I can’t even imagine that I would get a job if there would be no UNIX, no Linux, no Windows, no graphical application, no sound driver, no GUI based tools, no programming languages and still we would be struggling with binary and machine level language. There would not be computerized electronic gadgets no iPhone, iPad etc.
Thanks to Dennis Ritchie who not only founded C programming language and co-founded UNIX with Ken Thompson which made network sharing easier, but gave birth to many successor languages like C++, Java, Perl and many more high level languages but made our life more smooth and technologically advanced.
He died on 12th October 2011 at the age of 70. He was very famous respected computer hacker (computer genius literally). His contribution will always be remembered and implemented till we will use computer or computing based tools. He was also known as drm (Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie)
Very few people know that Dennis Ritchie is the author of the “C programming language- K&R style 1st and 2nd edition” . But his favorite language was Alef which is the main language of Plan9 O.S , developed by Ken Thompson and Bell Labs.
Ritchie graduated from Harvard University with degrees in physics and applied mathematics. In 1967, he began working at the Bell Labs Computing Sciences Research Center, and in 1968, he received a PhD from Harvard under the supervision of Patrick C. Fischer
His favorite quotations were:
- "UNIX is very simple, it just needs a genius to understand its simplicity."
- "C is quirky, flawed, and an enormous success”
There are many things to write about him and his contributions. I would just point out a few.
Just Imagine the world without Ritchie’s C. Software fields and all technical developments in our field would not be possible if he would not have developed C. Many many thanks to you Dennis for such a sophisticated and powerful language which is still at top 5 list of most demanding programming languages by IT world.
- C is the first language which is being taught to any First year engineering students.
- Unix based operating systems where it’s Linux, Mac OSx etc written in C only.
- All the embedded systems, mobile device based O.S. and tools are mostly written in C.
- Windows O.S. is having more than 60% code in C.
- Android (very famous now in mobile devices) and Symbian OS are written in C
- MySQL, Oracle, PHP, nmap, snort, Wireshark, Nessus (Network scanner tools), GIMP (free image editor), Apache HTTP server, are few famous tools written in C
- GTK+ a toolkit used for creating graphical user interfaces is written in c.
- C is suitable for writing programs which requires lots of computations. MATLAB and MATHEMATICIA are two such widely used software
Unix is an operating systems which was developed in 1969 by Ken Thompson, Brian Kernighan , Dennis Ritchie which was first written in assembly language , later in 1973 it was fully recoded in C.
Unix based servers are being used in almost every field, whether its workstation, personal computer, mobile devices, embedded systems etc. Fedora, Debian, Mac OS, Ubuntu etc are UNIX based O.S.
He was awarded with the following awards:
In 1983, Ritchie and Thompson jointly received the Turing Award for their development of generic operating systems theory and specifically for the implementation of the UNIX operating system. Ritchie's Turing Award lecture was titled "Reflections on Software Research".
IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal
In 1990, both Ritchie and Thompson received the IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), "for the origination of the UNIX operating system and the C programming language".
National Medal of Technology
On April 21, 1999, Thompson and Ritchie jointly received the National Medal of Technology of 1998 from President Bill Clinton for co-inventing the UNIX operating system and the C programming language which, according to the citation for the medal, "led to enormous advances in computer hardware, software, and networking systems and stimulated growth of an entire industry, thereby enhancing American leadership in the Information Age".
In 2011, Ritchie, along with Thompson, was awarded the Japan Prize for Information and Communications for his work in the development of Unix operating system.
Thanks Ritchie .Without you, we would not be able to think anything related to computing, O.S., Programming languages, mobile devices etc.
R.I.P. Dennis Ritchie.