Thu 13 Oct, 2011 07:44 pm
Dennis Richie, or dmr in hacker circles, died on October 8th. And because this was a man who touched all of our lives more than most here know, I wanted to commemorate his life briefly and perhaps introduce some non-geeks to who this man is and how he touched your life.
Dennis Richie created the C programming language, and was one of the founding fathers that created UNIX, an operating system that spawned most of the operating systems that existed after it. The C programming language is probably the most used in history. If you are using a computer right now you are using programs written in it (your browser, etc). If you are using the internet it is built on his creations. Even if you use Windows, it was written in C (parts probably still are), the language he contributed to the world. If you are on a Mac, that is a UNIX variant too. If you are reading this you are reading it on a site that runs Linux, which owes a lot to UNIX and which pretty much powers the web.
This man quietly changed our world. When people say that they are standing on the shoulders of technology giants that came before them he was precisely the kind of man they are talking about.
We've lost one of our greatest giants, I can think of nobody in computing history with a greater impact, and he deserves to be remembered here. RIP Dennis Richie (1941- 2011).
Rest in peace, and thank you, Dennis.
I got my first look at C language and a hotrod version of UNIX Roman Numeral 5 (Idris) around 81 and remember thinking something like "Sheesh, this is too clean, simple, and elegant, I must be looking at something the wrong way, nobody in computers could have done anything this intelligent."
Thanks for letting me know Robert, he will be missed.