C for Python Programmers

C for Python programmers by Carl Burch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at www.toves.org/books/cpy/.


In the 1970’s at Bell Laboratories, Ken Thompson designed the C programming language to help with developing the UNIX operating system. Through a variety of historical events, few intentional, UNIX grew from a minor research diversion into a popular industrial-strength operating system. And along with UNIX’s success came C, since the operating system was designed so that C programs could access all of its features. As more programmers gained experience with C, they began to use it on other platforms, too, so that it became one of the primary languages for developing software by the end of the 1980’s.

While C does not enjoy the broad dominance it once did, its influence was so great that many other languages were designed to look like it, including C++, C#, Objective-C, Java, JavaScript, PHP, and Perl. Knowing C is in itself a good thing — it is an excellent starting point for relating more directly with what a computer does. But learning C is also a good starting point for becoming familiar with all these other languages.

This document is directed at people who have learned programming in Python and who wish to learn about C. C’s “influence on Python is considerable,” in the words of Python’s inventor, Guido van Rossum (“An Introduction to Python for UNIX/C Programmers,” 1993). So learning Python is a good first step toward learning C.

Source: C for Python Programmers