You've heard that UNIX is difficult and balk at the prospect of leaving VMS, don't you? Don't worry. Linux, one of the finest UNIX clones, is not more difficult to use than VMS; actually, I find it easier. Although VMS aficionados may not agree, in many people's opinion Linux is much more powerful and versatile.
Linux and VMS are both good operating systems and accomplish essentially the same tasks, but Linux has a few features that make it a good alternative to VMS. Moreover, Linux is available for PCs while VMS is not, and modern Pentium-based Linux machines can outperform a VAX. The icing on the cake is the excellent performance of modern video cards, which turn an X11-based Linux box into a fast graphic workstation; nearly always, quicker than dedicated machines.
I imagine you're a university researcher or a student, and that you use VMS for the following everyday tasks:
writing papers with TeX/LaTeX;
programming in Fortran;
doing some graphics;
using Internet services;
In the following sections I'm going to explain to you how to do these tasks under Linux, exploiting your experience with VMS. Prerequisites:
Linux and X Window System are properly installed;
there's a system administrator to take care of the technical details (please get help from them, not from me ;-) ;
your shell---the equivalent of DCL---is bash (ask your sysadm).
Please note that this HOWTO is not enough to acquaint you fully with Linux: it only contains the bare essential to get you started. You should learn more about Linux to make the most of it (advanced bash features, programming, regular expressions...). From now on, RMP means `please read the man pages for further details'. The man pages are the equivalent of the command HELP.
The Linux Documentation Project documents, available on �, are an important source of information. I suggest that you read Larry Greenfield's ``Linux User Guide''---it's invaluable for the novice user.
And now, go ahead.
This table attempts to compare VMS' and Linux' most used commands. Please keep in mind that the syntax is often very different; for more details, refer to the following sections.
VMS Linux Notes ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ @COMMAND command must be executable COPY file1 file2 cp file1 file2 CREATE/DIR [.dirname] mkdir dirname only one at a time CREATE/DIR [.dir1.dir2] mkdirhier dir/name DELETE filename rm filename DIFF file1 file2 diff -c file1 file2 DIRECTORY ls DIRECTORY [...]file find . -name file DIRECTORY/FULL ls -al EDIT filename vi filename, you won't like it emacs filename, EDT compatible jed filename ditto---my favourite FORTRAN prog.for g77 prog.f, no need to do LINK f77 prog.f, fort77 prog.f HELP command man command must specify `command' info command ditto LATEX file.tex latex file.tex LOGIN.COM .bash_profile, `hidden' file .bashrc ditto LOGOUT.COM .bash_logout ditto MAIL mail, crude elm, much better pine better still mutt ditto PRINT file.ps lpr file.ps PRINT/QUEUE=laser file.ps lpr -Plaser file.ps PHONE user talk user RENAME file1 file2 mv file1 file2 not for multiple files RUN progname progname SEARCH file "pattern" grep pattern file SET DEFAULT [-] cd .. SET DEFAULT [.dir.name] cd dir/name SET HOST hostname telnet hostname, not exactly the same rlogin hostname SET FILE/OWNER_UIC=joe chown joe file completely different SET NOBROADCAST mesg SET PASSWORD passwd SET PROT=(perm) file chmod perm file completely different SET TERMINAL export TERM= different syntax SHOW DEFAULT pwd SHOW DEVICE du, df SHOW ENTRY lpq SHOW PROCESS ps -ax SHOW QUEUE lpq SHOW SYSTEM top SHOW TIME date SHOW USERS w STOP kill STOP/QUEUE kill, for processes lprm for print queues SUBMIT command command & SUBMIT/AFTER=time command at time command TEX file.tex tex file.tex TYPE/PAGE file more file less file much better
But of course it's not only a matter of different command names. Read on.