[TUHS] Bell COBOL Environment?

Paul Ruizendaal via TUHS tuhs at tuhs.org
Fri Jul 14 18:46:51 AEST 2023

> 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.

Ryan-McFarland comes to mind: in my recollection they were the leading Cobol on small machines in the early 80’s. Ryan-McFarland’s predecessor company Digitek was contracted to do the PL/I compiler for Multics, but failed. It seems they later did Bell Labs PL/I (says https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digitek). I think they did a Unix version of their Cobol in the mid/late 80’s as well.

A few years ago I tried to find out more about RM-Cobol as it existed in the late 70’s and early 80’s, but with little success. As a product it survived till the present day under the ownership of Micro-Focus and most web mentions are for more recent versions.

It would seem to me that compilers on machines with small memories and word sizes in the 60’s, 70’s and even 80’s tended to compile to a virtual machine / intermediate code -- sometimes with the option to compile to native from there. Think BCPL and o-code, Pascal and p-code, the Amsterdam Compiler Kit and m-code, the Microsoft “revenue bomb” p-code C compiler, etc. According to the above Wikipedia article RM-Cobol used the same approach. I did once see the source for another 80’s Cobol compiler and it compiled to a virtual machine with 60-bit words.

By the way, I loved the recent posts on B and NB. THUS at its best!

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