Take Note! Significant Changes for PeopleSoft COBOL Using Micro Focus Compilers

February 4, 2021 | 5 minute read
Mark Hoernemann
Platform Strategy Director
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There are some significant and important changes related to the use of Micro Focus COBOL in PeopleSoft applications.  The well-seasoned Net Express and Server Express products are going out of support, there is a price increase coming, and a new version of Visual COBOL has been certified for use with current PeopleTools releases.  This blog is meant to ensure the PeopleSoft customer base is aware of the changes and are planning accordingly – don’t wait on this one!

Oracle, PeopleSoft’s Exclusive Provider of Micro Focus COBOL Licenses

Oracle is the exclusive reseller of the Micro Focus (MF) COBOL compiler for PeopleSoft applications and provides unique benefits to our customers.  With the license obtained from Oracle (or PeopleSoft before that) PeopleSoft customers purchase licenses based on a ‘named user’ basis for the compiler license; a named user is a combination of a person AND a server (physical or virtual) used to compile COBOL programs.  As such, a single person could require more than one license.  Limiting the number of people performing compiles and the number of servers used for compiling programs will minimize the total licenses required.

The other part of the MF license is the run time license.  This is where Oracle provides a major benefit to its PeopleSoft customers by providing an unlimited COBOL runtime license.  In the past when customers had purchased a license from other sources, the runtime license was charged separately and was often omitted or calculated incorrectly.  This resulted in some unpleasant surprises when licenses were audited by the provider.  Oracle entered into an agreement with Micro Focus a number of years ago that provides the unlimited runtime license, so customers do not have to worry about the number of end-users using the compiled programs.  Additionally, PeopleSoft takes care of the first and second line support (application functionality and technical support) for COBOL programs and the MF compiler as well.  We also work with MF directly to obtain any updates required for the compiler.  This agreement has served our customers well for many years.

COBOL for PS Overview

Net Express and Server Express End of Life Nears

By now, I’m hoping this is not new news to anyone.  We’ve been calling out the retirement of Net Express and Server Express ever since the initial migration to Visual COBOL was completed back on April 1, 2019 (yes, no fooling!). For reference, see the following Doc ID on MyOracleSupport:

Tech Update - Oracle Certifies Micro Focus Visual COBOL for PeopleSoft Note:2525126.1   

Micro Focus Net Express and Server Express products will no longer be supported as of the delivery of the scheduled CPU patch in April, 2021.  This means that no new patches or certifications will be performed and no new licenses will be provided for the retired products.  Any required new, or expansion licenses for the old products must be completed in the next couple of months.  At this time, new licenses default to the new version of Visual COBOL that we just certified, Visual COBOL 6.0. 

Note that the support date for the old COBOL products was already extended due to the COVID challenges we’ve all faced.  You can review the previous communications we made:

Tech Update - Oracle PeopleSoft Provides Additional Time for Micro Focus COBOL Migration Note:2656965.1
PeopleTools BLOG: Oracle PeopleSoft Provides Additional Time for Micro Focus COBOL Migration

Moving Forward with Visual COBOL 6.0

UPDATED Feb 26, 2021:

The Micro Focus Visual COBOL compiler V6.0 is targeted to be recertified around Apr 1, 2021.

UPDATED Feb 5, 2021: 

A BUG (32368978)  had been reported related to the use of a new keyword ("CONSTANT") in the V6 compiler.  At this time we are holding the certification of V6.  Our applications are assessing the impact of this issue, and we expect to have the issue resolution and certification available in the near future.

PeopleSoft’s migration to MF Visual COBOL was initially done using v4.0.  Since that time, Micro Focus has come out with a couple of new versions.  In line with our published Technical Support Policy Oracle has certified the Visual COBOL 6.0 compiler with PeopleTools 8.57 and above.  There is no additional license fee for existing PeopleSoft customers to obtain the new version, as long as the license was purchased from Oracle and support maintenance has been uninterrupted for it.   

Visual COBOL 6.0 replaces the previous Visual COBOL 4.0 on Oracle Software Delivery Cloud (OSDC), although existing customers may continue to use Visual COBOL 4.0 with PeopleTools 8.56 – 8.58.  PeopleSoft customers that have not yet transitioned from the old Net/Server Express should now go directly to Visual COBOL 6.0 when upgrading to PeopleTools 8.57, or above.

Minimum patch levels required with VC 6.0:

   - PeopleTools 8.58:  8.58.03 (on-premises base patch)

   - PeopleTools 8.57:  8.57.05

   - PeopleTools 8.56:  (not certified w/VC 6.0)

New Pricing for Compiler Licenses Planned to Take Effect Next Month

PeopleSoft has been reselling the MF COBOL compiler since before the acquisition, and in all that time there has been no increase in license pricing (at least that I recall), even though the royalties we pay have increased numerous times.  Oracle has shielded customers from any increased pricing over the years, including the transition to Visual COBOL.  However, as our costs continue to increase, we need to make some changes.  In the first half of March, the new pricing will be rolled out for new licenses.  The good news is that the new pricing affects only additional, new licenses.  So, if you need to update the licenses you have...get it done ASAP and take advantage of current pricing! 

I want to point out one other thing:  Just today I had a question come in from a customer that was running the old Merant compiler, which goes back a few COBOL ‘generations’.  It cannot be upgraded to Visual COBOL.  If you have “Object COBOL”, it’s the same story: a new license must be purchased, as there were chargeable upgrades for those products that are no longer available.  Only licenses from Net Express and Server Express may be upgraded to Visual COBOL.

Make sure you're COBOL plans are all in place - multiple clocks are ticking...loudly.


Additional information:

Tech Update - Oracle Certifies Micro Focus Visual COBOL for PeopleSoft Note:2525126.1

Tech Update – Oracle Updates the Visual COBOL Compiler for PeopleSoft Applications Note:2736467.1

Tech Update – Using Visual COBOL with PeopleSoft Applications (FAQ)  Note:2523494.1

PeopleTools BLOG:  PeopleTools BLOG: Oracle Extends PeopleTools 8.56 Patch Cycle Due to COVID-19

PeopleTools 8.57 Home Page Note:2433119.2 (See the Installation and Upgrade tab)

PeopleTools 8.58 Home Page Note:2602329.2 (See the Installation and Upgrade tab)

How to Request Software Media when it is Unavailable in OSDC Note:1071023.1


Mark Hoernemann

Platform Strategy Director

Mark joined PeopleSoft in 1997 in the PeopleTools development group, and has held various development and management positions.  For the past 13 years he has been a member of the PeopleTools Strategy team, and is currently Oracle's Platform Strategy Director.

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