The myth of the auto-increment operator

Jeff Kenton <>
3 Dec 2003 20:41:01 -0500

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The myth of the auto-increment operator (Jeff Kenton) (2003-12-03)
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From: Jeff Kenton <>
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: 3 Dec 2003 20:41:01 -0500
Organization: Comcast Online
Keywords: C, history
Posted-Date: 03 Dec 2003 20:41:01 EST

Computer History (I'm in that kind of mood today)

A computer myth that will never die:

There is an ongoing myth that the auto-increment operator in C arose to take
advantage of the PDP-11 addressing modes. What brings this to mind is the new
compiler book by Keith Cooper & Linda Torczon, which repeats the story.

However, Dennis Ritchie says this isn't so -- that the "x++" notation was
introduced in B (not C), which was originally developed on a PDP-7. See his
article on the history of C at:

It has lots of interesting tidbits.


= Jeff Kenton Consulting and software development =
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