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HP OpenVMS DCL Dictionary

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Assigns a numeric value to a queue characteristic. The /CHARACTERISTIC qualifier is required. If a value has been assigned to the characteristic, you must delete and redefine the characteristic to alter the assignment of the existing characteristic.

Requires OPER (operator) privilege.


You cannot define more than one characteristic name to a number.


DEFINE/CHARACTERISTIC characteristic-name characteristic-number



Assigns a name to the characteristic being defined. The characteristic name can be the name of an existing characteristic or a string of 1 to 31 characters that defines a new characteristic. The character string can include any uppercase and lowercase letters, digits, the dollar sign ($), and the underscore (_), and must include at least one alphabetic character. Only one characteristic name can be defined to each number.


Assigns a number in the range 0 to 127 to the characteristic being defined.


The system manager or operator uses the DEFINE/CHARACTERISTIC command to assign a name and number to a particular characteristic for queues in the system. Characteristics can refer to any attribute of a print or batch job that is meaningful for your environment. The name and number of a characteristic are arbitrary, but they must be unique for that characteristic.


Prior to OpenVMS Version 6.0, the DEFINE/CHARACTERISTIC command allowed you to define more than one characteristic name to a number, although this capability was unsupported.

The DEFINE/CHARACTERISTIC command no longer allows you to define more than one characteristic name to a number; however, if your queue configuration requires you to have more than one characteristic name for a single number, you can define logical names to achieve the same result. For example, you might enter the following commands:


In this example, the characteristic name SECOND_FLOOR is assigned to the characteristic number 2. The logical names SALES_FLOOR and SALES_DEPT are then defined as equivalent to the characteristic name SECOND_FLOOR. As a result, the logical names SALES_FLOOR and SALES_DEPT are each equivalent to the characteristic name SECOND_FLOOR and the characteristic number 2. These logical names can be specified as the characteristic-name value for any /CHARACTERISTIC=characteristic-name qualifier.

In an OpenVMS Cluster environment, you must define the logical names on every node that requires them.

After characteristics have been defined, they can be associated with print or batch jobs and execution queues. For information on specifying characteristics with jobs, see the description of the /CHARACTERISTICS qualifier of the PRINT and SUBMIT commands.

To find out what characteristics are currently defined for the system, use the SHOW QUEUE/CHARACTERISTICS command. To find out which characteristics have been specified for a particular queue, use the SHOW QUEUE/FULL command. For information on associating characteristics with queues, see the descriptions of the /CHARACTERISTICS qualifier of the INITIALIZE/QUEUE, SET QUEUE, and START/QUEUE commands.

The DELETE/CHARACTERISTIC command deletes a previously defined characteristic.

For more information on specifying queue characteristics, refer to the HP OpenVMS System Manager's Manual.



The DEFINE/CHARACTERISTIC command in this example defines the characteristic REDINK with the number 3. When a user enters the command PRINT/CHARACTERISTICS=REDINK (or PRINT /CHARACTERISTICS=3), the job is printed only if the printer queue has been established with the REDINK or 3 characteristic.

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