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I have inherited a VAX system that was just migrated onto CHARON-VAX (VMS emulated on Windows) I can access it via ssh, but not with X. Anyone here familiar with DECwindows? is it X compliant? Or do I need a specific client to access it? Are there any "hidden" config files to me modified to enable X sharing?

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What version of VMS did it have? – Ward Mar 4 '11 at 18:30

DECWindows is X compliant. Try looking at the help for SET DISPLAY in particular /TRANSPORT /NODE /CREATE /SERVER /SCREEN e.g.


In gerneral HELP on VMS is excellent.

I'm not sure if the DECW$DTTERM is correct dir sys$system:decw$*.* for a list of DECWindows binaries.

Chapter 19 of this document also explains how to setup and configure XDMCP for VMS.

We used to use hummingbird X (from a PC ) or VXTs to speak X to our VAXen but anything should be OK.

There may be more clues to getting things working here

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It is better to use X11-over-SSH (ssh -X) if the server supports that (it works on this box with Multinet F-Secure SSH v5), because the raw X11 protocol is not secure enough to be used on most networks. – grawity Mar 5 '11 at 10:50
@grawity: Indeed but I'm not sure if VMS supports tunnelling X over ssh. TBH it's several years since I talked anything to a VMS system. – Iain Mar 5 '11 at 11:17
It depends on the SSH server; but there's no technical reason why it wouldn't be possible. I have used X11 over SSH on a VMS machine (namely the public-access – grawity Mar 5 '11 at 15:24

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