[TUHS] Bell COBOL Environment?

Kenneth Goodwin kennethgoodwin56 at gmail.com
Fri Jul 14 07:41:36 AEST 2023

Would your S database perhaps be Sybase??

It is that era of time.

On Thu, Jul 13, 2023, 4:35 PM Clem Cole <clemc at ccc.com> wrote:

> Matt - I never had direct (user) experience with it.  I saw a demo of
> LPI's product at a trade show.  It might have run on Ultrix, but if it did,
> I have no memory of it being in the test suite we used for releases. Also,
> I do not remember if LPI-Colbol was attached to a specific DB
> implementation or not.  In those days, there were a number of them besides
> Ingres - Informix, IBM's DB2, and one that started with an S - which later
> was sold to Microsoft to become SQL-server to name a few, and that may have
> been part of it.  But there were bundled applications for different markets
> (running a dentist's office, car dealership, store, restaurant, *etc*..)
> that ran on small UNIX boxes and used those DBs.
> What I remember was that only a few firms were offering Cobol for UNIX (I
> think that IBM, DEC, DG, and maybe NCR had them from previous OSses), but
> the new generation of UNIX boxes did not - although 3rd parties like LPI
> sometimes offered them.  Since it looks like AT&T is naming it/offering it
> with their product, that is another example of AT&T management missing the
> market.  AT&T's management (Charlie Brown) was interested in going after
> IBM and probably thought that Cobol was important if they sold to IBM shops.
> The problem was that except for some really large 'Big Blue' places that
> never bothered tossing out Cobol (like Wall Street and some insurance
> companies --* i.e.* early IBM computer users), I always thought that
> writing *new code in Cobol or trying to port old code *was not done that
> often because the firms that were switching from Mainframes to UNIX were
> generally tossing out their homegrown applications at the same time and
> replacing the entire suite with something like SAP, BAAN, or Oracle
> APS that were networked, well integrated into things like PCs, used ASCII,
> *etc*. - *i.e*. using the replacement as the time to really upgrade their
> entire back office and possibly moving away from Big Blue based - which was
> not cost-effective (particularly for smaller firms).   Another point was
> the Big 8 accounting firms started offering services that used the minis
> and UNIX boxes with SAP/BAAN/Oracle APS).  Finally, I may miss remembering
> WRT to LPR-Cobol, but it was similar to today's Java in that it compiled
> into an interpreter.  Plus, the impression I always had was that it was not
> designed for practical large-scale use or performance.
> BTW: this is a different behavior from the scientific world.  From mini to
> supercomputers, in most cases, scientific users could not toss out their
> scientific computing tools and replace them with COTS alternatives (*i.e*.,
> no firm like SAP, BAAN or Oracle providing "packaged" solutions for a bank
> or business). But since most of the production apps being used came with
> sources or the few that were commercial (Cadum, CATIA, Ansys *etc*..), it
> was possible to recompile and move things - so people did or the IVSs did.
> Even today, as one of my former colleagues put it, any sr computer system
> manager that ignores Fortran will eventually get fired for incompetence as
> it is still #1.
> On Thu, Jul 13, 2023 at 3:02 PM segaloco via TUHS <tuhs at tuhs.org> wrote:
>> Reading through [1], there are documents offered by AT&T for the "Level
>> II COBOL" system, which some further research indicates is a product from
>> Convergent (same folks as the UNIX PC.)  There's also the LPI-COBOL which
>> appears to be a Language Processor Inc. product.
>> Are these the earliest AT&T endorsed COBOL solutions for UNIX or were
>> there other efforts either promoted by Bell or even perhaps developed
>> locally that were in any use before this version?  Or otherwise is there
>> any other family of ubiquitous UNIX COBOL tools that was in use in the 70s
>> and early 80s, before the timeframe of this document?
>> Additionally is anyone aware of any surviving code or binaries of either
>> of these or other, earlier efforts at COBOL on UNIX?  I have no goal for
>> this information in mind yet, but just gathering details at this point.
>> Thanks all!
>> - Matt G.
>> [1] -
>> http://bitsavers.org/pdf/att/000-111_ATT_Documentation_Guide_Nov87.pdf
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