/09/2021 13:21, Philip Pemberton via cctalk wrote:
> Hopefully a few of the DEC/VMS fans here might be able to help!
> I'm on a bit of a quest. I've been given some old VAX/VMS software -- 
> a cross compiler and some source code -- that I'd like to get running. 
> My goal is to get the source code building and experiment with the 
> compiler a bit.
> Problem is that I've never used VMS before, and don't have a clue how 
> to install or use it.

One of the other replies supplies a "how to install from scratch in 
SIMH" link, so that would be a good starting point.

Might be faster to install on a speedy machine though (I've never tried 
on any Pi but I doubt that any of them will match a Ryzen ...)

> Can any point me to an idiot's guide to VMS, how to set it up and make 
> it possible to send files to it from my Linux box?
The easiest way to transfer that I can think of would be to set up 
TCP/IP on OpenVMS and then just FTP (or NFS if you you set that up).

There is (or at least, was) a version of SAMBA for OpenVMS, so that's 
another way if you like Windows.

> I'm thinking of using SIMH, unless there's a better emulator available.

SIMH works really well. Well enough that if you give OpenVMS (VAX) a 
sufficiently large disk (30GB should do), it will crash when trying to 
mount it :-)

> I'm still waiting on a reply from HP with a hobbyist licence PAK (I've 
> filled out the form), but I figure I can get started on the learning 
> while I wait.
You'll be a wizard before you stop waiting. Hobbyist PAKs are no longer 
available. I forget whether the existing PAKs run out at the end of 2021 
or 2022.

VSI are not allowed to issue PAKs for VAX (I'm not sure whether they 
simply cannot do it or are not allowed to do it, but either way, they 


Antonio Carlini
antonio at

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