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Tips for setting up NFS server on OpenVMS to be accessed by a Linux Box

Esko Ilola
Occasional Advisor

Tips for setting up NFS server on OpenVMS to be accessed by a Linux Box

I have tried to collect some very useful tips for You who intent to host a web server on OpenVMS platform and want to do that with a Linux machine.

First things first - get the latest patches. Especially get the latest patch for TCPIP and ESPECIALLY if You run OpenVMS V7.3-2. The TCPIP does not run flawlessely in an out-of-the-box installation.

You could administer Your html with edit/tpu but for some reason I prefer using some WYSIWYG editor. As I am running a Linux workstation I use NWU. There might be some VMS based editors around but as I have this Linux thing ...

The problem with non-VMS editors is the peculiar file names and especially the distinctive directory syntax of VMS. I have not seen any html editor that survives raw VMS directories not to talk about the protection settings.

After several try-outs I succeeded quite well with sharing the VMS drive using NFS and mapping that into my Linux box.

At first the NFS did not want to cooperate at all. There were several reasons for this:
- the TCPIP was the out-of-the-box version and it needed the patch to stop wobbling
- the host names ARE case sensitive. Always preserve case in ADD EXPORT, MAP and ADD PROXY commands by using double quotes around IP addresses
- check and double check the proxy settings. I have at least 300 grey hair-straws on top of my skull because of these.
- the Linux NFS client ALWAYS tries TCP protocol first unless You tell it not to. The TCP try-out confuses the OpenVMS NFS server and causes peculiar "RPC not available" messages.

Here are the TCPIP settings for NFS server in my case:

TCPIP> show map
Dynamic Filesystem Map
Pathname Logical File System
/wwwdisk AS2000$DKA500:

TCPIP> show export
File System Host name
/wwwdisk/wwwroot fragpc.furpile.com
Options: Purge Typeless Name_cvt

TCPIP> show proxy
VMS User_name Type User_ID Group_ID Host_name
APACHE$WWW OND 500 500 fragpc.furpile.com
SYSTEM OND 0 1 fragpc.furpile.com

Note the Options on the export.
The Purge will keep versions at one. When I got the mapping working I had a lot of trouble with multiple file versions. The editor was not able to cope with them.
The Typeless rips off the .DIR from diorectory files. These were another source of trouble both for the editor and the Linux GUI which started acting strangely every time I opened a file dialog or tried to browse the files.
The Name_cvt is not needed if the volume has ODS-5 structure but it is essential for ODS-2 volumes. For ODS-5 volumes it is ignored.

Since the APACHE$WWW is the default UIC for Apache on OpenVMS the proxy mapping converts my Linux GID/UID into that one and vice-versa. This simplifies things a lot as the web server ONLY sees files that are owned by APACHE$WWW or are granted for it. For this reason one has to check and double check that the wwwroot directory is owned by APACHE$WWW. If not - You will not be able to share it either with NFS (with these settings) or web server.

In the linux side I found that the following line in /etc/fstab seemed to give the most reliable and efficient result:
as2000:/wwwdisk/wwwroot /mnt/wwwroot nfs rw,rsize=8192,wsize=8192,nolock,udp,hard,intr,vers=3

Hopefully this gives some glues for those who are as nuts as I am. Having a half-size refridgerator (AlphaServer 2000 4/233) as web server under the desk. On the other hand - it was the only machine that was still working after the multiple power failures during last summer thunder storms.
Never too late for VMS