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OpenVMS Hobbyist Program | VAX Systems Forums | VAX Software Forum
Author Unix on A DEC Vax?
haziz
Member

Posts: 1
Joined: 15.01.13
Posted on January 16 2013 05:47
I just picked up a DEC Vaxstation 90 with a built in CDROM and an auxiliary SCSI storage module with tape drive. I believe it is functional although I cannot test it yet since I still do not have a working terminal or monitor. I can get a VT-520 terminal and keyboard and will also try to resurrect a separate now defunct Radius monitor with the BNC connectors and I believe the ability to Sync on Green (somebody unfortunately tried to convert that monitor to a standard VGA connection and butchered it in the process). I am fairly comfortable with Linux and have played around a little with FreeBSD and Solaris in the past. I have never used VMS in the past. This is the first time I am working with a Vax computer.

I have a few questions:

Which Unix version to install on the Vax? Original UC Berkeley BSD Unix? OpenBSD? NetBSD? Ultrix if I can get a legal copy? AT&T Unix? For emotional reasons I may prefer to install some version of the original UC Berkeley BSD (1980s Bill Joy/Marshall Kirk McKusick Era), but will go with whichever is easier to install, the machine is newer (production started 1991) than the original BSD Unix versions. I would call it nostalgia except I never did use the original BSD Unix. Another consideration would be some version of AT&T Unix if it will run.

Is there a version of FreeBSD for the Vax?

If there is a functional VMS install on the machine's 4 hard drives (2 each in the machine and the auxilliary SCSI storage module), is there a way to dual boot between Unix and VMS?

I presume that I can get some verison of Emacs running on this system, it does not have to be recent. While Vi may be more historically correct on this machine I much prefer emacs.

Any suggestions or ideas?

My cell phone probably has significantly more computing power and far more memory and storage than this "minicomputer", I am approaching this as a hobbyist. I hope to use the system to explore BSD Unix (and possibly AT&T Unix) further and do some C programming on it. I anticipate to be working purely from the command line. I may explore VMS also at some point.
Author RE: Unix on A DEC Vax?
John Manger
Member

User Avatar

Posts: 63
Location: nr Heathrow, Middlesex, UK
Joined: 18.03.10
Posted on January 22 2013 09:21
My 2d/2c would be that NetBSD seems to be the most popular of the *BSD variants ported to VAX. Some of the oldest NetBSD/VAX releases get quite close to real 'old' BSD....

On the other hand, some people classify DEC's Ultrix as 'abandonware', and given the number of places it can be found on the 'net, I suspect the powers at HP probably feel the same too. The SIMH community often discuss Ultrix on SIMH/VAX, as do some of the old hardware and old Un*x enthusiast sites and forums, so they are good places to start looking for advice and so on.

John M
Author RE: Unix on A DEC Vax?
urbancamo
Member

Posts: 47
Location: Windermere, UK
Joined: 16.05.07
Posted on March 26 2013 11:37
If this is a VAXstation 4000/90 then it is too modern for Ultrix. NetBSD would appear to be your best bet although the machine is also supported under OpenBSD. There was rudimentary graphics support in OpenBSD but I'm not sure how usable it ever became. Be prepared for 'slow' however, you might be better off with an older distribution - certainly these BSD variants are nowhere near as quick on VAXen as VAX/VMS, but your milage may be better with a more appropriate vintage.

Good luck and please report back any successes!
http://www.wickensonline.co.uk
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malmberg
August 04 2022
No more VAX hobbyist licenses. Community licenses for Alpha/IA64/X86_64 VMS Software Inc. Commercial VMS software licenses for VAX available from HPE.

ozboomer
July 20 2022
Just re-visiting.. No more hobbyist licenses? Is that from vmssoftware.com, no 'community' licenses?

valdirfranco
July 01 2022
No more hobbyist license...sad

mister_wavey
February 12 2022
I recall that the disks failed on the public access VMS systems that included Fafner

parwezw
January 03 2022
Anyone know what happened to FAFNER.DYNDS.ORG? I had a hobbyist account here but can longer access the site.

gtackett
October 27 2021
Make that DECdfs _2.1A_ for Vax

gtackett
October 27 2021
I'm looking for DECdfs V2.4A kit for VAX. Asking here just in case anyone is still listening.

MarkRLV
September 17 2021
At one time, didn't this web site have a job board? I would love to use my legacy skills one last time in my career.

malmberg
January 18 2021
New Hobbyist PAKs for VAX/VMS are no longer available according to reports. Only commercial licenses are reported to be for sale from HPE

dfilip
January 16 2021
Can someone please point me to hobbyist license pak? I'm looking for VAX/VMS 7.1, DECnet Phase IV, and UCX/TCPIP ... have the 7.1 media, need the license paks ... thanks!

Bart
October 16 2020
OpenVMS, and this website!

malmberg
September 05 2020
VSI community non-commercial licenses for AXP/IA64 are available now.

malmberg
September 05 2020
See the forum about licensing. Don't know if HPE hobby licenses still being issued. Commercial licenses still being sold.

silfox70
September 01 2020
I need the license for OpenVMS7.3. Where can I find them?

malmberg
August 29 2020
Eisner, which is currently being moved, got an SSH update and the keys were updated to more modern encryption standards.

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