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INSTALLvms.txt - Installation of Vim on OpenVMS
Maintainer: Zoltan Arpadffy <>
Last change: 2008 Jan 06
This file contains instructions for compiling Vim on Openvms.
If you already have an executable version of Vim, you don't need this.
If you skip settings described here, then you will get the default Vim
behavior as it is documented, which should be fine for most users.
The file "feature.h" can be edited to match your preferences, but this files
does not describe possibilities hidden in feature.h acrobatics, however
parameters from MAKE_VMS.MMS actively uses and sets up parameters in relation
with feature.h
More information and case analysis you can found in os_vms.txt
([runtime.doc]os_vms.txt or :help vms from vim prompt)
1. Download files
2. Configuration
3. Compilation DECC
4. Compilation VAXC
6. Deployment
7. GTK and other features
8. Notes
9. Authors
1. Download files
1.1. Visit the Vim ftp site (see
and obtain the following three files:
where X.X is the version number.
1.2. Expand the three archives.
1.3. Apply patches if they exist. (Patch files are found in the ftp
site in the "patches" directory.)
1.4. You will need either the DECSET mms utility or the freely available clone
of it called mmk (VMS has no make utility in the standard distribution).
You can download mmk from
1.5. If you want to have Perl, Python or Tcl support in Vim you will need VMS
distributions for them as well.
1.6 If you want to have GTK executable, you need to have properly installed
GTK libraries.
NOTE: procedure in chapter 1 describes source code preparation from multi OS
code, however it is available OpenVMS optimized (and tested) source code from:
Current OpenVMS source code as .zip or .tar.gz file is possible to download
from CVS mirror
2. Configuration
2.1. Edit vim-X.X/src/feature.h for your preference. (You can skip
this, then you will get the default behavior as is documented,
which should be fine for most people.)
For example, if you want to add the MULTI_BYTE feature, turn on
#define MULTI_BYTE
2.2 Edit vim-X.X/src/Make_vms.mms to customize your Vim. Options are:
Parameter name : MODEL
Description : Build model selection
Options: : TINY - Almost no features enabled, not even
multiple windows
SMALL - Few features enabled, as basic as possible
NORMAL - A default selection of features enabled
BIG - Many features enabled, as rich as possible.
(OpenVMS default)
HUGE - All possible features enabled.
Uncommented - will default to BIG
Default : MODEL = BIG
Parameter name : GUI
Description : GUI or terminal mode executable
Options: : YES - GUI executable
Uncommented - char only
Default : GUI = YES
Parameter name : GTK
Description : Enable GTK in GUI mode.
It enables features as toolbar etc.
Options: : YES - GTK executable
Uncommented - without GTK
Default : Uncommented
Parameter name : XPM
Description : Enable XPM libraries in GUI/Motif mode.
It enables features as toolbar etc.
Options: : YES - GUI executable
Uncommented - without XPM
Default : Uncommented
Parameter name : DECC
Description : Compiler selection
Options: : YES - DECC compiler
Uncommented - VAXC compiler
Default : DECC = YES
Parameter name : CCVER
Description : Compiler version with :ver command
Options: : YES - Compiler version info will be added
Uncommented - will not be added
Default : CCVER = YES
Parameter name : DEBUG
Description : Building a debug version
Options: : YES - debug version will be built
Uncommented - building normal executable
Default : Uncommented
Parameter name : VIM_TCL
Description : Add Tcl support
Options: : YES - Build with support
Uncommented - build without support.
Default : Uncommented
Parameter name : VIM_PERL
Description : Add Perl support
Options: : YES - Build with support
Uncommented - build without support.
Default : Uncommented
Parameter name : VIM_PYTHON
Description : Add Python support
Options: : YES - Build with support
Uncommented - build without support.
Default : Uncommented
Parameter name : VIM_XIM
Description : X Input Method. For entering special languages
like chinese and Japanese. Please define just
Options: : YES - Build with support
Uncommented - build without support.
Default : Uncommented
Parameter name : VIM_HANGULIN
Description : Internal Hangul input method. GUI only.
Please define just one: VIM_XIM or VIM_HANGULIN
Options: : YES - Build with support
Uncommented - build without support.
Default : Uncommented
Parameter name : VIM_TAG_ANYWHITE
Description : Allow any white space to separate the fields in a
tags file
When not defined, only a TAB is allowed.
Options: : YES - Build with support
Uncommented - build without support.
Default : Uncommented
You can edit the *_INC and *_LIB qualifiers, but it is really
not recommended for beginners.
3. Compilation DECC
3.1. If you have MSS on your system, the command
mms /descrip=Make_vms.mms
will start building your own customized version of Vim.
The adequate command for mmk is:
mmk /descrip=Make_vms.mms
NOTE: Because of empty /auto/config.h (needed for Unix configure) build
will fail with very strange messages. Therefore before building, it is
recommended to make one clean up, to prepare everything for OpenVMS
development. The command is:
mms /descrip=Make_vms.mms clean
4. Compilation VAXC
4.1. VAXC compiler is not fully ANSI C compatible in pre-processor directives
semantics, therefore you have to use a converter program what will do the
lion part of the job. *.c *.h <.proto>*.pro
more information can be found in file itself.
NOTE: even if will fix all pre-processor directives it will
leave singe (long) line directives. You have to fix them manually.
Known problematic files are option.h and option.c
4.2. After the conversion you can continue building as it has been described
5.1. MMS_VIM.EXE is building together with VIM.EXE, but for CTAGS.EXE and
XXD.EXE you should change to subdirectory <.CTAGS> or <.XXD> and build
them separately.
5.2. In these directories you can found one make file for VMS as well.
Please read the detailed build instructions in the related *.MMS file.
6. Deployment
6.1. Copy over all executables to the deployment directory.
6.2. Vim uses a special directory structure to hold the document and runtime
vim (or wherever)
|-- doc
|-- syntax
vimrc (system rc files)
6.3 Define logicals VIM
define/nolog VIM device:[leading-path-here.vim]
to get vim.exe to find its document, filetype, and syntax files.
Now, if you are lucky you should have one own built, customized and
working Vim.
7. GTK and other features
7.1 General notes
To be able to build external GUI or language support you have to enable
related feature in MAKE_VMS.MMS file. Usually it need some extra tuning
around include files, shared libraries etc.
Please note, that leading "," are valuable for MMS/MMK syntax.
MAKE_VMS.MMS uses defines as described below:
7.1.1 feature_DEF = ,"SOME_FEATURE"
Submits definition to compiler preprocessor to enable code blocks
defined with
{some code here}
Example: TCL_DEF = ,"FEAT_TCL"
7.1.2 feature_SRC = code1.c code2.c
Defines source code related with particular feature.
Example: TCL_SRC = if_tcl.c
7.1.3 feature_OBJ = code1.obj code2.obj
Lists objects created from source codes listed in feature_SRC
Example: PERL_OBJ = if_perlsfio.obj if_perl.obj
7.1.4 feature_LIB = ,OS_VMS_TCL.OPT/OPT
Defines the libraries that have to be used for build.
If it is an OPT file then MAKE_VMS.MMS creates OPT files
in gen_feature procedure.
perl_env :
-@ write sys$output "creating OS_VMS_PERL.OPT file."
-@ open/write opt_file OS_VMS_PERL.OPT
-@ write opt_file "PERLSHR /share"
-@ close opt_file
perl_env :
-@ !
7.1.5 feature_INC = ,dka0:[tcl80.generic]
Defines the directory where the necessary include files are.
Example: TCL_INC = ,dka0:[tcl80.generic]
7.2 GTK
To build VIM with GTK you have to install GTK on your OpenVMS.
So far it works just on Alpha and IA64. More information at:
You need also the OpenVMS Porting Library:
Source code for GTK and porting library that is used to build
VMS executables at are at
Enable GTK in make_vms.mms file with GTK = YES
Define GTK_ROOT that points to your GTK root directory.
You will need to edit GTKDIR variable in order to point
to GTK header files and libraries.
".]" at the end is very important.
Build it as normally.
Used sharable images are:
gtk_root:[glib]libglib.exe /share,-
gtk_root:[glib.gmodule]libgmodule.exe /share,-
gtk_root:[gtk.gdk]libgdk.exe /share,-
gtk_root:[gtk.gtk]libgtk.exe /share
During runtime it is suggested to have all these files installed and
copied to SYS$LIBRARY: to be able to use it without problems.
Also VMS_JACKETS.EXE from OpenVMS Porting Library.
Please note, that GTK uses /name=(as_is,short)/float=ieee/ieee=denorm
complier directives that is not compatible with "standard" VMS usage,
therefore other external features might fail as PERL, PYTHON and TCL
7.3 PERL
You have to install OpenVMS perl package from: or build on your own from sources downloaded from
You need defined PERLSHR logical that points to PERL shareable image
(or you can just copy over to SYS$LIBRARY:)
Enable Perl feature at make_vms.mms with VIM_PERL = YES
Edit PERL_INC = to point to perl includes directory where is extern.h
Build as usually.
You have to install an OpenVMS python package.
Set up the normal Python work environment.
You have to have defined PYTHON_INCLUDE and PYTHON_OLB logicals.
PYTHON_INCLUDE should point to Python include files where for ex:
python.h is located.
Enable Python feature at make_vms.mms with VIM_PYTHON = YES
Build as usually.
7.5 TCL
You have to install an OpenVMS TCL package.
Set up the normal TCL work environment.
You have to have defined TCLSHR logical that points to shareable image.
Enable TCL feature at make_vms.mms with VIM_TCL = YES
Edit TCL_INC = to point to TCL includes directory where is tcl.h
Build as usually.
8. Notes
8.1. New Compaq C compiler
If you are using Compaq C compiler V6.2 or newer, Informational messages
of the type QUESTCOMPARE will be displayed. You should ignore those
messages ; they are generated only because some test comparisons are done
with variables which type vary depending on the OS. Under VMS, those are
"unsigned" and the compiler issue a message whenever the comparison is
done with '<=' to 0. However, the code is correct and will behave as
( Jerome Lauret <> Vim 6.0n )
NOTE: from version 6.0ad Vim code has been reviewed and these warnings
have been corrected.
9. Authors
Initial version, 2000 Jul 19, Zoltan Arpadffy <>
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