Farewell to Microfocus

When I did a project on prototyping for my Master’s course in 1987, I quoted John Triance, the product development manager at Micro Focus, who had said that:

no other programming language offers COBOL’s advantages. It has lots of good features for commercial dp applications — it’s very good on character and file handling, it has dependable arithmetic with no rounding errors — all sorts of features in COBOL make is well suited to business applications.

I never thought that, nearly 30 years later, I would bump into Microfocus again.

Farwell, old friend.

I never did discover those COBOL advantages. Yes, I did learn COBOL and wrote a few test programs. But I never found an occasion where it would be my language of choice.

Microfocus has been fine for managing our login authentication. And maybe that will continue for a week or two after the forums move. I don’t think we have a switch-over date yet for authentication.

In the 1970’s and 1980’s I wrote quite a few COBOL programs - Some on IBM - many of mini-computers and the COBOL of choice was either Microfocus or Ryan McFarland COBOL. To fit the programs in the old 64K machines we had to use overlays. It is amazing how reliable the 16bit COBOL compiler was. Sadly those same applications are still being run on PC’s today in Windows XP in a virtual machine on Windows 10 - Windows XP supported 16 bit apps with no issues - something called TAME solved keyboard read issues (100% CPU) for DOS 3 applications running in XP.

We had access to a PDP11/30 with 32k with 2 RK05 (5 mb disks) that ran we installed Unix on - it did not take all 10 mb - I think we still had 4 mb free. We only had 4 ports and 4 terminals and thought it was magic that 4 of us could work at the same time - until the OS hit a Panic - Unix was bad about Panics - that was the OS got somewhere that the code had not been written for yet or a bug in the OS let two terminals get the same resource. I was writing drivers for the Calcomp plotter we had attached to the PDP11. I did get it working after a few weeks and some “C” compiler bugs were fixed.

You are opening a can of nostalgia.

Written much software for many types of Calcomp plotter on many types of systems using many different languages/assemblers.

I suspected that, you meant a DEC PDP 11/34 – first shipment: March 1976 – but, I see there was a PDP 11/30 planned – with a KA11 CPU – the same CPU as that used by the PDP 11/20.

  • With 8 Kbytes of core memory – price US$ 9 300 (Nine Thousand Three Hundred US Dollars) «PDP-11 Family Projection as of April 3, 1969» …
  • Maximum memory: 56 Kbytes.
  • Microcycle time: 0.280 µs
  • Memory Read Pause Time: 0.370 µs
  • Average Instruction Execution Time: 3.529 µs
  • Circuit Boards: 6 quad; 6 double; 2 single; (38 positions) – 203 Integrated Circuit Packages – 60 Integrated Circuit Types.
  • 16 bit Instruction Word; 16 bit Address Word.
  • No CPU cache – that was first introduced with the PDP 11/70.

[HR][/HR]All data from “Computer Engineering – a DEC view of hardware systems design” – C. Gordon Bell; J. Craig Mudge; John E. McNamara.

Without a swap disk?

  • Didn’t anyone know that an extra RK05 for swap or, a fixed head RS04 for even faster swapping, would have been better?

<SUSE Paste;

“The most significant technological innovation in the [HP] 21-MX computers was the use of semiconductor memory (instead of magnetic core memory). These machines were designed before semiconductor memory was commercially available and were among the first computers in the industry to feature the new memory”: http://www.hpmuseum.net/exhibit.php?class=3&cat=33

The big one (120MB): 7925 Disc Drive http://www.hpmuseum.net/display_item.php?hw=272

RTE-M Operating System: http://www.hpmuseum.net/display_item.php?hw=521

The site was operating some 5 machines in a data center and dozens in the labs connected by RG-58 cables.

See also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8O0swCd6O20