Getting Started


Installing Hercules

The Hercules package is available in source 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 @  The SoftDevLabs version of Hercules, maintained by Fish is available from  There is also third version of Hercules, maintained by Stephen Orso and other developers available at

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off building the executables from source, as the executables available in the repositories are usually quite a bit out of date.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 unique to each distribution listed above and installation/build instructions are available at the site where you download the source code for the version you choose to 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.

Update 3 June 2020:  I had for a number of years provided a split version of Rick Fochtman's OS360/MVT CD-ROM, with the distribution libraries necessary to build a running MVT system using Jay Maynard's instructions as a separate, much smaller archive, and the source libraries as a larger archive.  My reason for providing the split versions was that at the time I originally uploaded these archives to my site many people were still using dial-up connections and it was faster to download only the distribution libraries if that was what you required.  As I have been revising many of the pages of my site, I have decided to replace these split archives with the original CD-ROM iso image.  However, since I am aware of two known damaged files contained on the CD-ROM, prior to creating the iso image I have added corrected versions for the two known damaged files, along with notes explaining the corrections made.  The archive containing the iso image is available for download at downloads/archives/os360mvt.tar.gz (118.0 mB) [MD5: 5b26d748937f88b88c8394bf42aeb51a].

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.  As of June 2020 Jay Maynard is no longer actively involved in the Hercules community, but his site is still available and his instructions may be downloaded from there.

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, and was updated in May 2020.  Those instructions are available from this site at:  Installing MVS 3.8.  There are links in the instructions 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

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 October 10, 2021.