Standards Update, ANSI X3J11: C Programming Language

Doug Gwyn gwyn at
Thu Mar 15 09:48:08 AEST 1990

From: Doug Gwyn <gwyn at>

In article <557 at longway.TIC.COM> stephen at temvax.uucp (Stephen C. Arnold) writes:
>Where can I get a copy of this standard and how much does it cost?  If
>possible (and legal) could someone post the standard as a series of articles
>on the net.  
>[ Doubtless someone else will provide the detailed legalities,
>but as moderator I feel compelled to note that posting ANSI
>standards would not be legal unless approved by ANSI, so if
>anyone was thinking of scanning it in and mailing it to me,
>forget it:  I won't post it; I don't want to get sued by ANSI.
>-mod ]

Actually, one of the interesting things we heard at the NYC X3J11
meeting last week was that CBEMA lawyers looked into this issue and
discovered that X3 has no copyright interest in the standard, and
neither does ANSI (although probably ANSI's lawyers haven't yet
figured this out).  That's because these organizations failed to
obtain assignment of rights from the authors, and it also doesn't
qualify as a "work for hire".  So as near as I can tell, once you
get your hands on the document you may freely make copies of it.

As of last week, ANSI had not yet printed the official C standard,
although it's imminent.  There are xerographic copies in circulation,
however; practically all attendees of the NYC X3J11 meeting have them.
I'm not sure what channels you can use to obtain the ANSI standard,
although presumably asking ANSI would be the first step.  (I seem to
recall hearing that Global Engineering Documents is probably *not*
going to be distributing the real ANSI standard.)

I don't think machine-readable postings would be worthwhile; not only
is that a vast amount of information (230 typeset pages, not including
the Rationale document), but also the standard relies heavily on font
variations so you really need the troff input, which is hard to read.
Since you'd probably end up printing hardcopy anyway, you might as well
get that from ANSI to be sure that your page breaks etc. precisely
match the real standard.

If you have the December 1988 X3J11 draft proposed ANS, that is quite
close to the final ANSI standard, differing only in a few "editorial"
ways.  (Actually, a couple of the tweaks clarified the committee's
intent where the standard could legitimately have been read as having
an unintended meaning, as I recall both involving details of fscanf.)

Volume-Number: Volume 18, Number 72

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