Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

One of the giants of computing died last week.

No, I’m not talking about Steve Jobs; I’m talking about Dennis Ritchie, inventor of the C programming language and co-developer of the Unix operating system. His influence, via C and Unix, has left its imprint through practically all of computing and modern technology.

Sobering to realise that he was only a few years older than me.

Update 16th October 2011: There’s a very good summary of Dennis Ritchie’s work in today’s Observer, written by John Naughton. Definitely worth a read if you’re interested in understanding the magnitude of what Ritchie achieved. Good opening too:

It’s funny how fickle fame can be. One week Steve Jobs dies and his death tops the news agendas in dozens of countries. Just over a week later, Dennis Ritchie dies and nobody – except for a few geeks – notices. And yet his work touched the lives of far more people than anything Steve Jobs ever did.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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2 Responses to Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

  1. Geoff,

    I made a post to the ITGN successor on Friday morning just after reading your original post. Not a ripple did it produce. Having seen your link to the Guardian obit, I’ve made a second post, citing (I hope you don’t object) your note. I’ll be interested to see if there is any interest in anything so infrastructure-ish, and un-toylike.

    Best wishes,

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