Farewall to Dennis Ritchie

Dennis Ritchie died on October 12, 2011. For those of you unfamiliar with Dennis Ritchie, he wrote Unix in assembly language, invented the C programming language, and re-wrote Unix in C.

Unix History

Unix History

Click on the above image, and you will see what a tremendous impact Dennis Ritchie was. To name a few companies and institutions that have integral business based on Dennis Ritchie’s Unix work: HP, IBM, Oracle (via Sun’s acquisition), AT&T, and Apple. No small potatoes here. As for his C work, the list is brief: every person and company that uses technology directly or indirectly. Hmmm. That’s everyone on Earth!

How can this happen? The C language was never licensed as “intellectual property.” Anyone could implement C without having to pay royalties. It is this freedom that catches on, and we have seen in not only languages but in operating systems and applications. Ironically, new languages that are licensed are written in C!

Thank you Dennis Ritchie for your skill and intuition. Your contributions will be long lasting, your ideas a fixture.

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