Dennis Ritchie

Don Quixote de la Mancha quixote at
Thu Oct 13 19:02:06 UTC 2011

I'm pretty sure I still have mywafer-thin first-edition "The C
Programming Language" by Kernighan and Ritchey that I bought from the
Caltech bookstore in the Spring of 1983, for use in Computational

I had some trouble at first with C's lack of a Boolean type.  The
result is that I still have Line 7 of Page 41 memorized verbatim - as
well as the advice's precise page and line numbers:

   "True just means non-zero."

I'm pretty sure the much weightier second edition, which covered ANSI
C, contains the exact same statement.

Kids These Days.  You simply have not lived until you have written
"K&R C" - as opposed to "ANSI C".  That is C without prototypes;
you're lucky if you get a forward reference.

The following is perfectly legal K&R C:

#include <stdio.h>

int argc;
char **argv;
   printf( "Hello, World!\n" );

   return 0;

There was a period of a couple years of my early career where a
significant portion of my work was going through huge codebases to add
ANSI C prototypes and to declare ints explicitly rather than having
them just assumed where such assumptions were legal.

Dennis Ritchey may be a diety but he is not quite a God.  God Almighty
would have had function prototypes from the very start.

Ever Faithful,

Don Quixote

Don Quixote de la Mancha
Dulcinea Technologies Corporation
Software of Elegance and Beauty
quixote at

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