Setting up a VMS system

dave.g4ugm at dave.g4ugm at
Wed Sep 22 10:50:58 CDT 2021

> -----Original Message-----
> From: cctalk <cctalk-bounces at> On Behalf Of Philip
> Pemberton via cctalk
> Sent: 22 September 2021 13:22
> To: cctalk at
> Subject: Setting up a VMS system
> 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.

OK Well I wonder if it needs a licence. That may be an issue...

> Problem is that I've never used VMS before, and don't have a clue how to
> install or use it.

You will find copies of OpenVMS and the documentation on 
The commands are generally similar to Unix/DoS but it has many unique quirks.
It creates versions of files. So if you run the same copy command twice, you get two output files. 
Assuming non were there before these will have a ";1" and ";2" on the end.
I seem to remember the PURGE command cleans this up.
I would just google "openvms vax install simh" and see which one suits your style of working.
Lots of tutorials too.,
> 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?

Well if you are using SIMH you can probably use FTP. If the files are small enough you can also create an ISO and mount it on OPENVMS
This will be mounted as a "foreign" disk as VMS CDs are written using the VMS file format.

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

I think its the best but there are many types of VAX,

has many variants.

> 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 won't get one from HP but there are work arounds.
HP has allowed us to share our files. Let me know of list if you need it.

> Cheers
> Phil.


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