The proprietor of the Fortran.com web site, Walt Brainerd, passed away in June 2020, and the site is not maintained. It would be good if a Fortran enthusiast with web programming and e-commerce skills acquired the site and put Fortran information on the site and sold Fortran compilers, tools, and books, creating something like the Polyhedron site. When I Google “Fortran”, Fortran.com is the 3rd hit. A contact email is here. It would be unfortunate if Fortran.com were acquired and used for content unrelated to Fortran.
Mike Metcalf suggested the same to me at FortranCon in the context of fortran-lang.org.
Why do you think the site is not maintained? I’ve seen multiple updates to the site since Walt’s passing. Sure, the store seems empty, but there’s content on the site. I don’t know who runs it, but I assume it’s either someone related to Walt or someone that acquired the assets from him or his family.
“Why do you think the site is not maintained? I’ve seen multiple updates to the site since Walt’s passing.”
The site still advertises instruction in Modern Fortran by Walt. It would be nice if the mentioned “CD with the class notes and examples” could be made available for sale or put in the public domain. Walt packaged gfortran on Windows, but the link to purchase Fortran Tools 6.2 Available; Includes Coarrays and GTK for Graphical I/O is broken. Ideally that could be sold again, probably with a newer version of gfortran, or put in the public domain.
I agree. Making difficult software easier to install and use (or making difficult writing easier to read) have traditionally been successful business models.
Fortran.com will be preserved. I can’t talk about the details yet, but it won’t get hijacked by some non-Fortran owner.
The Fortran Company has continued to do training based on Walt’s materials. I know of at least one active employee.
Regarding “Fortran information”, that is valuable. The Fortran Wikipedia page might be a good location for that.
Fortran compilers are, increasingly, free rather than “sold”. Ditto for tools. Even the Intel oneAPI package no longer requires a license and is free to download.
A list of books, perhaps with a short description or each is a good thing to include as part of the “Fortran information”. As far as “sales”, that activity has basically been taken over by Amazon.
I inquired with the company, and they said it was for sale for $5000 but possibly for less. GoDaddy estimates the value to be $2521. Maybe the group could crowdfund the purchase – I would donate $100. It would be nice to have a site comparable to python.org.
I agree entirely, I too will be more than happy to chime in with a similar donation.
It will be cool to have an international body to nurture and care for Fortran, purposefully and entirely independent of ISO and INCITS, and to whom the domain fortran.org can be dedicated.
What would this non-ISO non-INCITS “body” do?
Just my opinion, but there are many options to .com or .org
And others like:
fortran.xyz fortran.tech fortran.zone fortran.software fortran.science fortran.one
Even more, perhaps (let me be optimistic) there can be an agreement to use a subdomain inside
fortran.com. Something like:
reference.fortran.com info.fortran.com language.fortran.com start.fortran.com
True, but many programming languages, compilers, libraries, and operating systems do have .org sites, for example python.org, perl.org, lua.org, cplusplus.org, rexx.org, scratch.org, haskell.org, clang.org, llvm.org, g95.org (not maintained), numpy.org, scipy.org, tensorflow.org, pytorch.org, linux.org, and bsd.org . Someone new to Fortran might go fortran.org, and it would be nice if there were something there. Of course, googling “fortran” does lead to relevant sites, including fortran-lang.org. Related to FortranFan’s comments, a .org domain implies that a non-profit group is serving the language community.
A lot of things that ORGs (with their .org sites) do for most programming languages: promote the language in many ways, advance the language in a number of ways including with the tooling and the ecosystem, and even protect the language, etc. in a somewhat structured manner with some institutional backing along with an ability and means to attract and retain patrons and sponsors.
I would also be willing to donate if the fortran.org would serve some community (non-profit) purpose.
Some possible ideas, copied from the Python Software Foundation mission statement:
- Raise funds to support Fortran programs and services.
- Publicize, promote the adoption of, and facilitate the ongoing development of Fortran-related technology and educational resources. This includes, but is not limited to, maintaining a public web site, planning Fortran conferences, and offering grants to Fortran-related open source projects.
- Encourage and facilitate Fortran-related research in the public interest.
Ideas copied from the C++ foundation:
- Promote dissemination of correct and up-to-date information about modern Fortran.
- Promote greater availability of high-quality Fortran libraries, including both standard libraries (by reducing barriers to submitting and adopting libraries in standard Fortran itself) and community libraries (by having an organized, and ideally tool-supported, way for Fortran developers to discover and use libraries).
The mission items that @FortranFan and @ivanpribec listed are what fortran-lang already does, short of fundraising. I wrote in 2019 that a non-profit corp is the way to go forward (I still think so), but this involves a lot of busywork for which we just aren’t ready yet. And it’s premature to do so before a concrete funding opportunity. A potential good alternative to an independent non-profit (i.e. registering as a 501©(3) itself) is for fortran-lang to become a NumFOCUS project. They take care of administration and promotion for a modest fee.
I personally don’t see much ROI from purchasing a yet another domain at such a high cost (fortran-lang.org cost $12 to register) and don’t approve of price gouging. We live in the time of search engines and fortran-lang is already near the top search results for the “fortran” keyword. Soon it will be #1. There may be somebody entering fortran.org into the address bar hoping it would give them something about Fortran, but I assume they’re in minority by far.
But of course everybody is free to donate their money how they want, and if people want to do anything Fortran with fortran.org domain, they have my support.
This is technically easy to do and I wouldn’t oppose it. But I don’t think it’s a productive use of funds (consider donating to gcc/gfortran or LFortran instead). If the new domain would just redirect to fortran-lang, search engines would mark it as duplicate so it wouldn’t help the SEO. But it would help the rare occasional person who types that into the address bar. Is it worth it $5000? I bet not.
And another alternative is for fortran.org to be a yet another Org as some suggested. If there’s an obvious hole to be filled, I think that would be beneficial. But remember that registering a domain name is easy, building an Org is hard. 100+ people already put a lot of sweat in fortran-lang.org, so please consider helping out there, across several diverse and interesting projects.
Milan’s arguments are convincing, in my opinion. I don’t know how they decide their prices. OK, I understand that it’s a free market. But sure it’s a crazy one: an apple is 10$, an orange 500$ and a banana 5000$… It does not make sense for me…
Let’s keep our tasty apple! It’s true that the important thing to have a good pagerank is the quality of the content, and the community now has both and deserves it. Let’s keep up the good work and give up the banana.
I 100% agree with @milancurcic. Btw, many languages use the same style for their domains, both the
*-lang.org style (more prevalent):
as well as the
See also Milan’s comment on exactly this issue.
So I would stick with what we have, and rather concentrate on the content.
On topic, the Rust Foundation was announced today: