I have fond memories
of using Micro Focus Cobol on IBM PCs in the 1980's. It was great for financial applications and made a pleasant change to working with IBM Basic / GWBasic. It felt like a "proper" language.
Canadian software biz OpenText has bought UK tech stalwart Micro Focus in a deal worth around $6 billion. In a statement, OpenText, the provider of a data integration platform, said that Micro Focus brought in $2.7 billion trailing 12-month revenue for the period ended April 30. OpenText CEO and CTO Mark Barrenechea said the …
...calling Cobol a proper language is a step too far!
Granted, COBOL is still rather verbose, but it is very well suited for the sort of programming tasks it was designed for - building business applications and handling structured data.
It does a good job reading and writing complexly formatted financial currency values and, with the IDMS(X) syntax preprocessor installed, processing transactions using what is now called an Edge database becomes quite straight forward. With this came the added advantage that, while IDMS programmers needed to learn how to read a data structure diagram, they didn't need to learn a different database manipulation language like SQL, because the IDMS preprocessor introduced a small set additional verbs that were coded using the same familiar COBOL syntax.
I've always been a fan of COBOL, although never had to do it as part of a job.
RPG, though...I'm pretty sure RPG is its own separate level of Hell. I know the RPG guys think it's great, and more power to them, but man, it was not for me. I saw just enough of it in college to know I wanted to stay well clear of that.
Successful enterprise software starts as products accessible to young and agile future engineers hoping to choose a direction.
Micro focus is a paywall.
If Microfocus owns a product, it will never see the lights outside of the Microfocus paywall. They are a buy first pay later shop. Their entire existence is all about justifying open source. Because even though Microfocus already has a solution, it will be rewritten in the open source because it’s less work to develop an entire system to replace it than to work with Microfocus.
Micro Focus was a great place to work in the early '90s, but became decidedly less so after the English CEO stepped down for health reasons and after a short interim period was replaced by the CEO of an American company recently acquired.
He dissolved our entire division, saying we weren't "e-" enough, despite providing a significant share of the revenue, so you could say MF destroyed itself too; from the inside.
Having worked on a system managed by OpenText, I would reword that to: you guys at MF have my sincere condolences.
Admittedly OpenText inherited the dog's dinner I worked on from other developers, but this is a similar situation, taking on code written by other companies (many times removed in some cases), and this is where this kind of acquisition falls down heavily unless you take on large swathes of the subsumed company's developers.
Software companies wishing to stay independent have the ideal "poison pill" from putting off any predator: "you realise you are inheriting our code and our documentation. Good luck with that!"
I worked for MF for fourteen years in the 90s and 00s. Went from MF to Merant and back to MF. That last incarnation of MF saw its top management lie to, then get rid of, a world-class support organization. Since then, they have kept lurching from one disaster to the next. I am surprised they still exist.