Q: How good is FORTRAN on Linux?

I've become very interested in Linux Alpha machines with 512 MB RAM as fast number-crunchers for my scientific computing. What kind of FORTRAN compiler exists for the Alpha chip on Linux? Something optimized for Alpha or just a converter to C, or...?

A: The same free FORTRAN compiler runs on Linux Alpha systems as on x86 systems: GNU g77. g77 is a true compiler (not a FORTRAN-to-C translator like f2c/f77), but it uses the same compiler backend as gcc. It is not well optimized for the Alpha.

One estimate based on SPEC benchmarks is that 300MHz Pentium II systems are at least as fast (if not faster) than the 500MHz Alpha for both integer and floating-point computation using the freely available compilers under Linux.

Update: More recent GCC/EGCS compilers perform better than f2c, under informal benchmarks. Note there are a number of FORTRAN compilers for Linux.

See: http://www.nikhef.nl/~templon/fortran.html