Easy way to your own IBM mainframe (or wax, or cray …)

If you want the classic experience of working with other classic computers, such as the IBM mainframe or the DEC VAX, you have a few choices. You can spend a lot of money to find one, transport it and renew it. But, of course, most of us would settle for an emulator. While there are great emulators out there, most of the time you’re not just interested in running empty machines – you want operating systems, compilers and other software that make these machines so attractive. Running three lines of your machine code is not as fun as playing Hunt the Wampus or compiling some Fortran IV code. Unfortunately, copies of all these older software can be difficult to find. But thanks for the effort [Rattydave], You can do it without any problems. Secret? Pre-built docker image so that everything you need is in one place.

In addition to IBM’s MVS, VM370, and TSS, you can run Multics – the predecessor of Unix – in the archives of DEC, HP, and DG computers, and even on a Cray 1 supercomputer. There are good instructions, though some machines work a little. For example, TSS image notes:

It is not ready to run the system. You have to do IPL 250 and then you can control it through telnet connection. (If you do not know what IPL 280 means then this container is not for you.)

We’re not sure if both are supposed to be 250 or both are 280, or if that sentence makes sense. It’s been a long time since we did an IBM computer IPL. We think both of them should be 250.

The collection includes a number of SIM-H machines, including the Altair 8080 with a Z80 CPU and, besides, an IBM 1130 and many more that still need some attention to work.

Of course, you still need to know how the computer in question should work, although the notes in each image will help you keep at least one foot. You should probably know something about Docker as well, although to use it, it is not so difficult. Also if you start using docker you will find many different uses for it.

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