This article is from the alt.comp.lang.learn.c-c++ Frequently Asked Questions. Compiled by Sunil Rao firstname.lastname@example.org.
A lot of questions posted in alt.comp.lang.learn.c-c++ are posted by people who are generally unsure about what they are learning. Many beginners fail to appreciate that C and C++ are used on a number of platforms, and that what works with a particular compiler is not necessarily going to work with another, even on the same platform. It is important that a learner be clear about the differences between programming in standard C or C++, and programming using platform- and compiler-specific extensions. In the long run, this approach - that of separating the idea of "language" and "platform" - leads to a better understanding of both the language and the platform. It is generally accepted that the sooner this is appreciated by the learner, the better. Usenet style in general tends to be terse and to-the-point and this FAQ reflects that, while attempting to be as fully informative as possible.
This is the only reason for grumpiness - most interested learners find alt.comp.lang.learn.c-c++ a very pleasant and helpful place once they understand this. The newsgroup is nowhere near as grumpy as this FAQ might suggest - certainly not towards someone who has read and understood all it has to say!