DECnet Introduction

Parent Category: How-to's Category: DECnet Written by Administrator

Here I’m documenting some procedures for connecting modern and vintage Computers over DECnet. Wikipedia knows about it.

DECnet is an network protocol used from the 1970’s to 1990’s by Digital Equipment Cororation.


I got an old µVAX 3200 from my vintage computer club “CCG”. The system drive was a 160MB Maxtor RD54 SMD disk, and there was a running OpenVMS 5.2-1 installation on it.

Before playing with the VAX I had to find a way to exchange data between the VAX and the modern world. At first I bootstrapped “C-Kermit” to the machine.

But then I decided to get DECnet running, so the machine would be accessible from a Linux node.

The Network

This is the network I setup here:

DECnet addr
DECnet name
2.10 linux1 A Ubuntu 9.10 installation
A Ubuntu 9.10 installation
A VAX 3500 simulated with SimH running on “linux1”
A physical microVAX 3200, connected over ethernet


The following chapters present a course with several lessons.

“DECnet on Ubuntu ” : here I describe how to connect two virtual Ubuntu 9.10 installations over DECnet. This is also an introduction into DECnet logic. So it is pretty much text, I split it into the parts “Setup” and “Tools”.

Connecting two Linuxes over DECnet guarantees that we have a working Linux-DECnet node for the next steps

  • “DECnet on a VAXdescribes how to setup DECnet on an old VAX 3200 running OpenVMS 5.2. The VAX is running simulated under SimH under Ubuntu.
  • VAX and Linux connected”, how to integrate a µVAX and a modern Ubuntu over DECnet.

This is necessary to get control over the VAX’s software installation.