Articles about Cobol

ARM's Cordio Internet of things button

IoT puts assembly language back on the charts

Let's do the time warp again: according to an outfit that tracks programming languages, the Internet of Things is re-igniting demand for assembly language skills. Software consultancy TIOBE's Programming Community Index has turned up the re-emergence of assembly programming in its monthly index (the definition of the index is …
Still from Waterfalls by TLC - (C) LaFace Arista Epic

Don't go chasing waterfalls, please stick... Hang on. They're back

Since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, there’s been a steady acceptance that Agile is the way to go when it comes to software development. The old waterfall method was seen as something rather quaint and old-fashioned, the equivalent of hanging onto your vinyl LPs when the rest of the world was downloading onto their …
Maxwell Cooter, 07 Jun 2016
floppies

US nuke arsenal runs on 1970s IBM 'puter waving 8-inch floppies

A US Government Accounting Office (GAO) report has highlighted the parlous state of Uncle Sam's IT infrastructure. As an example, the computer used to coordinate America's nuclear forces is an IBM Series/1 that uses eight‑inch floppy disks capable of storing about 80KB of data each. Meanwhile, the Treasury Department is …
Iain Thomson, 25 May 2016

Job ad promises 'Meaningless Repetitive Work on the .NET Stack'

A job ad has appeared offering one lucky worker the chance to perform “Meaningless Repetitive Work on the .NET Stack.” The ad is real – recruiter Joshua Wulf told The Register he wrote it after a conversation with a candidate “who told me what his job is really like.” Wulf then considered plenty of other job ads and decided …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Apr 2016
Fawlty Towers

Bloaty banking app? There's a good chance it was written in Britain

App developers in the UK banking sector are lagging behind their European and US counterparts in tools and methodologies, according to a new study based on code reviews. According to the survey, most British banking apps are developed using three old-school technology stacks including COBOL and Oracle Server. European apps, by …
John Leyden, 04 Apr 2016

Micro Focus spends $540m to add Serena its software brand museum

Micro Focus International is splashing out $540m to scoop up Serena Software – or more specifically, its recurring maintenance revenues, to add to its stable of once great, now slightly dusty software brands. LSE-listed mainframe specialist Micro Focus is simultaneously raising $216m in a placing to help pay for the deal, …
Joe Fay, 22 Mar 2016

'I bet Russian hackers weren't expecting their target to suck so epically hard as this'

Line Break Welcome back to Line Break, our weekly column of terrible code our readers have encountered in the wild. So far we've featured astonishingly brain-dead designs in production and amusing code from yesteryear machines. Our emphasis has been on learning through others' mistakes while also brightening drab Wednesday mornings with …
Chris Williams, 24 Feb 2016
Old Sun computers in the PSA

Reg readers battle to claim 'my silicon's older than yours' crown

When Simon Sharwood revealed that an Aussie operator has just retired a server that been running flawlesssly since 1997, we figured it would prompt a slew of one-upmanship comments, and we were right. What we weren’t quite prepared for were the diversions that one aging server prompted into the nature of time, space travel, …
Joe Fay, 29 Jan 2016
IBM's new mainframe

Compuware promises mainframe DevOps as old programmers croak

Compuware is attempting to bring big iron software into the 21st century by allowing developers to use DevOps tools to manage mainframe code. It’s literally a life or death issue, as the industry fears that people who really know about mainframe code are about to retire – if they haven’t already expired altogether. Meanwhile, …
Joe Fay, 05 Jan 2016

Infosec bods rate app languages; find Java 'king', put PHP in bin

Java applications have been found to have many fewer common vulnerabilities than those coded using web scripting language. Less than a quarter of Java apps sport sporting SQL injection vulnerabilities, compared to more than three quarters of those written in PHP. So says Veracode's new State of Software Security report (PDF …
Darren Pauli, 04 Dec 2015
Voyager mission logo

Think Fortran, assembly language programming is boring and useless? Tell that to the NASA Voyager team

Updated If you thought Fortran and Cold War-era assembly language programming is pointless and purely for old-timers, guess again. NASA has found an engineer comfortable with the software to keep its old space-race-age systems ticking over. In an interview with Popular Mechanics this month, the manager of NASA's Voyager program …
Shaun Nichols, 31 Oct 2015

Blurred lines: How cloud computing is reshaping the IT workforce

Sysadmin blog From every angle, developers are the key to the public cloud. Unfortunately, today's developers often aren't up to the challenge and frequently end up being as much of a roadblock as operations administrators. New breeds of technologists are required, bringing new ways of thinking to using the emerging infrastructure superpowers …
Trevor Pott, 07 Jul 2015
Register Roundtable at the Soho hotel

CISOs' newest fear? Criminals with a big data strategy

CIO Manifesto We again gathered an eclectic mix of IT execs including some CISOs, CTOs etc, in a secret bunker to discuss whether we’re winning the security battle. OK, the “bunker” was a meeting room under the Soho Hotel, but not only are we not winning, it is not even clear what winning actually means. On Target Our IT execs happily …
Dominic Connor, 19 Jun 2015
China

China's hackers stole files on 4 MEELLION US govt staff? Bu shi, says China

China is fending off accusations it was behind the theft of personal dossiers on four million US government workers – some of whom had applied for or were granted security clearances. China's foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told NBC News: "We hope the United States could discard this kind of suspicion and stop groundless …
Shaun Nichols, 05 Jun 2015

Radio 4 and Dr K on programming languages: Full of Java Kool-Aid

Poll Radio 4 has dipped a toe into Lake Geek with a five part series looking at computer languages. Or more accurately the history and reputation of four computer languages: Fortran, Cobol, Basic and Java. Presented by soi-disant girl geek* Aleks Krotoski Aleks Krotoski, the series ("Codes that Changed the World") emphasises the …
Simon Rockman, 14 Apr 2015
Terminator head

Oh, hi there, SKYNET: US military wants self-enhancing software that will outlive its creators

The US military's nerve-center of secret-squirrel boffinry DARPA wants to write software capable of running for a full century without becoming obsolete. Dubbed "Building Resource Adaptive Software Systems" (BRASS), the project [PDF] will look into the creation of a new software stack that can automatically make use of hardware …
Shaun Nichols, 09 Apr 2015

Five years of Sun software under Oracle: Were the critics right?

Oracle-Sun anniversary Back in 2010, critics worried that Sun Microsystems' software portfolio would wither on the vine once Oracle got its hands on it. Five years on and the worst fears have proven baseless, yet former Sun diehards have had plenty to be disappointed about since Larry Ellison & Co gobbled the former server heavyweight. Although Sun …
Neil McAllister, 28 Jan 2015

Lord Lucan, Murakami's Strange Library ... and a hitchhiker's guide to the Computing Universe

Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston trawls through the freshest releases in publishing. This week we have a trippy new Murakami about a murderous librarian, a murder mystery to suit Downton Abbey fans and lastly, a pop-sci romp through computing history that soon takes a turn for the sci-fi... The Strange Library Haruki Murakami has …
Mark Diston, 29 Nov 2014
Shop Direct Skyways House entrance

The Big Data wrangling CIO you've probably never heard of: But his kit probably knows YOU

Shop Direct is a £1.7bn group that owns some of the best-known brands in retail - firms that pioneered what the cutting edge of shopping. Among the names it holds are Kays and Littlewoods, household brands that actually first pushed the idea of shopping without leaving your home to the UK using paper catalogues, home delivery …
Gavin Clarke, 19 Nov 2014
Register Roundtable at the Soho hotel

How do Reg readers keep their vendors in line?

Reg Roundtable It's difficult to speak openly about how to squeeze the best out of your suppliers. On the one hand, you always suspect there's more you could be doing. On the other, you don't want to give away your secrets. So, last month we gathered a team of senior IT execs from an eclectic mix of large corporates, government departments, …
Dominic Connor, 27 Oct 2014
Ada Lovelace, credit 2D Goggles

Ada Lovelace Day: Meet the 6 women who gave you the 'computer'

Ada Lovelace Day Ada Lovelace Day, 14 October, marks the achievements of women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Women have ascended to great heights in the technology sector – Ginni Rometty is chairperson, president and chief exec of IBM, Meg Whitman and Marissa Mayer are CEOs of Hewlett-Packard and Yahoo! …
Gavin Clarke, 14 Oct 2014
SUSE Cloud logo

SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn

Attachmate, the software shop that headhunted Novell and SUSE Linux, is itself being bought out by Micro Focus International. The mainframe and COBOL specialist is acquiring Attachmate Group from its parent company Wizard in a deal calculated at $2.3bn before costs. Micro Focus is taking Attachmate Group in exchange for 86.60 …
Gavin Clarke, 16 Sep 2014
cloud_accounting2

Strategy-flinging No 10 civil servant Stephen Kelly turns Sage CEO

A top government civil servant is trading control of the nation’s IT for leadership of Sage Group, the giant accounting software firm that turns over £1.32bn a year. Stephen Kelly is stepping down as UK government chief operating officer to become chief executive of the accounting software firm in November. Kelly will succeed …
Gavin Clarke, 06 Aug 2014

Oracle's IP lawsuit foe: We'll fight SAP tooth and nail in Europe

Rimini Street, the fast-growing business software support specialist currently fighting Larry Ellison’s database giant in US courts, appears to have SAP in its sights in Europe. “Look out SAP,” Rimini Street chief executive Seth Ravin warned the giant in a recent interview with The Reg. “We are going to fight them tooth and …
Gavin Clarke, 25 Jun 2014
School of Rock

Good god, where will the new storage experts come from?

As we enter the middle of the 2010 decade, new IT projects are increasingly being designed for the public cloud instead of local IT systems. Gartner figures that by the end of 2016 we'll be through the looking glass, with more money spent on "cloud" applications and services than traditional delivery mechanisms. Soon …
Trevor Pott, 19 Jun 2014
grab_that_cash

Today's get-rich-quick scheme: Build your own bank

Worstall on Wednesday Here's a great get-rich-quick idea: Go build a bank. No, really, it's an industry that's ripe for the plucking at present. One way to think about banking is to divide it into four different types: transaction, savings, commercial and investment. Investment banking is all that City-style markets 'n' stuff; commercial is trying …
Tim Worstall, 18 Jun 2014

The gift of Grace: COBOL's odyssey from Vietnam to the Square Mile

Cobol is the language most associated with mainframes, especially the IBM System 360 whose 50th anniversary is being celebrated or at least commemorated this week. But when COBOL was first spawned in the mid-1950s, it wasn’t intended for programmers. It was aimed instead at “accountants and business managers” – basically a …
Dominic Connor, 08 Apr 2014
An original member of the System/360 family announced in 1964, the Model 50 was the most powerful unit in the medium price range.

Why won't you DIE? IBM's S/360 and its legacy at 50

IBM's System 360 mainframe, celebrating its 50th anniversary on Monday, was more than a just another computer. The S/360 changed IBM just as it changed computing and the technology industry. The digital computers that were to become known as mainframes were already being sold by companies during the 1950s and 1960s - so the S …
Gavin Clarke, 07 Apr 2014
Grace Hopper

Grace Hopper gave us COBOL, 'debugging' and inspiration. So Google gave her a Doodle

Google has created a homepage doodle to mark the 107th anniversary of Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper's birth. A pioneering figure in the development of modern computing and programming theory, Hopper, born today in 1906, is credited with developing the programming language COBOL and working with many of the earliest computer …
Shaun Nichols, 09 Dec 2013

Codd almighty! How IBM cracked System R

Few teams have maintained such a fierce community spirit as the IBM pioneers of System R. In Silicon Valley in the early 1970s, this pioneering team proved that a relational database could actually work. It's a fascinating story, best known today because IBM failed to capitalise on its research. But it's also a timeless one, …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Nov 2013
Sinclair ZX80

Your kids' chances of becoming programmers? ZERO

Part One Almost overnight in the early 1980s, hordes of British kids embraced programming, as did many adults, delivering the most IT-literate workforce in the world. It was a big reason why the nosediving economy of the '70s and '80s didn’t crash and burn. Well, that or Thatcherism, you choose. Why BASIC? In the early 1970s and early …
Dominic Connor, 06 Nov 2013
Enterprise 64

Phantom Flan flinger: The story of the Elan Enterprise 128

Archaeologic Despite its name, Intelligent Software also had a nice little sideline designing hardware. Founded in 1981 by international chess champion David Levy and chess writer Kevin O’Connell, the company was best known for its chess programs, in particular Cyrus and SciSys Chess Champion. But it also developed chess computers for toy …
Tony Smith, 24 Oct 2013

Unisys doubles up midrange mainframes for fault tolerance

If you are "truly paranoid" about system uptime and are running the MCP operating system on a Burroughs-class, midrange-sized mainframe from Unisys, then the system maker has a new Libra 4200 that has your name on it. Last fall, Unisys refreshed its ClearPath mainframes with Intel's Xeon E5 processors, and is getting closer …
The Playmobil bank set, complete with armed robber

How City IT is under attack from politicians, diesel bugs, HR

Comment The stupidest thing I’ve ever said was “if it was a jet, the tower would have collapsed” on September 11th and I feel the same about RBS. As I pass it most days, part of me expects to see crowds outside, perhaps including the police and TV camera crews, because I can’t understand why it still functions. The Reg has covered in …
Dominic Connor, 27 Jun 2013

Finance CIOs sweat as regulators prepare to probe aging mainframes

Could the watchful eyes of regulators soon come to rest on the old and often creaking IT systems that run the back offices of the UK’s leading banks? Among CIOs in the sector, there’s a palpable concern that they will. It’s no secret, after all, that most retail banks rely on decades-old technology for their core banking …

Nuke plants to rely on PDP-11 code UNTIL 2050!

The venerable PDP-11 minicomputer is still spry to this day, powering GE nuclear power-plant robots - and will do so for another 37 years. That's right: PDP-11 assembler coders are hard to find, but the nuclear industry is planning on keeping the 16-bit machines ticking over until 2050 – long enough for a couple of generations …

Think you're ready to make a big career bet? Read this first...

Feature Disclaimer: Before taking any of my advice be aware that I once bet my career on OS/2 and that in all my careers articles my ambition is to help you avoid some of the mistakes I have made. The Politburo at The Reg wants me to stick my neck out and show some trends in this “future” thing that young people seem so keen on nowadays …
Dominic Connor, 31 May 2013
interview_suit_and_tie

So you want to be a contractor? Well, here's how it works

Back in the heady days of 1984, working on the development of Microsoft Unix (yes, that was a real product, AKA Xenix), we needed to write an Ethernet driver, but none of us really felt up to that. We needed to hire an expensive specialist. And so I met my first contractor, who turned up in a far better car than anyone else and …
Dominic Connor, 20 May 2013
The Register breaking news

IBM gives a cloudy outlook for COBOL

IBM is giving its COBOL environment a cloudy flavour with an update to the ancient venerable and unkillable language. To the cool kids, COBOL probably looks like a zombie, complete with loose bits of decaying flesh. However it still accounts for a vast amount of operational enterprise code that's too expensive to replace all …
shutterstock_interview_sidey

Is the IT industry short on Cobolers? This could be your lucky day

Let's make one thing clear: your previous jobs are not the reason why you were hired. You were hired for having skills that bosses need. People are employed because they are needed to do things that must be done, not because they can do something that is merely desired. It’s not all bad news. The current Big Data hype means …
Dominic Connor, 01 May 2013
Ferrari F430. Photo © by Rudolf Stricker

IT salaries: Why you are a clapped-out Ferrari

As a tech careers writer I regularly receive noise about the UK IT “skills shortage", which makes as much sense as saying there’s a shortage of Ferraris. I know this because, according to Blighty's Office for National Statistics, the average weekly pre-tax pay in “computer programming, consultancy and related activities” in …
Dominic Connor, 12 Apr 2013
management intelligence1

Software defined networking works up a head of steam

Software-defined networking (SDN) represents a revolutionary tide flowing through the fusty, slow-moving halls of data-centre networking, bringing speed and dynamism to network connectivity management. The idea that computer data network connectivity can be automatically set up to have its characteristics changed as needs …
Chris Mellor, 11 Apr 2013
Brent Spiner signed photo saying 'Big Data'

EMC launches its cloudy Federation with Pivotal big data spinoff

Wall Street events can be pretty boring unless you like money and profits, but there was a moment of levity during EMC's financial analysts meeting that marked the birth of the Pivotal Initiative, the gathering up of big data and application framework assets from EMC and its virtualization minion, VMware. Joe Tucci, EMC's CEO …
The Register breaking news

Uni profs: Kids today could do with a bit of 'mind-crippling' COBOL

Want a guaranteed job in IT? Learn COBOL, even if it cripples you mentally – that’s the advice of university profs teaching tech. Ignore, for a second, the fact COBOL doesn’t feature in the top 20 of languages developers are using in anger today. Those in charge of setting university IT curricula reckon there’s no better …
Gavin Clarke, 11 Mar 2013

On International Woman's Day we remember Grace Hopper

Feature Once again some of the world is celebrating International Woman's Day (IWD), and it's time to reflect on great female role models. Ada Lovelace usually grabs most of the attention but I'd like to use IWD as an excuse to pay a tribute to a personal female hero of computing: US Rear Admiral Grace Hopper. Amazing Grace was in at …
Iain Thomson, 09 Mar 2013
Amdahl 470V/6 mainframe computer on the 3rd floor of the Computing Center Building on the University of Michigan, credit Jeff Ogden, original photographer unknown

Unisys re-ups $650m deal to look after US taxman's big iron

National tax collection agencies were among the first organizations in the world to use IBM, Sperry, Burroughs, and other mainframes, and despite all the grumbling and grousing over the high costs of these venerable box, they have invested a fortune in COBOL applications and it is not so easy to ditch the mainframe as it might …
Java logo

Java open-source frameworks 'pose risk' to biz - report

Open-source programming frameworks revolutionised Java development during the last decade, but not enough people know how to use them properly. That’s according to the CRASH Special Report by CAST that sampled 496 applications with 152 million lines of code and found most apps had been misconfigured. This increased the degree of …
Gavin Clarke, 31 Jan 2013
The Register breaking news

Google honors computing's first developer Ada Lovelace

Google has started the week with a Google Doodle offering a rather belated acknowledgement of the contribution of computing of Ada Lovelace, who wrote the first theoretical software algorithm for her friend Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine. Lovelace, daughter of mad, bad, and dangerous to know Lord Byron, was a close …
Iain Thomson, 10 Dec 2012
The Register breaking news

The early days of PCs as seen through DEAD TREES

Feature Thirty years ago, Time Magazine broke its 86-year tradition of naming a Man of the Year, and instead anointed its first Machine of the Year: The Computer. Time didn't deliver this news via www.time.com nor an HTML-encrusted email blast, but rather by macerated wood pulp pressed into sheets and coated with ink, cut into …
Rik Myslewski, 23 Nov 2012

How IT bosses turned the tables on our cushy consultancy gigs

I think I’ve been through enough economic cycles in my life to say that the nature of employment, at least in the financial-tech industry that I’m most familiar with, has changed fundamentally in the last few years. If you’re a technology worker and your job suddenly seems unusually precarious, that’s because it is: fear of …
Dave Mandl, 04 Nov 2012