[TUHS] re: C reference manual

Dennis Ritchie dmr at plan9.bell-labs.com
Tue Oct 22 14:34:57 AEST 2002

The original question (from Ian KIng) was
 > I'm looking for a copy of the C reference manual from some time between
 > the 6th Edition (1975) and the first version that came with 4.3BSD
 > (1986). 

Some offered pointers to the 6th edition version (which is around
both at TUHS and also on my own home page.)

Norman observed that the standard V7 tapes omitted
the C manual from the documentation set, because
of the publication of K&R 1.  However, it turns out
that in our own paper-published version of the 7th
edition, the then-current spec (very nearly
what became Appendix A of K&R 1) was indeed
printed.  Probably some of these manuals were distributed
to people who got the tapes at that point.

The printed 7th edition also included a 1-page "Recent Pages
to C" addendum, describing the enum type, and
also confirming that structure assignment plus passing
and receiving structures to functions (promised for the
future in K&R 1) were available.  At some point there
may have been an updated version of this--I don't have
it--confirming that the compiler now, indeed, treated
same-named members of different structures as distinct and

I retyped this addendum, and it's now on my home page.

More lately, Aharon pointed out that SCO had offered
a (for-fee) fairly complete distribution of System III
under an Ancient Unix license, and was kind enough
to send it to me.  It includes (under the name c_man)
a version that looks to be just about the same as
the version with the internal 7th edition.
This also includes the "Recent Changes" as an addendum.
(Amusingly, the enum example switches a color in its
example: "winedark" to "puce".  I don't know who did this;
it could have been me!).

Another interesting complication I turned up in
investigating this is that Brian and I seem to have lost
the machine-readable source for the actual
Appendix A of K&R 1!  (The rest of the text is still

But to turn back to the original question: aside
from the "Recent Changes" page, and perhaps
some tweaking of the table of supported machines
and perhaps a few other fairly minor things,
there wasn't any significantly differing local C Reference
Manual between 7th ed / K&R 1, up to the ANSI
1989 standard.  However, I should try to retrieve
what went into 4.3BSD-- I don't have a complete
copy of it.


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