Friday saw the first new version in two-and-a-half years of GnuCOBOL, and on Sunday, a new version of the venerable Emacs was announced.
They’ve been busy beavers over at Gnu, with the announcement of new releases for two Gnu projects. One is Emacs, the text editor that was partly born out of the brain of Gnu’s founder, Richard Stallman — which I guess makes it 100% Gnu. The other project, GnuCOBOL, is lesser known, while at the same time being more important these days than some people might think.
COBOL in the 21st Century
In fact, the later might’ve been considered all but irrelevant a few years back, with most people thinking COBOL to be a dead language. It isn’t. Far from it. Not only are tons of new lines of COBOL being written each day, there’s also a huge need for new COBOL coders, since the old breed that’s been keeping the work done since the 1960s are now either retiring or…well, calling the graveyard “home.”
With the language seeing more use than people realize, and with COBOL skills being a valuable and marketable commodity, it should come as no surprise then, that the folks at Gnu have their own COBOL compiler, aptly called GnuCOBOL.
On Friday it had its first new release in two-and-a-half-years.
“GnuCOBOL is a free, modern COBOL compiler,” the Gnu folks said of the project in a statement issued Friday. “It translates COBOL into intermediate C and compiles the code using a native C compiler (preferably GCC, but not limited to it).”
The project was around for ages before it was adopted by the folks at GNU. It started life as OpenCOBOL back in 2002, and even then was an attempt to build a COBOL compiler suitable for integration with Gnu’s GCC. Eleven years later, in September 2013, it was accepted as a GNU Project and initially renamed GNU Cobol, until the name was changed a year later to GnuCOBOL.
Emacs: The Text Editor People Either Love or Hate
On Sunday the release of Emacs 29.1 was announced.
Emacs has been around for so long that it’s tempting to call it something like “the granddaddy of all text editors,” but that would be inaccurate since Emacs itself was originally designed to address some shortcomings in other text editors, so it’s not that. But it has been around for a long time — since the 1970s — and it got started at roughly the same time as vi, Emacs’ arch rival in some programming circles.
I’m not a programmer and don’t use either text editor because they’re… well, arcane comes to mind (I default to Bluefish, if you must know), so I’m not going to get into that argument. Neither am I going to tell you very much about Emac’s new latest and greatest version, except to point out that since the new version was released on Sunday, some users have been complaining online that the changelog is way too long, so I’ll point you to a much shorter list of important changes.
If you want or need that latest and greatest, go here to find a download mirror close to you.