Linux and the 'clssic' computing world

Vincent Slyngstad vincent.slyngstad at
Tue Sep 28 12:43:07 CDT 2021

On 9/28/2021 5:14 AM, Toby Thain via cctalk wrote:
> On 2021-09-27 11:46 p.m., ben via cctalk wrote:
>> POSIX requires a byte to be exactly 8 bits I read somewhere.
>> C99 C standard?
>> Great for ARM and INTEL, not so great for the 36 bit computers.
> We've been through this before. No.

As I understand things, POSIX does require the existence of 8 bit bytes, 
(int8_t and uint8_t) and requires them to be exactly 8 bits.  It does 
not AFAIK explicitly prohibit the existence of bytes with other sizes, 
but who would bother?

The C standards are more liberal, and continue to require char types to 
be 8 or more bits.

In principle then, char could still be 9 or more bits, but if int8_t is 
required for a *NIX, who would do it?  They'd just be making a 
compatibility  mess for themselves.

It's also unclear to me whether one's complement representation would be 
allowed.  (Various other representations would probably be prohibited by 
other restrictions.)


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