FLANG: Proposing An LLVM Fortran Compiler
Written by Michael Larabel in Compiler on 22 April 2013 at 12:34 PM EDT. 1 Comment
Unlike GCC, LLVM doesn't have any serious compiler support for the Fortran programming language. Having a Fortran front-end has been discussed before and developers have agreed it would be import and worthwhile, but not much has materialized in this space.

There's been multiple mailing list discussions in past months and years about having a Fortran language front-end to LLVM, similar to Clang being the C/Objective-C/C++ compiler front-end to LLVM. The closest Fortran support would be using DragonEgg as a GCC plug-in to take some advantage of LLVM.

While not touched in one year, there was a FLANG project on GitHub to provide Fortran language support within LLVM. That project never got off the ground and doesn't fully support any Fortran standard.

Being proposed now as another possible LLVM Google Summer of Code project is a new FLANG, a.k.a. Fortran LLVM compiler support. The GSoC 2013 proposal can be read on GitHub.

This proposal is rather ambitious with the Irish student developer wanting to implement Fortran support via a "Flang" front-end in the proces of just 12 weeks. This would build upon earlier "Flang" work and taking advantage of the C++ LLVM API.

While there's much interest around a Fortran front-end to LLVM, the consensus so far on the LLVM developer's mailing list is that FLANG would be far too ambitious as a summer project. We'll have to wait and see whether the project is approved and what level of success it can achieve as Fortran language support over the course of one summer.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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