Mourning Dennis Ritchie

18 Oct

Many knew the death of Steve Jobs, many are attracted by shiny thing, the gloss, the skin, but many fail to look at what is beneath that. You are probably reading this text because it has the works of Mr. Dennis Ritchie hidden behind it.

Dennis and Ken Thompson are the inventors of two technologies that revolutionised the world beyond anything that starts with an ‘i’ , yet their humble nature has made them almost forgotten heroes to the non programming world.

On October 12, this year I was at a place called Satyamangalam, Tamilnadu, India teaching C / C++ to college teachers and professors, and totally unaware of what was happening to its creator.

Dennis and Ken together invented the C programming language and the Unix operating system. Still in computing world, these two dominate.

You are reading this blog on WordPress which runs on Linux server, Linux is based on Unix operating system and is completely written with C programming.

WordPress uses a software called PHP which powers most of the web pages and its interpreter is written with C. WordPress also uses MySQL which once again written with C and C++. C++ is a object orientated version of C,  and uses C syntax!

Almost every processor you see on this planet, the one that are in your cell phone, the one that control your car, oven, almost all could be programmed using C. Its such a beautiful language that gives you power to write extremely powerful software that can take control of the entire hardware that you are writing the program for.

Even the Android in your mobile phone uses C, your iPhones and Macintosh operating system is based on Unix which was written with C! Almost nothing escapes Dennis and Ken’s invention. Yet the non programming world knows very less about him because he is not a show man.

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Posted by on October 18, 2011 in Personal, Technology


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