Monday, September 17, 2012

New toy...

This is going to be a short post... I've just got a little nice toy, and I've moved 3 of my SIMH machines to it. 


Yes, it is a Raspberry PI. And right now it is hosting three simulated machines: a VAX 780 running VMS 4.7 (and working as area router for my HecNet link), a microVAX 3900 running openVMS 7.3 and a PDP-11 running RSX11-MPlus 4.6. Of course, the simulated machines are idle most of the time, otherwise I guess they would overwhelm the poor raspberry...

To make it run, I have cloned the SIMH git repository from http://github.com/simh/simh, and before compiling it I've installed the packages for libpcap and vde2 (if you are going to do this, don't forget you have to install the -dev packages). SIMH compiled without any complaint, and once I got the simulated machines copied to the USB pendrive I've plugged to the thingy, they booted without a hassle.

After that, I just edited /etc/networking/interfaces so the vde magic gets configured at boot time:


auto lo

iface lo inet loopback

#iface eth0 inet dhcp

auto eth0
     iface eth0 inet static

auto tap0
     iface tap0 inet manual
     vde2-switch -t tap0 -n 16 -s /tmp/vde.ctl -M /tmp/vde.mgmt -m 666 --mgmtmode 666 

auto br0
     iface br0 inet static
     address 192.168.0.8
     network 192.168.0.0
     netmask 255.255.255.0
     broadcast 192.168.0.255
     gateway 192.168.0.128
     bridge_ports eth0 tap0             


And that is basically all (I'm using a static IP address bound to br0... the default configuration for the debian-based distribution I'm using is to use DHCP).

Not bad for a 35€ little computer...




5 comments:

  1. Congratulations! :) I am actually considering something similar, but I want to use shellinabox to provide me with web-access to the underlying Unixoid so that I can kind of "telnet into some ancient machine" over the browser... (And no, I have not yet given up on RSX-11! ;) )

    [And I find it a bit of a pity that nowadays, you apparently have a bit of an "OSS monotony" - mostly Unixoids. I hope one day ReactOS (www.reactos.org) will become "practically useable", it is quite advanced actually. As I unfortunately do not have a VMS licence, a "Windowsoid" is the closest thing, and hey, if you feel bored, I absolutely and most definitely think they could need some help from a man with expertise like yourself!]

    By the way - I just remember that I built a funny toy myself that you might find intriguing in your own experiments: an acoustic coupler.

    Ingredients: A modem and an old telephone ("phone A"). You basically just connect the two with a phone cable which you have cut open and connected to a battery, so they think they are on a phone circuit. If you activate the modem, "phone A" will start to chatter the modem sounds. - If you now call to some modem over a landline ("phone B"), and connect "phone A" to "phone B" (micro-to-speaker and speaker-to-micro) they actually can start to chit-chat and there you go... 300 bps connections work very nicely, even though the passers-by on the street DID look at me a bit weirdly, what the heck I am doing in that phone cabin... :D

    Regards,


    Aeneas - now, obviously a fan of your blog

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for your comments... That acoustic coupler thing makes me recall "War games" :). I hope you won'd end calling the WOPR and starting a fun Global Thermonuclear War game...

    As for the unix-ish monothony, I agree. Unix has definitely won the OS wars. Not bad for a semi-jokeish operating system developed in their spare time by two guys using semi-discarded equipment :). As for myself, I definitely dislike a lot of the unix paradigms (specially, I hate the "everything is a file" approach), but we have to work with we have...

    Oh, you can get an openVMS license for free, and absolutey legal. Check how to do it at http://www.openvmshobbyist.com/. You will have to join an openVMS user group (the HP sponsored one has a free membership option), apply for the licenses (for the OS and a lot of layered products) and obtain the installation kits (formely, buying a CD, right now I think they are downloadable). With that and simh you can operate your own emulated VAX at home at no cost.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you! :) It was exactly that membership-thing that put me off (because, myself being in Austria, that membership in the German group would have cost me some 100 EUR p.a. the last time I checked, and that was a bit too much for a rare pass-time).

    And yes, you guessed very well, it actually *WAS* War Games that inspired me! I am now 29, so that all predates my time, but I found it all very intriguing (the Hunt for Red October, Star Wars, Ghost in the Shell & Matrix naturally did the rest). Also this VMS phone and Unix talk commands were VERY nice...

    Greetings,


    Aeneas

    ReplyDelete
  4. Well, I am in Catalonia and I am member of the US chapter. They will take your membership regardless of where you live (unless you are in North Korea, Iran or a similar place...),.

    ReplyDelete
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