The computing world has undergone a revolution since the publication of The C Programming Language in 1978. Big computers are much bigger, and personal computers have capabilities that rival the mainframes of a decade ago. During this time, C has changed too, although only modestly, and it has spread far beyond its origins as the language of the UNIX operating system.
The growing popularity of C, the changes in the language over the years, and the creation of compilers by groups not involvedin its design, combined to demonstrate a need for a more precise and more contemporary definition of the language than the first edition of this book provided. In 1983, the American ' National Standards Institute (ANSI) established a committee whose goal was to produce "an unambiguous and machine-independent definition of the language C," while still retaining its spirit. The result is the ANSI standard for C.