Person who founded C and UNIX (Dennis Ritchie) is no more

Dennis RitchieI 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 K&R C by Ritchieif 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. 
  • C is the mother of all higher level languages and still I remember that whatever language we study, we compare it with C syntax first.  PHP, Perl, C#, C++, Python, JavaScript, Java are some influenced programming languages through C.
  • 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
  • Firefox is  written using C,C++, JavaScript.

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:

Turing Award

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

National Medal of TechnologyOn 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".

Japan Prize

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.


Sanjeev Jaiswal

He loves web programming and security and co-founder of Alien Coders. He usually shares and helps engineering students and IT professionals in academics and jobs. An avid reader and quick learner.

117 thoughts on “Person who founded C and UNIX (Dennis Ritchie) is no more

    • October 28, 2014 at 10:43 pm

      Thanks Saurabh for reading old but informative blog. 🙂
      Reader’s feedback is what is our price. We are hungry for praise and feedback to make ourselves better in our domain.


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