An anonymous reader writes "A draft specification of the Fortress language was recently released. Developed by Sun Microsystems as part of a DARPA-funded supercomputing initiative, Fortress is intended to be a successor to Fortran. Guy Steele, a co-author of Java and member of the Fortress development team, hopes that Fortress will to 'do for Fortran what Java did for C.' Steele admits that Java isn't probably the best choice for numerical computing, and that 'it's a mistake to try to make a programming language that is all things to all people... because the needs are so diverse.' Fortress has a number of interesting features, including support for Unicode characters in code, enabling code to look more like formal mathematical expressions. More information about Fortress is given in interview with Steele, and in a talk by Steele. There's also some interesting commentary on Fortress, including some commentary by a member of the Fortress development team, in response to two stories at the programming languages weblog Lambda the Ultimate."