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Freely Available Software for OpenVMS

A wealth of freely available software for OpenVMS is available on the Internet. As a service to our customers, we have provided below a list of some of the major sites at which OpenVMS software can be found, along with links to a selection of the most often requested applications.

Unpacking Applications

Applications are packaged using various archiving tools, most of which compress the files as well. The following tools are most commonly used for packaging OpenVMS freeware.


Packages whose filenames end with .ZIP require the UNZIP tool to unpack; packages whose filenames end with .gz, .z or .Z are unpacked using the GNU GZIP tool. (.Z files were compressed with the UNIX compress utility, but GUNZIP can unpack them as well as files packed with GZIP.) Though the names of these tools are similar, they are not interchangeable.

UNZIP can be found at:

» unzip.exe for Alpha
» unzip.exe for VAX
» unzip.exe for Integrity servers

ZIP can be found at:

» zip.exe for Alpha
» zip.exe for VAX
» zip.exe for Integrity servers

GZIP can be found at:

» gzip.exe for Alpha
» gzip.exe for VAX

To use UNZIP, copy the appropriate image and the .ZIP file (be sure to use binary transfer mode if you are using FTP directly), then type the following commands:

     $ UNZIP :== $disk:[dir]UNZIP.EXE
     $ UNZIP application.ZIP

Use of GZIP is similar, substituting the command name GZIP and the appropriate image. Help on each utility is available by entering the command with no parameters.


The UNIX tar (tape archiver) utility is often used to package software; it is similar in function to the OpenVMS BACKUP utility. The most common case is that files will be packaged with tar and then compressed with either UNIX compress or GNU GZIP; both can be decompressed with GUNZIP.

An OpenVMS version of TAR can be found at:

»  vmstar.exe for Alpha
»  vmstar.exe for VAX

If the file is being maintained on a UNIX system, it will typically have a file name of the form xxxxx.tar.Z. Such a name is unacceptable to OpenVMS; specify an output name such as xxxxx_tar.Z when retrieving the file. Unpacking the file is a two-step process. First, decompress the file using GUNZIP as shown above. Then use the following commands to unpack the tar archive:

     $ TAR :== $disk:[dir]VMSTAR
     $ TAR xf xxxxx_TAR


Files with the .SHARE file type are generally VMS SHARE archives which are self-extracting command procedures. Simply copy the file and execute it with the @ command. VMS SHARE files are also used for files which are sent by mail servers. In some cases, larger files are split into two or more pieces which must be appended in the proper order before unpacking.

OpenVMS (FAQ) Frequently Asked Questions

A compilation of frequently asked questions about OpenVMS (and their answers) can be found at http://h71000.www7.hp.com/faq/openvms_faq.html. This document, updated monthly, also contains pointers to additional freeware applications.

Frequently Requested Applications

The following is a selection of frequently requested OpenVMS applications;

  • USENET newsgroup readers and server


  • Character cell Bookreader viewer

    » ftp://ftp.process.com/vms-freeware/fileserv/mgbook.zip


    » http://www.columbia.edu/kermit or

    » ftp://kermit.columbia.edu/


    » ftp://ftp.process.com/vms-freeware/fileserv/gzip-1-2-4.zip

  • UNIX TAR archiver

    » ftp://ftp.process.com/vms-freeware/fileserv/vmstar.zip


    » ftp://ftp.cs.pdx.edu/pub/zmodem See the FILES file in that directory for further details.

  • List of VMS Freeware Servers

    For a larger list of available OpenVMS freeware, browse the following servers and lists.