[TUHS] Bell COBOL Environment?

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Fri Jul 14 09:02:33 AEST 2023

Yes. Thank you.

On Thu, Jul 13, 2023 at 5:41 PM Kenneth Goodwin <kennethgoodwin56 at gmail.com>

> 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
>> --
Sent from a handheld expect more typos than usual
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