Why COBOL is not dead... "COBOL is a very bad business programming language - but all the others are so much worse." -- Robert Glass, CACM Vol 40 No. 9
Business programming requires the following four main characteristics:
The capability for heterogeneous, "record-structure" data
The capability for decimal arithmetic using BCD
The capability for convenient report generation
The capability for accessing and manipulating masses of data made up of heterogeneous, "record-structure" data
xBase has come (and largely gone).
It provided much of this, but since the various implementations (dBase, FoxBase, Clipper) vary in the ways that they handle report generation, it does not provide a consistent way of handling report generation and mass data access.
Various relational database systems have come along since; they do not compare favorably.
While SQL provides convenient means to describe both data and data queries, it does not intrinsicly provide any consistent means for generating reports.
Various "4GLs" have come along over the years; they provide fairly powerful environments, but applications must be tied to the environment and not merely the language.
OpenCOBOL is an open-source COBOL compiler which implements substantial part of the COBOL 85 and COBOL 2002 standards, as well as many extensions of the existent COBOL compilers.
OpenCOBOL translates COBOL into C and compiles the translated code using GCC. You can build your COBOL programs on various platforms, including GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows.
It is apparently sufficiently "substantial" that it has been used to port some old mainframe (B2000) applications to run on FreeBSD ...
Microfocus Visual COBOL is an ANSI-85 COBOL development system with compiler, runtime, debugger, support utilities and english documentation.
Generating COBOL code out of textual decision trees...