New research aims to analyze how widespread COBOL is • The Register

The COBOL working group of the Open Mainframe Project is interested in finding out how widely the venerable programming language is still used in the industry and would like your help.

Yes, the Common Business-Oriented Language may be over 60 years old, but it’s still widely used and continues to play an active role in guiding the world economy, according to the COBOL working group, founded in 2020 by the Open Mainframe -Project to promote and support its further use.

This was shown earlier this year in a report by Micro Focus, the British software company still busy supporting COBOL, which found that the amount of code in use worldwide every day was somewhere in the region of 775 up to 850 billion lines. and that 92 percent of the organizations surveyed viewed COBOL as a strategic technology.

That could be a problem as the long history of the language means many practitioners are past retirement age, such as The registry was mentioned earlier this year when reporting on the launch of a new open-source compiler for it.

In fact, early in the pandemic, New Jersey’s governor had to appeal to those with knowledge of COBOL to come forward and help, as the state’s mainframe computers struggled under the weight of citizens’ requests for help.

Now the COBOL working group seems to want to find out for itself how widely used the language is and intends to conduct its own survey in cooperation with The Linux Foundation Research and the Linux Foundation Training and Certification.

The project aims to collect continuous usage statistics of the COBOL language in the IT industry and to evaluate the value of continuous vendor investments in the language to support modern use cases in the digital age. Another important area to collect information on is current attitudes towards future use cases for COBOL applications.

According to the COBOL working group, they hope to gather insights from the survey across all relevant industries and geographies to provide a fully representative view of the current state of affairs.

Of course, the COBOL working group would appreciate it if some benefactors were willing to help fund this project.

“We ask for your support and investment to make this exciting project – and a significant brand opportunity – a success,” wrote John Mertic, director of program management for the Open Mainframe Project, announcing the research findings on the project’s blog.

The Open Mainframe Project itself was founded in 2015 with help from IBM to promote the deployment and use of Linux and open source in mainframe computing environments. It is managed by the Linux Foundation. ® New research aims to analyze how widespread COBOL is • The Register

Rick Schindler

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