[vcf-midatlantic] COBOL: vintage vs. legacy code

William Sudbrink wh.sudbrink at gmail.com
Thu Jun 1 11:59:19 EDT 2017

Oh man, do I envy you!  Up until about 5 years ago, that was my shop too.  Every byte we could save was gold.  But now the Intel/"embedded" Linux monster has invaded and we write in C++ and solve our problems by throwing more CPU and memory at them.  Sigh...

Bill S.

-----Original Message-----
From: vcf-midatlantic [mailto:vcf-midatlantic-bounces at lists.vintagecomputerfederation.org] On Behalf Of Bob Applegate via vcf-midatlantic
Sent: Thursday, June 01, 2017 11:17 AM
To: vcf-midatlantic
Cc: Bob Applegate
Subject: Re: [vcf-midatlantic] COBOL: vintage vs. legacy code

> On May 31, 2017, at 2:36 PM, Joseph S. Barrera III via vcf-midatlantic <vcf-midatlantic at lists.vintagecomputerfederation.org> wrote:
> On Wed, May 31, 2017 at 11:00 AM, Brian Schenkenberger via 
> vcf-midatlantic < vcf-midatlantic at lists.vintagecomputerfederation.org> wrote:
>> I've been writing assembly for 40+ years and fully expect to be 
>> writing it for another 10+. ;)
> Are you asserting that, say, VAX assembly and 6502 assembly are the 
> *same language*? :-)

Same concepts, even if the target processor is different.

FWIW, I was in a code review this week for a few hundred bytes of assembly code.  The number of people fluent in assembly at the company is very small, but this product sells several hundred thousand units a year and is very important.  The code was in C using a highly optimizing compiler but it couldn’t quite squeeze the code enough once a new feature was added, and going to a slightly larger processor with more RAM (32 bytes) was about four cents more per chip, so switching to assembly was the best approach.

Not all computers have 2 TB disk and 32 GB RAM.  When you need to save a few bytes, assembly is your friend.


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