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All - I recently obtained some old exe files supposedly written in FORTRAN.  I'd like to see the programming code and find out what's going on with the program.  

There are parts of the programming that I understand how it does what it does and there are parts I don't understand that have more to do with interfacing with other programs.  The latter is what I'm most interested in finding out how it works.

Are you aware of any method to "unlock" the exe so that I can see the code?


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There is no ",A" trick like in some BASICs, so far as I'm aware.

Google produces hits on "Fortran decompiler", but I'm not aware that there actually is such a thing; the hits are mostly for sites that offer decompilers for other languages, and compilers for Fortran.

I have used several disassemblers that can take apart an .exe file and generate possible source in assembler.  I say 'possible' because no single disassembler of mine has ever produced perfectly sensible source without interaction.

You could use disassemblers to disassemble Fortran programs to which you do have source, to give you a feel for what the typical generated binaries look like.  

That exercise may or may not do you any good.  Since Fortran is not real strong on I/O, there's a fair chance that the code you're interested in was generated in some language other than Fortran, and put in the .exe by a linker.


Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA


A .exe cannot be "unlocked" in the sense that something intelligible once a password is presented.  The information in a .exe is generally atomic level instructions for either the processor directly, or for an interpreter.

In either case, unless you are intimately familiar with how Fortran instructions compile into lower level code, you're SOL.  Near as I can tell, there are no readily available Fortran decompilers on the web.


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Thanks all, I appreciate the insight on this matter.

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It is quite interesting when you compile in one language and decompile to a different language.

On the legal side there is decompiling and reverse engineering.  Very often, when you are supplied with exes, dlls or libraries, there is a clause somewhere that says you agree not to decompile or reverse engineer the code.  I think this means I promise not to take it apart to see how it works for commercial gain but I don't know if you can do it just to satisfy your own curiosity even if you are not going to use it commercially.

Also, if the company that supplied the code has gone bust and nobody has taken over, the promise is to a company that no longer exists.  Not sure about copyright law - does anyone hold the copyright?  If nobody holds it, can you still be done for breach of copyright?

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