ANSI Committee’s Worst Abuse of C

Larry Jones
2000 Eastman Dr
Milford, OH 45150

Judges' comments:

The addition of trigraphs has made it easier to make programs hard to read. It was a dark and stormy night for C when the ANSI C committee added trigraphs to the standard. Too bad that they didn’t just simply require a more reasonable ISO character set.

The (non-ANSI) makefile uses sed to form scjones.alt.c. The scjones.alt.c is similar to the original scjones.c source, but with all the trigraphs converted. You might want to try:

    make -f scjones.alt.c

even if you only have an ANSI compiler, just to see how the trigrapsh are converted.

WARNING: In the future, we will be passing ANSI programs through a trigraph filter before reading. Trigraph-ifacation will not be a major consideration in future contests. People should exploit more interesting features of ANSI C.

Selected notes from the author:

Since this year’s contest is dedicated to ANSI C, here is a strictly conforming entry. In accordance with the ANSI definition of a strictly conforming program it does not produce output dependent on any unspecified, undefined, or implementation defined behavior, and it does not exceed any of the minimum implementation limits. It adheres to all of the syntactic and semantic constraints of the standard, #includes the relevant headers for the functions it uses, and uses the EXIT_SUCCESS and EXIT_FAILURE macros to return a correct success/fail status to the invoking program. It also uses trigraphs for characters which are not in the Invariant Code Set of ISO 646:1983, so it will be portable to machines with deficient (from C’s standpoint) character sets. In short, it should be very widely portable. As an extra added attraction, all of the lines are under 72 characters long, which would allow for sequence numbers to be punched in columns 73-80 :-).

[[ The Author sent us this note after he was informed that he won ]]

Although I am quite grateful for the “ANSI Committee’s Worst Abuse of C” title (were you aware that I am a member of the committee or is the double meaning unintentional?), I was really hoping for something more along the lines of “Closest Resemblance to Line Noise.” :-)

[[ … it was unintentional ]]

Copyright © 1990, Landon Curt Noll & Larry Bassel. All Rights Reserved. Permission for personal, educational or non-profit use is granted provided this this copyright and notice are included in its entirety and remains unaltered. All other uses must receive prior permission in writing from both Landon Curt Noll and Larry Bassel.