Architectural diversity - was Re: Pair of Twiggys

Bill Gunshannon bill.gunshannon at
Sun Mar 19 10:04:05 CDT 2017

From: cctalk [cctalk-bounces at] on behalf of Rich Alderson via cctalk [cctalk at]
Sent: Friday, March 17, 2017 3:07 PM
To: 'General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts'
Subject: RE: Re: Architectural diversity - was Re: Pair of Twiggys

From: ben
Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2017 6:28 PM

> On 3/16/2017 5:16 PM, Bill Gunshannon via cctalk wrote:

>> From: Chuck Guzis
>> Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2017 6:08 PM

>>> And people who weren't there can't understand why FORTRAN was the closest
>>> thing to a "portable" language...

>> Not even close to COBOL.  :-)

Preach it, brother!

> But was FORTRAN that portable?


> Other than the IBM 1130 I cannot think of a small computer that had ample I/O
> and memory to run and compile FORTRAN. All the other 16 bitters seem to more
> paper tape I/O.

The PDP-8 family has compilers for both FORTRAN II and FORTRAN IV.  16 bits?
What could we possibly do with all that address space? ;-)

> I suspect 90% of all university computers ended up as IBM 360 systems. A few
> ended up with the VAX, but who knows what they ran.

FORTRAN.  FORTRAN D (DOS/360), F and G (OS/360), which were FORTRAN IV
compilers (retronamed "Fortran 66").  VAX/VMS Fortran 77, except most VAXen of
the day you seem to be talking about ran BSD Unix and Fortran was handled by

I learned FORTRAN IV on an IBM 1401, a decimal computer, before moving on to
PL/1 and COBOL (and FORTRAN) on the System/360.

FORTRAN was, and still is, widespread, even if it doesn't look anything like
itself these days.

That's because, unlike the COBOL Professionals, the Fortran people drank from
the OO KoolAid.

Oh, and my 1401 only did Autocoder.  I didn't start using Fortran until my Univac-1100


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