RPF is always the first thing I install on a fresh MVS system. Many tasks revolve around using features of RPF, and while they could be performed in TSO or batch, RPF provides a quick and intuitive way to do them.
RPF stands for Rob's Programming Facility and is modelled off of ISPF, the Interactive Screen Productivity Facility. Very loosely, TSO and ISPF can be thought of like MS-DOS and Windows with ISPF providing an easier, GUI-driven way of performing TSO tasks. This is a superficial comparison, but it should help for now. ISPF, however, is a licensed product which can not be used for free, but Rob Prins has kindly allowed the Hercules community to use RPF which performs many of the important functions that ISPF does and is contantly being improved.
RPF is also one of the easiest programs to install on MVS. Rob Prins has provided an AWS-formatted tape and JCL at his website. Download the tape (rpf153.zip as of writing) and RPFJCL.txt. After unzipping the tape you should have rpf153.aws and the JCL. With these two files, you're ready to install RPF.
You do not (and probably should not) be logged on to any TSO sessions while installing RPF.
00- V 480,ONLINE IEE302I 480 ONLINE
JOB 1 $HASP100 RPF153$1 ON READER1 Install RPF - JOB 1 $HASP373 RPF153$1 STARTED - INIT 4 - CLASS S - SYS BSP1 - JOB 1 IEF403I RPF153$1 - STARTED - TIME=21.41.01 00 *JOB 1 *IEC501A M 480,RPF153,SL,6250 BPI,RPF153$1,ALLOC
In a nutshell, the message means that MVS is looking for a volume on device 480 with a volume serial of RPF153 using standard tape labels (SL), a density of 6,250 bytes per inch (6250 BPI) as well as the job name (RPF153$1), and the job step (ALLOC) that is requesting the tape.
- JOB 1 IEF404I RPF153$1 - ENDED - TIME=21.44.07 - JOB 1 $HASP395 RPF153$1 ENDED