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Free/Trial COBOL compilers

Free/Trial COBOL compilers

Free/Trial COBOL compilers

I recently encountered someone on another forum that expressed an interest in studying COBOL.  The problem I ran into, though, is that most of the major vendors withdrew free/trial COBOL compilers.  Needless to say, this severely complicated any suggestions that this person desired regarding the obtaining of a compiler, since I really couldn't determine what was a "mainstream and complete implementation" and not a hack job that doesn't handle everything one might see in an average textbook in a reasonable way one might see professionally.

So I was wondering if anyone has tried any of the open-source compilers I found in searching "Free COBOL compilers", and if there are any good suggestions.

It is not possible for anyone to acknowledge truth when their salary depends on them not doing it.

RE: Free/Trial COBOL compilers

Never tried any of the open source compilers but 'COBOL for Dummies' used to have a CD with several compilers on it - some not crippled (AcuCobol and Fujitsu for example). Do not know if this book is till in print; and if it is I do not know if the CD still accompanies it - a check on Amazon would soon tell.


RE: Free/Trial COBOL compilers

as nclouston mentioned, about the only way to get the free v3 compiler is through one of the 2 books that had it included.

In some cases you may also get someone that has the v3 cd to make it available to you, but special conditions may be involved on it. (I have it ..)

Alchemy (current owner of Fujitsu cobol) does not want it freely available, and even state it will not work on current versions of windows simply because they wish to sell their current version.  


Frederico Fonseca
SysSoft Integrated Ltd

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RE: Free/Trial COBOL compilers


I recently encountered someone on another forum that expressed an interest in studying COBOL.
That is really peculiar...

I guess OpenCobol is about the only reasonably complete free Cobol compiler still available, but it really does help if he's using/acquainted with Linux.

RE: Free/Trial COBOL compilers

a very inexpensive approach is to buy a 2nd hand book of i think mr longhurst or so... not sure anymore, who describes typical mainframe batch processing in cobol for students with a free realia cobol student compiler whith the limitation that it runs only small programs and small files, but enough to get enough knowledge of cobol. It is extremely fast. I am not at home at the moment. I have a few of those books because i wanted to start a classroom with students in Asmara... but... time passed by and things went different than i hoped for... so... i can look the isbn number up and show it here, perhaps this weekend.

RE: Free/Trial COBOL compilers

Crox's post reminds me that "Structured Programming in COBOL" (or similar title) by Stern & Stern came with a free RMCobol educational (or ham-strung) IDE. I am not sure if the latest version (9?) comes with the compiler or not - a look on Amazon might tell.


RE: Free/Trial COBOL compilers

I have spent some time playing with the COBOS IDE which utilizes the OpenCOBOL compiler.  The current version does compile and link on Windows (or Linux) and seems to show some promise.

The IDE is on SourceForge.

RE: Free/Trial COBOL compilers

But if not implicitly windows compiler is needed, then IMHO the best is to create either the free iSeries account at
or the free zSeries account at
Then you will have enterprise class cobol compiler available.

However in both cases, you will need additionaly to learn basic work in i5/OS or z/OS environments - but IMHO this could be profitable for you.

RE: Free/Trial COBOL compilers

However, the www.efglobe.com site is not taking new registrations. The exception might be if you can show mainframe competence - they have had too many people using the system as though it was a PC.


RE: Free/Trial COBOL compilers

Looks like there is a niche for some compiler development company.  There are some out there who create small-market C, Ada, etc. compilers for embedded systems that might have the expertise to create an alternative Cobol development system for common platforms like Windows and Linux.

The mature products all seem to be getting more and more locked in through acquisitions and strange policies.  I'm not sure where they expect new Cobol programmers to come from, but perhaps they all sell programming services too and want to discourage competition.

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