I've always had a weird semi-fascination with Fortran.
I don't even know what Fortran looks like, actually.
For years, I lumped it in with ancient languages like Cobol that are gone and not missed in the slightest. While there's always at least one weird guy living in a cave somewhere to prove you wrong, I don't think anybody misses Cobol.
Fortran, though, is apparently a different beast. It's not a general-purpose programming language, exactly. It's more like a thing that hardcore science and math dudes use to crunch numbers.
Apparently, Fortran has two interesting properties.
- Battle-Tested, Bulletproof Libraries. The kind of "bulletproof" you only get after a couple of decades of hardcore, NASA-launches-spaceships-with-this-shit, the-stock-market-runs-on-this-shit use.
- Disgustingly Parallel. Apparently it scales to about as many processors as you can throw at it, with no real extra work required. Hundreds, thousands. The kind of warehouse-filling computers that predict weather or whatever.
This episode of This Developer's Life features several segments, including one with a fresh-out-of-college kid found himself in a job learning Fortran. After laughing at it and attempting to convert their codebase to C#, he became a Fortran convert.