Cobol For GCC - a GNU project - Free Software Foundation


COBOL For GCC is a project to produce a free COBOL compiler compliant with the COBOL 85 Standard, integrated into the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC).


74,000 lines of code since March 1999; all the COBOL preprocessing is done and tested (COPY/REPLACE/line continuations etc). Parsing and lexical analysis for the COBOL nucleus done. Integration into GCC has been done, including integration into the GCC code generation back end. Limited code generation via GCC back end has been done including most of the data division. Some of the runtime routines have been done. We estimate another 75,000 lines of code remain to be written.

The purpose of this project is to allow the many millions of COBOL programmers to bring their experience and talent to the world of free software development.

The plan is to get a subset of COBOL going which will enable COBOL programmers to then help with the rest of the project, as well as C programmers.

More Information

The project is currently hosted at sourceforge. You can browse or download the source and generated documentation by following this link COBOL for GCC project.

The project lead is Tim Josling (

How you can help

The main need is for people with C skills to write runtime routines eg sort/merge. Contact the project via the link below and we can arrange for a task large or small, simple to extremely complex, depending on the time and experience you can bring to bear on the project.

Other Free COBOL Projects

Tiny COBOL project is quite active. It started mid 1999 using a pre-existing DOS COBOL compiler as a base. They are generating X86 assembler for GNU/Linux. They have considerable functionality and several developers. They are not taking a very strict approach to adherence to the COBOL standard.

Alberto Santini's COBOL Compiler COBCY is currently inactive. The function is fairly limited.

Cobol2C is currently inactive. They did two versions of COBOL compilers, both with limited function. This was previously the 'GNU COBOL' project.

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Please send FSF & GNU inquiries & questions to There are also other ways to contact the FSF.

Please send comments on these web pages to, send other questions to

Copyright (C) 1999, 2000, 2001 Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111, USA

Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.

Updated: 20 Mar 2001 Tim Josling 22 Jul 2001 Tim Josling fixed links