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This program crashes before it even runs!
This program crashes before it even runs! (When single-stepping with a debugger, it dies before the first statement in main.) You probably have one or more very large (kilobyte or more) local arrays. Many systems have fixed-size stacks, and even those which perform dynamic stack allocation automatic...
2015-05-29, 1065👍, 0💬

How can I access an I O board directly?
How can I access an I O board directly? At one level, at least, it's quite simple: you have a device register which is actually wired up so that the bits written to it get coverted to actual voltage levels in the real world that you can do interesting things with. In general, there are two ways to g...
2015-04-20, 1065👍, 0💬

My programs prompts and intermediate output dont always show up on the screen ...
My program's prompts and intermediate output don't always show up on the screen, especially when I pipe the output through another program. It's best to use an explicit fflush(stdout) whenever output should definitely be visible (and especially if the text does not end with \n). Several mechanisms a...
2015-11-11, 1064👍, 0💬

How can I check whether a file exists? I want to warn the user if a requested input file is missing.
How can I check whether a file exists? I want to warn the user if a requested input file is missing. It's surprisingly difficult to make this determination reliably and portably. Any test you make can be invalidated if the file is created or deleted (i.e. by some other process) between the time you ...
2015-04-15, 1064👍, 0💬

How can I write a macro which takes a variable number of arguments ....
How can I write a macro which takes a variable number of arguments, or use the preprocessor to ``turn off'' a function call with a variable number of arguments? One popular trick is to define and invoke the macro with a single, parenthesized ``argument'' which in the macro expansion becomes the enti...
2016-01-19, 1063👍, 0💬

I have a simple little program that reads characters until EOF ...
I have a simple little program that reads characters until EOF, but how do I actually enter that ``EOF'' value from the keyboard? I see that EOF is defined by to be -1; am I supposed to enter -1? If you think about it, what you enter can't be -1, because ``-1'' is two characters, and getchar is read...
2015-11-16, 1063👍, 0💬

I am having trouble with a Turbo C program which crashes
I'm having trouble with a Turbo C program which crashes and says something like ``floating point formats not linked.'' Some compilers for small machines, including Turbo C (and Ritchie's original PDP-11 compiler), leave out certain floating point support if it looks like it will not be needed. In pa...
2015-06-19, 1063👍, 0💬

Why does this code crash?
Why does this code: char *p = "hello, world!"; p[0] = 'H'; crash? String constants are in fact constant. The compiler may place them in nonwritable storage, and it is therefore not safe to modify them. When you need writable strings, you must allocate writable memory for them, either by declaring an...
2015-05-27, 1062👍, 0💬

What does pragma once mean? I found it in some header files.
What does pragma once mean? I found it in some header files. It is an extension implemented by some preprocessors to help make header files idempotent; that is, to make sure that their contents are processed exactly once even if they are #included multiple times.Some people claim that #pragma once c...
2015-12-11, 1061👍, 0💬

What printf format should I use for a typedef like size_t when I don't know whether it is long or some other type?
What printf format should I use for a typedef like size_t when I don't know whether it is long or some other type? Use a cast to convert the value to a known, conservatively-sized type, then use the printf format matching that type. For example, to print the size of a type, you might use printf("%lu...
2015-11-04, 1061👍, 0💬

How can I do graphics?
How can I do graphics? Once upon a time, Unix had a fairly nice little set of device-independent plot functions described in plot(3) and plot(5). The GNU libplot library, written by Robert Maier, maintains the same spirit and supports many modern plot devices; see http://www.gnu.org/software/pl otuti...
2015-04-17, 1061👍, 0💬

How can I write a function that takes a format string and a variable number of arguments
How can I write a function that takes a format string and a variable number of arguments, like printf, and passes them to printf to do most of the work? Use vprintf, vfprintf, or vsprintf. These routines are like their counterparts printf, fprintf, and sprintf, except that instead of a variable-leng...
2015-06-12, 1059👍, 0💬

What if a built-in logical or relational operator `returns something other than 1? ....
Isn't #defining TRUE to be 1 dangerous, since any nonzero value is considered ``true'' in C? What if a built-in logical or relational operator ``returns'' something other than 1? It is true (sic) that any nonzero value is considered true in C, but this applies only ``on input'', i.e. where a Boolean...
2016-02-29, 1058👍, 0💬

How can I find the modification date and time of a file?
How can I find the modification date and time of a file? The Unix and POSIX function is stat, which several other systems supply as well.
2015-04-13, 1058👍, 0💬

I had a frustrating problem which turned out to be caused by the line ....
I had a frustrating problem which turned out to be caused by the line printf("%d", n); where n was actually a long int. I thought that ANSI function prototypes were supposed to guard against argument type mismatches like this. A:When a function accepts a variable number of arguments, its prototype d...
2016-01-11, 1055👍, 0💬

I had a frustrating problem which turned out to be caused by the line
I had a frustrating problem which turned out to be caused by the line printf("%d", n); where n was actually a long int. I thought that ANSI function prototypes were supposed to guard against argument type mismatches like this. When a function accepts a variable number of arguments, its prototype doe...
2015-06-15, 1055👍, 0💬

I thought that using large model meant that I could use more than 64K of data!
What does the error message ``DGROUP data allocation exceeds 64K'' mean, and what can I do about it? I thought that using large model meant that I could use more than 64K of data! Even in large memory models, MS-DOS compilers apparently toss certain data (strings, some initialized global or static v...
2015-03-20, 1054👍, 0💬

What is the ANSI C Standard?
What is the ANSI C Standard? In 1983, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) commissioned a committee, X3J11, to standardize the C language. After a long, arduous process, including several widespread public reviews, the committee's work was finally ratified as ANS X3.159-1989 on December ...
2016-01-15, 1053👍, 0💬

Why do all the lines end up containing copies of the last line?
I'm using fgets to read lines from a file into an array of pointers. Why do all the lines end up containing copies of the last line? You have only allocated memory for one line, linebuf. Each time you call fgets, the previous line is overwritten. fgets doesn't do any memory allocation: unless it rea...
2015-11-13, 1053👍, 0💬

Why does everyone say not to use scanf? What should I use instead?
Why does everyone say not to use scanf? What should I use instead? scanf has a number of problems, its %s format has the same problem that gets() has --it's hard to guarantee that the receiving buffer won't overflow. More generally, scanf is designed for relatively structured, formatted input (its n...
2015-10-21, 1053👍, 0💬

Why is my simple program, which hardly does more than print
Why is my simple program, which hardly does more than print ``Hello, world!'' in a window, compiling to such a huge executable (several hundred K)? Should I #include fewer header files? What you're seeing is the current (poor) state of the ``art'' in library design. As run-time libraries accrete mor...
2015-07-06, 1053👍, 0💬

How can I find out the size of a file, prior to reading it in?
How can I find out the size of a file, prior to reading it in? If the ``size of a file'' is the number of characters you'll be able to read from it in C (or which were written to it by a previous program), it can be difficult or impossible to determine this number exactly (other than by reading the ...
2015-04-15, 1053👍, 0💬

People keep saying that the behavior of ...
People keep saying that the behavior of i = i++ is undefined, but I just tried it on an ANSI-conforming compiler, and got the results I expected. A compiler may do anything it likes when faced with undefined behavior (and, within limits, with implementation-defined and unspecified behavior), includi...
2015-11-18, 1052👍, 0💬

How can I get random integers in a certain range?
How can I get random integers in a certain range? The obvious way, rand() % N /* POOR */ (which tries to return numbers from 0 to N-1) is poor, because the low-order bits of many random number generators are distressingly non-random. A better method is something like (int)((double)rand() / ((double)...
2015-07-29, 1052👍, 0💬

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