C came into being in the years 1969-1973, in parallel with the early development of the Unix operating system; the most creative period occurred during 1972. Another spate of changes peaked between 1977 and 1979, when portability of the Unix system was being demonstrated. In the middle of this second period, the first widely available description of the language appeared: The C Programming Language, often called the `white book' or `K&R' [Kernighan 78]. Finally, in the middle 1980s, the language was officially standardized by the ANSI X3J11 committee, which made further changes. Until the early 1980s, although compilers existed for a variety of machine architectures and operating systems, the language was almost exclusively associated with Unix; more recently, its use has spread much more widely, and today it is among the languages most commonly used throughout the computer industry.

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