Need to learn C, best books?

Aaron Crane perl at
Fri Oct 26 13:59:56 BST 2007

Nic Gibson writes:
> On 10/26/07, Dirk Koopman <djk at> wrote:
> > K&R formatting good, anything else bad (and literally a waste of
> > space).
> But then I waste space because space is cheap.

I'm not so sure it is, in this context.  It seems pretty clear to me
that the more code you can see on screen at once, the easier it is to
understand.  With that in mind, note that (unlike, say, CPU transistor
counts) screen lines are a non-renewable resource.

The limiting factor in how many lines can be displayed simultaneously
is actually the way human vision works.  Increasing pixel counts
doesn't help beyond a certain point: if the screen gets bigger, you
have to put it further away to ensure you can see all of it, and if
the pixels get smaller, you have to use more of them for each line of
text you want to be legible.  (Subpixel text decimation counts as a
cunning variant of "smaller pixels" for these purposes.)

K&R differs from other brace styles in not spending precious screen
lines on opening curlies whose presence a human can infer from the
shape of the code.  That's a strong argument to make when choosing an
indentation style for a fresh project.

Aaron Crane

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