Tag Archives: eulogy

They said it couldn’t be done, and he did it

From a great post about Dennis Ritchie, that puts the magnitude of his contribution in perspective:

… A high-level, portable, efficient systems programming language.

How silly. Everyone knew it couldn’t be done.

C is a poster child for why it’s essential to keep those people who know a thing can’t be done from bothering the people who are doing it. (And keep them out of the way while the same inventors, being anything but lazy and always in search of new problems to conquer, go on to use the world’s first portable and efficient programming language to build the world’s first portable operating system, not knowing that was impossible too.)

 

RIP Dennis Ritchie

The man that invented the C programming language and co-invented UNIX, has passed. When you think about impacts of individuals on the world, it’s hard to find people that had quite the same impact.

C issued in the era of portable computer programs, ones that could compile on multiple types of servers, which was really a new concept at the time. UNIX issued in the era of network connected servers, using commodity protocols. Without UNIX the ARPANET project, which became the internet, would not have succeeded.