Getting Started


Installing Hercules

The Hercules package is available in source and RPM format for Linux and is available for Windows platforms as an archive of pre-compiled executables or with scripts for compiling using Cygwin.  It is available at the Hercules home site @  

If you are installing on Linux, you are probably better off building the executables from source, as the executables available in the repositories are usually quite a bit out of date. For a successful build, you will need the prerequisites: gcc, g++, make, automake, gettext, subversion, zlib1g-dev, and libbz2-dev.  The steps to build are:

  1. Download the distribution file, ie. hercules-?.??.tar.gz
  2. Unpack the distribution file: tar xvzf hercules-?.??.tar.gz
  3. Verify you have correct versions of required packages installed: ./util/cvslvlck
  4. Configure Hercules for your system:  ./configure
  5. Build the executables:  make
  6. Install the executables:  (as root) make install

Installing OS/360 MVT 21.8f

As I noted on the introductory page of this site, without an operating system or some user program which will execute directly on an IBM mainframe, Hercules is not very functional.  The distribution libraries for OS/360 MVT 21.8f are available on CD-ROM for a nominal cost or may be downloaded from an Internet site if you have a reasonably fast connection.  A good place to start is the CBT Tape site.  Jay Maynard also maintains the IBM Public Domain Software Collection where operating system software may be downloaded.

In response to a request posted to the Hercules/OS360 discussion list, I am uploading the contents of Rick Fochtman's OS360/MVT CD-ROM to my site here.  I have split the original archive into two parts.  If you only need the distribution libraries that are utilized by Jay Maynard's dasdload control files for the purpose of generating the OS360/MVT system, download os360d.tgz (11.3 MB) [MD5: 7b8e760e5cad06f23a2654f74d8c8aa2].  If you require all of the other contents of the CD-ROM (assembler source code, stand-alone bootstrap loaders, etc.), you will also need to download os360s.tgz (100 MB) [MD5: cb195096e0ef99091b158374447d8641].  Also note that the DN554.XMIT contained in the distribution archive is the recovered version and the damaged DN554A.XMIT has been removed.

Installing MVT is not a trivial undertaking.  An operating system of this complexity usually came with a library of several hundred manuals.  And the manuals for this rather dated operating system are hard to find.  However, Jay Maynard has written an excellent cookbook format guide, Introduction to Generating and Running OS/360 on Hercules, that will take you step-by-step through the process of obtaining and installing not only Hercules but the MVT operating system.  I would definitely recommend you start there.

My own first step was printing Jay's documentation, which became the basis for my Hercules notebook (presently only the first in several volumes).  Jay's Introduction to Generating and Running OS/360 on Hercules also contains the Internet addresses for the MVT source code and an archive containing the Linux scripts and job streams required to install and tailor the operating system.

Installing TCAM / TSO

After you get MVT up and running smoothly, you may want to try running TSO, which is the time-sharing system under which terminal users had access to mainframe resources under MVT.  Malcolm Beattie has written a Guide to installing TSO under MVT on Hercules.  It also contains job streams which you will need to complete this task.  Malcolm also has a secondary document, Guide to using 3270 consoles and terminals for Hercules which you should read.  In order to connect to the MVT console and to a TSO session, it is necessary to use a 3270 emulator program.  This document describes some of the more un-intuitive commands that are useful to know about when using this emulator.

Installing MVS 3.8

At various points in time, I have had three different procedures that I have used to install MVS 3.8 under Hercules available from this site.  The present version is for installing MVS 3.8 from the IBM distribution libraries, using no foreign resources.  Those instructions are available from this site under the navigation tab:  Installing MVS 3.8.  There are links in the documentation from which you can download the jobstreams and datasets required for the process.

Installing DOS/360 26.2

Stephen Orso has created an easy to follow, detailed procedure for installing DOS/360 Release 26.2 plus POWER II onto 2314 DASD and it is available at DOS/360 Installation

Join the Hercules Community

If you get hooked on Hercules, you will probably want to join the mailing list of Hercules users.  It is a moderately active list (will average 20 to 30 messages daily) and stays mostly focused on the technical aspects of installing, maintaining, and using Hercules and the operating systems that run under it.  Visit the Hercules mailing list to subscribe.  You may also view and/or search all the prior messages of the group at this link.  There is also a file archive available at the site.  I maintain a complete list of the links required to join all of the Hercules' related discussion groups near the bottom of the main page of this site.

As you can see, there are quite a few resources already available to get you started.  That is why I have not chosen to re-invent the wheel by covering basic information on this site.  Use the links above to get started.  Then, use the remaining documents on this site to learn how to install an operating system and additional system support software, and learn how to use the operating system.

This page was last updated on August 23, 2016.