Dennis Ritchie, Co-creator of C and UNIX, has passed away

Well, damn. It’s like we can’t win. First we lose Steve Jobs, a man who had an immense influence every end user or media consumer, whether you used his stuff directly or you used something that borrowed from it.

Now we lose one of the men who literally shook the foundations of computing.

Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson worked at Bell Labs (back when that was a Very Good Thing(tm)) and over the course of a few years, invented the C programming language (which you probably know from, well, nearly everything), and UNIX (which you might know from, well, everything else).

Probably some people will ascribe some kind of statistical significance to Dennis Ritchie dying so soon after Steve Jobs (in fact, some idiot already made a joke about it), but the truth of the matter is that a lot of people die every day, and sometimes, we know more than one of them. It’s just hard on a community like ours, because unlike much of common culture, we venerate our elder statesmen (and women [1] [2]).

When we lose anyone who has touched as many lives as these people, we should take a minute to be thankful for what they gave us, and how lucky we are to have been able to share our time with them, little though it might have been.

  • Very sad indeed….

    I’ve worked with people that had one connection or another with Bell Labs from back in its day. The stories were impressive and I’m yet to see anything today that truly compares.

  • John G

    Like so many others, I use a Mac and program in C (not one of those new fangled variants, I still use real C). It’s almost like losing a relative.

  • Why we learn how important was a person to humanity after he/she passed away ?