I found an interesting post written by Hans Boldt, who was part of the team that developed RPG/free at IBM in Toronto, Canada. In it he gives us a brief glimpse into some of the decisions and processes involved in creating RPG/free.
It all started more than twenty years ago, back when RPG IV was being designed. At the time, there were two distinct schools of thought. On one side, there were people who insisted RPG should have a fully free-form syntax. On the other, were those who strongly believed that RPG should remain in its traditional fixed-form layout.
He reminds us that RPG/free is no longer new as it was released 12 years ago in V5R1, and ILE RPG/RPGLE/RPG IV 18 years ago in V3R1.
You can read it here: A Short History of Free-Form RPG