I would like to ask for your help. I searched a lot on Internet, but I found mismatched informations.

My questions:

  1. I tried to buy the "ISO/IEC 14882:2003(E) Programming Languages - C++" standard on the ansi.org, but i have not found it. However, I found this standard on nssn.org:


But unfortunately this standard has been deleted or replaced with an another one.


On the iso.org, it's also the same situation:


Yes, I know that the actual standard is C++11, but I'm need the C++03 standard. From another sources, I heard that, the C++03 standard has become an open standard, so I can download it from the Internet for free, THE FULL, OFFICIAL standard, for example:



Is this true? And it's the full, official C++03 standard, not just a draft?

  1. Is that true, the C99 (C programming language, 1999) has also become an open standard? If yes, this is the full C99 standard?: cs.nyu.edu/courses/spring13/CSCI-GA.2110-001/downloads/C99.pdf

2 Answers 2


All ISO standards work in the same manner. When a new version is published and approved, older versions are immediately withdrawn and no longer available. National standard institutes follow this procedure too. This is "the standard way of handling standards".

C++03 and C99 are no longer available (nor C90 for that matter). Neither the C nor the C++ standards are "open", an open standard is typically a standard that is handled by a non-profit organization.

My advise is to either refer to draft standards, or to search around among the various national standard institutes, some of them may still have withdrawn standards available.

  • The C++ standard might not be open, but it's handled by ISO, which is a non-profit organization. So you should find another reason to call it non-open.
    – Sjoerd
    Commented Mar 12, 2013 at 23:15
  • @Sjoerd I don't really know if there is a formal definition of what an open standard is, hence the link to Wikipedia.
    – user29079
    Commented Mar 13, 2013 at 7:33

The current C++ standard is C++11. It replaces C++03, which is no longer an official standard, so you can't get copies from ISO or INCITS (formerly ANSI). It is by no means an "open standard", for whatever reasonable meaning you attribute to that phrase.

  • Okay, and what about the standards PDF that I have linked in my post? Are they really the original C99/C++03 standards, not just a draft? Thank you very much.
    – user2148758
    Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 14:49
  • 1
    Each of them says that it's an official standard, and each of them has a copyright notice that is clearly being violated by posting on the Internet.
    – Pete Becker
    Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 14:50
  • So this means that they are the full standards, but not legally?
    – user2148758
    Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 14:53
  • @user2148758 - I only looked at the title pages. Each one says that the document is the standard and that it's copyrighted.
    – Pete Becker
    Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 15:01
  • 3
    @user2148758 - Pete Becker is a member of the C++ committee and former editor of the standard document, so he might have THE original. :-) Probably not interested in sharing it illegally though.
    – Bo Persson
    Commented Mar 12, 2013 at 16:43

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