Installing Open Cobol in Windows
The following instructions are based on my experience installing Open Cobol on the following
HP Mini 2010NR with 2GB of memory, 1.6 processor, 160GB hard drive, and 32-bit Windows 7
HP Pavilion dv9260nr with 2GB of memory, 2.0 processor, 100 GB hard drive, and 64-bit
Windows Vista Ultra Edition.
Each install took approximately 4 to 6 hours and installed approximately 33,000 files in 750MB. By
comparison, Visual Studio took less than 30 minutes to install half as many files but twice the disk space.
1. Create a Cobol directory to store all the files that you download.
2. Go to the web site http://www.opencobol.org. Select the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) link
on the left side of the screen and scroll down to 3.1.2 and follow the link to
http://opencobol.add1tocobol.com/OC_GettingStarted_Windows.pdf and save the PDF file in
your Cobol directory.
3. Return to the root of the web site http://www.opencobol.org. Select the User Manual link on
the left side of the screen and save the user manual PDF in your Cobol directory.
4. Select the Downloads link and download Open Cobol 1.1 Prerelease and store it in your Cobol
5. Go to the web site http://www.cygwin.org. Select the Cygwin link on the left side of the screen
and save the Setup.Exe file in your Cobol directory. Do not run it yet.
6. Print the Getting Started Windows PDF file from Step 2. Follow the instructions carefully to
install Cygwin and Open Cobol. My experiences:
a. The install for Cygwin starts on page 9 of the Getting Started Windows PDF.
b. Be careful to select all the packages listed on pages 9-11 or Cobol will not work. To
select the packages, expand the category (e.g. Database) and click the Skip next to the
item listed and it will change the version number of the package that will be installed. If
you forget one of the packages, you can install it later by rerunning the Setup.exe.
c. The ncurses libraries were in a different directory.
d. I could not find the one listed “d” so did not install it.
e. Page 12 says to edit the bashrc file. I skipped this step since it looked like it only added
some alias commands. You can always add it later.
f. The install for Open Cobol starts on page 14. Note the specific format of the tar
g. The configure and make commands on pages 14-15 take a very long time. If they do not
work, you probably missed one of the packages.
h. I skipped the verification test on page 15.
7. If everything worked ok, you can now follow the instructions starting on page 25 to compile and
execute Cobol programs.