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OpenVMS Hobbyist Program | OpenVMS Hobbyist Media Kits | OpenVMS Alpha Media Kits
Author firmware question concerning openvms 8.3 on DEC3000

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Posts: 36
Location: Provence
Joined: 19.12.07
Posted on February 10 2008 23:24

1. just looked on the HP website; for DEC3000 there's only firmware rev. 7.0 (m300_v7_0, m400_v7_0, etc) available.

I wanted to order the new media kit with openvms 8.3; will it run on DEC3000 with fw v7.0?

because openvms 8.3 seems to require fw v7.3.

2. will the hobbyist alpha media kit 4.0 CD boot with the original DEC scsi cd-rom drive? (guess it can read 650MB CDs only.)
So could I simply replace it with a drive being able to handle 700MB CDs?

Thank you!

best regards

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Posts: 36
Location: Provence
Joined: 19.12.07
Posted on February 11 2008 08:08
This is my DEC3000 model 600:

- Digital model no. PE42A-MA (codenamed: Sandpiper+), CPU: KN17, Series: BA47A
- 96 MB main memory
- PMAD-BA module (DEC Lance Ethernet)
- internal RRD43 (DEC 1084) SCSI CD-ROM drive
- two internal scsi hard disks

RRD43 is ok.
but is 96MB enough for one user?

the graphics is a turbochannel card with Bt chip, there is a sticker marked ME with a large s/n.
I don't know which graphics card it is. on the OpenVMS Graphics Controllers page you provided, there is no turbochannel card listed; at least I don't recognize any.

it was manufactured Mar-1994; don't know if there were any later upgrades; it had OSF installed.

as a test I tried to boot the binary kit openvms v7.2 CD after having upgraded the firmware and palcode with the fw CD that came with the v7.2 kit. both worked without problem. fw version is VPP PAL 5.56 I did not install v7.2 since I wanted to run v8.3.

thank you for your help!

best regards
[post edited to incorporate the previously open questions about graphics card compatibility]

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Posts: 36
Location: Provence
Joined: 19.12.07
Posted on February 11 2008 10:28
> Boot the box up to the SRM console and issue a SHOW CONFIG or SHOW DEVICE

the graphics card is on TC0: PMAGD-AA

quote from your page:

> [PMAGD-AA is supported, though] with OpenVMS V8.2 and later these controllers will only provide 2D capabilities.

2D is good enough for me.

> Per the OpenVMS SPD you'll want 3 GB disk for OpenVMS Alpha V8.3

I have rz26 and rz28, together 3MB.

> you load compilers and tools and page files and your own files.

I only need vms v8.3 and DECwindows. (don't need any compiler; have my own.)

> The minimum physical memory for OpenVMS itself is 64 MB. DECwindows will likely double that,

I only need two terminal emulation under xwindows/motif. no other applications except linker and librarian. (I have my own application which is not memory hungry.)

v7.1 runs nicely on my other 3000/300 for my application. I can't imagine, v8.3 blew the resource requirements so much up. but it is of course entirely possible.

the 3000/600 didn't cost me anything. if it won't run 8.3 I'll find another system. thanks for your advice on alternative systems. I can't use a I64. I need an alpha.

I'm in Europe and given the weight, shipping cost are prohibitive even for shipping within the same country.

a friend offered me an alphaserver 4000, but the power supply seems to be broken. (when I press the power switch, the light goes off after about 3 seconds.) it is a (double wide) tower, about twice as big as the 3000/600.

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Posts: 36
Location: Provence
Joined: 19.12.07
Posted on February 11 2008 23:39
my TC graphics card is supported (2D only). I edited my previous quote respectively.

> You'll want three gigabytes on one disk spindle as your system disk

2GB on one disk should be enough, if I only install v8.3 w/o decwindows. I could use SET HOST from the 300L (running v7.1). this way v8.3 should work with 96MB. ... once I get the network running from the [non-terminal emulation] console.

my task is just to check if an existing application which runs fine on 6.x and 7.x is compatible with v8.3. if not, any development work would be done under v7.1. (my application itself doesn't need xwindows/motif and it doesn't matter if it'd be slow.)

> AlphaServer 4100 (double-wide) series box is huge and power-hungry and somewhat faster (and loud),

thank you for the warning; good that I didn't take it smiley

so I'll give the new alpha media kit a try.

thank you for your help!

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Posts: 36
Location: Provence
Joined: 19.12.07
Posted on February 19 2008 23:15

- received my vms v8.3 hobbyist kit yesterday,
- installed base opsys on the 1GB disk without motif, without any layered products, and without running netconfig
- v8.3 did not require to upgrade the firmware
- made an image copy of my application disk to the 2GB disk while temporarily connected to my 3000/300L
- reconnected the 2GB disk to the 3000/600
- did some tests under v8.3 from OPA0: console
- to adapt some scripts I used edit/teco and suddenly I was back in the RT-11 world of 1980. smiley only I couldn't remember what the teco <ESC> was; it is <ctrl>[

- for running the debugger, the corresponding installation option in "development support" is required
- teco needs translated image support

so far everything I tried works great and runs faster compared to v7.1 on the 3000/300L. this means the base of v8.3 per se didn't become a monster. Once I get a bigger disk, I'll see how much slower it gets when running motif.

I guess this vms v8.3 systemdisk would also boot on the 3000/300L without problems.

I very much appreciate the openvms hobbyist kit, given I was not able to buy the v8.3 binary kit CD(s) directly from the producer (or reseller) - understandably, some orders are simply to small smiley, but at least today I've got the PAKs. Let's call it a day; the days are getting miraculous more often lately. smiley
Author disk space requirements

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Posts: 36
Location: Provence
Joined: 19.12.07
Posted on February 25 2008 08:52
Just installed DecWindows Motif with the traditional desktop (w/o new desktop and w/o 100 dpi video fonts) on the 1GB v8.3 systemdisk.

The system disk still has more than 400MB free space and the workstation runs nicely with 96MB main memory - at least with one user and two DECterm.
Author XDM might be helpful
Super Administrator

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Posts: 126
Location: Plano, TX
Joined: 20.02.08
Posted on February 26 2008 05:45
If you don't have a box with graphics hardware, you can still install DECWindows and set up remote X logins. This takes less memory that running all the graphics locally (since your PC/desktop is the X Server), yet you still have that look-and-feel of a OpenVMS workstation.

Go into the TCPIP$CONFIG, goto to Server Components, and enable/start XDM. You will probably have to make sure the files in SYS$SPECIFIC:[TCPIP$XDM] are set up. There are several .TEMPLATE files which need to be renamed to .TXT, .CONF, etc. Restart XDM.

From a Linux workstatation (I use Fedora), hit F10 in the Username box, and select XDMCP. It should see your system, and set up a "Greeter" box for you.
Author RE: firmware question concerning openvms 8.3 on DEC3000

Posts: 38
Location: Windermere, UK
Joined: 16.05.07
Posted on June 26 2010 21:34
The 3000/600 is one of my favourite alpha boxes, as long as you don't start taxing it with too much web browsing. Mine has a 24 bit graphics card which was fairly rare at the time, and on a trinitron based DEC 21" monitor produced stunning images...
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