For a programming language with a half-century legacy, FORTRAN not surprisingly has accumulated its share of jokes and folklore.
- As I said in my comments to the committee, [Fortran 90' would be a] nice language, too bad it's not Fortran.
- Dan Davison - http://www.netfunny.com/rhf/jokes/88q4/11267.7.html
- Also commonly applied to other such evolutions of programming languages. E.g: "Perl 6 would be a nice language, but it's not going to be Perl."
- FORTRAN's tragic fate has been its wide acceptance, mentally chaining thousands and thousands of programmers to our past mistakes.
- In the good old days physicists repeated each other's experiments, just to be sure. Today they stick to FORTRAN, so that they can share each other's programs, bugs included.
- FORTRAN—the "infantile disorder"—, by now nearly 20 years old, is hopelessly inadequate for whatever computer application you have in mind today: it is now too clumsy, too risky, and too expensive to use.
- The determined Real Programmer can write FORTRAN programs in any language.
- Ed Post, Real Programmers Don't Use Pascal, 1982
- People are very flexible and learn to adjust to strange surroundings — they can become accustomed to read Lisp and Fortran programs, for example.
- Leon Sterling and Ehud Shapiro, Art of PROLOG, MIT Press
- FORTRAN was the language of choice for the same reason that three-legged races are popular.
- 95 percent of the people who programmed in the early years would never have done it without Fortran.
- The primary purpose of the DATA statement is to give names to constants; instead of referring to pi as 3.141592653589793 at every appearance, the variable PI can be given that value with a DATA statement and used instead of the longer form of the constant. This also simplifies modifying the program, should the value of pi change.
- Early FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers
- Consistently separating words by spaces became a general custom about the tenth century A.D., and lasted until about 1957, when FORTRAN abandoned the practice.
- Sun FORTRAN Reference Manual
- Warning: Go directly to Jail. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200.
- "A computer without COBOL and FORTRAN is like a piece of chocolate cake without ketchup or mustard." — a fortune cookie from the Unix program fortune.
- You can tell how far we have to go, when FORTRAN is the language of supercomputers.
- God is Real, unless declared Integer.
- J. Allan Toogood, FORTRAN programmer (In FORTRAN, undeclared variables can be typed according to their first letter, so "God" would be a real variable, under default implicit typing rules.)
- The sooner the world forgets that FORTRAN ever existed, the better.
- Attributed to Joseph Weizenbaum
References in popular culture
- In the pilot episode of the Futurama series, the robot Bender drinks a bottle of Olde FORTRAN Malt Liquor (alluding to "Olde English" malt liquor)
- Computer folklore has incorrectly attributed the loss of the Mariner 1 space probe to a syntax error in a Fortran program. For example, "Recall the first American space probe to Venus, reportedly lost because Fortran cannot recognize a missing comma in a DO statement…"(Hoare, C. A. R.. Hints on Programming Language Design. in Sigact/Sigplan Symposium on Principles of Programming Languages. October 1973. , reprinted in Horowitz. Programming Languages, A Grand Tour, 3rd ed. ). See Risks Digest: Mariner 1, Vol. 9: Iss. 54, 12 Dec 89 (and Risks Digest: "Mariner I -- no holds BARred", Vol. 8: Iss. 75) for what really happened.
- In 1982, 10,000 Maniacs released a song named "Planned Obsolescence" that includes the repeated line — "Science [is] truth for life, in Fortran tongue the answer".