I've just today received a COBOL manual I ordered to find quite the nice surprise.
The manual itself is: "IBM OS Full American National Standard COBOL". It is
listed as File No. S360-24, Order No. GC28-6396-4. On the back of the first page this is
noted as the "Fifth Edition (September 1973)" and that the current edition
"is a reprint of GC28-6396-3, incorporating changes released in TNL GN28-1002."
Copyright year chain ends at 1972.
However, in addition to this manual are three addenda:
The first is a memo from Tim S. "Systems Analyst", addressed to and cc'd to
a few folks, providing an up-to-date listing (as of March 12*, 1976) of IBM System
Reference Library materials. The attachment includes, among other things, documents for
S/360, S/370, OS/360, BOS/360, OS/VS, and programming and diagnostic utilities. Each
reference includes a volume number and an "SRL", the definition I couldn't
find, but presumably just a catalog number of some kind.
The second is a scan of a 31 page, hand-written document titled "COBOL Compiler
Release 2.2" providing information on the "March 11, 1979, Release 2.2 of the
COBOL compiler...IBM's implementation of the ANSI 1974 Standard for COBOL. The
previous Release 1.1 implemented the 1968 ANSI Standard." The document goes on to
detail numerous changes between these revisions.
Lastly is a Technical Newsletter bearing the same File and Order numbers as the full
manual, but with a date of May 15, 1974 and newsletter number of GN28-1048. This page
bears a copyright chain out to 1974 and is simply a set of replacement pages for the
manual, as was common at the time. The text indicates that all changes are denoted with a
vertical bar printed to the left of the change, so this essentially is a diff between the
Fifth Edition manual above and...wait for it..."Fourth Edition (May 1972); Fifth
Edition (September 1973)". Strangely the copyright notice on the back still
indicates the same edition, but adds reference back to the Fourth Edition as well.
Strange, one of life's little mysteries? In any case, the copyright chain here is
only out to 1973. Never sure how much that means at any given instant. In any case, I
couldn't find any evidence in the manual-proper of previous such updates being
applied, in other words, no vertical bars spotted flipping through the pages at least.
Both the replacement pages and the catalog are still stapled together, and the
manual-proper still contains the pages (that I spot checked) slated for replacement. It
seems the original was even bound itself at one point, indicated by the ghost of a glued
spine still lingering on the end of the pages, but both the replacement pages and manual
itself also have 3-hole punches and are bound in an Acco binder. If the manual had a true
cover, it's long gone.
Figured I'd share some of those details in case anything in this is in want of
further illumination. For the record, the Sixth and Seventh editions of this same
document appear to be on archive.org
. I haven't plumbed their depths searching for
evidence of aforementioned diff pages, they're probably just scans of complete
So all of this for me at least begs the question, is there any sort of equivalent to TROFF
sources for documents from the Big Blue? Truth be told, I only ordered this to have a
paper COBOL reference on hand, if one should ever need such a thing. If there are such
document sources, I'd happily add "patching" them to produce a restoration
of this to my studies. At the very least the two smaller addenda will get a scan here
- Matt G.
P.S. While my main focus is Bell UNIX documentation, I do peek around for stuff like this
time to time, but I'm much less inclined to spring for something without some
functional value to me. That said, I'm looking for documents all the time, so if
anyone has any tips on stuff that isn't well preserved in the public record that I
should add to my searches time to time, I'm happy to keep an eye out. I'm
coming to quite enjoy finding things and getting them on the record.