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Talking the Talk – Why COBOL Rocks

By | March 2, 2022

Talking Heads

The Open Mainframe Project’s COBOL Working Group (CWG), which launched in 2020 as a response to the increasing interest in COBOL, aims to promote and support the continued use of the COBOL language globally.

The CWG and its activities is the topic of a brand-new video in the Let’s Talk series, hosted by  TFIR’s Swapnil Bhartiya.

Setting the record straight

A core mission of the COBOL working group is to identify and define the COBOL market and exploring and finding ways to address any market concerns. Guests are CWG Co-Chairs Derek Britton, Director of Communication and Brand Strategy at Micro Focus, and Cameron Seay, a professor at East Carolina University, who both give their rationale as to why the group was formed and, crucially, the enduring popularity of COBOL in the mainframe world.

As the CWG themselves put it, “We’ve been doing COBOL so consistently and for so long, that everybody has forgotten that it is running the world’s economy. How do we wake people up to the fact that they’ve got this wonderful thing that we take for granted? We wanted to set the record straight”.

An objective truth

The COBOL Working Group previewed the survey data at Open Mainframe Summit, and Reg Harbeck, another CWG committee member explains the background, actions and key results from that survey, which illustrate and underscore why COBOL is a proven staple with hundreds of billions of lines of production code used across many industries.

One fascinating element of survey is just how important remains today and in the future. The results – echoing other market research – indicate a continued reliance upon COBOL today, and into the foreseeable future. This explains why many respondents also saw the need to continue to provide appropriate staffing and training for COBOL, as resourcing will remain a critical commodity in the language’s continued viability.

A detailed report of the COBOL survey was recently published on

Looking Ahead – Creating Demand Out There

We then heard from each guest again as they describe the future for COBOL and the next steps as it pertains to the language, for both the working group and the Open Mainframe Project as a whole, which of course includes a variety of ongoing projects featuring COBOL technology, tooling and training. In a nutshell, “We need to ensure the next generation is as comfortable with COBOL as we are.”

Watch the interview below.