Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dennis Ritchie died...

Well, another great figure of computing has prematurely left us, according to reports on the Internet. This one isn't so well known like Steve Jobs, but his work certainly matches the one done by Jobs, and in my humble opinion, even exceeds it. His "problem", sort to speak, is that he did everything in the core area of computer science, not in the consumer part, and he did majority of his work during the years when most people even didn't know that computers exists.

The guy is Dennis Ritchie, and he invented C programming language and also took important part in the development of Unix operating system. His influence was and is great. For example, Android smart phones today all run on top of Linux, which itself started as a Unix derivative. MS DOS was a very poor copy of Unix, and it was evident that it tried to copy Unix. Windows NT in part was also influenced by Unix. Not to mention MacOS X which, in its core, is Unix! And today's biggest businesses run their core services on Unix machines, not Windows.

The C programming language was, and still is, extremely influential. First, majority of today's operating systems are written in C, and all the other languages have ability to link with libraries written in C. There are numerous applications and libraries written in C. C is, in essence, lowest common denominator. Furthermore, we have today many languages which directly or indirectly borrow features from C. For a start C++ started as an extension to C. Which itself influenced many other object-oriented programming languages. C's influence can be traced also in all other non-OO languages.

All in all, I'm very sad that he passed away. RIP Dennis Ritchie.

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scientist, consultant, security specialist, networking guy, system administrator, philosopher ;)

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