(j3.2006) Public Comment J32004

Michael Ingrassia michaeli
Tue Jul 8 20:17:33 EDT 2008

To: J3
From: Michael Ingrassia
Subject: Public Comment J32004
Date: 2008 July 08

Commenter's Subject was "F2008 too early"

This is a public comment on the f2008 CD. While I have perused the CD,
I have no detailed technical comments at the moment. My only comment
is the general one that it is simply too early to be processing the
next Fortran standard. I realize that the processing was already
somewhat delayed, but insufficiently so in my opinion.

To my knowledge, there are no f2003 compilers currently publicly
available. I certainly have access to none that implement even a
substantial portion of the f2003 standard. I do not think it
appropriate to be reviewing a CD for a proposed follow-on standard
until there have been multiple f2003 compilers available to the
general public for at least a year. A single compiler would provide
breadth, both in terms of implementation and user experience. With
less than a year of compilers being in user's hands, users have
insufficient basis for evaluating what weaknesses in f2003 might need

If the current process continues as scheduled, it appears plausible
that there might never be a standard-conforming f2003 compiler during
the time frame when the f2003 standard was a current standard. I would
interpret that as implying that the f2003 standard was a failure. If
so, then it behooves the committee to evaluate the reasons for the
failure in order to address them rather than just continuing down the
same failed path, adding more features when the existing ones haven't
yet been implemented.

Even if an f2003 compiler is released between now and the final
approval of f2008, I maintain that it would provide insufficient basis
for users to evaluate a proposed follow-on language, particularly when
that evaluation is required now. Suggesting that user comments can be
submitted on the FCD is not, in my opinion adequate response. The FCD
is too late in the process for significant decisions about feature
selection to be made. Such decisions are more appropriate during
preparation and review of the CD.

It seems to me that the possible interpretations of the current lack
of f2003 compilers fall into one of the following two major categories:

1. The f2003 standard is a failure. In that case the committee should
be studying and addressing the reasons for the failure instead of just
pressing on.

2. It is just too early to expect full implementations of something as
large as f2003. In that case, it is also too early to be proposing a
follow-on standard.

Both of those possibilities lead to a common conclusion that this is
not an appropriate time to be reviewing a CD for a follow-on standard.
I don't think a few months delate will change things either, given my
guideline of a year of availability of multiple compilers. I might
guess that about 2 years from now might be a more sensible time - for
a CD, not for final approval of the standard.


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