Tip Your 40s For Dennis Ritchie, The Giant Whose Shoulders We Stand Upon

10.13.11 8 years ago

although we’d like to believe he died while valiantly saving humanity from an army of heavily-armed velociraptors riding sharks.

Ritchie also co-wrote what’s considered the definitive book on C programming (pictured above) and he’s won several awards including the Turing Award, the National Medal of Technology, and the Japan Prize. Sean Gallagher at Ars Technica sums up Ritchie’s legacy better than I can:

Linus Torvalds once said, in reference to the development of Linux, that he “had hoisted [himself] up on the shoulders of giants.” Among those giants, Dennis Ritchie (aka dmr) was likely the tallest. […] [The C programming language] is the basis of nearly every programming and scripting tool, whether they use elements of C’s syntax or not. Java, JavaScript, Objective C and Cocoa, Python, Perl, and PHP would not exist without dmr’s C. Every bit of software that makes it possible for you to read this page has a trace of dmr’s DNA in it.

By creating C, Ritchie gave birth to the concept of open systems. C was developed so they could port Unix to any computer, and so that programs written on one platform (and the skills used to develop them) could be easily transferred to another.

Man, this guy had an enormous, rarely-noticed influence on our lives, and we owe him a debt of gratitude. Especially for that time he saved us all from an army of heavily-armed velociraptors riding sharks.

[Sources: BoingBoing, Gizmodo, ArsTechnica]

Around The Web