A little bit of background
The first computer I had to work with was a VAX 8250 the company bought to replace a PDP-11/60 which was being used mainly to manage the catalog of a network of public libraries (at that time, it was the first mechanized catalog implemented in this country). The 11/60 ran a home-built catalog program, based on the library managing standards of the time, written in FORTRAN. Some terminal users did they data-entry work using VT52 screens, and once a month a batch process generated a tape which was used to generate microfiches which were distributed to the library network, so the whole catalog was accessible from every library. For the 70's - early 80's it was a huge improvement...
I was hired as part of the team which had to set up the new VAX, and with the goal to expand the computer usage to other parts of the "business". For that reason I never paid enough attention to the "old" PDP. I remember the guy who managed it typing in a printing terminal and talking about SYSGEN-ing the system, going around replacing RP06 disk packs and doing all kinds of weird things.
Of course now I regret the fact I mostly ignored that nice machine. Fortunately, with the advent of that awesome piece of software called simh, and with the growing pile of documentation and software available on the internet, I can partially repair that mistake. Of course I'll never be a "PDP pro", but I least I want to know how does it feel to operate one of those wonderful machines.
Now, enough of rusting memories. My goal is now to set up a functioning RSX11M system under simh, and doing it from scratch. It's relatively easy to find pre-built systems images in the net, but this time I want to do it from scratch, using a tape distribution, and over a "virgin" machine...
Bill of materials
To setup our new system we need:
- A functioning PDP-11 emulator. I'm using SIMH, but there are other emulators available, like Ersatz-11.
- A RSX11M distribution tape image. I've used this one: ftp://ftp.trailing-edge.com/pub/rsxdists/rsx11m46.zip. Just be aware that most of the tape images in that site are corrupted; this one seems to be OK.
- An installation manual. I've found this one, which is for the 4.2 version: AA-H625D-TC RSX-11M System Generation and Installation Guide (RSX-11M Version 4.2).pdf. Even corresponding to a previous version, the procedure described in the manual can be used to install 4.6.
When you unzip the rsx11m46.zip file you'll get the tape image in TPC format; just remember to tell SIMH you are using that format instead of the native SIMH format or it won't work.
We'll need also a good PDP11 configuration for simh. My configuration tries to ressemble the one of the PDP11/60 I mentioned before:
- 128 KWords of memory.
- Two RP06 disks.
- Two RL02 removable disks.
- Line printer.
- DZ11 terminal multiplexer with 8 lines.
- TSxx tape drive.
It's convenient to use a INI file to set up simh. This is the one I'm using:
;--------------------------------------------------------------- ; Disable devices, we'll enable what we need later ;--------------------------------------------------------------- set CR disable set DZ disable set HK disable set RK disable set RL disable set RP disable set RQ disable set RQB disable set RQC disable set RQD disable set RX disable set RY disable ;set TA disable set TC disable set TM disable set TS disable set TQ disable set TU disable set VH disable set XQ disable set XQB disable set XU disable set XUB disable echo PDP-11/45 with 128 kwords of memory echo set cpu 11/45 set cpu 256k set cpu idle SET RL enable set RL0 RL02 set RL1 RL02 SET RP ENABLE SET RP0 RP06 ATTACH RP0 RP06.000 SET RP1 RP06 ;ATTACH RP1 RP06.001 SET TS ENABLE SET TS0 FORMAT=TPC SET TS0 LOCKED SET DZ ENABLE SET DZ LINES=8 ATTACH -am DZ 11023 SET LPT ENABLE ATTACH LPT PRINTER.TXT
The install procedure
The task of setting up a new RSX11M system has three basic steps:
- Create the baseline bootable disk from the distribution tape.
- Running SYSGEN to generate an executive tailored to your machine configuration, as well as the necessary privileged and unprivileged tasks.
- Tailoring the system to your needs or tastes.
This first post covers just the first of these three steps. What follows is a slightly edited console log. I've tried to make it a little bit more readable and I have highlighted the typed commands and responses in bold. The configuration file, pdp11.ini, is the one listed above. Please tell me if you find any mistake in the log so I can correct it...
Macjordi:rsx11m46 jguillaumes$ pdp11 pdp11.ini PDP-11 simulator V3.8-1 sim> do pdp11.ini PDP-11/45 with 128 kwords of memory RP: creating new file Overwrite last track? [N] y Listening on port 11023 (socket 5) Modem control activated Auto disconnect activated LPT: creating new file sim> sim> attach rsx11m46.tpc sim> boot ts0 RSX-11M/RSX-11M-PLUS Standalone Copy System V04 RSX-11M/RSX-11M-PLUS Standalone Configuration and Disk Sizing Program Valid switches are: /CSR=nnnnnn to change the default device CSR /VEC=nnn to change the default device vector /FOR=n to change the default magtape formatter number /DEV to list all default device CSR and vectors Enter first device: MS0: Enter second device: DB0: Hit RETURN and enter date and time as 'TIM HH:MM MM/DD/YY' >TIM 10:24 07/12/92 >TIM 10:24:01 12-JUL-92 >RUN BAD BAD>DB0: BAD -- DB0: Total bad blocks= 0. BAD>^Z >RUN BRU BRU>/REW/INIT/BAC:DBSYS MS0: DB0: BRU - Starting Tape 1 on MS0: BRU - End of Tape 1 on MS0: BRU - Completed BRU> <ctrl-e> Simulation stopped, PC: 001344 (CLRB (R1)+) sim> boot rp RSX-11M V4.6 BL56 124.K MAPPED (BASELINE) >RED DB:=SY: >RED DB:=LB: >MOU DB:RSXM56 >@DB:[1,2]STARTUP >* PLEASE ENTER TIME AND DATE (HR:MN DD-MMM-YY) [S]: 10:26 12-JUL-92 >TIM 10:26 12-JUL-92 >* ENTER LINE WIDTH OF THIS TERMINAL [D D:132.]: >SET /BUF=TI:132. >ACS SY:/BLKS=1024. >@
>@TAPEKIT >; >; RSX-11M V4.6 BL56 tape distribution kit extraction procedure. >; Started on 12-JUL-92 at 10:26:12 >; >INS LB:$BRU >; >* Enter drive and unit with tape distribution kit [ddn:] [S]: MS0: >LOA MS:/PAR=GEN >; >; Copying rest of RSXM56 to DB0: ... >; >BRU/DENS:1600/NOINI/SUP/UFD/BAC:RSXBAS MS0: DB0: BRU - Starting Tape 1 on MS0: BRU - End of Tape 1 on MS0: BRU - Completed >BRU/DENS:1600/NOINI/SUP/UFD/BAC:EXCPRV MS0: DB0: BRU - Starting Tape 1 BRU - End of Tape 1 BRU - Completed >BRU/DENS:1600/NOINI/SUP/UFD/BAC:PRVBLD MS0: DB0: BRU - Starting Tape 1 BRU - End of Tape 1 BRU - Completed >BRU/DENS:1600/NOINI/SUP/UFD/BAC:RLUTIL MS0: DB0: BRU - Starting Tape 1 BRU - End of Tape 1 BRU - Completed >BRU/DENS:1600/NOINI/SUP/UFD/BAC:MCRSRC MS0: DB0: BRU - Starting Tape 1 BRU - End of Tape 1 BRU - Completed >BRU/DENS:1600/NOINI/SUP/UFD/BAC:HLPDCL MS0: DB0: BRU - Starting Tape 1 BRU - End of Tape 1 BRU - Completed >BRU/DENS:1600/NOINI/SUP/UFD/BAC:RMSV20 MS0: DB0: BRU - Starting Tape 1 BRU - End of Tape 1 BRU - Completed >; >; Completed on 12-JUL-92 at 10:26:32 >; >@ <eof> > <ctrl-e> Simulation stopped, PC: 002770 (CLRB (R1)+) sim>
At this point we have a disk image, RP06.000, which contains the baseline system. This is a good moment to make a copy of that image file (probably in compressed format) so we can't go back to this point in case we make any mistake during the next steps of the install. It's nice to have this baseline to make clones and generate other configurations if we want to experiment.
If you take a look at the BRU command line, it references a BackupSet named DBSYS. That is the backupset to use to generate an RP06 based baseline system. If you are going to use different disks the backupset name can be different. The names are listed in the referenced manual, but I'm copying the list here for your convenience:
On the next post we'll proceed to do the first SYSGEN of our system, and we will end with a fully usable, but untailored RSX11M 4.6 operating system.