Activate Graphical Desktop Environment (DECwindows) with a Public OpenVMS Cluster

OpenVMS Cluster / Shell

Tired of just looking unto the black and white colors of your terminal? So you think SSH access to OpenVMS is just limited to typing you favorite command lines just like any other Unix, Linux and BSD public SSH access?

Well then, think again! In Deathrow’s VMS Cluster you can actually use an X desktop or the graphical desktop environment on GEIN:: ( which is better known by geeks as DECwindows. Alright let’s get the OpenVMS Desktop environment running then. How? We will use x forwarding via puTTy as the terminal emulator.

Below are instructions I learned from Emgee’s (my OpenVMS mentor) detailed tutorial about working with DECwindows:

1.Install Xming as our main client for our X server. Then start the program

2. Open puTTy.exe and setup the connection information in the Host Name (or IP Address) field and select SSH (port 22). In Connection Category, find the Connection tree. In SSH, expand it and you will see Tunnels window. Click “Enable X11 forwarding”. It is setting the default to X display at “localhost:0”.

3. Open the session and log in to your account (you can actually use the demo account which is demo:user) for Deathrow Cluster then type in : MCR DECW$STARTLOGIN

4. After that, you should get the DECwindows (CDE) login prompt. Simply log in as you’d normally do within the CLI (DCL) environment.

OpenVMS Login Shell
Login Shell

After logging in, you should be good to go. Below are the screen shots I took while playing with my DECwindows session on Deathrow Cluster OpenVMS through the use of x11 forwarding via puTTy and with the use of Xming client:

DECWindows Session

DECWindows Session 2

When you’re done, don’t forget to log off in the DECwindows session (with the “EXIT” button in the CDE dock) and then stop the DECwindows processes. And also if you want to exit in the terminal, make sure to type “LOGOFF” so that the admin will not have a hard time killing the process rather than just closing your terminal.

Take note: Not all public clusters allow you to do have a DECwindows session just like FAFNER::

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