Significant whitespace

Roy Smith roy at
Sat Jan 2 04:56:16 CET 2010

In article 
<3db95947-1e35-4bd1-bd4c-37df646f9ed5 at>,
 John Machin <sjmachin at> wrote:

> On Jan 2, 10:29 am, Roy Smith <r... at> wrote:
> >
> > To address your question more directly, here's a couple of ways Fortran
> > treated whitespace which would surprise the current crop of
> > Java/PHP/Python/Ruby programmers:
> >
> > 1) Line numbers (i.e. the things you could GOTO to) were in column 2-7
> > (column 1 was reserved for a comment indicator).  This is not quite
> > significant whitespace, it's more like significant indentation.
> That would also surprise former FORTRAN programmers (who rarely
> referred to the language as "Fortran"). A comment was signified by a C
> in col 1. Otherwise cols 1-5 were used for statement labels (the
> things you could GOTO), col 6 for a statement continuation indicator,
> cols 7-72 for statement text, and cols 73-80 for card sequence numbers.

My apologies, you are correct.  The long disused neural pathways have 
started to degrade.  Trust me, I really did write FORTRAN.  On punch cards 

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