What's New!

Chat with

How to Defend
Your Computer 

The Guides
to (mostly) 
Harmless Hacking

Happy Hacker 
Digests (old stuff) 

Hacker Links 


Meet the 
Happy Hacksters 

Help for 



It Sucks 
to Be Me!

How to Commit
Computer Crime (not)! 

What Is a 
Hacker, Anyhow? 

Have a 
Great Life! 

News from the 
Hacker War Front

More How to Program in C

### 3.0 The first program

Here's the first C program you will write. It is is a short program. I promise it will be easy. You will need an ASCII editor, to enter the text. Some good editors help you in writing source code by automatically indenting the code, highlighting the commands, giving you direct access to the compiler and so on.

Get a GOOD editor. A bad one is really a pain! I prefer the very quick JED/XJED editor. It is fast and small, not a second OS-layer like the EMACS. And not that cryptic like vi.

NOTE: Carolyn is totally right here: IT IS IMPORTANT to learn to use vi, cause it is the one you will find on any *NIX system. On the other hand it comes from ancient *NIX (*NIX stands for all the different kinds of Unix like Linux, Irix, Ultrix, AIX, BSD, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD, etc. etc.) times, its command structure is very powerful and awful IMHO.

Newbie note: Pico is a great newbie editor, and is also available in many Unix shells. We won't make too much fun of you if we catch you using it.

Type this into your favorite editor in your Unix shell account:


printf( "Hello, Hackers!\n" );

#if __STDC__
printf( "May I introduce myself: I am a compiler of the new version! \n" );
printf( "I am an ANSI compiler\n" );
printf( "I am an old K&R compiler!\n" );


Save the text in a file called "HelloHackers.c".

Time to compile the human readable text, our first source code into machine readable assembly language. Time to work, compiler!

Type at the commandline of your account the following command sequence:

cc -o HelloHackers HelloHackers.c

This will call the compiler and tell it to take "HelloHackers.c" and compile ( = translate) it into an executable program called "HelloHackers".

Now check, whether the program really runs! Type:


Maybe you will get an error message here, like:

HelloHackers: command not found

This looks like a path error. See the GTMHH, Programmers' Series, Number 2 for some ideas on path statements, or ask tech support at your ISP.

To execute the program despite the fact, whether you have got this error type:


Now you will get an output. This will be either

Hello, Hackers!

(May I introduce myself: I am a compiler of the new version!
I am an ANSI compiler.)


Hello, Hackers!

(I am an old K&R compiler!)

Nice, isn't it?

### 4.0 C compiler vs. C compiler

Maybe you are wondering, why the same program can produce two different outputs without anything changing in the source code or/and with the command to produce the executable program?!

The reason is: There are two different kinds of compilers out there.

In the beginning, when C was designed, its fathers, Brian W. Kerningham and Dennis M. Ritchie, invented a style of C, which was very open. The compilers made on the base of this definition of C don't look very much for errors in the source code. They simply translate the source code despite whether there is something contradictionary  or unlogical in the source code. This kind of C is called of "the old style" or of "the K&R style". Compilers which only  can compile this kind of source codes are "K&R" compilers" or "old compilers".

More important: Because there was no official standardization of this style, different vendors add some "special features" to their compilers. Also, some aspects of this languages were not completely defined by K&R. Slowly, the one programming language C became "different languages, called C". The result was that source codes which could be compiled on one machine without any problems, produced errors on other machine with a
different compiler.

So when you try to compile some exploit you downloaded from http://www.rootshell.com and it gives you error  messages, the fault may be that it was written in a C version that your compiler doesn't like!

Then, K&R decided to write the Second Edition of their first book about C. This time, the ANSI commitee standardized this implementation of C. All compilers which want to be "ANSI compatible" have to fullfill this standardization. These compilers are called "ANSI compilers", and this kind of C is called "ANSI-C", the modern form of C. These compilers will take a closer look to your source code and will warn you if they will find any suspicious commands.

With a little programming trick, which will be explained later in this tutorial, the source code can decide what kind of compiler it needs to use and produces an appropiate output.

### 4.1 If your compiler is a K&R or "old" compiler

If you want to buy "The C Programming Language" by K&R get the FIRST edition of this book. It introduces the first implementation of the C programming language.

As we will see, there is one special so called "function" -- more about this later -- in each source code. It is called "main". If your compiler is a K&R compiler, please use


as the definition of it.

### 4.2 If your compiler is an ANSI-compiler

If you want to buy "The C Programming Language" by K&R get the SECOND edition of this book. It introduces the implementation of the C, which has been standardized be the ANSI commitee.

As above, this kind of C uses a special function calle "main" also. But the definition of this function is different from that above. It is

int main( int argc, char *argv[] )


Later we will discover more differences between these two types of C compilers. But for now, you only have to remember the kind of main-function, you should use.

Because ANSI-compilers understand the old K&R style also normally, the above example program compiles without a problem on them. In the rare case, that you get error messages or wanrings concerning "main", use

int main( int argc, char *argv[] )

instead of


in the above example.

More how to program in C --->

Carolyn's most
popular book,
in 4th edition now!
For advanced
hacker studies,
read Carolyn's
Google Groups
Subscribe to Happy Hacker
Visit this group


Return to the index of Guides to (mostly) Harmless Hacking!

 © 2013 Happy Hacker All rights reserved.