printf(“Goodbye, Dennis Ritchie.”);

Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie died last week. He was an American computer scientist notable for co-developing the C programming language (in which most operating systems and other software is written) and for operating systems such as Unix (upon which Linux is based).

A humble person he was, but you may credit him for playing an important role in designing much of what makes our computers and the Internet run today. Much of Windows was written in C, as are Linux and OSX. Your phone (often embedded Linux, some iOS which is OSX based). Your LCD television (embedded Linux again), your ADSL modem/router (embedded Linux again) And so on… respect.

I learnt C in the mid 80s, in large part from the Kernighan & Ritchie book “The C Programming Language”, which I bought using some pocket money. It’s one of the few books I kept when I moved to Australia, and it’s still on my shelf today. I started a business on my 21st birthday, as a software developer. Mostly C, with some assembly (old MS-DOS times). So, I too owe Dennis Ritchie a lot.

Here’s another story, at Wired. Dennis Ritchie: The Shoulders Steve Jobs Stood On

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