Programming Books

15 Excellent Free Books to Learn C

Last Updated on June 14, 2023

7. The GNU C Reference Manual by Trevis Rothwell, James Youngman

The GNU C Reference ManualThe GNU C Reference Manual is a reference for the C programming language and aims to document the 1989 ANSI C standard, the 1999 ISO C standard, and the current state of GNU extensions to standard C.

This manual is strictly a reference, not a tutorial. Its aim is to cover every linguistic construct in GNU C, but not the library functions

The book is not designed for new programmers, and is not an introductory text for C.

Chapters cover:

  • Lexical Elements – describes the lexical elements that make up C source code after preprocessing. These elements are called tokens. There are five types of tokens: keywords, identifiers, constants, operators, and separators
  • Data Types – examines primitive data types, enumerations, unions, structures, arrays, pointers, incomplete types, type qualifiers, storage class specifiers, and renaming types
  • Expressions and Operators – also looks at incrementing / decrementing, arithmetic operators, complex conjugation, comparison operators, logical operators, bit shifting, bitwise local operators, pointer operators, the sizeof operator, type casts, and more
  • Statements – read about labels, expression statements, the if statement, the switch statement, the while statement, the do statement, the for statement, blocks, the null statement, the goto statement, the break statement, the continue statement, the return statement, and the typedef statement
  • Functions – learn about function declarations, function definitions, calling functions, function parameters, variable length parameter lists, calling functions through function pointers, the main function, recursive functions, and more
  • Program Structure and Scope – looks at the big picture
  • A Sample Program – a complete program written in C, consisting of both a C source file and a header file. This program is an expanded version of the quintessential “hello world” program, and serves as an example of how to format and structure C code for use in programs for FSF Project GNU

The book is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or later.

Read the book

8. Build Your Own Lisp by Daniel Holden

Build Your Own LispLearn the C programming language and at the same time learn how to build your very own programming language, a minimal Lisp, in under 1000 lines of code.

This book is for anyone wanting to learn C, or who has once wondered how to build their own programming language. It is not designed as a first programming language book, as you need some programming experience to make your way through the content.

Build Your Own Lisp is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0.

Read the book

A paperback is available to purchase from Amazon.

9. The GNU C Programming Tutorial by Mark Burgess, Ron Hale-Evans

The GNU C Programming TutorialThe GNU C Programming Tutorial introduces the reader to the basic ideas in a logical order. It offers detailed coverage of each of the main elements of the C language and how to program in C, with special emphasis on the GNU/Linux compiler and associated software.

There are chapters devoted to functions, variables and declarations, scope, expressions and operators, parameters, pointers, decisions, loops, arrays, strings, input and output, and much more.

The GNU C Programming Tutorial is released under the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1.

Read the book

Next page: Page 4 – Essential C and more books

Pages in this article:
Page 1 – The C Book and more books
Page 2 – An Introduction to C & GUI Programming and more books
Page 3 – The GNU C Reference Manual and more books
Page 4 – Essential C and more books
Page 5 – Beej’s Guide to Network Programming and more books

All books in this series:

Free Programming Books
AdaALGOL-like programming language, extended from Pascal and other languages
AgdaDependently typed functional language based on intuitionistic Type Theory
ArduinoInexpensive, flexible, open source microcontroller platform
AssemblyAs close to writing machine code without writing in pure hexadecimal
AwkVersatile language designed for pattern scanning and processing language
BashShell and command language; popular both as a shell and a scripting language
BASICBeginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code
CGeneral-purpose, procedural, portable, high-level language
C++General-purpose, portable, free-form, multi-paradigm language
C#Combines the power and flexibility of C++ with the simplicity of Visual Basic
ClojureDialect of the Lisp programming language
ClojureScriptCompiler for Clojure that targets JavaScript
COBOLCommon Business-Oriented Language
CoffeeScriptTranscompiles into JavaScript inspired by Ruby, Python and Haskell
CoqDependently typed language similar to Agda, Idris, F* and others
CrystalGeneral-purpose, concurrent, multi-paradigm, object-oriented language
CSSCSS (Cascading Style Sheets) specifies a web page’s appearance
DGeneral-purpose systems programming language with a C-like syntax
DartClient-optimized language for fast apps on multiple platforms
DylanMulti-paradigm language supporting functional and object-oriented coding
ECMAScriptBest known as the language embedded in web browsers
EiffelObject-oriented language designed by Bertrand Meyer
ElixirRelatively new functional language running on the Erlang virtual machine
ErlangGeneral-purpose, concurrent, declarative, functional language
F#Uses functional, imperative, and object-oriented programming methods
FactorDynamic stack-based programming language
ForthImperative stack-based programming language
FortranThe first high-level language, using the first compiler
GoCompiled, statically typed programming language
GroovyPowerful, optionally typed and dynamic language
HaskellStandardized, general-purpose, polymorphically, statically typed language
HTMLHyperText Markup Language
IconWide variety of features for processing and presenting symbolic data
JArray programming language based primarily on APL
JavaGeneral-purpose, concurrent, class-based, object-oriented, high-level language
JavaScriptInterpreted, prototype-based, scripting language
JuliaHigh-level, high-performance language for technical computing
KotlinMore modern version of Java
LabVIEWDesigned to enable domain experts to build power systems quickly
LaTeXProfessional document preparation system and document markup language
LispUnique features - excellent to study programming constructs
LogoDialect of Lisp that features interactivity, modularity, extensibility
LuaDesigned as an embeddable scripting language
MarkdownPlain text formatting syntax designed to be easy-to-read and easy-to-write
Objective-CObject-oriented language that adds Smalltalk-style messaging to C
OCamlThe main implementation of the Caml language
PascalImperative and procedural language designed in the late 1960s
PerlHigh-level, general-purpose, interpreted, scripting, dynamic language
PHPPHP has been at the helm of the web for many years
PostScriptInterpreted, stack-based and Turing complete language
PrologA general purpose, declarative, logic programming language
PureScriptSmall strongly, statically typed language compiling to JavaScript
PythonGeneral-purpose, structured, powerful language
QMLHierarchical declarative language for user interface layout - JSON-like syntax
RDe facto standard among statisticians and data analysts
RacketGeneral-purpose, object-oriented, multi-paradigm, functional language
RakuMember of the Perl family of programming languages
RubyGeneral purpose, scripting, structured, flexible, fully object-oriented language
RustIdeal for systems, embedded, and other performance critical code
ScalaModern, object-functional, multi-paradigm, Java-based language
SchemeA general-purpose, functional language descended from Lisp and Algol
ScratchVisual programming language designed for 8-16 year-old children
SQLAccess and manipulate data held in a relational database management system
Standard MLGeneral-purpose functional language characterized as "Lisp with types"
SwiftPowerful and intuitive general-purpose programming language
TclDynamic language based on concepts of Lisp, C, and Unix shells
TeXMarkup and programming language - create professional quality typeset text
TypeScriptStrict syntactical superset of JavaScript adding optional static typing
ValaObject-oriented language, syntactically similar to C#
VHDLHardware description language used in electronic design automation
VimLPowerful scripting language of the Vim editor
XMLRules for defining semantic tags describing structure ad meaning
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