From: Scott Mickey

> Can a VAXserver 3400 with 12 MB memory and 150 MB disk install and
> run OpenVMS 7.3?

Probably, but barely. Space will be tight in both categories. You
won't be able to do much with it if it does work.

> This HP web page indicates OpenVMS 7.3 is supported on this system:
> However, I cannot find info about minimum memory req'd or disk space
> necessary for a new install.

The data in the table was created from an installation on a
VAXserver 2000 with 6 MB of memory and an RD54 disk.

OpenVMS VAX Memory Space Requirements

The minimum amount of memory required to install, boot, and log in
to an OpenVMS VAX system is 14 MB. To ensure satisfactory
performance for particular applications or number of users,
additional memory may be required. Refer to specific layered
product documentation for their memory requirements.

Note: "Is not supported" is spelled differently from "won't work" for a

When I run it at all, I run VMS V5.5-2 on my VAXstation 2000 with its
6MB of memory and two (159MB) RD54 disks. Depending on what you want to
do, a VMS version older than V7.3 might be a better idea for a system
with so little memory and so little disk space. I'd avoid anything
older than V5.5-2, unless you're a serious antique lover with minimal
desire to run any real software.

> This HP web page says OpenVMS 7.3 can be downloaded for free:
> Is this true? I can only find information about purchasing a CDROM:

The hobbyist licenses are free. You need to find the medium/media
you need. The hobbyist CD-ROM is a pretty good bargain at $30, but if
you can borrow a kit from someone, or if someone will let you download a
kit, you may be able to save some of that $30. HP does not have a free,
well-publicized, publicly accessible download server for this stuff.

> If the VAXserver 3400 can run OpenVMS 7.3, then the next issue is
> how to get the OS from the distribution CDROM onto the DSSI disk.
> This VAX has no SCSI interface,

Unfortunate, from the hard disk and CD-ROM points of view.

> so I think a network boot is the only
> option. Currently, it boots diskless using NetBSD. NetBSD does not
> have a DSSI driver (as far as I know), so I cannot use NetBSD to write
> to the disk (dd copy a NFS mounted OpenVMS CDROM to the 150 MB disk).
> Is it possible to load an OpenVMS kernel via the network (same as
> NetBSD does), and run the VAX diskless with NFS support?
> -From what I've read, I don't think so.

There may be a non-VMS network scheme which works, but if so, I know
nothing about it. (I doubt it, however.)

> Another possibility:
> This machine does have a TK70 DLT (CompacTape-II) tape drive.
> NetBSD has a driver for the TK70. Could I boot NetBSD, NFS mount
> the OpenVMS CDROM, and write a OpenVMS bootable image to tape?
> Then, boot from the tape and install OpenVMS on the DSSI disk?

It's possible to install VMS from TK50 tape, which was a standard
software distribution medium at one time (long ago). TK70, too, I
assume, but TK50 was the usual TK medium for this purpose. Getting a
TK50 (or TK70) kit will probably require help from someone who has
comparably old VMS junk which has a CD-ROM and a TKx0 drive (and some
considerable time to kill -- TK50's are pretty slow). The VMS
distribution tapes are normally made on a VMS system, and more is
involved than just copying stuff from the CD-ROM to the tape(s), so I'd
expect it to be a challenge to make the tape(s) from a non-VMS system.

I seem to have some command procedures lying around ("28-JAN-2003")
which I probably used to make a two-TK50 tape set back then. If you get
desperate enough, send me some e-mail, and I'll see if I can still make
it all work with the current junk collection.

A nearly free VAXstation 3100 model with its built-in SCSI
would probably make a better toy system, if you really want to do
anything with it. (An Alpha would probably be even better.) But I
assume that this system fell onto you, and you're trying to work with
what you have.


Steven M. Schweda sms@antinode-org
382 South Warwick Street (+1) 651-699-9818
Saint Paul MN 55105-2547