The Question is:
Is there any way (supported or not) to get
VMS V5.4 running on a VAX 4000-500?
The Answer is :
As you are likely aware from the table of minimum versions for
supported platforms -- a table referenced in the OpenVMS FAQ,
in the section entitled "What version of OpenVMS do I need?"
-- and also obviously by your own experimentation, support for
this particular VAX system was added in an OpenVMS VAX release
after the release which you attempted to bootstrap.
Support for an arbitary VAX or Alpha platform involves adding
support for the host processor, the errors that can arise, the
format of the interrupts, and details of the system and I/O
configuration. The effort is non-trivial, in other words.
(If the VAX platform does closely emulate an earlier supported
platform, then this support effort is obviously reduced.)
While support for this platform could theoretically be backported
(an event which is exceedingly unlikely), that effort would be
roughly equivilent to patching the version number of a more
current release back to V5.4. If you wish to entertain the use
of V1.0 or V5.4 or V10.0 on this platform, details on setting an
arbitary release version string are included in the OpenVMS FAQ
section "Changing the OpenVMS Version Number?". (This version
hackery is, of course, roughly as unsupported as the use of V5.4
would be on this platform -- though the latter hackery is
admittedly rather likely to function than the former.)