Southern Man

Thursday, October 13, 2011

There Were Giants In Those Days

Much of the technological world has mourned the passing of Steve Jobs, who more than anyone made computing more accessible and gave us generations of cool toys that "just plain worked." But a few days later another giant left us; Dennis Ritchie, a principle author of the C programming language and the UNIX operating system. As The Blog That Nobody Reads notes, his passing is equally worthy of our remembrance, if not more so. Jobs spent much of his career making operating systems (and thus computers) easier to use (and this was no small accomplishment); Ritchie created the tools with which you build operating systems and used then to construct one of the most important. And in an interesting convergence a direct descendant of Ritchie's UNIX powers Apple products today from the iMac to the iPhone, and Objective C is the primary programming language for both.

Who do we hold in higher esteem, the man who made technology easier to use, or the man who created what was necessary to enable that technology in the first place? While the public is far more familiar with the fruits of the first, they could not exist without the second. And while few will know who Dennis Ritchie was or what he accomplished, we honor his achievements and note with sorrow his passing here.
#include <stdio.h>
int main(int argc, char * argv[]){
printf("Goodbye, Dennis...");
return 0;
[Added 31 October 2011] O'Reilly suggests that October 30 be designated as Dennis Ritchie Day. Spread the word!


At Thursday, October 13, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did not know he had died. Nice tribute there southren man.

LOL, my word verification was "un dos"

At Friday, October 14, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't know he died, either.
Another giant passes.

Girl Programmer.


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