questionsrip: dennis ritchie, 1941-2011


I started using UNIX back when it arrived on reel to reel tapes, and we loaded it on to a PDP 11/45, long, long ago. I learned to program in C from the original Kernighan and Ritchie book (that early version of C was always referred to as K&R C).

Dennis was a brilliant mind, and a good and decent human being.


Few people will understand the influence this man had in modern technology, but believe me it was greater than you can possibly imagine.


boingboing comment:
printf("Goodbye world.\n");

rivals all the steve jobs #toosoon comments


He truly helped to create the building blocks of modern programming and OSs, a great mind that revolutionized the world.

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As a young girl I remember meeting "Mr. Dennis" one Christmas Eve at Bell Labs in the late 1960s. As was Christmas tradition families of Bell Labs employees, would go to work on Christmas Eve. Children typed and create punch cards, and play games against the computer. My father who was an Electrical Engineer, referred to Mr. Dennis as one of the computer hot shots.

One year we played tic tac toe. Later Christmases there was a horse race game and I remember playing Hunt the Wumpus. One Christmas, I remember Dad taking me into a lab to show me the latest development from the "computer hot shots". There on the black monitor with orange letters was a train going around Christmas tree. Even my father, the electrical engineer of few words seemed entertained.

Years later I was taking a "C" class in college, my father said to me, "remember Mr. Dennis, from the labs at Christmas time when you were little?" He wrote that text book.

Thanks for the memories, Mr. Dennis.