31-03-2018 | Remy van Elst
(You can read all my OpenVMS articles by clicking the picture above)
Last week I registered myself with the DECUServe OpenVMS system. I also registered with HP as an OpenVMS hobbyist and got OpenVMS 7.3 for VAX. This small blog item describes my first steps with the hosted DECUS OpenVMS system. I'm excited since I now know how to create folders, navigate the filesystem and edit files. Oh and I had a nice chat with another OpenVMS user via the PHONE program.
As I like to mess around with legacy systems like the PDP-8 and the PDP-11, VAX/VMS and thus OpenVMS seems to be a great step forward. Started out as a hardware project to be a a 32-bit virtual address extension for the PDP-11, the VAX saw it's birth at DEC around 1977. Accompanied with several operating systems, like DEC systems before, the VAX could run a lot of software including PDP-11 software. Also released around 1977 was VMS, one of the operating systems for the VAX-11/780. Renamed to VAX/VMS with the release of version 2 in 1980. Ported to the Alpha architecture and renamed OpenVMS with version 6 in 1992. In 2001 with version 8.2 it was ported to the Intel Itanium architecture and now also being ported to the x86 architecture, hopefully ready in 2019, a port by VMS Software Inc. (VSI). A venerable operating system with lots of history behind it and a great future ahead.
Lively among hobbyists (Dutch article), with recent articles on clustering and installing OpenVMS, I wanted to enjoy this as well, so I decided to register as a hobbyist with HP Enterprise's OpenVMS Hobbyist program. It is required to be part of a 'chapter' of OpenVMS Hobbyists, and
DECUServe seems to be the only club left that allows registration and is open to all.
At first I did not fill in a number and chapter, but was contacted by HPe to register with DECUS before I could become a member. So I did, via http://decus.org.
Using the following SSH command you can connect to DECUS and register:
ssh -oHostKeyAlgorithms=+ssh-dss REGISTRATION@eisner.decus.org
Follow the online interactive instructions and you're good to go.
As I registered I can login with my username and password:
N O T I C E This is Encompasserve. Access is for subscribed individuals only. o By logging into the system you agree to abide by the Encompasserve Canons of Conduct. o Source code or any other information posted on this system is not warranted in any way. YOU USE IT AT YOUR OWN RISK. o If you submit source code to or post information on this system, you must allow its unrestricted use. You must have the right to grant such permission. o Refer to the Encompasserve Canons of Conduct, posted in the DECUServe_Information conference topic 4.3, for further guidance. o Report problems in DECUServe_Forum. For information about Encompasserve please login under -> Username INFORMATION To subscribe to Encompasserve please login under -> Username REGISTRATION To report any form of a problem please login under -> Username PROBLEMS To renew an Expired account please login under -> Username REGISTRATION EXAMPLE@eisner.decus.org's password: Last interactive login on Thursday, 29-MAR-2018 03:22:35.36 1 login failure since last successful login You have 1 new Mail message. %DCL-S-SPAWNED, process EXAMPLE_45713 spawned User [EXAMPLE] has 63 blocks used, 9937 available, of 10000 authorized and permitted overdraft of 0 blocks on DISK_USER $ Subprocess EXAMPLE_45713 has completed
Now for the most exiting part of my OpenVMS journey yet, navigating the filesystem. It is not as you would expect on a Linux/UNIX system, as
ls dropped me into some sort of file editor:
$ ls [End of File] Buffer: $MAIN | Write | Insert | Forward (Pressed CTRL+Z) LSE> exit $
Okay, that's not working. Lets try the (Windows) alternative:
$ DIR Directory EISNER$DRA3:[DECUSERVE_USER.EXAMPLE] $MAIN.TPU$JOURNAL;1 ICREATEDAFOLDERYAY.DIR;1 LOGIN.COM;1 MAIL.MAI;1 NOTES$NOTEBOOK.NOTE;1 REMY.DAT;2 REMY.DAT;1 WWW.DIR;1 Total of 8
To be honest, I found out that command after reading through 9 chapters of OpenVMS documentation from HP.
As you can see I managed to create some files and a folder. As you might also notice, the names and structure is way different that a Linux filesystem.
This is my understanding so far. OpenVMS directories are not seperated by a
/ (as on UNIX) but a dot (
.). A full file path can be addressed by it's file specification that has the following format:
So in the case above, there is an
INDEX.HTML file in the
WWW folder, which can be addressed via:
$ dir [.WWW] Directory EISNER$DRA3:[DECUSERVE_USER.EXAMPLE.WWW] INDEX.HTML;1 Total of 1 file.
As far as I know a folder should be surrounded by
[brackets] and the dot in front of WWW specifies the current folder. I could also write the full file specification:
$ dir EISNER$DRA3:[DECUSERVE_USER.EXAMPLE.WWW] Directory EISNER$DRA3:[DECUSERVE_USER.EXAMPLE.WWW] INDEX.HTML;1 Total of 1 file.
Creating a folder is not done with
$ mkdir raymii %DCL-W-IVVERB, unrecognized command verb - check validity and spelling \MKDIR\
But with the logically named
create command, and the correct folder specifications, with brackets and a leading dot:
$ create /dir [.RAYMII] $ dir [.RAYMII] %DIRECT-W-NOFILES, no files found
Changing folders, again, not done with
cd. Printing the current folder is not
pwd as well, but
$ show default DISK_USER:[DECUSERVE_USER.EXAMPLE]
Changing the folder is
$ set default [.WWW] $ dir Directory EISNER$DRA3:[DECUSERVE_USER.EXAMPLE.WWW] INDEX.HTML;1 Total of 1 file.
Changing back to the previous folder:
$ set default DISK_USER:[DECUSERVE_USER.EXAMPLE] $ dir Directory EISNER$DRA3:[DECUSERVE_USER.EXAMPLE] $MAIN.TPU$JOURNAL;1 ICREATEDAFOLDERYAY.DIR;1 LOGIN.COM;1 MAIL.MAI;1 NOTES$NOTEBOOK.NOTE;1 REMY.DAT;2 REMY.DAT;1 WWW.DIR;1 Total of 8 files. $
I very briefly dabbled with
EVE to create some files:
EVE REMY.DAT hello print this is a test [End of file] Buffer: REMY.DAT | Write | Insert | Forward 5 lines read from file EISNER$DRA3:[DECUSERVE_USER.EXAMPLE]REMY.DAT;2
It seems to be an interactive editor, pressing CTRL+Z saves the file:
7 lines written to file EISNER$DRA3:[DECUSERVE_USER.EXAMPLE]REMY.DAT;3
Other editors are available, like
TECO, which was on several PDP-8 operating systems as well. To be continued in a new article.
As you saw in the above examples, OpenVMS by default supports file versioning. On every file on it's filesystem. How awesome is that? 32,767 versions are supported by default and there is nothing you have to do or remember. Just create and edit files!
Managing versions is quite easy as well. Since the version number is appended to the filename (
REMY.DAT;1) after a semicolon, you just use file system commands (which I haven't figured out yet) to remove or edit specific versions.
Editing version 2 of the file
Or using the
TYPE command (
cat on linux) to show the difference:
$ type REMY.DAT;2 hello print this is a test
$ type REMY.DAT;1 hello this is a test
I don't understand we don't have this as an option on modern linux systems to enable. Windows has something like it,
VSS, but that has to be set up and provides only timed backups. This however is default and awesome.
SHOW USERS command I was able to see a list of currently logged in users:
$ show users OpenVMS User Processes at 31-MAR-2018 14:46:06.54 Total number of users = 9, number of processes = 11 Username Interactive Subprocess Batch EXAMPLE 1 HARROD 1 HENKLE 2 1 JACKSON 1 MALMBERG 1 PARRIS 1 REICHERT_D 1 SCHENKENBERG 1 SPALDING 1
There was a user online and I used the
PHONE program to initiate a chat with
CORNELIUS (hi George). It was a nice chat, until work required attention. Exit with CTRL+Z.
Thank you George for the nice talk we had!
The above image shows my discussion with George and my enthousiasm on just having figured out how to create a folder on this OpenVMS system.
I found out, with the documentation, some other commands.
show command shows general information:
$ show system OpenVMS V8.4-2L2 on node EISNER 31-MAR-2018 14:32:46.22 Uptime 9 03:43:15 Pid Process Name State Pri I/O CPU Page flts Pages 00000201 SWAPPER HIB 16 0 0 00:00:04.75 0 4 00000204 LANACP HIB 14 69 0 00:00:00.03 112 138 00000206 FASTPATH_SERVER HIB 10 9 0 00:00:00.03 78 95 00000207 IPCACP HIB 10 10 0 00:00:00.00 37 51 00000208 ERRFMT HIB 8 13946 0 00:00:03.87 113 134 $ show network Product: MULTINET Node: Eisner.Encompasserve.org Address(es): 10.10.127.2 Product: DECNET Node: EISNER Address(es): 11.91 $ show cpu System: EISNER, AlphaServer DS20 500 MHz CPU ownership sets: Active 0,1 Configure 0,1 CPU state sets: Potential 0,1 Autostart 0,1 Powered Down None Not Present None Hard Excluded None Failover None $ show memory System Memory Resources on 31-MAR-2018 14:39:40.52 Physical Memory Usage (pages): Total Free In Use Modified Main Memory (1.50GB) 196608 21718 163141 11749 Extended File Cache (Time of last reset: 22-MAR-2018 10:48:42.07) Allocated (MBytes) 749.39 Maximum size (MBytes) 768.00 Free (MBytes) 0.04 Minimum size (MBytes) 3.12 In use (MBytes) 749.35 Percentage Read I/Os 92%
HELP command is very good as well:
$ help show SHOW Displays information about the current status of a process, the system, or devices in the system. Format SHOW option Additional information available: Description ACCOUNTING ACL AUDIT BROADCAST CLUSTER CPU DEFAULT DEVICES DISPLAY ENTRY ERROR FASTPATH IMAGE INTRUSION KEY LICENSE LOGICAL MEMORY NETWORK PRINTER PROCESS PROTECTION QUEUE QUOTA RMS_DEFAULT ROOT SECURITY SERVER SHADOW STATUS SYMBOL SYSTEM TERMINAL TIME TRANSLATION USERS WORKING_SET ZONE
I'm very happy this system exists and that there are still other people around to keep it running and let new folks like me enjoy and learn about it. The last time I was so enthousiastic about navigating a file system was with the PDP-8 and OS/8, and now with OpenVMS. I do expect to learn more about OpenVMS and eventually installing my own system with
simh and the Hobbyist binaries I got from HPe, including a ISO image for OpenVMS 7.3 for the VAX architecture.
I do have one unread email, but no idea how to read that. So that will be the next challenge ahead, figure out how to read and reply to emails. Fun times ahead!
Oh and I also don't know yet how to exit an SSH session other than closing the window.