One of the main causes of the fall of the Roman Empire was that, lacking zero, they had no way to indicate successful termination of their C programs.
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It is an error to assume that arithmetic in C is 2's complement. It may be, it may be some of the time depending on optimizations done by the compiler. It is not part of the language specification, the compiler is free to do as it chooses. It is part of a larger problem with C where there is a twilight zone of undefined behavior. The Linux core is written correctly according to the C specifications. Most other C code is not, including common Linux tools. It is a simple language, people assume they know it well because they have years of hands on experience. It is an old language with assumptions from the 1970's. If you fail to read and obey the actual specifications which are rather restrictive your code will exhibit undefined behavior with no warnings from the compiler.
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I love to read science books. They make my day and I get ideas for awesome blog posts, such as Busy Beaver, On Functors, Recursive Regular Expressions and many others.
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