I was saddened to learn Thursday of Dennis Ritchie’s passing this past weekend.
The computer geeks already know who he was and what he created. He’s the co-inventor of the UNIX operating system and the C programming language. Without those two vital things, modern computing would not exist in the fashion it does today.
I’m sure somebody somewhere has already created a nifty infographic highlighting what this means, but off the top of my head:
These were either descended directly from or were inspired by or resulted as a direct benefit of UNIX: subdirectories, shell programming, scalability, byte oriented filesystems, regex, code libraries, CP/M, MS-DOS, BSD, single user computers, Sun Microsystems, Bill Joy, vi, NFS, SunOS, Solaris, System V, API standards, man pages, free software, GNU, open source, Linux, Minix, X11, GUI, MachOS, microkernel architecture, NeXT, web server, web browser, NCSA Mosaic, Netscape, Spyglass, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Postscript, PDF, Mac OS X, iOS, iPod, iPad, Android, Plan 9, /proc, distributed computing, UTF ···
I’m sure you can add your own list of spiritual children of Dennis Ritchie’s pioneering work. I don’t know that it’s possible to overstate the impact that Dennis Ritchie had on modern computing.