Windows 2000 Software Links for the OpenVMS User
Note: this page will be updated periodically, so check back every now and then for additions.
I've been a die-hard VMS user and programmer since 1984. In my opinion, there is no finer operating system out there that provides the stability and reliability of VMS. VMS systems are my primary systems both at work and at home: all of my mail is read, processed, and delivered by VMS systems, VMS systems serve out my Freeware archives, VMS systems protect my other machines from network attacks, VMS systems host my web pages, etc. In addition to programming on VMS for a living, I also work on freeware products and maintain a huge archive of VMS freeware, which is hosted by my employer, Process Software.
In 1999, I was faced with the need to get a laptop system for use on business travel. Unfortunately, with the exception of Tadpole Technology's AlphaBook computer from several years ago, there wasn't a laptop solution that would run VMS. I ended up having to settle on an Intel-based system. (Refurbished AlphaBooks were still available, but they were considerably more expensive than an Intel-based laptop.)
So I bought an Intel-based laptop, and while I'm a die-hard VMS programmer, I have to admit that we live in Windows world, and as Windows goes, Windows 2000 is not horrible. It's certainly a much better operating system than any of the pre-NT Windows versions. Of course, Windows 2000/NT should be a lot better since it has much in common with VMS. But that's another story.
When I first got my laptop, I decided to try to run Linux on it instead of Windows, but found that there's just too much useful software available for Windows that isn't available for Linux (or isn't as fully-featured or whatever). So I stuck with Windows 2000 as my primary OS on the machine, and have sought out freeware utilities to do the things I need to or like to do. The list below contains links to the Windows 2000 software that I consider indispensible, including software to make Windows palatable to VMS die-hards. All of the software is freeware unless otherwise noted. As a freeware author myself, I prefer to use freeware and not shareware or commercial products when I can. Also, most of the software below will run on other flavors of Windows, too.
Tools for the VMS user on Windows
- NEW!! Open DCL Lite from Accelr8
- Author: Accelr8
- A DCL-like shell for Windows. This product is absolutely amazing. Accelr8 used to distribute this Lite version of their Open DCL product as freeware. It supports many logical names, symbols, DCL lexicals and a number of DCL commands (DIR, SEARCH). I use this pretty much exclusively instead of the MS-DOS Command Prompt now. You can execute DCL command procedures and take advantage of lexicals such as f$search(), f$parse(), etc. Invaluable for the VMS user on Windows.
Accelr8 was taken over by Transoft, which no longer makes the Lite version available. However, Richard Jones has created a very useful page detailing where you can download the old Open DCL Lite, as well as providing instructions on installing it and using it. For more info, just visits Richard's Open DCL Lite (and PC-DCL) portal.
- NEW!! SIMH -- VAX emulator
- SIMH is a free system emulator that can emulate a VAX, among other systems (including various PDP systems). SIMH runs under Windows. With an OpenVMS Hobbyist License and hobbyist versions of the Process Software products, you can get a fully-functional VMS system running under Windows.
- NEW!! ODS2, an ODS-2 disk reader for Windows and UNIX
- Author: Paul Nankervis, Hunter Goatley
- ODS2 is a program that will read VMS ODS-2 disks on VMS, Windows, and various UNIX systems. ODS-2 provides a simple DCL-like interface to let you look at the contents of an ODS-2 disk, as well as copy the files from the ODS-2 disk to the local system's disk. This is an ideal program for those who have VMS CDs that they'd like to access on Windows and UNIX systems.
I've used ODS2 under VMS (both VAX and Alpha), Windows 2000, Tru64 UNIX, and Solaris/Intel.
- Ed, an EDT-like editor for Windows
- Author: Charles Sandmann
- ED is a great EDT-like editor that runs under VMS, UNIX, and Windows 2000/NT. I personally have run it on VMS, Tru64 UNIX, FreeBSD, and Windows 2000. A lot of editors claim to support an EDT-style keypad, but this program comes closest to behaving like real EDT, in my experience. And it supports TPU-style learn sequences (you can define a key to execute specific keystrokes). By combining Open DCL and ED, VMS users should feel really comfortable on Windows 2000.
- UPDATE!! Tera Term Pro
- Author: T. Teranishi
- Tera Term Pro is a freeware VT terminal emulator that supports full VT100 and selected VT220/VT320 emulation, Telnet and serial port connections, scripting, keyboard mapping, and more. Tera Term (Pro) is my favorite VT terminal emulator. And it's free!
The links take you to a Wikipedia page, which includes links to the most recent versions of Tera Term Pro with SSH V2 support.
- Author: Simon Tatham
- PuTTY is a free implementation of Telnet and SSH for Win32 platforms, along with an xterm terminal emulator. It is written and maintained primarily by Simon Tatham. There's also a version of SCP available. PuTTY is a very nice VT terminal emulator and will probably eventually replace TTSSH as my emulator of choice as I move to SSH V2.
Tools every Windows user should have
- InstallWatch Pro
- Here's the CNET.com page for InstallWatch, including download
- After I install Windows 2000 on a box, this is first third party piece of software I install. InstallWatch Pro "watches" install programs and generates reports on the files and registry entries added to, deleted from, and modified on your system. Invaluable for tracking which program overwrote that Windows .DLL file, or which ones leave behind .DLL files in the Windows system32 directory when they're uninstalled. InstallWatch was designed as a commercial package, but it didn't sell well enough to keep the company going. Epsilon Squared did what I wish more companies would do in cases like that: they gave it away.
- NEW!! Kerio Personal Firewall
- Every system should be protected by a firewall, either running in your router or running on your system. I used to use ZoneLabs's ZoneAlarm, but I recently switched to Kerio Personal Firewall, which is free for personal/home use. (I used to use Tiny Personal Firewall, but Kerio is better and comes from the actual developers of the Tiny software.) KPF keeps intruders out of your system, and also lets you determine which of your utilities can get out. Highly configurable, I chose it over ZoneAlarm because it can display all the programs currently listening on ports on your system, and the access rules were more flexible than ZoneAlarm.
- In early 2006, Kerio was acquired by Sunbelt Software. They've lowered the price of the commercial version of Kerio, and it still runs free, albeit without all the features, after 30 days.
- Author: Irfan Skiljan
- The best image viewer I've found for Windows. Supports gobs and gobs of image formats and can do basic image editing (crop, resize, change colors, etc.). Also includes support for viewing thumbnails and creating thumbnail HTML pages.
Burning and ripping CDs and making MP3s
- Exact Audio Copy
- The definitive tool for ripping audio CDs to WAV files.
- Author: Albert L. Faber
- A great freeware program to rip audio tracks from CDs as either WAV or MP3 files. Includes the freeware LAME MP3 encoder, which creates better-sounding MP3s, IMO, than some shareware and commercial programs do.
- NEW!! DeepBurner
- DeepBurner is a CD/DVD burning application I recently discovered. It comes in both free and Pro versions. I've used the free version with my Sony dual-format, dual-layer burner to create several data DVDs so far with no problems at all. (The free version doesn't support dual-layer; I haven't looked to see if the Pro version does or not.)
- I recently purchased an Acer USB CD-RW drive, and I've been very impressed with the drive and PrimoCD Plus, the software that came with it. The only thing it lacks is the ability to create audio CDs and create tracks from a single large .WAV file (you have to create a separate WAV file for each track). I used to use CDRWIN, commercial burning software that I still recommend, but it doesn't support my new drive. So I looked around and found CDRDAO, a freeware program that will read and write CDs, including the ability to create Table Of Contents (TOC) files that let you set arbitrary track and index definitions. There isn't a GUI for this program for W2K yet, but the program is pretty easy to use. To help create TOC files for burning a single WAV file, I wrote a little program to generate a TOC from a list of desired index times. Drop me a line if you'd like a copy of the program.
Other utilities I use very frequently
- WebTime 2000
- Author: Gregory Braun
- WebTime 2000 is a free program that will synchronize your PC's clock with an atomic clock server on the 'net. I run it as part of my system startup.
Gregory Braun has some other very nice freeware and shareware packages on http://www.gregorybraun.com/.
- Author: Christian Schenk
- MiKTeX is a fabulous implementation of TeX and friends for Windows. Includes everything I've ever needed from TeX, which is Donald Knuth's typesetting program. I use TeX instead of Word. I wish more people did. Also includes dvipdfm, which generates PDF files from TeX's DVI files.
- VNC stands for "Virtual Network Computing", and what it does is allow you to control another PC, letting you see what's on that screen, and making your mouse and keyboard act for that remote PC. There are several commercial packages out there that offer this functionality (PC Anywhere, Remotely Possible, Netop), but VNC is free, works very well, and runs on a multitude of platforms. (I helped port a VNC client to VMS, which allows me to control my PCs from my VMS workstation.)
If you have more than one PC and you're tired of moving from one to the other to do stuff, grab WinVNC and just take control of the remote PC.
- WebCopier (Commercial)
- Author: Maxim Klimov
- WebCopier is a utility that will download portions of or entire web sites to your local system. Great for capturing sites for perusal offline, or for burning to CD, or whatever.
NOTE: WebCopier is no longer a free utility. It still very handy to have, and it's not very expensive, but it is no longer freeware.
- Forte Free Agent News Reader
- Forte Free Agent is an NNTP news reader for Windows. Netscape and Outlook also include news readers, but I found Free Agent better suited for me. There is also a commercial version of Agent that has more features.
- NEW!!!! FileZilla FTP client and server
- FileZilla is a free FTP client and FTP server for Windows. I have just started using it as the FTP server on my Windows system, but it seems to work very well. Full-featured, fast, and not susceptible to all the Microsoft IIS bugs and viruses.
- PrintFile lets you easily print files from Windows. Possibly of limited use to you unless you need to print Postscript files, which is easiest done on Windows using this utility. Just drag and drop or open and print.
- Calendar 2000
- Author: Gregory Braun
- Calendar 2000 is a free, simple program to display a monthly calendar. It took forever for me to find a free program to just throw up a calendar. Most calendar programs are shareware that set appointments, reminders, etc, which was overkill for what I wanted.
- NEW!!! RainLendar
- If you're looking for a more full-featured Calendar program, but one that's still easy-to-use, I recommend RainLendar. You can set events for each day and optionally have RainLendar display alarms. RainLendar comes in a free Lite version, as well as a Pro version.
- Filemon, Regmon, and friends
- Authors: Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell
- Sysinternals provides some great, advanced utilities for Windows. These utilities will be of particular interest to systems programmers. All the utilities come with full sources, making them invaluable for learning about the NT kernel. Some of my favorites from Sysinternals include the following:
- Regmon -- A Registry monitoring utility that will show you which applications are accessing your Registry, which keys they're accessing, and what Registry data they're reading.
- Filemon -- Monitors and displays file system activity in real-time.
- Ctrl2Cap -- Swaps your Ctrl and CapsLock keys.
I can't say enough about this site. Simply amazing.
- Adobe Acrobat Reader
- Adobe Acrobat Reader is a free utility to read PDF files on Windows 2000. While it's annoying the Adobe doesn't have a VMS version of Acrobat Reader, the Windows version is a nice utility, and PDF is becoming more and more prevalent as a documentation standard.
- NEW!!! Foxit Reader -- A lightweight PDF Reader
- Foxit Software
- Foxit Reader is a small, very fast, free PDF reader for Windows. If you're looking for a small PDF reader is 1/4 the size of Adobe Acrobat Reader, Foxit Reader is the solution. It starts very quickly, doesn't display a splash page, and handles every PDF I've tried. Highly recommended, and perfect for carrying on a USB FlashDrive so you always have a PDF reader handy. Foxit Reader is free, but does have add-ons that are both free and non-free.
- NEW!!! PrimoPDF
- PrimoPDF is a free print driver that allows you to turn any document into a PDF file simply by printing it from whatever application you're using. The perfect complement to Foxit Reader for those who don't want to pay the big bucks required for Adobe Acrobat.
- NEW!!! MagicDisc -- Virtual CD/DVD Drives
- MagicDisc is freeware that will mount a CD or DVD ISO image as a Windows device. It can also rip a CD or DVD to an ISO image.
- Ghostscript and GSView
- If you deal with Postscript files, Ghostscript and GSview are essential tools that let you view Postscript and PDF files. You can also use Ghostscript to convert Postscript to other output formats, including PDF (with decent quality) and other printer languages. Every now and then, Ghostscript will generate a display that differs from what a real Postscript printer will print, but most of the time, it's spot-on.
- New URL!! TrayMeter
- Author: Thomas Mundt
- TrayMeter is a graphical CPU meter that sits in your Windows system tray and monitors your CPU activity, updating a bar graph showing usage. Invaluable for determining when some process has run away with your CPU. I've run this for days at a time with it accumulating less than a second of CPU time itself, so it's no drain on your system.
- Just because I use Windows 2000 and XP doesn't mean I use Internet Explorer. My Web browser of choice is FireFox. The features I like most about FireFox: a tabbed display environment (multiple tabs in a single FireFox window), the ability to block pop-ups, a Cookie Manager that lets you block all cookies from particular sites; and a Password Manager.
- "Just say No!" to IE and use FireFox, Mozilla, Netscape, or another browser.
- GNU Wget is a utility that will retrieve files from web and FTP servers using the HTTP and FTP protocols. Give it a URL, and it'll download the file, including automatically retrying, if the download is interrupted. Useful for downloading large files from web servers without tying up your browser (or losing the download if your browser goes bye-bye).
- OpenOffice is a free suite of programs comparable to, and compatible with, Microsoft Office. I'm not a big Office user, but so far, OpenOffice has done everything I've needed to do (Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, Excel spreadsheets).
R.I.P. -- These are no longer free, but still recommended
- I recently discovered that the CD-Rs I've been burning recently are corrupted---apparently my burner is bad. AFAIK, none of the burning programs include the equivalent of VMS's BACKUP/VERIFY, so I looked for a solution to this problem and found ViceVersa. It's a commercial product, but there's a free version (the link to download the free version is on the right-hand side of their web page) too. ViceVersa compares files in directories or directory trees and reports files that don't match. The comparisons can be based on size and timestamp and/or CRC checks. I've used this to verify the contents of all the CDs I've burned on my new replacement drive. Easy to use, and the free version serves my needs just fine.
- Bill Ford's list of Windows utilities
Maintained by Hunter Goatley