Standards Update (2 of 4): C Language

Moderator, John S. Quarterman std-unix at longway.TIC.COM
Mon Jan 25 03:18:56 AEST 1988

                      Standards Update
        An update on UNIX and C Standards Activities

                      January 21, 1988

             Written for the USENIX Association
              by Shane P. McCarron, NAPS Inc.

   - C Language Standard

     In addition to the P1003 standards activities, the work
     of the X3J11 standards committee holds particular
     interest for people in the un*x community.  This is the
     group that is defining the ANSI X3.159 C Language
     Standard.  They have been working on this for quite a
     while now, and are very close to resolution.  They went
     into their first public review period last spring, and
     have just recently finished responding to all of the
     comments that were submitted at that time.

     Based on information I have about the December meeting
     of X3J11, here is what is happening in the future:

        - Around January 8th, 1988 the second public review
          draft will be completed.

        - Soon after that, the second (2 month) public
          review period will begin.  As with last time, the
          standard will be available to the public through
          Global Press in Washington, DC.

        - This public review will close in time for the
          comments to get out to the committee members
          before the April meeting.

        - At that meeting, the committee will break down
          into subgroups and review the comments.  There
          will be great resistance to making any substantive
          (non-editorial) changes to the standard.  If there
          are any substantive changes made, it will result
          in another public review period, which will delay
          the standard for at least one calendar year.

        - Assuming that there are no substantive changes to
          the standard after the next public review period,
          there should be a ratified standard before the end
          of 1988.

     If the C Language Standard can be completed before the
     end of the year, it could mean a lot for POSIX system
     implementors.  Since the .1 standard will not be really

C Language, January 21, 1988    Shane P. McCarron, NAPS Inc.

Standards Update           - 2 -          USENIX Association

     a standard until June, it is unlikely that vendors will
     be able to complete an implementation before the end of
     1988 in any event.  If they could release a system that
     supported both Standard C and POSIX, it would be a real
     shot in the arm for application developers.  A delay of
     another year on Standard C would mean that application
     developers must write code under POSIX that could very
     well be broken under an ANSI C Conforming compiler.

C Language, January 21, 1988    Shane P. McCarron, NAPS Inc.

Volume-Number: Volume 13, Number 3

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