Technical Solutions for COBOL

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Redvers Cloaking Device - Frequently Asked Questions

How do I install this software?

The Redvers Cloaking Device is sold in COBOL source code form and is installed by copying the code to your site source code library and running your standard COBOL compiler. Compilation at client sites enables installation on multiple platforms and it ensures complete compatibility with all other COBOL applications on the platform.

In order to protect both clients and ourselves from unauthorized code changes, the source code is itself "cloaked" using the Redvers Cloaking Device logic.

Does the device work for any languages other than COBOL?

As COBOL is such a self documenting language, it suffers most from being exposed to intellectual property theft and that is why it was the first language to be "cloaked". We are currently investigating the feasibility of building a similar product for JAVA but this version is not yet available.

If we receive requests for the "cloaking" of other languages, these will be evaluated in due course.

Can I "cloak" just a part of a program?

Yes. You can set "preserve mode" on and off as many times as necessary by coding the appropriate preserve comment line in the input source code. "Preserve mode" preserves the comments, indentation and periods in the source code but it doesn't preserve the data names or section/paragraph names as this would cause compile errors.

Does "cloaking" a program effect compile/run/CPU times?

The encryption of procedure division literals incurs a small fixed overhead at the start of processing when the values held in storage are unencrypted. In past cases this overhead has been less than 0.1% in batch programs and less than 2% for on-line transactions. If run-time performance at an external site is a high priority, literal encryption can be turned off using a user controlled flag.

With literal encryption turned off, "cloaking" a program will have absolutely no impact on compile-time, run-time or CPU-time.

How does the "cloaking" process handle code introduced at compile time (copy/include)?

In order to avoid the need to "recloak" programs every time an include or copybook is changed, copy/include code is excluded from the "cloaking" process. This means that data names and section/paragraph names defined in copy/include code will retain their original names.

If procedure copy/include code references data names or section/paragraph names defined in the main source code, compile errors may result. This problem is avoided by adding the main source code names to a user maintained blocked names list - more details can be found in the Redvers Cloaking Device User Guide.

How do I know that the "cloaking" process hasn't changed the program logic?

The way the "cloaking" process works means that it is almost impossible for the logical meaning of the code to be altered. If anything were to fail in the "cloaking" process it would result in a compiler error.

Is this program compatible with ASCII as well as EBCDIC based character sets?

Yes, all our products run on ASCII and EBCDIC platforms. No code changes are necessary.

Is this program compatible with sites using "little-endian" binary storage?

Yes, all our products will run on "big-endian" and "little-endian" platforms. No code changes are necessary.

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