Fortran (Was Re: PDP-8 Straight 8 restoration)

Diane Bruce db at
Mon Mar 30 10:41:35 CDT 2020

On Mon, Mar 30, 2020 at 09:31:56AM -0600, Warner Losh wrote:
> On Mon, Mar 30, 2020 at 8:13 AM Diane Bruce <db at> wrote:
> > On Sun, Mar 29, 2020 at 05:33:35PM -0600, Warner Losh wrote:
> > > On Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 5:10 PM Diane Bruce via cctalk <
> > cctalk at>
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > ...
> >
> > A dropped card deck was disaster and how many folks filled in columns 73
> > to 80
> > with an index? Not very many. :-(
> >
> Worse: 80% of the cards had that, but the other 20% didn't since they were
> later bug fixes.
> The decks that I had to verify were from the "in the barn" days of the
> company and had sat in storage for a few years. People would remove cards
> from the top box in the stack to show visitors and weren't great about
> putting them back exactly in order...  So when the boss, who was sure he

And the cards bent due to humidity and stuck together while you read them right?

> semi-real editor (visual TECO at a glorious 4800 baud). and I learned a lot
> about FORTRAN and just how bad it could be (the boss was a great
> businessman, much better than his FORTRAN prowess).

The worst Fortran I remember was from Scientists. I got to fix some of that
back in the day. Nowadays a lot of them learn C/C++ and are not horrible
coders now. Early Fortran as you remember was pretty easy to turn into spaghetti
code. WATFOR and IFTRAN helped.

> > Ah yes the LARGE array with indexes used as pointers trick. *ugh* I
> > remember.
> >
> Yea. And ugly tricks to overlay/alias heap1, heap2 and heap4 (which were
> for byte, word and longword access respectively). And converting between
> the different "pointer" types. It was helle ugly...  But pointers in C that

Yep. yep.

> I learned a few years later were a piece of cake in comparison...

Pointers were a treat compared to the horrible Fortran mess and was very

> Ha! We had some assembler for the most time critical bits, but we wrote
> that in MACRO-11 directly and linked it in.

Yep. BTDT I did a lot of 'raw' MACRO-11 too.

> Warner

- db at db at

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