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.