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October 12, 2011 AT 11:51 pm

Dennis Ritchie – ‘C’ programming language, co-development of the UNIX operating system…

Dennis Macalistair Ritchie

Dennis Ritchie.

Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie (username: dmr, September 9, 1941 — October 9, 2011) was an American computer scientist notable for developing C and for having influence on other programming languages, as well as operating systems such as Multics and Unix. He received the Turing Award in 1983 and the National Medal of Technology 1998 on April 21, 1999. Ritchie was the head of Lucent Technologies System Software Research Department when he retired in 2007.

Ritchie is best known as the creator of the C programming language and a key developer of the Unix operating system, and as co-author of the definitive book on C, The C Programming Language, commonly referred to as K&R (in reference to the authors Kernighan and Ritchie).

Ritchie’s invention of C and his role in the development of Unix alongside Ken Thompson have placed him as an important pioneer of modern computing.

The C language is still widely used today in application and operating system development, and its influence is seen in most modern programming languages. Unix has also been influential, establishing concepts and principles that are now well-established precepts of computing.

Ritchie was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1988 for “development of the ‘C’ programming language and for co-development of the UNIX operating system.

“UNIX is basically a simple operating system, but you have to be a genius to understand the simplicity.” – Dennis Ritchie


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5 Comments

  1. So apparently he pasted away this last weekend? I dont see any mentions of this in the article!

  2. I’ve had the K&R white book on my shelf for at least 20 years. To me, dmr’s passing is as big a deal as Jobs’.

  3. Say it ain’t so…

    For all of us who learned “C” with that thin, little, white K&R book, that’s a sad piece of news.

  4. > To me, dmr’s passing is as big a deal
    bigger.

  5. I was lucky enough to see Mr. Ritchie give a talk at Bell Labs when I was 14, and I’ve known and worked with several of his colleagues and friends. Nobody ever had anything but nice things to say about him: he was humble, polite and a genuinely warm person.

    The computing world has lost a giant — one of the architects of our modern age — and I have lost a personal hero.

    Rest in Peace, DMR.

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