Dennis Ritchie, Creator of C and Unix Passes Away

Today, I came across messages about Dennis Ritchie's death on Facebook and thought it was a rumor, especially since they were floating around so soon after the passing of Steve Jobs.

However, this was confirmed in the mainstream news as true.

Twitter is now flooding with tributes to the man who invented the C language and contributed in the creation of the Unix operating system.

He was more well-known to the computer geeks than the masses.

Recognized by his colleagues a humble man and an inspiration, Mr Ritchie’s influence is felt around the computing world. His classical The C Programming Language (TCPL) co-authored with Brian Kernighan is one of the first books studied by millions and millions of budding programmers. I too learnt programming by starting out with the C language.

Mr Ritchie is likely to be remembered in computing history as a giant who effected one of the biggest turning points in the modern world.

Bill Clinton awarded this pioneer the US National Medal of Technology for his contribution, but Mr Ritchie’s humility meant that he’d choose to stay out of public attention.

Programming principles taught by Dennis Ritchie are today etched in the minds of established programmers around the world, and form the basis of every software project, from the most basic applications to the highly complex operating systems.

Here’s a small selection of tweets commemorating the man:

“....Dennis Ritchie: The shoulders Jobs stood on (from @cnn).”

“...Steve Jobs created a multi-billion dollar company... Dennis Ritchie generated a multi-trillion dollar industry... ..”

“printf ("Goodbye Dennis M. Ritchie\n");”

What was your reaction to the passing of Dennis Ritchie?


I started using C over 20 years ago and find myself still learning new or better ways to use the language. Ritchie was indeed a visionary, made us far more efficient developers, and allowed the masses to leverage the hardware. I forget the name of the survey that has Java listed as most popular programming language and the hyped news announcement that C will soon have the top spot. Someone questioned how that could be. My response to that statement is we should be questioning why the survey result doesn't show C in the number one spot by a comfortable margin considering its ubiquity. Next time you swipe a card at a point-of-sale device, you can be quite sure it was programmed in C. Thank you Dennis!

By Al

It's really sad news, the creator of C is gone.

By Manoj Narkhede

So thanks Dennis Ritchie, at this 12th octuber 2012, one year

By Xavier

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