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VMS 5.1.1 - Porting the existing application to a new OS

 
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Lim Jiann Neng
Occasional Visitor

VMS 5.1.1 - Porting the existing application to a new OS

Hi there,

Firstly, I am sure many of you might be surprised. VMS 5.1.1? Well, I know this has become a "dinosaur" but the fact is...I guess if you can help me on this, that could save our company :)

I just joined my company recently only to know that they have a machine running on VMS 5.1.1 for the past 14 years! There is a very critical application (very important to the business of our company) running in it. So my task is to try to "port" this apps to a new machine before that "fossil" dies out.

To be frank, I don't know anything about VMS. It doesn't seem to be a UNIX to me. I know HP has a new OpenVMS, but before I actually break my company's budget (we are just a small company) to get any replacement for it, I really wish to have a few questions solved:

1. Well, is VMS a UNIX?

2. If it is a UNIX, can I port that old apps to any UNIX clones? e.g. Linux?

3. If it is not, is HP's OpenVMS the saviour?

4. After browsing through many websites, I still don't have a clue about this VMS 5.1.1...so can anyone teach me some basic commands that I can use to "dig out" the contents of that old machine? Currently, I can use HyperTerminal in Win98 to dial in, but that OS doesn't seem to like my UNIX commands...

Thank you. Hope anyone out there can help me.

Lim,
Malaysia.
24 REPLIES 24
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Simon Tebbutt
Occasional Visitor
Solution

Re: VMS 5.1.1 - Porting the existing application to a new OS

Good morning Lim.

A quick answer is that no, (Open)VMS is not a Unix variant. As a starting point I'd recommend you check out the FAQ at (urls may wrap)http://h71000.www7.hp.com/wizard/openvms_faq.html

This forum is very new, and I would also suggest you may get more response if you post this to the comp.os.vms newsgroup (http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&group=comp.os.vms)

Bradford Hamilton
Regular Advisor

Re: VMS 5.1.1 - Porting the existing application to a new OS

Lim wrote:

After browsing through many websites, I still don't have a clue about this VMS 5.1.1...so can anyone teach me some basic commands that I can use to "dig out" the contents of that old machine? Currently, I can use HyperTerminal in Win98 to dial in, but that OS doesn't seem to like my UNIX commands...

Hi Lim,

This site contains a quick primer for System Management of VMS systems:

http://h71000.www7.hp.com/training.html

The User's Guide also contains valuable information:

http://h71000.www7.hp.com/doc/731FINAL/6489/6489PRO.HTML

Please note that both resources are keyed to the current version of VMS (V7.3-1), but there are enough similarities between V5.5-1 and V7.3-1 to make the resources useful.

One other thing - VMS and OpenVMS are the same thing, just revised nomenclature. Most veterans of VMS consider the "Open" to be silent.

:-)
Todd Maurer
Advisor

Re: VMS 5.1.1 - Porting the existing application to a new OS

Lim,

Others have already made excellent pointers to web solutions.

For that version of OpenVMS (then simply VMS) there used to be what was affectionately called the "Gray Wall." This was a set of loose leaf gray binders that can fill a tall bookshelf. See if you can find this set of documentation at your site.

In the gray wall there were two sizes of binders. The larger binders were mostly reference material in the format similar to a dictionary. The smaller size binders were "User Guides..." that were more like an encyclopedia. I'd suggest that you start with those.

Todd
OpenVMS is here to stay
Stanley F Quayle
Valued Contributor

Re: VMS 5.1.1 - Porting the existing application to a new OS

Your VMS system is running on a VAX. While new VAXen (plural of VAX) haven't been made for a few years, you can move the existing application, without a re-write to a VAX emulator.

I suggest you look at:

www.stanq.com/charon-vax.html

(And, yes, I happen to sell VAX emulators and services. If you fill out the attachment and email to stan@stanq.com, I can get you a quote on mirating your system.)
http://www.stanq.com/charon-vax.html
Martin Johnson
Honored Contributor

Re: VMS 5.1.1 - Porting the existing application to a new OS

The docuementation for OpenVMS is some of the best I have ever seen! Try to get your hands on it.

Whether or not you can "port" this application depends on whether you have the source code and what environment you want to port to.

Porting to later versions of OpenVMS (6.x, 7.x) should be no problem - just backup and restore. The same for other VAX hardware.

OpenVMS is not Unix. While it supports Posix standards, they are not enforced. So porting to Unix may incur some problems. For example, if the developer made heavy use of system service calls, you may be doing a rewrite as opposed to a port.

Using a OpenVMS emulator will incur addition resource overhead, particularly CPU. If performance is an issue, this may not be a viable alternative. If you do not have the source, this is the only way you can port to non-OpenVMS.

If you are attempting to OpenVMS/alpha you will need the source. Once ported to OpenVMS/alpha you will be in position to port to OpenVMS/intel, which is the future of OpenVMS.

HTH
Marty
Lim Jiann Neng
Occasional Visitor

Re: VMS 5.1.1 - Porting the existing application to a new OS

Thanks everyone. I really appreciate all your guides and links given to me on VMS.

After reading through the faq and some documentation, I started to get to know VMS, and just a bit more time, I think I will be able to find a solution to my company.

Thanks again!
Warren Sander
Occasional Advisor

Re: VMS 5.1.1 - Porting the existing application to a new OS

For some of the 'what is vms' etc you can also look at a page we prepared for 'student research' at http://h71000.www7.hp.com/wizard/student_research.html

which as a number of pointers, some already given here but others like the 20th anniversary book have some insight.

also you might want to look at http://h71000.www7.hp.com/openvms-release-history.html which will let you know what 5.1.1 was released in June 1989

as for your unix commands that won't work. but of key importance is the HELP command (man in unix).

DIR (directory) command is the same as ls

VMS uses 'switches' the way unix uses command line options

ie

$dir/size=all/date/prot is fairly close to
ls -l

and
copy file.ext newfile.ext
is the same as
cp

etc.
Stanley F Quayle
Valued Contributor

Re: VMS 5.1.1 - Porting the existing application to a new OS

Martin Johnson wrote:

> Using a OpenVMS emulator will incur addition resource overhead, particularly CPU. If performance is an issue, this may not be a viable alternative.

Actually, current versions of CHARON-VAX running on a 2 GHZ dual-processor PC are faster than any single-processor VAX ever built.

And they're working on creating multiple-processor versions...

http://www.stanq.com/charon-vax.html
Martin Johnson
Honored Contributor

Re: VMS 5.1.1 - Porting the existing application to a new OS

Stanley,

You are right, the hardware has come a long way since they stopped producing VAXes. I was thinking about my experiences with emulaors back when they were still producing VAXes.

Marty