VMS rediscovery journal

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VMS rediscovery journal

Postby papa » Thu Dec 10, 2015 3:45 pm

To celebrate my new account on OpenVMS/VAX, I'll share my experiences getting reacquainted with VMS.

I was never a VMS expert. After using a VAX/VMS system a couple of times in college days long ago, I've played a little bit with the Alpha here and on the Deathrow cluster (R.I.P.), but even then it's been a couple of years since I've done more than logged-on. This is an adventure of rediscovering the little about VMS I knew, and then onward and upward.

Day 1

Logged-in, changed my password, poked around my home directory, wrote/compiled/ran programs in BASIC, FORTRAN, C. Tried unsuccessfully to set up my VAX web page.

Commands: MAIL, HELP, SET PASSWORD, DIR, TYPE, BASIC, LINK, RUN, FORTRAN, CC, SET DEFAULT, SET SECURITY /PROTECTION

There are also programs FORTH and MACRO, which I haven't checked out yet.

Keep hacking the good hack!
David "papa" Meyer
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Re: VMS rediscovery journal

Postby cjpinon_solaris » Thu Dec 10, 2015 4:46 pm

I don't believe that I've ever used OpenVMS, but I always associate commands in capital letters with it. ;-) It sounds intriguing.

What kind of mail program is MAIL? Is it like the basic "mail" (or "mailx") program? Is (al)pine or mutt available?

C.
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Re: VMS rediscovery journal

Postby zoli » Thu Dec 10, 2015 5:57 pm

Yes, there is PINE available :)

...and the web page problem is caused by a home directory permission issue. I'll check later what could it be.

@Christopher don't be shy. Just create an accout on any system and use it - like David.
You do not need to bother either with the applications etc. You are a verified user.
Regards,
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Re: VMS rediscovery journal

Postby papa » Thu Dec 10, 2015 7:21 pm

VMS MAIL is comparable to Unix mail or mailx, though as typical of DEC products the commands are more verbose, but come with good internal help files.
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Re: VMS rediscovery journal

Postby cjpinon_solaris » Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:47 pm

@Christopher don't be shy. Just create an accout on any system and use it - like David.
You do not need to bother either with the applications etc. You are a verified user.


That's kind of you, Zoli, thanks. :-) At the moment, all those capital letters still frighten me, but I'll try to find the courage at some point. ;-)

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Re: VMS rediscovery journal

Postby zoli » Fri Dec 11, 2015 12:09 am

hahaha you do not need to be afraid of capital letters.
In fact OpenVMS DCL and the ODS-2 file system is case insensitive.
Writing commands with capital letters is more like a custom :)
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Re: VMS rediscovery journal

Postby papa » Fri Dec 11, 2015 2:24 am

TAKE THE RED PILL, C!

:twisted:
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Re: VMS rediscovery journal

Postby papa » Fri Dec 11, 2015 3:03 am

Day 2

File system navigation.

File identifier: device:[path]filename.ext;version (As opposed to unified tree of Unix: /device-mount-point/path/filename.ext)

Path levels are separated by periods ("."), like [HOME.P.PAPA] (Instead of slash ("/"), /home/p/papa in Unix).

If you leave off the device or path, defaults to those of the previously accessed file.

Version defaults to the latest version.

[.directory] indicates a subdirectory of the current working directory. (Unix: directory )

[-] indicates the parent directory of the current working directory. (Unix: .. )

Change working directory: SET DEFAULT [directory] (Unix: cd directory )

Change working directory to home directory: SET DEFAULT SYS$LOGIN (Unix: cd )

Your home directory is recorded in the logical name (like a Unix environment variable) SYS$LOGIN, which can be displayed with the command: SHOW LOGICAL SYS$LOGIN (Unix: echo $HOME )

(VMS commands are case-insensitive. Shown here in CAPS for clarity, tradition, and intimidation. ;) )

(VMS commands and subcommands may be abbreviated to a unique prefix.)

Plus ultra ...
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Re: VMS rediscovery journal

Postby cjpinon_solaris » Fri Dec 11, 2015 3:42 pm

TAKE THE RED PILL, C!


I think that I'll stay with the blue pill in the case of OpenVMS. :-) OpenVMS looks like a harsh reality -- no illusions. ;-)

Heck, I'm still struggling with Solaris, which is a much more domesticated animal than OpenVMS. :-)

C.
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Re: VMS rediscovery journal

Postby papa » Fri Dec 11, 2015 4:35 pm

I can never remember which pill is which. :shock:

Day 2.5

Create subdirectory: CREATE/DIRECTORY [directory]

Delete subdirectory (two steps): (after emptying files from subdirectory ...)

SET SECURITY/PROTECTION=(O:D) directory.DIR
DEL directory.DIR


List connected users: SHOW USERS

Pascal compiler: PASCAL filename

Online help: HELP
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Re: VMS rediscovery journal

Postby papa » Sat Dec 12, 2015 8:41 pm

Day 3

I got the multi-user dungeon game MONSTER compiled and running. I will be making it available to all my fellow VAXplorers.

Now to build a world ...

Found some other games, but have been having trouble figuring out BACKUP ...

Plus ultra ...
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Re: VMS rediscovery journal

Postby cjpinon_solaris » Sun Dec 13, 2015 7:14 pm

Thanks, David, for these VMS tips, which will be useful if I ever venture into VMS. :-) (Or do you go by "Papa"?)
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Re: VMS rediscovery journal

Postby papa » Mon Dec 14, 2015 12:52 am

Either way is fine.

Glad you're enjoying the exploration journal. Get yourself an account and we can play with VMS's communications functions!
David "papa" Meyer
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Re: VMS rediscovery journal

Postby papa » Wed Dec 16, 2015 9:02 am

Day 4

Learned to use SHARE archive files to build a later version of MONSTER.

Does anyone know MONSTER's claim to "fame"? You can't be blamed for not knowing, since this is ancient history of a very small corner of the Internet.

Before there were Massively Multi-player On-line Role-Playing Games, there were MUDs, which were on-line text adventure games that allowed multiple players to connect and interact with each other and with the textual virtual world of the game. Although the most popular MUDs (Many are still on-line; and though the vast majority are virutal ghost towns, a few still attract active players.) centered on hack-and-slash Dungeons and Dragons-like play, the thinking-man's MUDs were those powered by descendants of the TinyMUD server, which in addition to offering an on-line fantasy world to play in, also allowed the players themselves to expand the world, creating new virtual spaces, objects, and monsters of any description their sick little minds could conceive. The original TinyMUD game was closed after only seven months on-line because it's player-generated world database expanded beyond its host's memory capacity.

tl;dr MONSTER was the inspiration for TinyMUD. It is a simple on-line, multi-player, player-produced, text adventure game.

I think creating Polarhome's own MONSTER game would be great fun, a good use for our OpenVMS environment, and a community-builder. Contact me if you're interested.

I have also been working on some documents that I hope to share via a publicly accessible directory on either VAX or ALPHA. I'm working on a cheat sheet for the TECO editor and a summary of VMS commands (a condensed version of my exploration logs here; and part of a larger Mainframe Rosetta document I'm creating to summarize commands from a wide variety of retro computing environments. Next on my list is a cheat sheet for the EVE editor.
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Re: VMS rediscovery journal

Postby zoli » Wed Dec 16, 2015 10:53 am

Very high ambitions, but I will be the last one who blames you - instead I'll provide all support you need.
Regards,
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Re: VMS rediscovery journal

Postby papa » Fri Jan 15, 2016 12:50 am

VMS exploration will continue. I have been merely distracted by a holiday vacation and another Polarhome project that should be ready to come blinking into the light within a few days. ... he hinted mysteriously!

Stay tuned to Polarhome, your home in cyberspace.

Plus ultra ...
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