Unix creator Dennis Ritchie dead at 70

“Pioneering computer scientist Dennis Ritchie has died after a long illness,” BBC News reports.

“Mr Ritchie was one of the creators of the hugely influential Unix operating system and the equally pioneering C programming language,” The Beeb reports. “A vast number of modern technologies depend on the work he and fellow programmers did on Unix and C in the early days of the computer revolution.”

“Those paying respects said he was a ‘titan’ of the industry whose influence was largely unknown,” The Beeb reports. “Along with Ken Thompson, Brian Kernighan, Douglas McIlroy, and Joe Ossanna, Mr Ritchie was one of the key creators of the Unix operating system at Bell Labs during the 1960s and 70s.”

The Beeb reports, “Unix’s influence has been felt in many ways. It established many software engineering principles that persist until today; it was the OS of choice for the internet; it kicked off the open source movement and has been translated to run on many different types of hardware.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: Of course, Apple’s Mac OS X is the world’s most widely used Unix-based system in the desktop computer market (58 million users) and Apple’s iOS, derived from Mac OS X, is the world’s most widely used Unix-based system in the mobile/tablet market. R.I.P., Mr Ritchie.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “David Haun” for the heads up.]

24 Comments

    1. Since Bill Gates is a dedicated eugenicist – I would not even shed a dead body cell upon learning of his demise.

      To mention accolades about Steve Jobs and Dennis Richie and then the mention the antithesis of all that they truly stood for is truly saddening.

    1. Highly influential book; not just for its content but the way it was writ. Both Mr. Ritchie and Mr. Thompson had dry sense of delicious wit, on top of being visionaries and flat out geniuses. It might be a mistake to compare them to Steve Jobs. Bill Gates, Woz, Linus etc. combined may find it difficult to match these two’s contribution (brain inspirations) during a summer in late 60s. I once followed the creative process of Unix and it felt like a love letter to humanity.

      ‎”UNIX is very simple, it just needs a genius to understand its simplicity.”

      https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/The_C_Programming_Language

      R.I.P. dmt.
      Respect!

  1. Sad month (week…)

    and only 70…
    guess that would be about right, for whatever reason i figured all the UNIX guys to be a lot older.

    Didn’t know the guy, but I do know his work. UNIX/C both.

  2. I have a suggestion.

    Once a year, on the anniversary of Steve’s birth, they auction for charity one of Steve’s mock turtleneck shirts.

    It should work for 30 or more years. I’m sure there are several people that would spend a couple of million for charity.

  3. As difficult as it is for me to imagine a world without Apple, it’s just as hard to picture where I’d be without UNIX and C. A world where VMS and some crippled windowing shell atop DOS were my only options for computing would be a dark, dark place.

    1. True, however, speaking from an Apple perspective, neither UNIX or C played a part in the original Apple II or the Macintosh.

      UNIX didn’t have a real impact until after it was unchained from Bell Labs / AT&T when BSD was created.

      1. Yeah, sorry, I silently conflated the two: I was tallying up the full impact of no UNIX and no Apple. My entire career has been wrapped up in one or the other.

        For me, I suppose the next shoe to drop would be Larry Wall. Perl makes everything mo’ better.

  4. Another great man gone.

    And I like the idea of one great man standing on the shoulders of another. That’s how we got here today. And hopefully another will take up Steve’s mantle and stand on his shoulders too (to mix metaphors).

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