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New Contributor II
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Fortran on Old Computers

I was looking for a technical manual on a Fortran Topic and I stumbled across these old manuals. 

Remember when we got great little books with software and computers.

 

I still have my MS Fortran 3.31 manual on my desk.  It is the fastest way to look up basic fortran. 

 

PC Manuals

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>>I still have my MS Fortran 3.31 manual on my desk.  It is the fastest way to look up basic fortran

It is not your imagination. I find the writers of older, hardcopy, manuals went to the extent of providing a good table of contents and excellent index. The index part is often missed with online or .pdf documents. The hard copy index is important to the programmer that has a fuzzy recollection of what they are looking for and they can quickly scan for potential matches reinforcing their memory in the process. The current method of needing to know the precise (or near match) is not equivalent. I also use my 1990's versions of the Borland C and C++ reference manuals over searching a .PDF.

Also, for us older programmers, the first migration to online/CD/HD version of reference manuals produced by Microsoft under the MSDN subscriptions were far superior to the current documentation. With the older versions you could construct complex queries with .AND. .OR. .NEAR. etc... operators to quickly locate what you want. Now they don't.

Jim Dempsey

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New Contributor II
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On the subject of old manuals: my first computer was a Zenith Z100, a dual-processor machine that could boot either CP/M (on the 8085) or Z-DOS (on the 8088).  The set of ring-bound manuals included the complete code of both BIOSes.

https://www.old-computers.com/museum/computer.asp?st=1&c=261

I had the Z-120 model, with an integral monitor.  Unfortunately, although Z-DOS was very similar to MS-DOS, it was not completely compatible, so the machine would not run software written for the IBM machines.  I can't recall how or where I got it, but I think I did eventually get a FORTRAN compiler.  It might have been FORTRAN IV.

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