mainGnuCOBOL (formerly OpenCOBOL) - Summary

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Id: 11215
System Name: gnucobol
Name: GnuCOBOL (formerly OpenCOBOL)
Group Type: Official GNU software

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This software is part of the GNU Project.


GnuCOBOL is a free, modern COBOL compiler. GnuCOBOL implements a substantial part of the COBOL 85, X/Open COBOL and newer ISO COBOL standards (2002, 2014, 2023), as well as many extensions included in other COBOL compilers (IBM COBOL, MicroFocus COBOL, ACUCOBOL-GT and others).

GnuCOBOL translates COBOL into C and internally compiles the translated code using a native C compiler.
Build COBOL programs on various platforms, including GNU/Linux, Unix, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows. GnuCOBOL has also been built on HP/UX, z/OS, SPARC, RS6000, AS/400, along with other combinations of machines and operating systems.

While being held to a high level of quality and robustness, GnuCOBOL does not claim to be a “Standard Conforming” implementation of COBOL.

GnuCOBOL passes over 9700 (of 9748) of the NIST COBOL 85 test suite tests and over 3700 tests in more than 1300 internal test groups during build.


GnuCOBOL owes many thanks to Roger While and Keisuke Nishida, developing the compiler since 2005.

GnuCOBOL was named GNU Cobol from September 2013 (where the project moved to GNU space) to September 2014. Before becoming a GNU project the name was OpenCOBOL with the same free spirit under GPL/LGPL it has now.


For more information see

Registration Date: Tue 01 Oct 2013 05:18:45 AM UTC
License: GNU General Public License v3 or later
Development Status: 5 - Production/Stable


Latest News rss feed
Release of GnuCOBOL 3.2
     posted by mensch, Mon 14 Aug 2023 09:43:02 PM UTC

GnuCOBOL 3.2 includes many new features compared to the previous release, while maintaining full source compatibility.

The amount of changes from GnuCOBOL 3.1 to 3.2 is huge, here are some of the highlights:

  • improved dialect handling including changed defaults to better match the selected dialect (see NEWS if you compile with any `-std`
Release of GnuCOBOL 3.1.2
     posted by mensch, Tue 05 Jan 2021 06:24:20 PM UTC

New GnuCOBOL features

  • XML GENERATE statement

   (note: runtime support needs additional library libxml2)

  • JSON GENERATE statement

   (note: runtime support needs additional library cJSON or JSON-C)

  • CONTINUE AFTER statement (COBOL 202x) implemented, also handle fractions
GnuCOBOL 3.1-rc-1 on
     posted by mensch, Thu 02 Jul 2020 07:13:19 AM UTC

While this version is a release-candidate (with an expected full release within 3 months) it is the most stable and complete free COBOL compiler ever available.

Source kits can be found at, the first pre-built binaries are already available and the OS package managers are invited to update their packages. [...]

GnuCOBOL 2.2 released!
     posted by edwardhart, Thu 07 Sep 2017 11:42:02 AM UTC

Dear GnuCOBOL users,

after almost 7 years of continual improvement and refinements since
OpenCOBOL version 1.1 and 3 years after the release of GnuCOBOL 1.1,
the GnuCOBOL team is proud to announce the formal release of
GnuCOBOL 2.2.
We now reached a substantial coverage of COBOL 85, 2002, 2014 standard [...]

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