Fortran for Mac
Java may be the hot computer language of the nineties, but you wouldn’t know it to look at business and government sites; in the real world, older languages like COBOL and FORTRAN (Gfortran) are still doing much of the day-to-day work at banks, government labs, and NASA. In big-project scientific and numeric calculation, for example, the ancient FORTRAN language in one of its newer forms–FORTRAN 77 or FORTRAN 90–is still grinding away on optimized legacy code.
Source code originally written for Cray and Fujitsu supercomputers can now run without serious modification on a Mac using latest Gfortran package. This formidable suite includes compilers for FORTRAN 77, the more modern FORTRAN 90, and the thoroughly modern C/C++ (optimized for use in the MPW Shell); IMSL’s FORTRAN numeric and statistics libraries, the best available for any language, are available as an option. All this magnificence takes a little more programming background to put into action than the new CodeWarrior-adapted LS FORTRAN from Fortner Research, but compiled code runs two to three times faster with Gfortran –and for most FORTRAN users, speed of executables is the number one consideration.
The Gfortran program makes itself practically invisible: you simply install it, set a few options, and watch the Pro FORTRAN compiler devour your source code. On four benchmarks–two of my own and two industry-standard SPECmark routines–the compiled code running on a 604e-based Mac executed roughly twice as fast as the same programs compiled in LS FORTRAN. The Absoft product also breezed through a grueling test pastiche of combined C and FORTRAN code.
As a language that started life when RAM was measured in 4KB chunks, Gfortran has a huge bag of optimization tricks and is the topic of many reference books–and the new FORTRAN-based teaching language F suggests that FORTRAN will have some big-computer tasks all to itself for at least another decade.
PROS: Superior performance of compiled code; few Mac porting modifications.
CONS: Some popular editor features missing.
Download Size: 80 MB
License: Free to try
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Last Updated: December 6, 2019
System requirements: Mac OS X 10.14 or later