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Old 02-21-2006, 03:04 AM   #1
philb_au
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Registered: Feb 2006
Location: Australia
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VT terminal emulation software for VMS server


Hi folks,

Due to the gradual 'extinction' of VT terminals we are looking at using thin client linux PCs to connect to a VMS server running legacy applications.

Initially I thought our chances of connecting and having correct key-mapping and font/column resizing would be good, unfortunately I was badly mistaken in this belief.

To cut to the chase, the question is...
Has anyone here found a solution that works reasonably well?

Thanks in advance to anyone who can help (or even offer a comment).
 
Old 02-21-2006, 04:02 AM   #2
nadine.mauch
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Registered: Aug 2003
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Distribution: SuSE 7.2/8.1/8.2/9.0/9.1
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Hi Philb_au,

What a good feeling to meet someone who knows that VMS exists (has existed) !
Yes it is possible to use an emulation to work like on vt(s).
Possible solutions are
- Ericom Software (pathworks for linux)
- customizing telnet command or using vmsterm
For all of these solutions you need a tcp/ip interface on your vms.
I don't give you more information because
I don't know what your looking for and what you've already tried/installed.

I've also thought about using thin clients but I have been discouraged
to see that everything is done to use them with a winXX (configuration ..).
So on winXX platform on our LANs we use pathworks for windows and
on linux I've customized the telnet command and created an alias.

Hope this helps
Bye
 
Old 02-21-2006, 05:11 AM   #3
philb_au
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Hi Nadine,

Thanks first of all for the nice reply, and yes, VMS still exists for us at least.

We are currently using KEA on many PCs with Windows to telnet to the VMS server. Although KEA is excellent at this for the PC users, the licence pricing isn't that good at all.
To replace the (other) VT terminals with Linux thin clients is what I'm attempting to achieve.

NOTE: We have stopped using Pathworks on VMS also due to pricing issues, and after many headaches with Samba servers now have the file serving under control.

We have tried a demo of client software for linux which is again not an inexpensive solution (I will try to find the name of it for you).

So, the solution seems to have been accomplished by yourself - many congratulations! This begs the question of how difficult it was for you to set up the alias for VT emulation on the Linux machines.

Thanks again for your great help as it's given me ideas of which way to start looking.

Best regards, Phil.
 
Old 02-21-2006, 05:38 AM   #4
nadine.mauch
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Hi Philb_au,

It seems we are looking for the same solutions to the same problems....
We have some VaxVMS servers installed which are allright but the problems are that users want client interfaces on PC (under linux or windows) but wish to continue working on Vax.
So we have our main software application running on VMS and PC executing code with the emulation.
We have other software on linux servers with shares samba and nfs.
Seems a bit complicated ...
For your emulation I would say begin with "googling" with vmsterm, get it, it's free and take a look at it.
Concerning the alias, in fact you develop your connexion
instructions/commands in a shell script.
In your profile.local or bash.bashrc.local (I'm on SuSE and I use these files) you create an entry like
alias 'sethost' = 'name_of_bash_script -option -option'
and you're done (command line).
Or if it's for your graphical environnement you create
a "new link to an application" and command is
'name_of_bash_script -option -option'

The last thin client I've seen which seemd to be interesting was by HP. It's an embedded linux but if I remember (it was 6 months ago) to update the kernel you need a winXX to download to the thin client.
I can't exactly remember but I'm sure that to maintain
the thin client you MUST have a winXX (!!!)

Interesting in the thin client is the fact that your user could connect to a VMS but also to a linux (or a winXX) and have graphic interface without viruses ...

If you have some hints on working with VMS/linux they
are all welcome.
Bye
 
Old 02-22-2006, 02:37 AM   #5
philb_au
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Hi again Nadine,

Thanks again. And I'll check out vmsterm soon.

Just some information that may or may not be useful. We use Putty to connect to the Linux machines, and after some playing around with the Putty settings today I was able to get a (just) useable telnet session to our Alpha working.

Now, I've just discovered that I cannot post URLs until I've made 5 posts, so I'll leave it for you to interpret the URLs.
You have probably already seen Putty, but just in case it's at...
chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html
I think there may be a French version somewhere also but I may be wrong.

Because Putty stores it's settings in the registry it's difficult to to show what I've done to get it working, but if your interested I may be able to send the exported registry key to you.
Initially, from what I have setup in Putty is...
Terminal-->Keyboard=VT400
Window-->24 rows 132 columns
->X Change the size of the font
->Appearance->font 8 point (fixed type)
->Translation=DEC-MCS
--> Use both ANSI and OEM modes
This may be a start at least.

Now all I have to do is download/install Putty on Linux to see if it works the same. This may be a while as I'm instead trying to get multi-user OpenVPN working for users at the moment...

On the thin client side you have probably seen this...
ltsp.org
I'm hoping that after getting terminal emulation working to
OR (a small <50mb install) of...
damnsmalllinux.org

Just to let you know what I'm trying at least.

Regards, Phil.
 
Old 02-22-2006, 01:38 PM   #6
nadine.mauch
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Hi Philb_au

I've downloaded and configured putty.
It's allright with SuSE 9.1 (not at all with SuSE9.0, lots of compilation errors).
It's easy to install.
The only problem I have using this product is the Gold Key
(PF1). I need it to get out of programs combined with keypad 7 (well known PF1 7).
I've set numeric pad in keypad application from the beginning but it's not possible to get a PF1.
I've not tried PF2/PF3/PF4. I need them too.
Except this, once configured, the apparence is the same
as on my vt220 to vt525.
It's a very good hint.
I thank you for that.
If you have a problem with putty don't hesitate to ask it's a question of a few minutes if there are no compilation errors.
Thanks again
Bye
 
Old 02-23-2006, 01:46 AM   #7
philb_au
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Putty VT emulation

Hi again Nadine,

I installed Putty on Fedora Core 2 today - the easiest method I could find, by using rpmfind.net

I didn't have time to try much, but initially it looks like it may not work nearly as well on Linux as the Windows version does for connecting to VMS.

The PF1-4 (and other keypad) keys worked fine in Windows, but the Linux version stopped once I entered an application (ie. FMS screen).
Also, the font resizing doesn't work anything like the Windows version.

Still, I may have to try some other settings. I may also first have to send some commands to the VMS server on startup to change the terminal settings. Although it may be just pointless and it will never work, but I'll keep trying anyway.

Tomorrow I might also try a DEC PC keyboard to see if that changes anything.

While looking for clues I found this in the source code documentation. It may not do anything, but thought I'd at least quote this...
"4.14.2 `Terminal-type string'
Most servers you might connect to with PuTTY are designed to be
connected to from lots of different types of terminal.
In order to send the right control sequences to each one, the server will need to know what type of terminal it is dealing with. Therefore, each of the SSH, Telnet and Rlogin protocols allow a text string to be sent down the connection describing the terminal.
PuTTY attempts to emulate the Unix `xterm' program, and by default
it reflects this by sending `xterm' as a terminal-type string.
If you find this is not doing what you want - perhaps the remote system reports `Unknown terminal type' - you could try setting this to something different, such as `vt220'.
If you're not sure whether a problem is due to the terminal type
setting or not, you probably need to consult the manual for your
application or your server."

I'd at least like to thank Simon Tatham and colleagues for writing Putty and being so generous as to have a Linux compilation and source code available also because Putty is the closest free software I've found currently to accomplish this task.

I looked at vmsterm today and remembered that I had already tried it as one of the first options which didn't work well also.

Anyway, maybe we'll keep trying and hope to find a solution, and to badly quote... 'bon jeu, n'est-il pas?'.

Respect, Phil.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nadine.mauch
Hi Philb_au
I've downloaded and configured putty.
It's allright with SuSE 9.1 (not at all with SuSE9.0, lots of compilation errors).
It's easy to install.
The only problem I have using this product is the Gold Key
(PF1). I need it to get out of programs combined with keypad 7 (well known PF1 7).
 
  


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