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Another Tech Giant Dies...

Discussion in 'Off-topic Zone' started by trickblue, Oct 14, 2011.

  1. trickblue

    trickblue Old Testament... Zone Supporter

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    Dennis Ritchie: The shoulders Steve Jobs stood on
    By Cade Metz

    The tributes to Dennis Ritchie won't match the river of praise that spilled out over the web after the death of Steve Jobs. But they should.

    And then some.

    "When Steve Jobs died last week, there was a huge outcry, and that was very moving and justified. But Dennis had a bigger effect, and the public doesn't even know who he is," says Rob Pike, the programming legend and current Googler who spent 20 years working across the hall from Ritchie at the famed Bell Labs.

    On Wednesday evening, with a post to Google+, Pike announced that Ritchie had died at his home in New Jersey over the weekend after a long illness, and though the response from hardcore techies was immense, the collective eulogy from the web at large doesn't quite do justice to Ritchie's sweeping influence on the modern world.

    Dennis Ritchie is the father of the C programming language, and with fellow Bell Labs researcher Ken Thompson, he used C to build UNIX, the operating system that so much of the world is built on -- including the Apple empire overseen by Steve Jobs.

    "Pretty much everything on the web uses those two things: C and UNIX," Pike tells Wired. "The browsers are written in C. The UNIX kernel — that pretty much the entire Internet runs on -- is written in C. Web servers are written in C, and if they're not, they're written in Java or C++, which are C derivatives, or Python or Ruby, which are implemented in C. And all of the network hardware running these programs I can almost guarantee were written in C.

    "It's really hard to overstate how much of the modern information economy is built on the work Dennis did."

    Even Windows was once written in C, he adds, and UNIX underpins both Mac OS X, Apple's desktop operating system, and iOS, which runs the iPhone and the iPad. "Jobs was the king of the visible, and Ritchie is the king of what is largely invisible," says Martin Rinard, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT and a member of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

    "Jobs' genius is that he builds these products that people really like to use because he has taste and can build things that people really find compelling. Ritchie built things that technologists were able to use to build core infrastructure that people don't necessarily see much anymore, but they use everyday."

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  2. JustDezIt

    JustDezIt Formerly sm0kie13 ROY

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    RIP Dennis, thanks for everything
  3. Arch Stanton

    Arch Stanton it was the grave marked unknown right beside

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    Kernigan and Ritchie wrote THE C programming book. I've probably still got it in a bookcase somewhere. Shame he's passed on. An unsung here for sure. RIP.
  4. Maikeru-sama

    Maikeru-sama Mick Green 58

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    RIP.

    Sucks that all these people that many owe their livelihoods and careers too are dying.
  5. Phrozen Phil

    Phrozen Phil Active Member

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    I'll echo that. There were various folks who would appear on the "Computer Chronicles" (PBS) who are no longer with us. Many of them passed on with little public recognition. Computer languages aren't really glamorous, but they are the bedrock of the sexy stuff we see today.

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