Dennis Ritchie was a giant

Posted October 14th, 2011 by dale

How amazing is it that Steve Jobs and Dennis Ritchie died in the same week?

Jobs was a very visible guy in the modern technology world. Ritchie was unknown to the users. He created the C programming language that is the foundation of virtually all of the code that makes this stuff work. He was a very unsung hero to those of us who build the internal stuff of the techno multiverse.

His book "The C Programming Language" was a revelation when it appeared. Clear, concise, elegant and a tiny book (compared to the 3-ring tomes typical of DEC's manuals for languages like Fortran.

Wired has a well written obit that does a good job of capturing the consequences of C at http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2011/10/thedennisritchieeffect/

Steve Lohr wrote a slightly less detailed obit in the NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/14/technology/dennis-ritchie-programming-...

Update: In a blog entry today (2011-10-27) http://radar.oreilly.com/2011/10/dennis-ritchie-day.html, Tim O'Reilly suggested that this Sunday (October 20) be named Dennis Ritchie day.