SGV Linux Users Group - The Young Man And The C: Swallowing The Red Pill

This is a past event

11 people went

Every 2nd Thursday of the month

IHOP

880 S Arroyo Pkwy · Pasadena, CA

How to find us

Look for us in the back room

Location image of event venue

Details

NOTE: Please be considerate of the servers at IHOP: Don't change seats once you sit down. Get your orders in early so they're not slammed in the kitchen. Tip generously. They don't expect everyone to order food, but a good 80% of us should be having some kind of dinner.

Dustin Laurence is reprising a talk he gave a few years ago for high-level programmers who suddenly need to learn C.

Topic

Many good, experienced high-level language programmers do not learn C or C++ well until they suddenly need to write an FFI extension, make an emergency patch to an existing C or C++ codebase, re-implement the bottleneck component in the application stack in a fast language, take an attractive job with a low-level programming component, or otherwise move from their comfortable language of choice and swallow the Red Pill of coding closer to the machine. If you are already a programmer, you don't need to be taught how to program, and your google-fu is strong for looking up detailed syntax. Instead, this will be a crash course in leveraging skills you learned in a high-level environment and transferring them to these low-level tools, acquiring some new skills you simply never needed before, and a building a mental picture of where the road to expert, idiomatic mastery lies. We will focus on plain C because C++ is too complex to cover well in a single talk, but much of the material will apply directly to C++. Perhaps surprisingly, some of it will even make you a better programmer in your favorite comfortable, higher-level language.

Bio

Some little-known facts about Dustin Laurence:

* His first exposure to computers was playing Colossal Cave
Adventure and the bootleg Fortran IV version of Zork on his cousin's work mainframe using a glass teletype and a modem with a cradle for the handset.

* His first good programming language was C. He lies and pretends that C is where he learned to program because 8-bit BASIC is embarrassing.

* He once gave up trying to learn the libc low-level I/O functions from the Ultrix man pages because he thought a buffer must be some kind of abstract data type provided by the C library and he couldn't find any documentation.

* He once confidently predicted that Linux was a temporary fad that would be replaced by BSD for serious work once the Berkeley codebase was completely free. It's probably a good thing he doesn't gamble.

* He avoids social media for the same reason he doesn't do crack cocaine.

* These days he happily hacks Python for Spring Labs.

About the SGVLUG

SGVLUG is one of the oldest and most active Linux User Groups in the Greater Los Angeles area. In addition to Linux, the group also shares interests in other free and open source software, all forms of technology, and the discussion of issues that arise with the these new tools, such as privacy rights. SGVLUG attracts members from throughout LA County including Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank, and eastward throughout the San Gabriel Valley. Our members include software developers, system administrators, hardware engineers, and software users of all levels of experience. Many work in the technology field as employees, contractors or consultants, and enjoy the learning and networking opportunities available from the group. We also have many members that serve as volunteers of their time and skills at various local events, including the annual Southern California Linux Expo (SCaLE).