Announcing TCP/IP for RSX-11M-PLUS

Johnny Billquist bqt at
Tue Jan 13 17:40:02 CST 2015

Well, it's been a long time project, but I'm happy to finally announce a 
more public initial release of TCP/IP for RSX-11M-PLUS.

This is the result of over 20 years of development. Needless to say, 
I've been doing a lot of things over the years, and this code have been 
through four reimplementations over the years.
What I now release is something that I believe is a nice and useful 
piece of software. I am aware of the fact that most people do not use 
these machines any longer, but if someone actually wants to talk to me 
about support for this or other RSX software, let me know.

Also, feel free to spread this information to anyone who might be 
interested, anywhere.

So - what is in this release?
It is a complete implementation of ARP, IP, UDP, and TCP for 
RSX-11M-PLUS. It has been tested on RSX-11M-PLUS V4.6, but should work 
on any V4 release. There might be some small tweaks or fixes required, 
but nothing major.
It do require a system with split I/D-space, or else at least the TCP 
part will not fit.
For Unibus machines, it should be possible to run without any additional 
software except what is in a base RSX distribution.
For Q-bus machines, DECnet is required for ethernet networking.
The TCP/IP stack can co-exist with DECnet.
Some utilities also utilize RMS for file access.

A bunch of tools, utilities and libraries are also included. These include:
. IFCONFIG network configuration tool.
. NETSTAT network information tool.

. DNS client
. FTP daemon
. FTP client
. HTTP server
. TELNET client (rudimentary)
. TFTP client
. TFTP server
. INET server that can do SINK, ECHO, DAYTIME, QUOTE, and IDENT
. NTP client
. LPR client that sits in the queue manager (rudimentary)

. FORTRAN-77 library
. BASIC+2 library
. PDP-11 C library

The implementation fulfills most of the requirements put forth in RFC 
1122. There are a few limitations because of restrictions in the PDP-11, 
but none of them should really cause any problems.

Documentation is still on the thin side, but example configs are also 
provided, along with installation scripts.

A bunch of test programs and example programs are also included, as well 
as the sources of all tools and libraries.

The TCP/IP stack itself only comes in binary form.

All tools are also included precompiled in the distribution, so an 
installation only have to build the stack itself for your system, and 
then you should be ready to go.

The API only have a slight resemblance to the Unix sockets API. However, 
if someone sits down to write code to use TCP/IP under RSX, I'm sure 
they will discover that it is extremely easy to use the libraries, or 
the basic functions.

The TCP/IP implementation is mostly written as device drivers. This also 
have some other interesting implications, such as it is possible to 
access TCP as a normal file. You can, for instance do something similar 
to the Unix netcat command by issuing the MCR command:

 > PIP TI:=TC:"";4711

which would open a connection to, on port 4711, and any data 
sent from that machine will be shown on the terminal.

The resources used by TCP/IP are modest. A memory area (size selectable 
at generation/startup) is used internally. The amount of memory in the 
private pool limits the amount of data that can be buffered. Normal pool 
is used in a small quantity for each TCP port that is open.

People are welcome to play around with this, and make improvements. 
Contributions of code is most welcome.

There are still lots of things to do. The programs marked as rudimentary 
should be rewritten.
The most obvious thing still missing is a telnet daemon, which probably 
is my next step.

However, the reason for now announcing the release is that it can 
finally be distributed natively from an RSX host.

The main locations to download the TCP/IP for RSX are:

Madame.Update.UU.SE (anonymous ftp).

This is one of my development systems for this software. It runs under 
E11, and if things are down, I blame E11. :-)
When connected, you are already in the right directory. There is both an 
RL02 disk image there, which can be downloaded by anyone. If you happen 
to have an RSX system which you are conneting from, you can also try 
getting the BQTCP.TAP tape image. Such an image will not transport 
cleanly to a non-RSX system, however. Sorry.

ftp.Update.UU.SE (anonymous ftp) - /pub/pdp11/rsx/tcpip
The disk image is normally duplicated to as well, so 
the same file can be found there.

I hope some people will find this useful/amusing. :-)

	Johnny Billquist

Johnny Billquist                  || "I'm on a bus
                                   ||  on a psychedelic trip
email: bqt at             ||  Reading murder books
pdp is alive!                     ||  tryin' to stay hip" - B. Idol

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