Rich kids are into COBOL

Rich Alderson RichA at
Tue Feb 17 19:07:52 CST 2015

> From: Dave G4UGM
> Sent: Tuesday, February 17, 2015 3:44 PM

>> From: ben
>> Sent: 17 February 2015 22:40

>> Was FORTRAN portable or did most jobs fit only the large mainframes
>> at the time?

> So long as it wasn't DEC Fortran it was portable.....

Aw, come on, Dave.  So long as it wasn't *any* manufacturer's Fortran,
it was portable.

The first textbook I used, _FORTRAN IV Primer_ by Elliott I. Organick,
was filled with tables for all the various places that implementations
differed among manufacturers.  (That was where, in fact, I learned that
there *were* manufacturers other than IBM.)  No DEC systems were on the

DEC was very careful to mark out where they had extended the language from
the 1966 standard (and later from the 1977 standard, which included most
of the DEC extensions to 1966).

If you restricted yourself to the standard, Fortran was very portable, and
that stood it in good stead for decades.  Good programmers put any of the
manufacturer specific code in subroutines which were easily replaced.


Rich Alderson
Vintage Computing Sr. Systems Engineer
Living Computer Museum
2245 1st Avenue S
Seattle, WA 98134

mailto:RichA at

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