Denis Ritchie: 1941 – 2011.

   13 October 2011, mid-morning

Shima asked me last night why Denis Ritchie’s death was important. His two main contributions to the field of computer science are the C programming language, and being the co-inventor of the UNIX operating system. Almost everything you use that is running on anything that remotely resembles a computer is probably running software that was written in C. UNIX basically shaped the direction all operating systems that followed it took in their development. Everything Apple makes is running on top of a UNIX operating system (BSD). The vast majority of servers that power the internet are running a UNIX operating system. I don’t you can really overstate the importance of Ritchie’s contribution to the world we live in.



  1. Follow-up from Rob Pike.

  2. We run Solaris at work so I feel I’m pretty luck that I’m not just stuck with Windows. It’s annoying that some people see the command line and think it’s an antiquated system, like it’s DOS 3.0 or something.

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