COBOL quote in the news
cclist at sydex.com
Thu Aug 7 15:47:47 CDT 2008
On 7 Aug 2008 at 11:19, Eric Smith wrote:
> It's not at all hard to find COBOL programmers, and they are NOT all
> retired. Offer a decent salary, and you'll get them. What the state is
> specifically trying to do, though is to cut everyone's salaries, so how
> likely is it that they'll offer a good salary to a COBOL programmer.
> The real story is that it's a bunch of political posturing.
Oh, you cynic! I'll come to the defense of the bean-counters by
saying that knowing how to write a program in COBOL and being fluent
in COBOL are very different things, just as learning to read Russian
is one thing and writing like Pushkin is quite another.
COBOL is a huge language for its time. I recall that the early
releases of COBOL for S/360 were not complete implementations. I
have an IBM document somewhere in my files that states that indexed-
sequential file access wasn't implemented in the compiler. The
compile would accept the statements and check them for syntax, but no
code was generated. Instead, one had to call a bunch of assembly-
language routines (ENTER LINKAGE) to the work.
Add to the problems of California's COBOL is the likelihood that most
of this code is probably pretty crufty by now, with all manner of
ugly modifications shoehorned in. I also suspect also that the
application source code is quite large.
Finding enough fluent COBOL programmers who would be willing to
tackle the job might well be more than just a lame excuse for doing
nothing. ISTR that California got burned a couple of times trying to
convert its antiquated DMV applications to something a bit more
Does anyone know if California's running this COBOL code under
emulation? I remember a customer who was seeking to get rid of his
7080's and run his COBOL on something more modern. The problem was
that it wasn't just COBOL code at that point--there were plenty of
binary patches in the code, along with large stretches of uncommented
7080 autocoder. The customer ended up buying a S/370 configuration
and running it in 7080 emulation mode. Unraveling and rewriting the
code looked to be too much of a black hole.
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