OpenVMS notes

Back in the olden days of my career, I was introduced to the OpenVMS operating system, and like everyone else – I found I liked it! It’s a pretty logical and intuitive operating system. Anyhow, while I was re-establishing these “other operating system” environments, I wanted to bring up a virtual OpenVMS system. I’m primary writing this for future-Robert in case I ever need or want to set up a VMS environment. So, I’m just jotting down my notes here.

The Hardware:
Well, although you can pick up an AlphaServer on ebay for a couple of hundred, I wanted to have a virtual environment. So, I found FreeAXP. This is a command-line based emulator that runs on Windows. When you kick it off, it basically looks like this:


then, it launches a an instance of putty and leaves you at the >>> (triple-chevron) boot prompt:


OK – so all you need now is the operating system media.

The Software:
Although you might be able to get the media from someone who uses OpenVMS – ultimately, you will need a valid license to enable certain things. I put in my $30 order here: for the “hobbyist” license.

Getting Started…
Once you have the media – put the OS CD into your PCs drive, and set up your virtual machine (note the “Physical CD-ROM” setting on DKA100:


With setup like above, that means that the VM can access that CDROM of the operating system by pointing to the DKA100 device. So, at our boot prompt, we simply do a:

>>>b DKA100

which “boots the DKA100” device, the CDROM. From there, it is a menu-driven installation to install the operating system. When you reboot, and from that point on – you can boot the operating system by typing:

>>>b DKA0

because that is your main hard drive where the operating system is now installed. You can also automatically boot by running these commands at the >>> too:


By the way, once you set your system to auto-boot – what if you need to get back to the >>>? Well, just do a CTRL+P to break out to the boot prompt, then type continue to go back to booting.

With that said, one of the first things you probably want to do is create an admin-ish account. During the installation, you were prompted to create a password for “system”, the “root” or “administrator” account for OpenVMS. So, while logged in as system, you can do the following:

At the $ prompt, type “mc authorize” and hit enter. At the UAF> prompt, do something like this:

UAF> copy system jdoe /uic=[1,6] /dev=sys$sysdevice /dir=[jdoe] /password=ThePassword /nopwdex /owner=”John Doe”

This will put the “jdoe” account in the 1 group (which is system) and the id is 6 (hence the [1,6]). This results in something like this:


At that point, you can login as jdoe. You might want to create a that does a few common things. So, login as jdoe, create the directory:

$ create /directory sys$sysdevice:[jdoe] /owner:jdoe

and type:

$ edit

Paste these contents, at a minimum:

$       SET PROMPT = “”GETNODE’> ”
$       copy    :== copy/log
$       del*ete :== delete/log
$       dir     :== dir/siz/dat/own
$       show time

Then do CTRL+Z to save:


Now you can do “” to execute – or just log out and log back in to see the new prompt (for example):


So – those are some of the basics. I am still waiting for my license so that I can get TCP/IP setup. After that, it’s onto some layered products…

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