I am studying a college CIS degree. Next semester, I have a choice of either studying JAVA and COBOL or JAVA and PHP. I don't know much about COBOL and only have computers with Debian. The textbooks I have seen all focus on compiling COBOL in Windows.

Can Linux be used to develop COBOL apps and for learning how to program in COBOL or is this language only suited for running under Windows and with a Windows IDE? I want to build skills so that I can get a job, so need the full experience, don't want to be using some watered-down version of COBOL, some clone that copies it part-way, to to be limited to only a small amount of the libraries.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Kusalananda, Christopher, Jeff Schaller, Rui F Ribeiro, mosvy Nov 2 '18 at 15:36

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Not an answer to your question: choose the PHP option. It's far more relevant to the job market than COBOL. – Philip Kendall Nov 2 '18 at 13:01
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    @Christopher That would be me. For the question to not be opinion based, it would need to be reformulated as "How may I use Linux to program in COBOL?". Whether Linux is the correct platform or not is a matter of opinion. – Kusalananda Nov 2 '18 at 13:25
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    COBOL vs PHP is opinion based, however OP's question seems legitimate to me. – Archemar Nov 2 '18 at 14:08
  • One of the de facto references in the Cobol world for PCs used to be Microfocus Cobol, and I had Microsoft Cobol and Cobol/400 in college. AFAIR, there used to be slight variatons in syntax, mainly in the I/O related areas.why not ask the professor? – Rui F Ribeiro Nov 2 '18 at 14:14
  • Having to pick between COBOL and PHP is material for a horror movie; I would advocate for picking out a cape, and live streaming yourself burning down the college. Do God's work. – Evan Carroll Nov 2 '18 at 14:40

You can run Cobol on Linux perfectly, with GnuCOBOL,

GnuCOBOL translates COBOL into C and compiles the translated code using the native C compiler on various platforms, including Unix/Linux, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows.

Off-topic: I'm not sure you should go in depth with Cobol as it's a bit outdated. It's nice to know it, but if you want a good and steady job, try learning newer programming languages.

  • GNU Cobol is not Linux-only. It's available for macOS through Homebrew, and on the other BSDs as well, as is OpenCobol. – Kusalananda Nov 2 '18 at 13:39
  • Sorry expressed myself wrong Unix like os? Is that better? – AsenM Nov 2 '18 at 13:43
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    There is still lots of COBOL out there. The issue is that the old generation has died off and retired, and the people who got trained on it to prepare for the y2k stuff are all retiring now... Real COBOL skills can earn some big bucks in the right areas... esp. translating COBOL to Java or other more current/popular languages. developers.slashdot.org/story/18/09/25/1759250/… – ivanivan Nov 2 '18 at 13:44
  • I agree you can find a job with cobol but for a started would be a lot better to go learn new languages instead of cobol – AsenM Nov 2 '18 at 13:45
  • @AsenM GnuCOBOL runs on windows too... =) – Evan Carroll Nov 2 '18 at 14:04

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