Sunday, 6 May 2018

On the past, present, and future of COBOL

quote [ Twenty-seven years ago, Micro Focus’s Livesey said, he was working at a bank after graduation, and was told by the IT manager about the system in place: “Don’t worry! This is all going away.” Today, Livesey said, “That bank is still running that mainframe with a team of COBOL programmers.” ]

Never change a running system!
[SFW] [science & technology] [+3 Interesting]
[by Paracetamol@2:44pmGMT]


captainstubing said @ 10:22pm GMT on 6th May [Score:1 Interesting]
Shits, not shots. Sparkie, not sparkle.
mechanical contrivance said @ 1:16pm GMT on 7th May
Still don't get it.
5th Earth said @ 4:07am GMT on 7th May [Score:1 Insightful]
In some ways it's a tribute to these old systems that they are still reliable enough to keep using after all these years.

Although I'm reminded of a story I heard of a computer on a network that no one could physically locate. They could access it and it worked fine but no one knew where it actually was. Eventually, by tracing cables, it was discovered in an old closet that had been literally walled in, Amontillado style, during a building remodel, and they had knock through the wall to recover it.
mechanical contrivance said @ 1:24pm GMT on 7th May
Same thing happened to a customer of my company. The employees seemed perfectly fine with it.
captainstubing said @ 10:21pm GMT on 6th May
Cool article. A friend of mine has been writing COBOL for close to 30 years. His bit is billing systems for insurance companies. He has the shots with it now and is retraining a sparkle, but I think there is still plenty of work if you live in the right town or don't mind travelling to where the work is.
Side note: the author of the article, Glenn Fleischnan, used to publish The Magazine, which was pretty damn good.
knumbknutz said @ 11:18pm GMT on 6th May
One of the things I ran into doing decades of field service for SUN, Cisco, Dell, and HP in mostly datacenter environments, was the mystery "black-box" in some of the places.

They were usually larger (16U and up) units. They were always "there before we got hired." No one on the datacenter crews actually knew what they were, who maintained them, or what they actually did. Pretty much everyone there were all universally afraid of turning them off or removing them.

Found out later when I was doing some work for a utility companies billing s/w servers that their mystery box was an old COBOL unit that they still used for some specialized functions. They also had 1 guy they paid a consultants retainer fee, to maintain and fix the code on it.

Damn things are probably still in there humming away...

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