Matthias K. Gobbert

Introduction to C

Summer 2017


This page can be reached via my homepage at http://www.umbc.edu/~gobbert.

Purpose of this Document

This document provides information that tells you how to learn about the C programming language that underlies much of the Unix/Linux operating system, the MPI library, and many low(er)-level software packages.

Getting Started with C

C is one of the most commonly used general purpose programming languages. Here is some material for getting started with C. It is helpful to check the "Getting started with Unix/Linux" material first.

Below are a few nice basic videos that show how to get started with C in a Linux environment. You might want to view the videos in full screen to see the commands clearly.

Here are some written guides about C. They are more detailed:


More Advanced Information: K & R

C was developed in the 1970s by Brian W. Kernighan and Dennis M. Ritchie at AT&T Labs in New Jersey. They also wrote the original book on it, and it is in fact both readable and short. For example, to get to the "Hello, world!" program, you just have to read up to page 7. Due to the authors' and book's fame, it can be simply referred to as "K & R". The full reference of the book is below.

The second edition of this book was updated to document "ANSI-C", that is, the American National Standards Institute's version of C that the user community agreed upon as standard in the 1980s. Thus, the second edition documents ANSI-C. This leads to the slightly confusing termonology that refers to the C documented in the first edition of K & R as "K & R C".

Brian W. Kernighan and Dennis M. Ritchie The C Programming Language, second edition, Prentice-Hall, 1988.


Copyright © 1997-2017 by Matthias K. Gobbert. All Rights Reserved.
This page version 1.1, March 2017.