The VAX is running

Ethan Dicks ethan.dicks at
Fri Apr 3 18:40:24 CDT 2009

On Fri, Apr 3, 2009 at 6:35 PM, David Coolbear <david at> wrote:
> After a very long wait and a lot of effort, my VAX is finally running
> OpenVMS.


> So, you know how boat builders break a bottle of Champaign on their new
> creations? Well, my tradition is to get Colossal Caves running on all new
> machines. The problem is that while I can find lots of downloads for
> OpenVMS, none of them seem to work. Mostly it seems like FTP'ing the data
> file corrupts it.

With VMS, you need to worry about "RMS file attributes".  Unlike UNIX,
files are not merely streams of bytes to VMS.  We used to use a
program called BACKPACK.EXE that could encode RMS attributes into a
uuencoded-like textual stream that could be easily reconstituted.
We'd BACKPACK OLB files and such and have our customers use Kermit or
BLAST to get the data from us, then they'd turn the downloads back
into files and it all worked great.  For non-VMS-to-VMS transfers, it
might not be so easy.  EXEs are slightly easy to get because they use
512-byte fixed-sized records, so you could download a binary stream,
fix up the attributes, and VMS would recognize the file as an
executable.   For the specific case of the data file for VMS, you'd
have to know what sort of file the executable is expecting and get the
data into that type of file.

So plain text files and executable binaries are easy to move onto a
VMS system.  Odd binary formats (object libraries and other formatted
binary files) aren't easy to move on and off VMS.  If the versions of
Adventure you've been playing with depend on odd files, then I can
understand why FTP wouldn't be able to move them around.

> Any suggestion on how to get advent running on VMS?

Did you try this copy of the code?  It appears to have the data file
in plain-text (atext.txt).


(from <>)

Back in the day, we used to move copies around on magtape, bypassing
all sorts of stream-of-bytes issues.  Today, of course, most things
expect streams of bytes, so that's how most things are presented.


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