Subject: Re: moving g77 to the ports system
To: Igor Sobrado <>
From: Jim Bernard <>
List: tech-userlevel
Date: 01/02/2003 08:58:23
On Thu, Jan 02, 2003 at 03:44:10PM +0100, Igor Sobrado wrote:
> A second PR (standards/19640).  Again, I am sending a copy of it to the
> right place, the tech-userlevel mailing list, for discussion.  I really
> appreciate any comments on this proposal.
> Proposal:  Moving g77 to the ports

  We already have quite a bit of experience with this---years ago, g77 was
not included in the base system.  I was thrilled when it was added to the
base system; it was annoying to have to maintain two, usually very different,
versions of gcc on the system and to have to deal with the fact that so
many 3rd-party programs use autoconfig scripts that prefer gcc over cc, so
that the "extra" version of gcc installed solely to get g77 was chosen by
default over the system-supplied version.  It's really much nicer with
g77 in the base system, and I would be strongly opposed to having it removed

> 2. Even GNU is dropping it.
>    GNU is developing a new FORTRAN compiler.  g77 is not the best
>    compiler in the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) suite.

  I'd say this is misleading.  Yes, g95 is under development, and
it will presumably eventually supplant g77, but I seriously doubt that
gnu will drop g77 from gcc before g95 is ready to replace it.  And g95
is far from ready for use, let alone ready to replace g77 as the
standard gnu fortran compiler.

> 3. It is something between a FORTRAN 77 and a FORTRAN 90 compiler.
>    It does not follow standards, it is a FORTRAN 77 compiler
>    that supports "some FORTRAN 90 extensions".  I think that it
>    is not as good as other GNU developments, and it does not
>    follow standards in the right way.  I think that it has not
>    the quality level required to be a part of a BSD system.
>    On the other hand, gcc and g++ are high-quality products.

  So what?  It's the only free fortran compiler we have (the Intel compiler
only runs on Intel architectures, and the license is sufficiently restrictive
that it can't be considered free software; and f2c isn't really a fortran
compiler, so its use has some significant disadvantages).  We shouldn't
discard g77 just because its development has lagged behind the other
components of gcc.

> 4. It is not being widely used.

  I use it regularly.  It's very important to me.

>    It is not a required component of a BSD system and it is not
>    used when build a BSD system from the source code.

  It is used in several package builds.

>    Moving
>    it to the ports collection is not bad.

  Yes it is.  As I pointed out above, we've already been down that road,
and it's much more convenient to have it in the base system.

>    Most people that wants a FORTRAN compiler for serious work
>    runs other products.  For example, the Condensed Matter group
>    at the Physics Department of our University runs a commercial
>    product in the Linux cluster.  The dropped g77 in 1996.

  Not everyone has funds to throw at commercial compilers---they aren't
cheap.  And they're not always significantly better than g77 for given
applications.  As well, it's very handy to have multiple compilers
available---they often catch different bugs.