, 5 min read

Installing IBM COBOL for Linux on Arch Linux #2

I tried to install IBM COBOL for Linux multiple times. I tried to install it on Arch Linux, which is the Linux I use:

  1. Installing IBM COBOL for Linux on Arch Linux in 2021
  2. Testing COBOLworx gcc-cobol #2 in 2023

Initially I succeeded in installing the IBM compiler in 2021. The IBM compiler compared very favorably against the GNU Cobol compiler, see Comparing GnuCOBOL to IBM COBOL. But in 2023 this installation procedure failed. So, no IBM COBOL on Arch Linux.

Richard Nelson from IBM contacted me today and mentioned that IBM COBOL should also run on Arch Linux. So I tried to install the latest version again. Version 1.2 is particularly appealing as it supports 64 bit. IBM COBOL compilers were notorious with lacking 64 bit support, see Memory Limitations with IBM Enterprise COBOL Compiler.

My current Arch Linux setup is as given in below table.

Type Version
Linux 6.7.6-arch1-2 #1 SMP PREEMPT_DYNAMIC x86_64 GNU/Linux
gcc gcc version 13.2.1 20230801 (GCC)
glibc 2.39-1
gcc-libs 13.2.1-5

1. Download. Software package is here: IBM COBOL for Linux on x86. IBM now uses this annoying two-factor authorization procedure, click through all these hoops. This 2FA makes it essentially impossible to write an AUR package, which downloads the IBM file within the PKGBUILD.

The file in question is IBM_COBOL_V1.2.0_LINUX_EVAL.x86-64.240110.tar.gz. Its size is 116 MB.

$ tar ztvf IBM_COBOL_V1.2.0_LINUX_EVAL.x86-64.240110.tar.gz
drwxr-sr-x root/root         0 2023-06-06 01:05 images/
drwxr-sr-x root/root         0 2024-01-10 16:16 images/rhel/
-rw-rw-r-- root/root  26210268 2024-01-10 16:16 images/rhel/cobol.rte.1.2.0-
-rw-rw-r-- root/root   2331592 2024-01-10 16:16 images/rhel/cobol.dbg.1.2.0-
-rw-rw-r-- root/root   3055224 2024-01-10 16:16 images/rhel/cobol.cmp.license-eval.1.2.0-
-rw-rw-r-- root/root  11199076 2024-01-10 16:16 images/rhel/cobol.cmp.1.2.0-
drwxr-sr-x root/root         0 2024-01-10 16:17 images/sles/
-rw-r--r-- root/root  22295780 2024-01-10 16:17 images/sles/cobol.rte.1.2.0-
-rw-r--r-- root/root   1975984 2024-01-10 16:17 images/sles/cobol.dbg.1.2.0-
-rw-r--r-- root/root   2999760 2024-01-10 16:17 images/sles/cobol.cmp.license-eval.1.2.0-
-rw-r--r-- root/root   9095804 2024-01-10 16:17 images/sles/cobol.cmp.1.2.0-
drwxr-sr-x root/root         0 2024-01-10 16:17 images/ubuntu/
-rw-r--r-- root/root   1957512 2024-01-10 16:17 images/ubuntu/cobol.dbg.1.2.0_1.2.0.2-231215_amd64.deb
-rw-r--r-- root/root   2992220 2024-01-10 16:17 images/ubuntu/cobol.cmp.license-eval.1.2.0_1.2.0.2-231215_amd64.deb
-rw-r--r-- root/root  10125300 2024-01-10 16:17 images/ubuntu/cobol.cmp.1.2.0_1.2.0.2-231215_amd64.deb
-rw-r--r-- root/root  22514248 2024-01-10 16:17 images/ubuntu/cobol.rte.1.2.0_1.2.0.2-231215_amd64.deb
-rwxr-xr-x root/root      6763 2024-01-10 16:32 install
-rw-r--r-- root/root    820691 2023-06-06 01:05 install.pdf
-rwxr-xr-x root/root   2694559 2023-06-06 01:12 LicenseAgreement.pdf
-rwxr-xr-x root/root    285651 2023-06-06 01:12 LicenseInformation.pdf
-rwxr-xr-x root/root     57001 2023-06-06 01:12 notices
-rw-r--r-- root/root    311858 2023-06-06 01:14 quickstart.fr_FR.pdf
-rw-r--r-- root/root    311477 2023-06-06 01:14 quickstart.ja_JP.pdf
-rw-r--r-- root/root    281309 2023-06-06 01:14 quickstart.pdf
-rwxr-xr-x root/root      2932 2023-06-06 01:12 README

2. Unpacking the Ubuntu part. We will extract the Ubuntu part, highlighted above.

$ tar zxf IBM_COBOL_V1.2.0_LINUX_EVAL.x86-64.240110.tar.gz images/ubuntu/

Change to images/ubuntu directory and run the below loop, which first unpacks the deb-files with ar, then unpacks the resulting tar.xz data file with tar Jx:

for i in *.deb; do ar xf $i; tar Jxf data.tar.xz; done

This creates a subdirectory opt with 188 entries.

Move the resulting opt or opt/ibm to the "real" /opt and chown -R root:root all the files.

Installation size is 135 MB.

3. Checking the installation. See, whether all libraries are in place.

$ ldd /opt/ibm/cobol/1.2.0/bin/cob2
        linux-vdso.so.1 (0x00007ffebab8a000)
        librt.so.1 => /usr/lib/librt.so.1 (0x000070366a43e000)
        libdl.so.2 => /usr/lib/libdl.so.2 (0x000070366a439000)
        libpthread.so.0 => /usr/lib/libpthread.so.0 (0x000070366a434000)
        libc.so.6 => /usr/lib/libc.so.6 (0x000070366a252000)
        /lib64/ld-linux-x86-64.so.2 => /usr/lib64/ld-linux-x86-64.so.2 (0x000070366a47a000)

$ ldd /opt/ibm/cobol/1.2.0/bin/cob3
        not a dynamic executable

$ ldd cob3_64
        linux-vdso.so.1 (0x00007ffeddbf9000)
        librt.so.1 => /usr/lib/librt.so.1 (0x00007a35119f5000)
        libdl.so.2 => /usr/lib/libdl.so.2 (0x00007a35119f0000)
        libicuuc_64r.so => /opt/ibm/cobol/1.2.0/usr/bin/./../../../rte/usr/lib/libicuuc_64r.so (0x00007a3510600000)
        libcob2_64r.so => /opt/ibm/cobol/1.2.0/usr/bin/./../../../rte/usr/lib/libcob2_64r.so (0x00007a3510000000)
        libm.so.6 => /usr/lib/libm.so.6 (0x00007a3511904000)
        libc.so.6 => /usr/lib/libc.so.6 (0x00007a3511720000)
        libstdc++.so.6 => /usr/lib/libstdc++.so.6 (0x00007a350fc00000)
        libgcc_s.so.1 => /usr/lib/libgcc_s.so.1 (0x00007a35116fb000)
        libicudata_64r.so => /opt/ibm/cobol/1.2.0/usr/bin/./../../../rte/usr/lib/libicudata_64r.so (0x00007a350da00000)
        libpthread.so.0 => /usr/lib/libpthread.so.0 (0x00007a35116f6000)
        /lib64/ld-linux-x86-64.so.2 => /usr/lib64/ld-linux-x86-64.so.2 (0x00007a3511a31000)
        libicui18n_64r.so => /opt/ibm/cobol/1.2.0/usr/bin/./../../../rte/usr/lib/libicui18n_64r.so (0x00007a350d200000)
        libdfp_64r.so => /opt/ibm/cobol/1.2.0/usr/bin/./../../../rte/usr/lib/libdfp_64r.so (0x00007a350ca00000)

For convenience add the bin-directory to the PATH:

$ export PATH=$PATH:/opt/ibm/cobol/1.2.0/bin

Up to this point, running the compiler would report a license problem. The actual compiler is cob2.

Here is an example, once the license is setup correctly:

$ cob2 hello1.cob
IBM COBOL for Linux 1.2.0 compile started
End of compilation 1,  program HELLO1,  no statements flagged.

4. Getting a 60 day trial license. Richard Nelson sent me a new file libxlcmpev_64r.so. With this new library file the compiler works flawlessly.

$ license_check
Evaluation (Trial/Eval/TnB) license
Current date    Sat, 02 Mar 2024 17:54:00 GMT
Activation date Thu, 29 Feb 2024 00:00:01 GMT
Expire date     Mon, 29 Apr 2024 23:59:59 GMT
Days left       58

Thanks Richard!

Also, Richard mentioned the install shell script in the original tar file, see line 18. I didn't make use of that! My fault. Once I knew that this libxlcmpev_64r.so is problematic, and looking at the install script:

extendTrial="$reldir/cobol/$version/usr/bin/xlcmp xlcbl && rm $reldir/cobol/$version/usr/bin/xlcmp"
eval $extendTrial

Generating the license now goes like this, as user root:

/opt/ibm/cobol/1.2.0/usr/bin/xlcmp xlcbl

This generates a new 1.2.0/usr/lib/libxlcmpev_64r.so. This provides a valid 60 day license.

$ license_check
Evaluation (Trial/Eval/TnB) license
Current date    Sat, 02 Mar 2024 18:14:24 GMT
Activation date Sat, 02 Mar 2024 00:00:01 GMT
Expire date     Wed, 01 May 2024 23:59:59 GMT
Days left       60