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C Primer Plus, Fourth Edition by Stephen Prata

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Whence C?

Dennis Ritchie of Bell Labs created C in 1972 as he and Ken Thompson worked on designing the UNIX operating system. C didn't spring full-grown from Ritchie's head, however. It came from Thompson's B language, which came from… but that's another story. The important point is that C was created as a tool for working programmers, so its chief goal is to be a useful language.

Most languages aim to be useful, but they often have other concerns. The main goal for Pascal, for instance, was to provide a sound basis for teaching good programming principles. BASIC, on the other hand, was developed to resemble English so that it could be learned easily by students unfamiliar with computers. These are important goals, but they are not always compatible ...

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