OpenVMS x86 guides for VirtualBox

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OpenVMS x86 guides for VirtualBox

Post by raymii » Sun Apr 16, 2023 4:44 pm

Hi All,

I was involved with the AXPBox project, an Alpha emulator based on ES40, but that seems to be finished, works just fine to get X11 / CDE running. Now that the x86 hobbyist program is available, I'm back into OpenVMS and am having a lot of fun. I wrote a few guides to help new people get started on VirtualBox:

- Part 1, covers installation in VirtualBox: ... arted.html
- Part 2, covers licenses, networking and SSH: ... art_2.html
- Part 3, covers installing the WebUI: ... art_3.html
- Installing HAProxy and a bit of troubleshooting UNIX filenames: ... Proxy.html

I also wrote a small piece on the hobbyist program for x86, ... yists.html, which was featured on The Register: ... x86_hobby/
Alongside copious amounts of documentation, DEC was also famous for its hobbyist program, which allowed fans to get and run DEC OSes on their own non-production machines for free. After Compaq bought DEC, an early Reg article covered the extension of the hobbyist program to Alpha machines. Very nearly a quarter of a century later, VMS Software is in the process of extending its equivalent, the community licence program, to include x86 alongside Alpha and Itanium. Blogger Remy van Elst reports that although he hasn't received the notification himself, another hobbyist forwarded the email, and Remy was able to log in and download the x86 edition.

You will need a login for VSI's service portal, but if you've already got one, the files to look for are X86E921OE.ZIP for the software itself, plus for the license PAK. Remy has also published a handy guide on how to install the OS on VirtualBox – which, if you're running on Windows, requires disabling Hyper-V. The Reg FOSS desk hasn't tried the x86 edition just yet, but we've applied for a license and we'll report back if we get one.
I hope the guides and articles help other people who want to get started with OpenVMS using VirtualBox. I did get a bunch of emails after publishing them informing me of VMWare and a few other tips, but VirtualBox is my hypervisor of choice on desktops. I do have a lot of fun, hobbying, with OpenVMS, so the hobbyist license works great for me. Before it was available I even contacted VSI sales for a license, but the price I was willing to pay for a "personal" editition license was not something they would offer, which I understand. Now, a year later, the hobbyist license is amazing, all software is available, even the WebUI and new stuff like HAProxy, Mosquitto and the C++ compiler!

Feedback on the guides is more than welcome.
Last edited by raymii on Thu Apr 20, 2023 2:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: OpenVMS x86 guides for VirtualBox

Post by dravion » Fri Sep 08, 2023 8:43 am

I have it running now inside Virtualbox 7.x (64-Bit, Windows 10 Home) with UEFI with 4 CPU's.
It was a little bit tricky but after the 15 (or so attempt, i got it working).

My Host Hardware /Software specs are very moderate:
AMD Ryzen 5 Mobile 3400G (PICASSO) Socket AM4 (1331), GHz 3000, Cooler Be Quite.
RAM: DDR4-2301 (1200) MHz, Manufacturer: SpecTek Inc. (4G3000CL16)
CPU Supports: MMX(+), SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSSE3, SSE4.1, SSE4.2, SSE4A, x86-64, AMD-V, AES, AVX, AVX2, FMA3, SHA
Mainboard: ASUSTek COMPUTER INC, PRIME B450M-A, PCI-Express 3.0 (8.0 GT/s) Rev. 00
Chipset: AMD / Ryzen SOC , Southbridge AMD B450 Rev. 51, LPCIO ITE, IT8655
BIOS: AMI, Version 2409 / Date 12/02/2020

Virtualbox specs for OpenVMS 9.2 x86 is:
CPU: 4, PAE/NX Enabled
Storage controller: AHCI, Port count 2 /HDD = 0 and CD-ROM = 1)
Network: Bridge Adapter, Name Microsoft Network Adapter Multiplexor Driver (only one Adapter)
Adapter Type: Intel PRO/1000 MT Desktop (8254OEM)
Promiscuous Mode: Deny, MAC Address: 080027EF1ED4, Cable connected
USB: Version 3.0 (xHCI) Controller
Serial Ports: Enable Serial Ports, Port Number: COM1, IRQ: 4: I/O Port 0x3F8, Port Mode: TCP, Path/Address: 2001
Telnet Client: Putty and Cygwin64 GNU Telnet

The Main show stopper was always the step where you have to enter the SYSTEM's user Password.
I tried any step Raiimy recommended but nothing worked out until i asked ChatGPT regarding the correct
Telnet settings which whre VT100 with UTF-8

I also can now SSH into the box but get strange character sequences: The OpenVMS Command
SET TERMINAL/DEVICE=VT100 fixed it for me.

Now i have also installed the VSI C and C++ Compiler and can also use WinSCP to transfer files
from Windows 10 to Virtualbox OpenVMS 9.2

I think the Engineers could Steamline the installation process a little bit. It would be a good thing
if one could just install OpenVMS on the primary console like most Operating Systems today and not
using a telnet client via Serial COM Port at all. Also basic TCP/IP Services should be enabled as default,
at least you should be able to ping to the outside world to have the means to check and evaluate the Product
better. It's not necessary for the VMS Support team to trouble shoots such basic things.

It would also be a Good thing if the OpenVMS team can provide a preconfigured *.vmdk file.
VMDK Images can be used by QEMU/KVM, Virtualbox and VMWare..

Just my 2 cents.
Last edited by dravion on Fri Sep 08, 2023 8:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: OpenVMS x86 guides for VirtualBox

Post by jreagan » Fri Sep 08, 2023 2:24 pm

I use PuTTY with VirtualBox on my W10 system. I don't use TELNET. I select RAW to my localhost:port#. Since I run multiple VMs at once (V9.2, V9.2-1, and "current build"), I have to carefully manage the console port #s from both PuTTY and the VirtualBox Manager. It gets really confusing if you have multiple VMs all trying to use the same port for COM1/COM2.

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Re: OpenVMS x86 guides for VirtualBox

Post by cct » Fri Sep 08, 2023 6:45 pm

Much easier using KVM. From a Putty session onto the host I just use virsh console, then SET/TERM as appropriate


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