[TUHS] Bell COBOL Environment?

KenUnix ken.unix.guy at gmail.com
Fri Jul 14 09:19:52 AEST 2023

Well if you guys use Linux you can always download open source "gnucobol"
to experiment with.


On Thu, Jul 13, 2023 at 7:02 PM Clem Cole <clemc at ccc.com> wrote:

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

End of line
JOB TERMINATED -->> Okey Dokey, OK Boss
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