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Dennis Ritchie

No, this blog is not meant as an obituary blog. However, this is one post that I have to write. Since the death of Steve Jobs, the computing world has lost another influential personality. Dennis Ritchie, the creator of the C programming language. Yes, the same C programming language that is used to program almost all electronic devices with a microprocessor. The very same. Does this code look familiar?


/*My first C program*/
#include <stdio.h>

int main(int argc, char** argv)
{
    printf("Hello World!");
    return 0;
}

Ritchie's contributions go far beyond the C language. He contributed greatly to the development of UNIX, one of the world's first operating systems. You may not be aware of it, but UNIX defined many of the parameters on which today's operating systems are based upon. Linux is a UNIX clone, which means that it behaves in the same way as UNIX. Macintosh, which Steve Jobs is known for, is nothing but a UNIX derivative. I wonder what Jobs may have done in the absence of C? Erm, wrong question, it should have read: How would Jobs have piggybacked on the Other Steve's technical skills, if it were not for C or UNIX?

Yet, the person who actually drove the change that we see today in computing has created the slightest ripple over the internet. It cannot ever compare with the massive hysteria over the death of Steve Jobs, who, as Richard Stallman puts it, made jail seem cool. I'm don't quite agree with what Stallman says, but then, I don't agree with what Jobs did either.

As I write this post, the irony is hard to miss. The person who really changed computing has left this world. Along with him, someone who wore turtle-necks too died. Yet, the world went hysterical over the one who hogged the limelight, and one died a relatively nondescript death.

Does this code look familiar?


/*Dennis Ritchie*/
#include <stdio.h>

int main(int argc, char** argv)
{
    printf("Goodbye World!");
    return 0;
}

Comments

  1. It's a pity that Steve Jobs who probably designed only the most superficial aspects of Apple products (i.e. user interface and looks) gets more attention in the public.
    Whatever is happening inside each of the billions of modern gadgets is beyond breathtaking at so many levels.. right from complicated algorithms coded into operating systems; down to the countless transistors that are really doing the work. Steve Jobs owes to Dennis Ritchie and countless others.

    ReplyDelete

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