William M. Klein
Last-Modified: Wednesday, August 17, 2005
(For details of what changes have been made so far, please see Appendix C.7 - Changes to create Version 3.03)
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This FAQ is copyright 1994-2005 by William M. Klein.
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From this page:
The chances are that you will find more than enough answers already (and many quite recent) to your question. If you don't find an answer here, then look at 18. What can/should I post in the COBOL newsgroups?
There are many vendors who sell COBOL compilers. Almost all of the mainframe hardware/operating system vendors, also sell a COBOL compiler for their systems. The following are some of the vendors providing COBOL compilers for systems where they are not the operating system vendor.
IBM, Micro Focus, and LegacyJ all have had products for OS/2. It is not clear that any of these (even IBM) is “updating” their OS/2 development environments – much less selling them.. Check with the specific vendor for current information.
Micro Focus (formerly MERANT) has development environments for Windows called Net Express and Mainframe Express. A student version of Net Express is also available from Micro Focus. Fujitsu's compiler also works under Windows. Liant has development systems for Windows. Computer Associates has Advantage™ CA-Realia® II Workbench.. IBM's VisualAge for COBOL is also available for Windows/NT. Acucorp's AcuCOBOL-GT also runs under 32-bit Windows.
NOTE: For details on whether each of the following supports 16-bit as well as 32-bit systems and whether or not they work under Windows/NT, Windows/95, Windows/98, and/or Windows/2000, see the specific vendor’s information.
Acucorp, Fujitsu, Liant, 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.
Liant used to provide LPI COBOL for Sun SPARC with Solaris 2, HP 9000 with HP-UX and Intel-based machines with UNIX SVR4, SVR3, and SCO. They no longer make this product.
IBM sells its COBOLSet for AIX.
AcuCOBOL-GT is available for Linux. Also, 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 UNIX to work. Micro Focus provides a development environment for Linux (including announced – but not yet delivered – plans for a Linux/390 product). PERCobol from LegacyJ also supports Linux, as does RM.
For specific information on each vendor’s Linux support, see their product information below or at their web site.
There is a project (referred to as the “Tiny COBOL” project) working on creating a new Linux compiler. If you are interested in its status (or better yet helping them), please see:
Acucorp produces a COBOL development system for the Mac running A/UX. There are no reports of any current COBOL products targeted at the standard MAC operating systems.
Fujitsu COBOL is also available for IBM MVS and Fujitsu MSP.
Ryan McFarland COBOL is also available for OpenVMS.
AcuCOBOL-GT is available on a wide range of environments, including OpenVMS.
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 rumored to have been available for the PERQ workstation.
There are two current/ongoing projects to produce an "open source" and/or GNU compiler. For one, see the project “COBOL for GCC”. This site also includes a status on various other “open source” projects.
Also, see the “Tiny COBOL project” at:
Also several books in the booklists come with a COBOL compiler. See section 10 for details.
For some other possibilities, see:
There is a freely available COBOL compiler for DOS. It can be found on many archive sites, named COBOL650.ZIP. You also need DPATH30.ZIP. Have a read through Section 8 before you start.
It is widely rumored that the sources for this compiler are available from a BBS. This no longer appears to be the case. Numerous attempts have completely failed to track down the sources.
There is a COBOL701.ARJ archive that contains a version of COBOL 6.50 with a limited number of compiles. It was an attempt at a full integrated development environment, including an editor. Unfortunately, no documentation is included.
Also, it may be possible to run the freely available CP/M compiler (see 4.5) under a freely available CP/M emulator.
NOTE: Although not free, a number of vendors provide discounted versions of their products for “academic” use. See the specific vendor’s information for details on these offerings.
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.
Not that we know of.
According to HarriottC@cardiff.ac.uk
There is a freely available COBOL compiler/interpreter (Amiga WB2.0+). GUI/CLI, largely ANSI'85 compliant takes the form of Microsoft COBOL 2.xx ?)
This is available as postware via Aminet Dev/lang nrcobol_1?.lha
There is a freely available CP/M COBOL compiler/interpreter (NPS Micro COBOL). This is available via anonymous FTP from oak.oakland.edu in /pub/cpm/cobol. However, Stefano Priola (email@example.com) comments :
"I've used the CPM COBOL ... I think that this compiler is much too old to use or for a student to learn COBOL."
In order to present an un-biased list of commercial COBOL product offerings I've pulled in the product overviews from each company's marketing information. For detailed product descriptions, you should probably contact the specific vendor.
If it's your job to write COBOL applications that conquer today's complex, transaction intensive, network-centric information systems, you need an advanced COBOL - a COBOL that allows you to leverage modern IS technologies, while freeing you from proprietary hardware - a COBOL that delivers the best performance, flexibility, scalability, and platform independence. You need ACUCOBOL-GT. At Acucorp, we have pioneered technologies that enable COBOL applications to take advantage of today's advanced computing environments. We offer technology that allows you to run your COBOL applications on hundreds of platforms in every type of client/server environment, without recompilation. We can enable you to move your legacy data to a relational database or ODBC data source and access it from your COBOL program, without having to embed SQL or recode your COBOL application in any way. If you want your application to retrieve data from a remote UNIX or Windows NT server, or launch a program on a remote server - without recoding - you can do it with Acucorp technology. If you want to make your COBOL application available to users of the Internet, you can do it with Acucorp technology. If you want to use COBOL to add a native GUI front-end to your COBOL application, you can do it with Acucorp technology
Acucorp, Inc., the industry leader in open systems COBOL development tools, is pleased to offer AcuBench, an integrated development environment for ACUCOBOL™-GT. Available for the Windows 95 and Windows NT operating systems, AcuBench contains a set of graphically based, GT-optimized development tools, including a Project Manager, WYSIWYG Screen Painter, and language sensitive source Code Editor.
Compaq is now a part of HP. This section will be revised eventually.
Compaq COBOL (formerly known as DIGITAL (DEC and VAX) COBOL) is a high-level language for business data processing that operates on the OpenVMS (VAX and Alpha), Tru64 UNIX (Alpha) and Windows NT (Alpha) platforms. It is a high-performance, optimizing compiler environment that is based upon the 1985 ANSI COBOL Standard X3.23-1985 as modified by the X.23a-1989 amendment. Compaq COBOL is designed to maximize source-code level compatibility between supported platforms. The Compaq extensions to COBOL, include screen handling (ACCEPT/DISPLAY) at the source language level, file sharing and record locking and others. Support for ORACLE CDD/Repository, and some X/Open features are also provided.
Online documentation is available at:
COBOL85 Programming Language (for NonStop
The Compaq COBOL85 programming language is an ANSI-compliant language for developing online transaction processing (OLTP) and batch applications for Compaq NonStop™ Himalaya servers. Special Compaq extensions to the ANSI specifications allow COBOL programmers to access the unique capabilities of the Compaq NonStop™ Himalaya server architecture using a language that they already know.
5.3 Computer Associates/Realia
5.3.1 Advantage™ CA-Realia® II Workbench
Advantage™ CA-Realia® II Workbench provides an exciting mainframe-compatible COBOL development environment on the PC. CA-Realia II Workbench uses the power of the PC environment to improve the development and maintenance of COBOL and CICS applications. This revolutionary technology provides a new and exciting graphical user interface (GUI) workstation environment that operates under Windows 9x, Windows NT 4.0 SP3, Windows 2000 and Windows XP.
CA-Realia II Workbench includes a high-speed COBOL compiler, an interactive debugger, a COBOL-Intelligent analyzer, a CICS emulator, a COBOL-sensitive editor, and a complete life cycle manager with mainframe connectivity. Its includes a 32-bit COBOL compiler and runtime. Its mainframe options allow mainframe-compiled and executing programs to be debugged and analyzed under the friendly Workbench GUI.
for details and add on products.
Technical Support (including documentation) is available from webpage:
5.4 Fujitsu Software
Fujitsu COBOL for Windows is a complete COBOL development environment that allows you to create standalone COBOL applications and/or COBOL components for use with Microsoft® visual tools. Fujitsu COBOL for Windows Version 4 runs on Windows 95/98/NT.
The easy-to-install Fujitsu COBOL Version 3 Starter Set contains a complete development and execution environment, allowing you to start building robust client/server applications immediately. The PowerBSORT OCX is ready to build into your applications. A full set of softcopy manuals is also available for downloading.
PowerCOBOL™ is a visual, object-oriented development environment that allows you to create graphical user interface (GUI) applications on Windows 95/98/NT. PowerCOBOL’s graphical development environment lets you use your COBOL expertise to efficiently build and execute complex GUI applications in the Microsoft® Windows environment. PowerCOBOL simplifies the process of programming for Windows by abstracting Windows APIs to a higher level.
18.104.22.168 Fujitsu NetCOBOL for .NET
By announcing support for the Microsoft .NET Framework, Fujitsu continues its long-standing effort to keep abreast of the technological advancements offered by Microsoft and other companies. Fujitsu NetCOBOL for .NET smoothly integrates with other languages such as Visual Basic, C++, and Java. Fujitsu Software is the only COBOL vendor to announce support for Microsoft .NET and ASP.NET, including Web Services.
PowerBSORT significantly shortens the time needed to merge or sort data for business processing. You get rapid, high-performance merging and sorting of large volumes of data without disrupting your current environment. PowerBSORT thus offers a straightforward way to slash response times for merges and sorts.
PowerGEM Plus is a graphical library system that allows you to maintain control of distributed development resources for a variety of languages on multiple platforms. PowerGEM Plus lets you set up local or network repositories, check files in and out, view change histories, and compare source versions.
Fujitsu COBOL for UNIX is a complete COBOL development suite -- compiler, run-time libraries, and debug tool. The highly optimized code produced by Fujitsu COBOL provides the basis for fast, mission-critical business systems on UNIX workstations.
22.214.171.124 - COBOL85 (BS2000/OSD)
COBOL85 is the COBOL compiler, providing support for the current ANSI/ISO COBOL Standard, open interfaces conforming to X/Open, and future standards for the server lines running BS2000/OSD.
For additional information, see:
126.96.36.199 - COBOL2000® (BS2000/OSD)
COBOL2000 (BS2000/OSD) V1.1 is a pre-standard COBOL Compiler for the server lines running under BS2000/OSD, which already makes the main new features of the future COBOL standard available today. The functionality of the previous versions, COBOL2000 (BS2000/OSD) V1.0 and COBOL85 (BS2000/OSD) V2.3, is naturally included in the new COBOL compiler. COBOL85 (BS2000/OSD) conforms to American National Standard X3.23-1985 with Addendum X3.23a-1989, international standard ISO 1989-1985 with Amendment 1:1992, German standard DIN 66028-1986 and European standard EN 21989, and has been validated to High Level.
For additional information, see:
See http://www-4.ibm.com/software/ad/cobol/ for links to information on all of IBM's Mainframe, Midrange, and Workstation COBOL Products.
Also, if you are looking for IBM publications, you can find the complete online library at:
As this FAQ may not be updated in the same “cycle” as this (or other) vendors update their products, please do check out their website for the latest information on their products.
PERCobol is the modern advanced function COBOL compiler permitting the creation of Graphical, Object Oriented, Platform independent, Java enabled COBOL applications. Applications compiled with PERCobol can fully exploit new capabilities.
PERCobol compiler technology permits existing COBOL applications to make use of modern COBOL features with little or no changes to existing code. PERCobol can be integrated with existing COBOL applications or can execute completely independent of any previous COBOL compiler or COBOL runtimes.
For supported operating systems and environments, see
If a newer release/version is currently available, check out the LegacyJ sites for additional information.
Students can use PERCobol Educational one semester FREE. Options are available for Colleges, Universities and other institutions to teach advanced COBOL concepts with PERCobol. The LegacyJ Education Program may be ideal for your college or university
LegacyJ DDS Plug-in permits the use and display of OS/400 DDS screens on any platform supporting Java. The LegacyJ DDS plug-in is the natural extension for COBOL and Java functioning with screens defined using IBM’s OS/400 Data Description Specification (DDS).
The DDS screen definitions, familiar to the OS/400 community, remain valuable and can continue to be used to define user interface interactions. The screens can be leveraged with the use of the DDS Plug-in, and unlike screen scraping, DDS screen definition records are controlled and displayed on the platform where they are deployed.
PERCobol in conjunction with DDS Plug-in maintains the same behavior as it did when solely resident on the iSeries while enabling the COBOL application to access data remotely on the iSeries server.
For additional information, see:
5.7 Liant/Ryan McFarland
5.7.1 RM/COBOL Compiler and Runtime System
RM/COBOL's sophisticated runtime system permits the maintenance of single source and object code - and the easy deployment of applications on a wide choice of open client/server platforms. Their "claim to fame" is that their compiler generates objects that are portable between platforms without recompiling. This is why you need a runtime for the desired platform to interpret the object. They also provide 100% portable data files.
5.7.2 RM/Interface Builder
RM/COBOL developers can now use their choice of industry-standard
tools such as Microsoft's Visual Basic and Borland's
5.7.3 RM/Enterprise CodeBench
RM/COBOL developers can now take full advantage of their client/server development environments. This new version of our powerful graphical workbench enables the management of existing UNIX- or Windows-based RM/COBOL applications to be handled from a remote Windows workstation.
RM/Panels allows you to develop COBOL based applications with a whole new event-driven look-and-feel with true GUI functionality, while maintaining complete object portability.
This product allows you ODBC access to your COBOL data. You can update and insert records from ODBC.
NOTE: For COBOL “issues,” MERANT is once more Micro Focus. I am not yet positive that I have completed all updates throughout the entire FAQ to reflect this change.
5.8.1 Micro Focus® Net Express™ 3.1
Micro Focus Net Express is a ground-breaking development environment that takes core business processes written in COBOL and extends them to the Web and other distributed platforms. With Net Express, your programmers can quickly construct enterprise components from your existing business logic and use these to develop new Web or client/server applications across your distributed enterprise. Because Net Express leverages your legacy applications and programming resources, it reduces the development cycle and accelerates deployment of new state-of-the-art applications.
5.8.2 Object COBOL Developer Suite
Object COBOL Developer Suite provides an integrated environment for developing and deploying client/server and standalone applications on a wide range of UNIX and Linux platforms. Its advanced features include:
§ COBOL access to industry standard Object Request Broker (ORB) technology
§ A flexible, cross-platform COBOL compiler
§ Powerful programmer productivity tools
§ Object COBOL™ class libraries
§ Transparent support for large files
§ DBCS application support
§ User interface development tools
§ Ability to execute Web server applications created using Micro Focus Micro Focus Net Express™
§ Run-time facilities that simplify application deployment
5.8.3 Micro Focus® Server Express
Specifically designed for performance and reliability to support high-volume transaction processing applications, Server Express is the platform of choice for deploying e-business and distributed applications. Server Express accelerates enterprise COBOL application performance to the next level providing the fastest ever Micro Focus COBOL® product for UNIX. Server Express helps to dramatically reduce deployment costs and provides increased service levels through state-of-the-art capabilities.
5.8.4 Micro Focus® Mainframe Express
To stay competitive, businesses must exploit their hardware and software development investments by cost-effectively maintaining current systems, while at the same time delivering new applications with emerging technologies that interface with current production business logic. Mainframe Express helps businesses do both by providing an industry-leading workstation-based COBOL development environment that includes advanced, integrated application development tools that streamline workflow and dramatically increase programmer productivity.
COBOL for Windows 3.1 V1.1
Runs on Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows NT!
COBOL for DOS V2.0
The DOS compiler of choice for the first time COBOL student
Information received on
“Wang's COBOL ReSource is alive and well, running in AIX on RS/6000 and HP/UX on HP-9000. Sites running 300-500 users in shared, indexed files are not unusual and a site or two runs over 1,000 users. All the key components are ports of Wang VS code, including the very able file system.
Care of the product was outsourced by Wang to SRDI of Australia a few years ago, before Wang was acquired by Getronics. I represent SRDI in most parts of the world and am the focal point for most new migrations from Wang VS to COBOL ReSource. I do not have any performance comparisons of ReSource against MF or AC but I have comparisons of ReSource on modest RS/6000 boxes against a range of Wang VS models and a couple of HP models. Wang's COBOL 85 generates native assembler code, then assembles it and links it using the native tools, all automatically, on all three platforms that support it -- the Wang VS line and COBOL ReSource on RS/6000 and HP-9000.”
For additional information on COBOL ReSource, see:
6. Where can I contact ...
This section includes contact information for the various COBOL compiler vendors. For information on “add-on” or related tools (and their vendors) see:
Tel: (925) 467-1598
fax: (925) 467-1599
6.6.1 In the
8911 Capital of
Tel: (512) 343-1010
Fax: (512) 343-9487
Note: Liant no longer makes nor supports LPI COBOL. However, support for other LPI products is still provided here.
6.6.2 In the
Liant Software Ltd
2 Caxton Street
St. James Park
+44 71 799 2434
Fax: +44 71 799 2552
Nippon Liant Ltd
+81 47 437 9816
Fax: +81 47 437 9818
NOTE: Was originally independent, then a part of MERANT, and now is independent again. I have not yet updated this entire FAQ to reflect this change. For COBOL related questions, you should assume that “Micro Focus” not “MERANT” is what you want.
6.7.1 In the