John Backus passes away...

Chuck Guzis cclist at
Wed Mar 21 20:41:53 CDT 2007

On 22 Mar 2007 at 0:17, Tony Duell wrote:

> > > Did any computer built after 1960 NOT have a FORTRAN implementation?
> > 
> > Yes, my ICT1301 (155+ built from 1962 to 1965) had no Fortran compiler.
> I've not seen a Fortran compiler for any of the following : 
> HP9830 (I claim this is a computer, it ran BASIC from ROM)
> Philips P850 (maximum 2K words of core, I believe larger P800 series 
> machines did have a Fortran compiler available)
> HP9825, 9831, 9845, 9835 series
> HP80 series. 
> Just about all the pocekt computers (Sharp, Casio, HP, etc)
> What abotu the IBM 5100? And for that matter the Commodore PET (I know 
> the SuperPET had such a compiler), the C64, etc. And the Sinclair/Amstrad 
> machines (ZX*0, ZX81, Spectrums). And the Oric

How many of the above would run *any* type of compile-to-machine-
language HLL compiler?  Most of the BASICs were tokenized and 

A few of those that you've cited simply didn't have the resources for 

But maybe not--even the lowly IBM 1620 with 20K digits (not bytes--a 
character took 2 digits) of core and no disk drive would compile 
FORTRAN.  That's pretty remarkable when you consider that a 1620 
instruction is 12 digits long--and the bottom half-K or so was 
dedicated to storing arithmetic lookup tables (the 1620 Cadet 
couldn't even add two numbers without the tables first being loaded). 
 The card reader-punch was used as intermediate storage--you read in 
pass 1 of the compiler, then your program, which caused a new card to 
be punched for every statement.  You then read in the deck for pass 
2, followed by your program and an executable object deck was punched 
(and a listing was made on the printer).  AFAIK, the Cadet equipped 
with paper tape instead of cards could do the same thing.


More information about the cctalk mailing list