Dusty Decks: Preserving historic software

Systems Manual for 704 Fortran and 709 Fortran

In January, Peter Capek told me that while cleaning up a file cabinet in his home he’d come across:

… a detailed description of the FORTRAN compiler, dated in 1960, and explicitly distinguishing between the 704 and 709 versions, but covering both. It looks like it was typed and what I have is probably not an original, but likely one of very few copies. It’s a couple of hundred pages, and describes each section of the compiler, including table structure, in considerable detail.

Peter very kindly made me a photocopy of this 264-page document, which is a wonderful complement to the actual source code. I hope soon to be able to provide web access to this and the other Fortran documents I’ve come across.

Peter is a frequent contributor to alt.folklore.computers and supplied information for Frank da Cruz’s “The Columbia University Computer Center in 1965” article.