Jerry Garfunkel

While sitting at hundreds of ANSI, ISO, CODASYL, PLSG, SPARC, WG4, CEG, ECMA, SMTG, OOC, WG11, X3J4, SC22 committee meetings and speaking at hundreds more GUIDE, SHARE, HLSUA, DECUS, ACM,  IEEE,  AFIPS, ISECON conferences,  in  Europe, South America, Africa, Asia and the US, I found myself "doodling" a lot. Being a lover of letters, my doodling was my handwriting practice.   Mixed in with all of my meeting and conference and panel notes over 20 + years, are hundreds of pages that look like this.

Colleague and friend Don Nelson - the Godfather of COBOL - created masterpieces of doodling art at each meeting.  I wonder if (and hope) Don saved his "doodles."
Dan Clark, then of Micro Focus, formerly of IBM, was asked to give a tutorial presentation on object oriented concepts to the international COBOL committee members who were meeting in Zaandam, Netherlands (outside of Amsterdam). This joint meeting with the International COBOL committee (ISO) and the Object Oriented COBOL Task Group (OOCTG, later to become X3J4.1) was organized for OOCTG to get general direction from the internationalCOBOL community.  I chaired the WG4 session.
Early debate regarding syntax and constituency.
This was the 13th International COBOL Committee meeting held in Newbury England in August, 1993 - hosted by Micro Focus. Object oriented COBOL syntax and features (Persistence dominated the technical discussions. Having gotten to know my fellow COBOL colleagues over the years, I observed, bellies. I have seen my French, Dutch, English, Canadian, Japanese, American friends get older!!! Their bellies enlarge, their hair whiten, their eyeglasses thicken. The US TAG is the Technical Advisory Group that officially represents the United States in ISO (international standards) matters.  Approximately one month prior to each international COBOL committee meeting, the US TAG would meet to "rehearse" delegation positions and "tactics."  If one ever thought that business is not political, come to a TAG meeting. The Republican and Democratic caucuses in Congress have similar strategic meetings.
Emerging from this meeting was the US delegation's priority list of critical issues to be discussed by WG4 which included: MOCS (multi-octet character sets), Exception handling, obsolete language elements, CALL bindings, Object Oriented COBOL, Bit and Boolean data and operations. MOCS is taking on the highest priority in deference to the Asian, Mid-eastern and other countries whose native character sets require double-byte representation.
At an international COBOL Committee meeting in Vienna, Austria, in 1984, the COBOL language was in serious trouble of slipping into extinction.The legal and procedural fight over the publication of the updated COBOL 85 standard resulted in a 5-yeare delay. The delay was caused by a deluge of letters sent to the ANSI X3J4 COBOL technical committee by business men and women, protesting the upcoming revision of the ANSI Standard COBOL language. Even with extreme sensitivity to upward compatibility of users application programs, there were some instances where the behavior of application programs compiled with an ANSI COBOL 74 compliant compiler might behave differently than that same program compiled with an ANSI COBOL 85 compliant compiler.  In order to give due respect to this concern while at the same time not let this upward compatibility problem interfer with the introduction of new features into the COBOL language, I proposed the introduction of an "Amendment" process to the COBOL ANSI and ISO procedures.   These new COBOL compilers with the new additions (amendments) would assure complete compatibility with older programs.  The first of the ANSI COBOL amendments was the Intrinsic Fucntions Addendum published in 1989.
Bill  Klein was (and still is) one of the "geniuses" in the COBOL community. Bill is driven by his passion to make one thing in life, the COBOL language, as perfect as possible. Mixed with an incredible intellect, Bill is one of the key assets built into the COBOL language that the public doesn't know about. Bill and I have been on opposite sides of critical issues in the standaards community;  these issues were administrative (mostly procedural) rather than language-specific.. I've always bowed (and still do) to Bill's knowledge of COBOL and his experience in the software support field.
Bruce Miller, DEC, was one of the quiet respected voices on the CODASYL COBOL committee (CCC). Bruce and a small handful of others over the years, were listened to more than others.  A group of the  CCC members who rendezvoused approximately every 8 weeks around the US, used to find a local Racketball Club in whatever city we were meeting in and we would play Racketball to keep our minds and bodies healthy.  Bruce Miller, Don Schricker and I were among the regular players. However they lasted longer than I did.



 

 

Hidden DejaVu

Calculated Logic

At 40

Airports I Have Visited

Raednig txet

Found on the Web

 

CCC = The Codasyl COBOL Committee  •   NCITS (ANSI) X3J4   = The American COBOL Committee  • ISO WG4 = International COBOL Committee
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