Download The C Programing Language  Second Edition By Brian W. Kernighan Dennis M. Ritchie



The computing world has undergone a revolution since the publication of The C Programming Language in 1978. Big computers are much bigger, and personal computers have capabilities that rival mainframes of a decade ago. During this time, C has changed too, although only modestly, and it has spread far beyond its origins as the language of the UNIX operating system.

The growing popularity of C, the changes in the language over the years, and the creation of compilers by groups not involved in its design, combined to demonstrate a need for a more precise and more contemporary definition of the language than the first edition of this book provided. In 1983, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) established a committee whose goal was to produce “an unambiguous and machine-independent definition of the language C”, while still retaining its spirit. The result is the ANSI standard for C.

The standard formalizes constructions that were hinted but not described in the first edition, particularly structure assignment and enumerations. It provides a new form of function declaration that permits cross-checking of definition with use. It specifies a standard library, with an extensive set of functions for performing input and output, memory management, string manipulation, and similar tasks. It makes precise the behavior of features that were not spelled out in the original definition, and at the same time states explicitly which aspects of the language remain machine-


This Second Edition of The C Programming Language describes C as defined by the ANSI standard. Although we have noted the places where the language has evolved, we have chosen to write exclusively in the new form. For the most part, this makes no significant difference; the most visible change is the new form of function declaration and definition. Modern compilers already support most features of the standard.

We have tried to retain the brevity of the first edition. C is not a big language, and it is not well served by a big book. We have improved the exposition of critical features, such as pointers, that are central to C programming. We have refined the original examples, and have added new examples in several chapters. For instance, the treatment of complicated declarations is augmented by programs that convert declarations into words and vice versa. As before, all examples have been tested directly from the text, which is in machine-readable form.

Appendix A, the reference manual, is not the standard, but our attempt to convey the essentials of the standard in a smaller space. It is meant for easy comprehension by programmers, but not as a definition for compiler writers — that role properly belongs to the standard itself. Appendix B is a summary of the facilities of the standard library. It too is meant for reference by programmers, not implementers. Appendix C is a concise summary of the changes from the original version.

As we said in the preface to the first edition, C “wears well as one’s experience with it grows”. With a decade more experience, we still feel that way. We hope that this book will help you learn C and use it well.

We are deeply indebted to friends who helped us to produce this second edition. Jon Bently, Doug Gwyn, Doug McIlroy, Peter Nelson, and Rob Pike gave us perceptive comments on almost every page of draft manuscripts. We are grateful for careful reading by Al Aho, Dennis Allison, Joe Campbell, G.R. Emlin, Karen Fortgang, Allen Holub, Andrew Hume, Dave Kristol, John Linderman, Dave Prosser, Gene Spafford, and Chris van Wyk. We also received helpful suggestions from Bill Cheswick, Mark Kernighan, Andy Koenig, Robin Lake, Tom London, Jim Reeds, Clovis Tondo, and Peter Weinberger. Dave Prosser answered many detailed questions about the ANSI standard. We used Bjarne Stroustrup’s C++ translator extensively for local testing of our programs, and Dave Kristol provided us with an ANSI C compiler for final testing. Rich Drechsler helped greatly with typesetting.

As we said in the prelude to the principal version, C “wears well as one’s involvement with it develops”. With 10 years more experience, regardless we feel that way. We trust that this book will enable you to learn C and utilize it well.


We are profoundly obligated to companions who helped us to create this second version. Jon Bently, Doug Gwyn, Doug McIlroy, Peter Nelson, and Rob Pike gave us discerning remarks on practically every page of draft original copies. We are appreciative for watchful perusing by Al Aho, Dennis Allison, Joe Campbell, G.R. Emlin, Karen Fortgang, Allen Holub, Andrew Hume, Dave Kristol, John Linderman, Dave Prosser, Gene Spafford, and Chris van Wyk. We additionally got accommodating proposals from Bill Cheswick, Mark Kernighan, Andy Koenig, Robin Lake, Tom London, Jim Reeds, Clovis Tondo, and Peter Weinberger. Dave Prosser addressed many point by point inquiries concerning the ANSI standard. We utilized Bjarne Stroustrup’s C++ interpreter broadly for nearby testing of our projects, and Dave Kristol furnished us with an ANSI C compiler for definite testing. Rich Drechsler helped extraordinarily with typesetting.


Chapter 1 – A Tutorial Introduction

1.1 Getting Started

1.2 Variables and Arithmetic Expressions

1.3 The for statement

1.4 Symbolic Constants

1.5 Character Input and Output

1.5.1 File Copying

1.5.2 Character Counting

1.5.3 Line Counting

1.5.4 Word Counting

1.6 Arrays

1.7 Functions

1.8 Arguments – Call by Value

1.9 Character Arrays

1.10 External Variables and Scope

Chapter 2 – Types, Operators and Expressions

2.1 Variable Names

2.2 Data Types and Sizes

2.3 Constants

2.4 Declarations

2.5 Arithmetic Operators

2.6 Relational and Logical Operators

2.7 Type Conversions

2.8 Increment and Decrement Operators

2.9 Bitwise Operators

2.10 Assignment Operators and Expressions

2.11 Conditional Expressions

2.12 Precedence and Order of Evaluation

Chapter 3 – Control Flow

3.1 Statements and Blocks

3.2 If-Else

3.3 Else-If

3.4 Switch

3.5 Loops – While and For

3.6 Loops – Do-While

3.7 Break and Continue

3.8 Goto and labels

Chapter 4 – Functions and Program Structure

4.1 Basics of Functions

4.2 Functions Returning Non-integers

4.3 External Variables

4.4 Scope Rules

4.5 Header Files

4.6 Static Variables

4.7 Register Variables

4.8 Block Structure

4.9 Initialization

4.10 Recursion

4.11 The C Preprocessor

4.11.1 File Inclusion

4.11.2 Macro Substitution

4.11.3 Conditional Inclusion

Chapter 5 – Pointers and Arrays

5.1 Pointers and Addresses

5.2 Pointers and Function Arguments

5.3 Pointers and Arrays

5.4 Address Arithmetic

5.5 Character Pointers and Functions

5.6 Pointer Arrays; Pointers to Pointers

5.7 Multi-dimensional Arrays

5.8 Initialization of Pointer Arrays

5.9 Pointers vs. Multi-dimensional Arrays

5.10 Command-line Arguments

5.11 Pointers to Functions

5.12 Complicated Declarations

Chapter 6 – Structures

6.1 Basics of Structures

6.2 Structures and Functions

6.3 Arrays of Structures

6.4 Pointers to Structures

6.5 Self-referential Structures

6.6 Table Lookup

6.7 Typedef

6.8 Unions

6.9 Bit-fields

Chapter 7 – Input and Output

7.1 Standard Input and Output

7.2 Formatted Output – printf

7.3 Variable-length Argument Lists

7.4 Formatted Input – Scanf

7.5 File Access

7.6 Error Handling – Stderr and Exit

7.7 Line Input and Output

7.8 Miscellaneous Functions

7.8.1 String Operations

7.8.2 Character Class Testing and Conversion

7.8.3 Ungetc

7.8.4 Command Execution

7.8.5 Storage Management

7.8.6 Mathematical Functions

7.8.7 Random Number generation

Chapter 8 – The UNIX System Interface

8.1 File Descriptors

8.2 Low Level I/O – Read and Write

8.3 Open, Creat, Close, Unlink

8.4 Random Access – Lseek

8.5 Example – An implementation of Fopen and Getc

8.6 Example – Listing Directories

8.7 Example – A Storage Allocator

Appendix A – Reference Manual

A.1 Introduction

A.2 Lexical Conventions

A.2.1 Tokens

A.2.2 Comments

A.2.3 Identifiers

A.2.4 Keywords

A.2.5 Constants

A.2.6 String Literals

A.3 Syntax Notation

A.4 Meaning of Identifiers

A.4.1 Storage Class

A.4.2 Basic Types

A.4.3 Derived types

A.4.4 Type Qualifiers

A.5 Objects and Lvalues

A.6 Conversions

A.6.1 Integral Promotion

A.6.2 Integral Conversions

A.6.3 Integer and Floating

A.6.4 Floating Types

A.6.5 Arithmetic Conversions

A.6.6 Pointers and Integers

A.6.7 Void

A.6.8 Pointers to Void

A.7 Expressions

A.7.1 Pointer Conversion

A.7.2 Primary Expressions

A.7.3 Postfix Expressions

A.7.4 Unary Operators

A.7.5 Casts

A.7.6 Multiplicative Operators

A.7.7 Additive Operators

A.7.8 Shift Operators

A.7.9 Relational Operators

A.7.10 Equality Operators

A.7.11 Bitwise AND Operator

A.7.12 Bitwise Exclusive OR Operator

A.7.13 Bitwise Inclusive OR Operator

A.7.14 Logical AND Operator

A.7.15 Logical OR Operator

A.7.16 Conditional Operator

A.7.17 Assignment Expressions

A.7.18 Comma Operator

A.7.19 Constant Expressions

A.8 Declarations

A.8.1 Storage Class Specifiers

A.8.2 Type Specifiers

A.8.3 Structure and Union Declarations

A.8.4 Enumerations

A.8.5 Declarators

A.8.6 Meaning of Declarators

A.8.7 Initialization

A.8.8 Type names

A.8.9 Typedef

A.8.10 Type Equivalence

A.9 Statements

A.9.1 Labeled Statements

A.9.2 Expression Statement

A.9.3 Compound Statement

A.9.4 Selection Statements

A.9.5 Iteration Statements

A.9.6 Jump statements

A.10 External Declarations

A.10.1 Function Definitions

A.10.2 External Declarations

A.11 Scope and Linkage

A.11.1 Lexical Scope

A.11.2 Linkage

A.12 Preprocessing

A.12.1 Trigraph Sequences

A.12.2 Line Splicing

A.12.3 Macro Definition and Expansion

A.12.4 File Inclusion

A.12.5 Conditional Compilation

A.12.6 Line Control

A.12.7 Error Generation

A.12.8 Pragmas

A.12.9 Null directive

A.12.10 Predefined names

A.13 Grammar

Appendix B – Standard Library

B.1 Input and Output: <stdio.h>

B.1.1 File Operations

B.1.2 Formatted Output

B.1.3 Formatted Input

B.1.4 Character Input and Output Functions

B.1.5 Direct Input and Output Functions

B.1.6 File Positioning Functions

B.1.7 Error Functions

B.2 Character Class Tests: <ctype.h>

B.3 String Functions: <string.h>

B.4 Mathematical Functions: <math.h>

B.5 Utility Functions: <stdlib.h>

B.6 Diagnostics: <assert.h>

B.7 Variable Argument Lists: <stdarg.h>

B.8 Non-local Jumps: <setjmp.h>

B.9 Signals: <signal.h>

B.10 Date and Time Functions: <time.h>

B.11 Implementation-defined Limits: <limits.h> and <float.h>

Appendix C – Summary of Changes

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