Thread: Question about a C book

  1. #1
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    Jan 2009

    Question about a C book

    Is The C Programming Language by Brian W. Kernighan and Dennis M. Ritchie too old for any use? I mean I have the first edition and it says that you do cc to compile stuff and that's like completely outdated. Also, it doesn't even mention the include stuff. Should I buy the new edition if I can get pretty cheap?

  2. #2
    In my head happyclown's Avatar
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    Dec 2008
    In my head
    I've tried to use it, and now I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole.

    1. Terse, very terse. Not good for newbies.
    2. The C standard is out of date.
    3. Assumes prior programming experience.

    Horrid! Horrid I tells ya!
    OS: Linux Mint 13(Maya) LTS 64 bit.

  3. #3
    Embedded in C...
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    Sep 2008
    Basingstoke, Hampshire
    I partiallly disagree. Agreed that it can be difficult to get into for a newcomer (which I am ), but once you have a grasp of the language basics, the concise style is great compared with some more 'bloated' books.

    AFAIK the second edition is the C89(?) standard, which is pretty current.

    Sellers on the web selling for ~10, so give it a go.


  4. #4
    Woof, woof! zacs7's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    More than often cc is just an alias for the C compiler. Usually gcc for example:
    [zac@neux ~]$ cc -v
    Using built-in specs.
    Target: x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu
    Configured with: ../configure --prefix=/usr --enable-shared --enable-languages=c,c++,fortran,objc,obj-c++,treelang --enable-threads=posix --mandir=/usr/share/man --enable-__cxa_atexit --disable-multilib --libdir=/usr/lib --libexecdir=/usr/lib --enable-clocale=gnu --disable-libstdcxx-pch --with-tune=generic
    Thread model: posix
    gcc version 4.3.1 (GCC)

  5. #5
    and the hat of int overfl Salem's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
    The edge of the known universe
    The really old ones are collectors items.

    For regular work, get the one with the "ANSI-C" rubber stamp logo. But this is for C89 only. The C99 standard is (gosh) a decade old now, but AFAIK, there's no C99 version of K&R.

    As for being "good", that's harder to say. If you're new to programming, and C is your first language, it will be hard work. But as a desk reference for professional programmers, it's pretty much "standard issue".
    If you dance barefoot on the broken glass of undefined behaviour, you've got to expect the occasional cut.
    If at first you don't succeed, try writing your phone number on the exam paper.

  6. #6
    Registered User redruby147's Avatar
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    Sep 2008
    Its a good book to have and as others have said, you would probably find it useful later on as it is extremely concise and fast paced. However i think the main issue for newcomers is precisely this. This is definitely not a book that will hold your hand along the way .

  7. #7
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    Sep 2006
    Not a great beginner's book, *however*:

    The second edition is pretty current, I've had no problems with that.

    Other books try to teach you C. This book teaches you C, by showing you C, in the spirit of C: concise, fast, and no fat.

    It showed the true spirit of C, in a way that other books did not, imo.

  8. #8
    ... kermit's Avatar
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    Jan 2003
    Quote Originally Posted by Salem View Post
    The C99 standard is (gosh) a decade old now, but AFAIK, there's no C99 version of K&R.
    And IIRC, there won't be one forthcoming from BWK & DMR either. I believe neither of them liked the direction the C99 standard was going in, and so distanced themselves from the work on the 'new' standard.

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