Re: Fortran without its legacy.

Joachim Durchholz <>
26 Feb 2004 10:05:20 -0500

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Related articles
Fortran without its legacy. (Toon Moene) (2004-02-26)
Re: Fortran without its legacy. (Joachim Durchholz) (2004-02-26)
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From: Joachim Durchholz <>
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: 26 Feb 2004 10:05:20 -0500
Organization: Oberberg Online Infosysteme
References: 04-02-156
Keywords: Fortran
Posted-Date: 26 Feb 2004 10:05:20 EST

Our esteemed moderator wrote:
> [I think the first response on the response page pretty much sums up
> why Fortran is still an important language, and wishing otherwise
> won't make it go away. It's still the only language for seriously
> high performance numerical software. -John]

I think that "informed response" is a bit narrow-sighted - he's
considering only those languages that are currently in the mainstream.
With that, he's probably right (though I don't know Fortran well enough
to be sure).

If you look at the future, things look better. Better languages than C,
C++, or Java exist: less than 100 pages for a language reference, clean
syntax, clean semantics. ("Clean" meaning "free of legacy quirks and
subtle points".)
Of course, it's a question whether these languages will gain enough
momentum to actually replace Fortran; that could happen anytime between
next year and never...

Currently looking for a new job.
[But none of those address what has always been Fortran's uniqe design
point, the ability to generate blindingly fast numeric code. C isn't
terrible, but unless you carefully declare all of your pointers to be
restricted, it doesn't come close. Fortran has ugly semantics,
particularly in respect to storage management in large part because
they make it possible to do optimizations you can't do if you have to
preserve cleaner semantics. -John]

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