COBOL companies: "why don't new developers want to learn COBOL?"

Also COBOL companies: "compilers start at just $3000/year"


GNU COBOL has entered the chat.

Though next would be Ada's historical problem of even with a free compiler you also need affordable documentation.

@alienghic @vkc

Can't remember if NetCobol is the same as GNU Cobol, but it is freely licensed as well.

Source: I still have PTSD due to porting some Cobol projects from IBM Z-series to Linux. Using NetCobol. And Oracle databases.

(Uncontrollable eye twitch)

@ParadeGrotesque @alienghic GNU COBOL is actually a favorite of mine when it comes to testing concepts. I learned on it when I got started with COBOL before getting work with some of the more expensive stuff.

I haven't tried NetCOBOL- I did not know it was freely licensed! I'll have to check that out!


Ahem. I am kind of confused, since NetCobol does NOT seem to be freely licensed after all. Sorry about that.

In my defence, it has been a long time since I have used it, and I suspect the company I worked for at the time had some sort of enterprise license, so we had multiple copies floating around.

Again, sorry about the mistake.


@vkc // Veronica Explains There's always Not a COBOL programmer myself, so I have no idea how relevant it is, but it's at least something :)

@RL_Dane It's all the proprietary ones in my work (x86 COBOL to be specific).

The open source options are pretty neat, but sometimes the proprietary ones have specific idiosyncrasies that are tough to replicate without a refactor. If you can imagine, companies don't want to re-invent their COBOL, they just want to keep it working.

I find that "rebuild it as a Django app" is often more palatable than "rebuild it with a new compiler".

@pixelherodev @vkc @RL_Dane It's really a much bigger expense to reprogram than to pay for the compiler yearly.

@vkc wait 3000$ per year for a cobol compiler? Do they need the money to pay archeologists or something?

@vkc Never mind books that start with how to set up your teletype.

Probably still not a top ten reason.

@vkc multiple generations of careers will exist with COBOL being perceived as an “on-the-way out” programming language.

@michaell I never have a shortage of work. The hardest part is finding someone to back me up medium term on certain key projects- I'm the youngest COBOL dev I know at this point, and most of the experienced COBOL folks are either already snapped up or semi-retired!

@vkc it's the same deal with Pascal and Delphi as well!

Although I think there is a project called Lazarus that's trying to square that circle... 🤔​

@vkc Those are probably mostly two disjount groups of people

though I agree with the critique in the intersectionist case

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