The first chain of abbreviations is the committee responsible for maintaining and updating the C language definition; the second, N843, designates the Final Committee Draft of what will one day be the next C standard. As usual, there are versions in gzipped PostScript and Adobe Acrobat format.
Gábor Egressy is hosting a hyperlinked version of N794, a slightly earlier draft.
Rather than delay the Standard to add full internationalization features, ANSI agreed to add minimal features immediately, with ISO designing a proper extension at a later date. This work - 4 years in the doing - has culminated in Normative Addendum 1.
Four years after the adoption of the ANSI C standard as an International Standard in 1990, answers to the first batch of defect reports have been formally accepted: the C standard has changed.
David R. Tribble has tracked down all the subtle differences between ISO C and ISO C++, as well as the features that once differed but have been aligned, and lists them with references to the two defining documents.
ISO C Technical Corrigendum 2 (TC2) has been approved. Even leaner than its predecessor TC1, it consists only of small changes in response to Defect Reports, and will be of interest mostly to compiler and test suite vendors.
``Aside: Why "Q8"? That was used as a system external symbol prefix in old CDC Fortran implementations, to avoid link-time name-space collisions with user-defined symbols, on the assumption that no user would ever think of using such a name.''
First the official X3J11.1 (NCEG subgroup) server, then the official ANSI X3J11 server, David M. Keaton's FTP site has now become the official ISO SC22 WG14 archive; it holds electronic copies of all current proposals for C9X, the next revision of the ISO C standard. Lately, Dave has been venturing out onto the WorldWide Web and has marked up two proposals he wrote with David Prosser: Designated Initializers and Compound Literals.
P.J. Plauger, author of many books on C and software engineering and until recently convener of the ISO/IEC workgroup in charge of C as an international standard, is licensing HTML versions of some of his books, among them the Standard C library reference.
``This Rationale summarizes the deliberations of X3J11, the Technical Committee charged by ANSI with devising a standard for the C programming language.''
``Noalias must go. This is nonnegotiable.
It must not be reworded, reformulated or reinvented.''
``The X3J11 committee attempted to solve the aliasing problem in C by introducing a new type qualifier noalias. That effort failed because of technical problems with the proposed semantics of noalias. This restricted pointer proposal is different in many ways.''
``If you want to write a portable C program, you have to be careful not to give your own definitions to any of the identifiers that are reserved by the C standard. The standard tells you which identifiers are reserved, but scatters the information through a rather thick (and expensive) book.''
``[The] book is commenting on a very carefully designed document, and one that has to be read precisely. If the annotator cannot get things right, then the book is not just useless, but is a positive danger [...].''
``Some or all of these problems may have been corrected in the third and later printings of the book.'' (The current edition is the fourth.)
``Fortunately, the changes are minor; some repair our bugs, a few account for lastminute changes in the draft standard.''
Nonoverlapping errata for the first printing, the first year, the sixth printing, and from the ninth printing on up.
Errata for the first and second printing.
``By 1995, the second edition of Numerical Recipes in C has almost completely replaced the first edition, making it hard to judge whether the praise it has accumulated stems from different criteria of judgement or from improvements to the text.''
Among others: The Development of the C Language, a PostScript version of the 6th edition C Reference Manual, Ken Thompson's Users' Reference to B, CSTR #8: The Programming Language B, by S.C. Johnson and Kernighan, and even Martin Richards's BCPL Reference Manual from 1967.
``A cell stores a single value which can be treated as any of an integer [...], a bit pattern, an address, a procedure designator, a floating point number, a selector, a jump target, a jump closure, or a stream designator.''
``BCPL was in use in Cambridge for years. Much of the software for the Phoenix system (...) was written in BCPL (most of the rest was in assembler, although Algol68 was used for a mailer and the infamous job scheduler -- I think there must be something in the water in Cambridge).''
``B didn't believe in typechecking, period. There was only one type, the machine word, and the programmer was responsible for applying to a variable only such operators as made sense.''
``C is a computer language available on the GCOS and UNIX operating systems at Murray Hill and (in preliminary form) on OS/360 at Holmdel.''
``In retrospect it would have been better to go ahead and change the precedence of
&to higher than
==, but it seemed safer just to split
&past an existing operator. (After all, we had several hundred kilobytes of source code, and maybe 3 installations....)''
``Obfuscate: tr.v. -cated, cating, -cates. 1. a. To render obscure. b. To darken. 2. To confuse: his emotions obfuscated his judgment. [LLat. obfuscare, to darken : ob(intensive) + Lat. fuscare, to darken < fuscus, dark.] -obfuscation n. obfuscatory adj''
``If you have a copy of K&R2 and would like a thorough treatment of the language, read K&R and the `Notes to Accompany K&R' side by side. If you're just getting your feet wet and would like a somewhat simpler introduction, read the `Class Notes.' ''
``Like so many web pages, this is very much a ``work in progress.'' I would, of course, like it if it were perfect, but it's been two years or so since I first started talking about putting this thing on the web, and if I were to wait until all the glitches were worked out, you might never see it.''
``Certain topics never (well, hardly ever) come up on this newsgroup. They are stupid questions, to which the answers are immediately obvious, but they would be more fun to talk about than these arcane details of loop control.''
``I eschew embedded capital letters in names; to my proseoriented eyes, they are too awkward to read comfortably. They jangle like bad typography.''
``Many people (even bwk?) have said that the worst feature of C is that switches don't break automatically before each case label. This code forms some sort of argument in that debate, but I'm not sure whether it's for or against.''
``It is suitable only for small, selfcontained programs that have only trivial interactions with their environment and that make no use of any software written by anyone else.''
``While thou might think that thine own ideas of brace style lead to clearer programs, thy successors will not thank thee for it, but rather shall revile thy works and curse thy name, and word of this might get to thy next employer.''
``The language accepted by the compilers is the core ANSI C language with some modest extensions, a greatly simplified preprocessor, a smaller library that includes system calls and related facilities, and a completely different structure for include files.''
``Alef is a concurrent programming language designed for systems programming. (...) Programs can be written using both shared variable and message passing paradigms. Expressions use the same syntax as C, but the type system is substantially different.''
``Limbo borrows from, among other things, C (expression syntax and control flow), Pascal (declarations), Winterbottom's Alef (abstract data types and channels), and Hoare's CSP and Pike's Newsqueak (processes). Limbo is strongly typed, provides automatic garbage collection, supports only very restricted pointers, and compiles into machine-independent byte code for execution on a virtual machine.''
A collection of pointers to other texts about C, related languages, and programming languages in general on the Internet.