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Archive-name: cobol-faq
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Last-Modified: $Date: 1994/09/05 12:05:36 $
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    1.  Changes since the last issue.

    2.  Where can I get this FAQ ?

    3.  Where can I get a COBOL compiler ?
        3.1 for DOS, Windows or OS/2 ?
        3.2 for Windows/NT ?
        3.3 for UNIX ?
        3.4 for Linux ?
        3.5 for the Macintosh ?
        3.6 for other environments ?

    4.  Is there a free COBOL compiler ?
        4.1 for DOS, Windows or OS/2 ?
        4.2 for Windows/NT ?
        4.3 for UNIX ?
        4.4 for the Macintosh ?
        4.5 for other environments ?

    5.  What happened to...
        5.1 Ryan McFarland ?
        5.2 Realia ?

    6.  Where can I contact...
        6.1 Acucobol ?
        6.2 Liant ?
        6.3 Micro Focus ?
        6.4 CA ?
        6.5 mbp ?
        6.6 Wang ?

    7.  COBOL standards.
        7.1 What standards exist ?
        7.2 Can I get the standards via FTP ?

    8.  COBOL 6.50
        8.2 How do I compile my programs ?
        8.1 How do I link my objects ?

    9.  What about OO COBOL ?

   10.  Books about COBOL.

   11.  Is there a COBOL to C converter ?

   12.  Other sources of information.
        12.1 Compuserve
        12.2 Bix
        12.3 Micro Focus Faxback

   13.  Information required for the FAQ.

   14.  Contributors to the FAQ.

   15.  Copying this FAQ.

1.  Changes since the last issue.

    Information about Liant's Compuserve Forum.

    Updates to the booklist.  I've also changed the booklist to be
    alphabetically ordered by title, because it's easier to maintain
    like that.

2.  Where can I get this FAQ ?

    This document should be archived at many sites on the Internet,
    including -- the archive site for all FAQs.  It is also

3.  Where can I get a COBOL compiler ?

    3.1 for DOS, Windows or OS/2 ?

        Acucobol, CA, Liant, mbp and Micro Focus all produce compilers
        for one or more of these environments.  Microsoft used to
        re-badge the Micro Focus compiler, but not any more.

    3.2 for Windows/NT ?

        Micro Focus has a COBOL 32-bit SDK available for Windows/NT.
        ACUCOBOL-85 is also available.

    3.3 for UNIX ?

        Acucobol, Liant, mbp and Micro Focus have products available
        across a large number of UNIX platforms.  Some OEMs re-badge
        and/or re-engineer these products for their own systems, too.

        Wang also produce a development and production environment
        for the RS/6000 running AIX and HP 9000 s800 and s700 running

    3.4 for Linux ?

        There is no COBOL system available specifically for Linux.
        However, the iBCS2 code for Linux should mean that it is
        possible to get some of the i486 COBOL packages for operating
        systems such as SCO to work.

        it is possible to get programs compiled using Micro Focus COBOL
        on SCO UNIX to run on Linux.

    3.5 for the Macintosh ?

        Micro Focus, Acucobol and Liant produce a COBOL development
        system for the Mac running A/UX.

        Micro Focus have also announced that they will be releasing
        a product on MacOS.  There are currently no dates for release.

    3.6 for other environments ?

        Most major vendors have their own COBOL implementation, or
        have someone else's ported to their platform(s).  There are
        quite a few available for CP/M and MP/M, and one is even
        rumoured to have been available for the PERQ workstation.

4.  Is there a free COBOL compiler ?

    Just for the record, no COBOL tools are listed in the Catalog
    of compilers, interpreters, and other language tools posted to
    comp.compilers and comp.lang.misc.  This probably means that
    there are no freely available COBOL compiler sources.

    However, several books in the booklist come with a COBOL compiler.
    See section 10 for details.

    4.1 for DOS, Windows or OS/2.

        There is a freely available COBOL compiler for DOS.  It can be
        found on many archive sites, named  The sources
        are not available, however.  Have a read through Section 8
        before you start.

        Also, it may be possible to run the freely available CP/M
        compiler (see 4.5) under a freely available CP/M emulator.

    4.2 for Windows/NT ?

        The CP/M compiler/emulator combination should work here, too.

    4.3 for UNIX ?

        There are no well-documented examples of a freely available COBOL
        compiler for UNIX.

        COBOL 6.50 might run under a UNIX emulation of a DOS system,
        however.  (For example, VP/ix, SoftPC or dosemu under Linux.)

        The CP/M compiler (see 4.5) should run under a CP/M emulator
        for UNIX in a similar fashion.

    4.4 for the Macintosh ?

        Not that I know of.

    4.5 for other environments ?

        There is a freely available CP/M COBOL compiler/interpreter
        (NPS Micro COBOL).  This is available via anonymous FTP
        from in /pub/cpm/cobol.  However, Stefano Priola

        "I've used the CPM COBOL ... I think that this compiler is much
         too old to use or for a student to learn COBOL."

5.  What happened to ...

    5.1 Ryan McFarland ?

        Ryan McFarland have been bought by Liant Software Corp.

    5.2 Realia ?

        Realia have been bought by Computer Associates (CA).  Their
        compiler is now called CA-Realia COBOL.

6.  Where can I contact ...

    6.1 Acucobol ?

        7950 Silverton Avenue
        Suite 201
        San Diego, CA 92126

        Tel: (619) 689 7220
        Fax: (619) 566 3071

        You can also call 1-800-COBOL-85 in the US.

        Acucobol have a connection to the Internet.  Their domain is

    6.2 Liant ?

        LPI COBOL

          Liant Software Corporation      Liant Software Ltd.
          959 Concord Street              2 Caxton Street
          Framingham, MA 01701            St. James Park
          USA                             London SW1H 0QE

          Tel: (508) 872-8700             Tel: +44 71 799 2434
          Fax: (508) 626-2221             Fax: +44 71 799 2552


          Liant Software Corporation            Liant Software Ltd.
          8911 Capital of Texas Highway North   2 Caxton Street
          Austin, TX 78759-7267                 St. James Park
          USA                                   London SW1H 0QE

          Product Enquiries :

          Tel: (512) 343-1010                   Tel: +44 71 799 2434
          Fax: (512) 343-9487                   Fax: +44 71 799 2552

          In the US you can also call 1-800-RMCOBOL.

          Technical Enquiries :

          Tel: (512) 343-1010
          Fax: (512) 345-9914

    6.3 Micro Focus ?

        Micro Focus Ltd.                Micro Focus Inc.
        26 West Street                  2465 East Bayshore Road
        Newbury                         Suite 400, Palo Alto
        Berkshire                       CA 94303
        RG13 1JT                        USA

        Tel: +44 635 32646              Tel: 415 856 4161
        Fax: +44 635 33966              Fax: 415 856 6134

        In the US you can also call 1-800-VSCOBOL.

        Micro Focus can be contacted via the Internet.  The domain is

    6.4 Computer Associates ?

        For product inquiries:

        Computer Associates
        One Computer Associaes Plaza
        NY 11788-7000

        Tel:    1-800-CALL CAI (225-5224)

        For technical inquiries:

        Computer Associates
        2400 Cabot Drive
        IL 60532-3652

        Tel:    (708) 505-6885

    6.5 mbp ?

        In Germany,

        mbp Softwareentwicklungsgesellschaft mbH
        Tools & Compiler
        Semerteichstr. 47-49
        D-44141 Dortumnd

        Tel. +49 231 944 1465
        Fax  +49 231 944 2413

        In the US,

        mbp Software and Systems Technologies, Inc.
        1131 Harbor Bay Parkway, Suite 260
        CA 94501

        Tel: (510) 769-5333
        Fax: (510) 769-5735

        In the US, you can also call 1-800-231-6342.

    6.6 Wang ?

        Wang Laboratories, Inc.
        One Industrial Avenue
        Lowell, MA  01851

        Contact Stephen Bergmann : 508 967 6547
             or Bob Mance        : 508 967 7001

        Fax : 508 967 5110

        Wang are also on the Internet.  Their domain is

7.  COBOL standards.

    7.1 What standards exist ?

        The current COBOL standard is the ISO/ANSI '85 standard.  This
        replaced the ANSI '74 standard.

        There are two amendments to the COBOL '85 standard --
        intrinsic functions and corrections.

        ISO should be producing a new standard in 1997.  Don Nelson is
        the editor and has offered to answer any questions about it.

    7.2 Can I get the standards via FTP.

        The standards do not appear to be available via FTP.  This is
        probably because they are very large and are copyrighted by
        ANSI and/or ISO.

        The 1997 standard will be copyright of ISO.

8.  COBOL 6.50

    8.1 How do I compile my programs ?

        [ This section was entirely contributed by Ralf Laemmel, though
          I have re-worded a couple of sentences where I thought it
          would make things clearer. ]

        It is assumed you have installed in the directory
        C:\COBOL650.  In install.doc you will find some information on
        running the compiler.

        1) Add C:\COBOL650 to the PATH

        2) Run APPEND on C:\COBOL650 :

           APPEND C:\COBOL650

        The install.doc contained in refers to a program
        DPATH.COM to be run instead of APPEND. The DOS program APPEND
        seems to work too.  (Anyone know where to obtain DPATH.COM ?)

        3) Now you can compile your .cob files as explained in

        When trying to compile sources in a directory other than that
        where the compiler is installed, the compiler terminates without
        an error.  This restriction is not documented in install.doc,
        which is probably a result of using APPEND instead of DPATH.

        The compiler accesses drive A:.  You should have a disk in this

    8.2 How do I link my objects ?

        There is no linker with the COBOL 6.50 compiler.  To link
        objects you need to use the linker from MS-DOS v3.3 or earlier.

        Ralf Laemmel adds :

        You can use newer linkers, especially from newer Microsoft
        compiler products, too.

9.  What about OO COBOL ?

    The following is largely taken from a posting by Michael Jesse Chonoles

    "The X3J4.1 Object-Oriented COBOL Task Group has approved a technical
    report with recommendations that it be included in the next full COBOL
    Language Standard by the X3J4 committee."

    Micro Focus have an OO COBOL product.  It does not conform to the
    OO COBOL proposal currently being discussed, however -- the syntax
    is largely compatible with, but a subset of, the current proposal.

10. Books about COBOL.

    "Advanced ANSI COBOL with Structured Programming (2nd ed.)",
     ISBN 0-471-54786-7
     by Gary DeWard Brown, published by John Wiley & Sons.
     Apparently this is one of the few books which covers ANSI 85 COBOL.

    "COBOL 85 For Programmers", ISBN 0-444-01232-X
     by Don Nelson, published by North-Holland.

     It is available only from the author.

    "COBOL: Der Einstieg", ISBN 3-8006-1673-4
     by Andreas Tietz, published by Vahlen Verlag, Muenchen.
     A German language book.

    "COBOL from Micro to Mainframe", ISBN 0-13-138686-7
     by Robert Grauer, published by Prentice Hall.
     This includes a disk containing a student edition of CA-Realia COBOL
     and interactive COBOL de{*filter*}.
     US price (May '94) : $55
     This book may have been released as several volumes and as a complete
     work.  I'm not sure to which the ISBN applies.  The ISBN
     0-13-140179-3 has been suggested for Volume I by William Fang

    "The COBOL Presentation Manager Programming Guide", ISBN 0-442-01293-4
     by David M. Dill, published by Van Nostrand Reinhold.

    "Comprehensive COBOL"            ISBN 0-07-909613-1 (5.25 inch disks)
     by Bradley                      ISBN 0-07-836549-X (3.5 inch disks)
     Includes a Liant RM/COBOL-85 DOS compiler and development environment
     US price ( April '94): $60.50

    "Comprehensive Structured COBOL", ISBN unknown
     by L. Wayne Horns.  Comes with an RM compiler.

    "Comprehensive Structured COBOL (Third edition)", ISBN 0-534-91781-X
     by Gary S. Popkin, published by PWS-KENT (Division of Wadsworth Inc).
     Covers ANSI-74 and ANSI-85 COBOL in detail.  Highly recommended by

    "Modern COBOL Programming", ISBN unknown
     by Price/Olson published by McGraw Hill
     Comes with RM/COBOL-85
     US price (June '94): ~$55

    "Object-COBOL: Object-orientation for Business"
     by Raymond Obin published by Micro Focus Press.

    "OS/2 Presentation Manager Programming for COBOL Programmers",
     ISBN unknown, by Robert B. Chapman, published by John Wiley & Sons.

    "The Revolutionary guide to COBOL with compiler" ISBN 1-874416-17-6
     by Yevsei Handel and Boris Degtyar.  Comes with a disk containing a
     COBOL compiler written by Dmitry Bronnikov.

     Published by Wrox Press Ltd, 1334 Warwick Rd, Birmingham, UK.

    "Structured COBOL, 3rd Edition"  ISBN 0-07-835423-4 (5.25 inch disks)
     by Welburn/Price                ISBN 0-07-836489-2 (3.5 inch disks)
     Includes a Liant RM/COBOL-85 DOS compiler and development environment
     US price (April '94): $67.38

     The above two books may be ordered from Mitchell/McGraw Hill,
     Tel: (800) 338-3987 (US only) or (619) 426-5000

    "Structured COBOL with Business Applications", ISBN unknown
     by Stanley E. Myers published by Prentice Hall.

    "Teach Yourself COBOL in 21 Days", ISBN 0-672-30469-4 by Mo Budlong,
     published by SAMS Publishing/MacMillan Computer Publishing

    "Structured COBOL Programming (7th Edition)", ISBN 0-471-30580-4
     by Stern & Stern, published by John Wiley & Sons.
     Comes with a syntax guide and an order form for a special offer
     cut-down RM/COBOL 85 or Micro Focus Personal COBOL (unmodified).

11. Is there a COBOL to C converter ?

    Asking this question anywhere appears to generate much general
    flamage and general language wars and very little useful

    No such beast is listed in the free compilers FAQ, but an ad
    has appears in the US publication "Programmer's Shop Catalog"
    for COBOL to C (and PL/I to C) translators.  Contact :

        Micro-Processor Services,
        92 Stone Hurst Lane,
        Dix Hills,
        NY 11746

        Tel: (516) 499 4461

    A toolset for conversion from COBOL to several other languages
    is available. A tool first produces structured diagrams
    (Nassi-Shneiderman) from existing source files. Structural
    errors are identified and you can edit to correct them. Another tool
    takes those same diagrams and produces source code in one of several
    languages (COBOL, C, Ada, Basic, Clipper, dBaseIV, fortran, Modula
    2, Natural, PL/1, etc.)

    The toolset is called XperCase by Siemens, and is available
    in the US from:

        Boston Technical Distribution Corp.
        3 Center Plaza, Suite 440
        MA 02108

        Tel: (617) 248-8989
        Fax: (617) 248-8986

    Some people consider that it is possibly cheaper to hire someone
    to do the conversion job than to have a program produce C code
    which could be quite difficult to read and maintain.

12. Other sources of information.

    12.1 Compuserve

        Micro Focus runs a COBOL Forum on Compuserve.  Just

            GO MICROFOCUS

        to get to it.

        CA also has a Forum.  To get to this, use

            GO CAIDEV

        Liant has a Forum too, to support the RM/COBOL and
        Relativity(TM) family of products.  To access it, use

            GO LIANT

    12.2 Bix

        There is a COBOL forum on Bix.  Don Nelson is the moderator.

    12.3 Micro Focus Faxback

        In Palo Alto, Micro Focus runs a system for obtaining certain
        technical information by fax.  You need a tone-dial 'phone
        to use it.

        The number is (415) 496 7170.

13. Information required for the FAQ.

    Corrections and additions to existing material are always welcome.

    I'd like to add a section of reviews of different COBOL books.  If
    I am sent any reviews I will collate them and add these to the FAQ.

    More information on the COBOL standards and later updates would
    be useful.

    A section covering COBOL programming could be worthwhile.

14. Contributors to the FAQ.

    The following people have contributed to the creation of this FAQ :

    Kelly Brown             ???
    Gary Henry              ???

15. Copying this FAQ.

    This FAQ is copyright 1994 by James Fidell. It may be freely
    redistributed as long as it is completely unmodified and that no
    attempt is made to restrict any recipient from redistributing it on
    the same terms. It may not be sold or incorporated into commercial
    documents without the the written permission of the copyright

    Permission is granted for this document to be made available
    for file transfer from sites offering unrestricted file transfer
    on the Internet and from the COBOL Forums on Compuserve and Bix.

    This document is provided as is, without any warranty.  Nothing
    in this document represents the views of Micro Focus Ltd.  Your
    mileage may vary.

 "Yield to temptation --             |

        - Lazarus Long               |              James Fidell

Thu, 06 Mar 1997 13:00:07 GMT  
 [ 1 post ] 

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