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When is the death of OS/VS COBOL?

We are running z/OS 1.6, CICS TS 2.2 and IMS v7. We use Enterprise Cobol 3.3.0 and have some sites still running some old OS/VS COBOL. When will IBM finally drop support for OS/VS COBOL run times? What are the consequences if you fail to convert in time? Can you point me to the right literature on this?

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There are different answers for CICS and non-CICS and for different releases of CICS.

First non-CICS. OS/VS COBOL object programs are fully supported by IBM service if running under the Language Environment run-time library instead of the OS/VS COBOL run time library. The OS/VS COBOL run time library went out of support years ago, but the old objects can run under LE just fine. For details about how to move from OS/VS COBOL run-time to LE run-time, see the COBOL Migration Guide, chapter 6.

By the way, we are discussing when to remove support for OS/VS COBOL programs from LE, but it is not in any plan yet.

Now for CICS, where the story gets much more interesting.


  • Cannot translate OS/VS COBOL programs
  • Must use COBOL3 translator option
  • OS/VS COBOL programs under OS/VS COBOL runtime library may run, but unsupported with CICS TS 2.3
  • OS/VS COBOL programs will run, but only if using LE
  • Any attempts to initialize OS PL/I, OS/VS COBOL or VS COBOL II run times will result in ABEND
  • All High-Level Language programs running under CICS must use LE CICS TS 3.1
  • OS/VS COBOL programs will ABEND even if using LE!
The CICS story is described in CICS announcements, such as for CICS 3.1. See the CICS 3.1 page, and click on "Announcement Letter" and search for COBOL in the announcement for details.

This was first published in March 2005

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