fromagique
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VAX/VMS on RaspberryPi

Tue Jun 05, 2012 1:23 pm

Hi everyone,

I just received my Pi yesterday, and I've managed to get an emulated VAX up and running to the point where I can telnet into it and actually do things. I used the simh package, which I've used before, and the software from the DEC/Compaq/HP hobbyist program. The VAX runs at a reasonable speed, faster than the real one I used many years ago. It has 64 megabytes of RAM allocated, which is a normal amount for this type of machine.

I had already done the long, tedious VMS installation process on another machine right after I ordered my Pi, so all I had to do once I had my Pi running from a rootfs on a larger USB disk (120GB) was copy the disk images and do a recompile of simh, which didn't take long.

It's pretty surreal to have a full VMS machine running in EMULATION, no less, on a $35 computer (plus accessories, but still...)
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Joe Schmoe
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Re: VAX/VMS on RaspberryPi

Tue Jun 05, 2012 1:53 pm

That's pretty cool. I never did VAX/VMS, but, in a related story, I've been able to use the PDP11 emulator of SimH to run RSTS/E on a Windows machine. Pretty cool in a nostalgic sort of way...
And some folks need to stop being fanboys and see the forest behind the trees.

(One of the best lines I've seen on this board lately)

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AndrewS
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Re: VAX/VMS on RaspberryPi

Tue Jun 05, 2012 5:24 pm

Cool, if you're into that sort of thing ;) Other simh fans: http://raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/search.php?keywords=simh

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SN
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Re: VAX/VMS on RaspberryPi

Tue Jun 05, 2012 5:37 pm

This I like. Of the IT systems I have helped deliver over the years one of my favs was one delivered on a handful of VAX 4000's into Sizewell B for monitoring purposes. I'd be keen to know how easy is it to get hold of the OpenVMS software through the Hobbyist Programme :D
Steve N – binatone mk4->intellivision->zx81->spectrum->cbm64->cpc6128->520stfm->pc->raspi ?

fromagique
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Re: VAX/VMS on RaspberryPi

Tue Jun 05, 2012 7:20 pm

You can find the OpenVMS Hobbyist program here: http://www.openvms.org/pages.php?page=Hobbyist. They require you to be a member of a user group, so you'll have to search around a bit. You can now download the required images, which is a real help as you used to have to buy the CD for $30. When you register, they'll send you a couple emails with license pak numbers for VMS and the associated layered products. You'll have to use these to get everything running. It's a pretty fiddly process--but there's an excellent follow-along tutorial by Phillip Wherry, available here: http://kuhl-us.com/gadgets/retrocomputing/vax-simh.html. It's from 2004, but everything's still the same. (VAX/VMS hasn't changed in that time as far as I know--the last available version is 7.3.)

You'll have to have some form of alternative (larger) storage available to do this, since the VMS disk images are far larger than the storage available on the SD card image. I used a USB hard disk that I had laying about, the original drive from my 2007 Macbook. The trick is getting the root filesystem onto the drive so it can take over and leave the SD card behind completely once the kernel boots. To do this, I used VirtualBox on my Mac, running Ubuntu 12.04, to mount the second partition of the 04-19 Debian image as a read-only filesystem using a loopback. I then connected the drive to the Pi, initialized it with a new set of partitions (using 'parted') and formatted the large 110Gb partition as ext4 and the small 8Gb partition as swap. I mounted the large partition, then used 'rsync' to copy the root filesystem over from the virtual machine on the Mac to the mounted partition on the Pi. Once it was done, I edited the etc/fstab file so it would activate the swap partition on reboot, and then edited the command line parameters in the SD card so that the root parameter pointed to /dev/sda1 (the large partition on the USB drive), and rebooted. The Pi came up and did its normal first-time initialization, and it's been running fine ever since. It's much, much faster at disk operations, of course... the SD card is slooooooooow. :)

W. H. Heydt
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Re: VAX/VMS on RaspberryPi

Tue Jun 05, 2012 7:36 pm

Now...can you make your simulated VAX run bsd 4.2 unix? (UCBerkeley used to run that on a VAX 11/750, aka ucbvax and bsd 2.9 on 5 PDP 11/70s--unixa through unixe.)

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n3tw0rk5
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Re: VAX/VMS on RaspberryPi

Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:06 pm

Now that cool, I used to work on a DEC/VAX system for TNT many moons ago. Cant remember any of it though :)

andyl
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Re: VAX/VMS on RaspberryPi

Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:30 pm

fromagique wrote:Hi everyone,

I just received my Pi yesterday, and I've managed to get an emulated VAX up and running to the point where I can telnet into it and actually do things.
Cool. I have a MicroVax 2000 sitting in a wardrobe. Running an emulator would provide more memory and run much faster than my real hardware. It would also be a more up-to-date version of VMS.

dtud2
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Re: VAX/VMS on RaspberryPi

Wed Jun 06, 2012 4:39 pm

I'm running Simh on the Pi as well but I gave up trying to find a VAX usergroup that didn't charge an annual subscription. I do have RSTS/E & OS8 running though, the latter with the Fortran release of Adventure which I find really cool - Colossal Caves by Level 9 on the ZX Spec with the first computer adventure that I ever played. Happy days :D
R Tape loading error, 0:1

brian_reiter
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Re: VAX/VMS on RaspberryPi

Wed Jun 06, 2012 8:22 pm

Glad I'm not the only sad one then! Although, to be fair, VMS is my day job.

Jock in a Frock
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Re: VAX/VMS on RaspberryPi

Thu Jun 07, 2012 4:48 am

Good stuff, people.

It occurs to me that it's only a matter of time before someone closes the loop and gets the Pi emulating a VAX, which then emulates a Solaris box, which then emulates a MAC, which the emulates a Wintel machine, which then emulates a Pi. But will it run Crysis?

I suspect that at that point, the decision will be made to power off the Large Hadron Collider, and go down the pub. After all, the above loop is more likely to result in Higgs Boson particles.... :lol:

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bonzadog
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Re: VAX/VMS on RaspberryPi

Sun Nov 08, 2015 6:20 pm

8.11.2015

Interesting information. Any chance of a tutorial??

I am interested in building a PDP 11/70 copy from Oscar
https://hackaday.io/project/4434-pidp-8i - This is PDP 8 project.
PDP11 should be around in about March 2016

So I would like to see what I need to do to get VAX running on a PDP simulator.

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