Fujitsu adds Linux support to NetCobol series

Fujitsu Ltd. has added Linux support to its Cobol (Common Business Oriented Language) products, the company announced Wednesday.

The company's software unit, Fujitsu Software Corp. in San Jose, California, currently has a set of three Cobol development tools in its "NetCobol," family: one that supports Microsoft Corp.'s .Net software framework, which was released in April this year, and two for Unix. NetCobol for Linux is Fujitsu's response to customer demand that has been building for over the last two to three years, the company said.

Cobol, one of the first high-level programming languages, typically has been used as a language in large, back-end mainframe transaction-processing and accounting applications for users in firms such as medium-size to large insurance companies and banks.

Fujitsu's NetCobol is used, for example, by insurance companies that are using both old applications written in Cobol and newer applications in other languages, instead of completely rewriting the older applications, which is harder to do, Fujitsu spokesman Andrew Mackenzie said.

Linux has recently been seen as a reliable and cost-cutting operating system for business use, and is attracting especially those users who are looking to move from Hewlett-Packard Co.'s discontinued e3000 systems, Fujitsu said.

The HP e3000 midrange server line, originally the HP-3000, runs on the proprietary MPE/IX operating system.

In addition to HP e3000 users, Fujitsu is targeting NetCobol for Linux at existing Cobol users, Mackenzie said. "Nowadays, these companies have at least one machine that runs Linux," he said.

NetCobol for Linux will be available for beta testing in July and for production development at the end of the beta testing.

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