1. Foreward

No point in wasting words here, folks, let's jump straight into the C code:


And they lived happily ever after. The End.

What's this? You say something's still not clear about this whole C programming language thing?

Well, to be quite honest, I'm not even sure what the above code does. It's a snippet from one of the entires in the 2001 International Obfuscated C Code Contest, a wonderful competition wherein the entrants attempt to write the most unreadable C code possible, with often surprising results.

The bad news is that if you're a beginner in this whole thing, all C code you see looks obfuscated! The good news is, it's not going to be that way for long.

What we'll try to do over the course of this guide is lead you from complete and utter sheer lost confusion on to the sort of enlightened bliss that can only be obtained though pure C programming. Right on.

1.1. Audience

As with most Beej's Guides, this one tries to cater to people who are just starting on the topic. That's you! If that's not you for whatever reason the best I can hope to provide is some pastey entertainment for your reading pleasure. The only thing I can reasonably promise is that this guide won't end on a cliffhanger...or will it?

1.2. Platform and Compiler

I'll try to stick to Good Ol'-Fashioned ANSI C, just like Mom used to bake. Well, for the most part. Here and there I talk about things that are in subsequent C standards, just to try to keep up to date.

My compiler of choice is GNU gcc since that's available on most systems, including the Linux systems on which I work.

Since the code is basically standard, it should build with virtually any C compiler on virtually any platform. If you're using Windows, run the result in a DOS window. All sample code will be using the console (that's "text window" for you kids out there), except for the sample code that doesn't.

There are a lot of compilers out there, and virtually all of them will work for this book. And for those not in the know, a C++ compiler will compile C most code, so it'll work for the purposes of this guide. Some of the compilers I am familiar with are the following:

1.3. Building under Unix

If you have a source file called foo.c, it can be built with the following command from the shell:

gcc -o foo foo.c

This tells the compiler to build foo.c, and output an executable called foo. If gcc doesn't work, try using just cc instead.

1.4. Official Homepage

This official location of this document is http://beej.us/guide/bgc/. Maybe this'll change in the future, but it's more likely that all the other guides are migrated off Chico State computers.

1.5. Email Policy

I'm generally available to help out with email questions so feel free to write in, but I can't guarantee a response. I lead a pretty busy life and there are times when I just can't answer a question you have. When that's the case, I usually just delete the message. It's nothing personal; I just won't ever have the time to give the detailed answer you require.

As a rule, the more complex the question, the less likely I am to respond. If you can narrow down your question before mailing it and be sure to include any pertinent information (like platform, compiler, error messages you're getting, and anything else you think might help me troubleshoot), you're much more likely to get a response. For more pointers, read ESR's document, How To Ask Questions The Smart Way.

If you don't get a response, hack on it some more, try to find the answer, and if it's still elusive, then write me again with the information you've found and hopefully it will be enough for me to help out.

Now that I've badgered you about how to write and not write me, I'd just like to let you know that I fully appreciate all the praise the guide has received over the years. It's a real morale boost, and it gladdens me to hear that it is being used for good! :-) Thank you!

1.6. Mirroring

You are more than welcome to mirror this site, whether publically or privately. If you publically mirror the site and want me to link to it from the main page, drop me a line at beej@beej.us.

1.7. Note for Translators

If you want to translate the guide into another language, write me at beej@beej.us and I'll link to your translation from the main page. Feel free to add your name and contact info to the translation.

Please note the license restrictions in the Copyright and Distribution section, below.

Sorry, but due to space constraints, I cannot host the translations myself.

1.8. Copyright and Distribution

Beej's Guide to Network Programming is Copyright © 2007 Brian "Beej Jorgensen" Hall.

With specific exceptions for source code and translations, below, this work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.

One specific exception to the "No Derivative Works" portion of the license is as follows: this guide may be freely translated into any language, provided the translation is accurate, and the guide is reprinted in its entirety. The same license restrictions apply to the translation as to the original guide. The translation may also include the name and contact information for the translator.

The C source code presented in this document is hereby granted to the public domain, and is completely free of any license restriction.

Educators are freely encouraged to recommend or supply copies of this guide to their students.

Contact beej@beej.us for more information.