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Thread: Dennis Ritchie RIP

  1. #1
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    Dennis Ritchie RIP

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/10/13/dennis_ritchie/

    Yes, Dennis Ritchie, co-father of UNIX and C has passed. There wouldn't be all the iStuff without him and his work.

    You know, it amazes me how "old" I'm getting. Old relative to the little skulls full of mush of course. Heck there are kids turning 21 who were born in 1990. 1990, that's just yesterday and it just blows my ind. I consider my '92 F-150 pickup to still be reasonably new. I've got an '86 truck and those kids probably look it at like I did at a neighbor who still used an old '55 Chevy truck in the 70s when I was a kid.

    Anyway, I doubt any of them even know who Dennis Ritchie was and what he did, and it seems just like yesterday to me.


    -Richard

  2. #2
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    Thanks for bringing the news, I took trouble to click and learn. Bell Labs eh? Enough said - even I know enough to be awed.

  3. #3
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    I just pulled out my copy of K&R (The C Programming Language by Kernighan and Ritchie pub. '78). It's a little worn (I'm careful with my books but this is something I went back to a few times). Someone that knew a lot more than I did back then told me that C was going to be an important language to know, so I picked up a copy and read it before I had access to a C compiler. It's a thin book as programming language texts go.

    Yes, I definitely remember Dennis Ritchie.
    Last edited by Van Rijn; 2011-Oct-15 at 05:29 AM.

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    I was one of those caught in the messy academic transition from Pascal to C. At the time, there was no introductory course to C, but the only course which used Pascal was the first semester computer programming course. We were just sort of expected to pick up C along the way.

    I quickly noticed that anything worth programming was worth programming in C. Unless it had to be programmed in Fortran...in which case it felt like it wasn't worth programming. (Fortran was my first programming language.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by IsaacKuo View Post
    (Fortran was my first programming language.)
    Mine too. I well remember the keypunch machines and the IBM 709.... like the stone age.
    "There are powers in this universe beyond anything you know. There is much you have to learn. Go to your homes. Go and give thought to the mysteries of the universe. I will leave you now, in peace." --Galaxy Being

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    I remember having to pick a up moderately large and flaky PC program (driving some specialised hardware) written in Pascal (and rather a lot of Assembler to plug the gaps). I rewrote the system in C (with almost no Assembler) (and it worked).

    I'm very sorry to hear of the passing of Dennis Ritchie, whose work made a fairly ordinary programmer much more productive.

  7. #7
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    Here's a further obituary from the NYT which gives a little more information about how he died:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/14/te...t-70.html?_r=1

    He was only 70, but in poor health from prostate cancer and heart disease. He lived alone and was found dead in his home.

  8. #8
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    I didn't know him personally, of course, but C was the language I decided to teach myself back in the 1980s, so I was very aware of him.

    Funnily enough I was in the loft this week looking for something and I came across my copy of K&R.

    I often say that C is the Esperanto of programming languages. If you know C, you know a lot of the concepts that you're going to come across when you begin to learn another language.

  9. #9
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    I knew some fortran and c. I knew who he was, and his legacy. Vaya con whatever he believed in.

  10. #10
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    It must have been somewhat satisfying to see his creations outlive him. RIP Dennis Ritchie!
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by slang View Post
    It must have been somewhat satisfying to see his creations outlive him.
    Huh?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Beardsley View Post
    Huh?
    C is still a very popular programming language. Several other currently used programming languages were at least partly derived from it. Unix is still a widely used operating system. Apple's OS is based on it. I know I would be glad to see the stuff I helped make still in use when I die.
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    I rather doubt you would, given that you're be dead. Which I guess was also the reason for Paul's reaction.
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    Maybe more accurately would be to know that your creations would survive you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HenrikOlsen View Post
    I rather doubt you would, given that you're be dead. Which I guess was also the reason for Paul's reaction.
    Yes it was.

    I don't think it's breaking the BAUT rule on religion to say I do not picture Ritchie sitting on a cloud and putting his harp aside for a minute to look down on Earth and sigh happily as he sees we're still using C and Unix.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhaedas View Post
    Maybe more accurately would be to know that your creations would survive you.
    Yes, I think it would be. I would add that it must be nice for one's loved ones when they get to see your work outliving you.

    Hey, this multiple quote thing is really good!

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    Quote Originally Posted by HenrikOlsen View Post
    I rather doubt you would, given that you're be dead. Which I guess was also the reason for Paul's reaction.
    Hmm. Oops. Yes, I did phrase that badly. I included a dangling pointer... Rhaedas fixed it for me, thanks.
    ____________
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    "Your right to hold an opinion is not being contested. Your expectation that it be taken seriously is." -- Jason Thompson
    "This is really very simple, but unfortunately it's very complicated." -- publius

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  17. #17
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    And the world moves on.

    I owe quite a bit to that guy..

    Thanks, Dennis Ritchie.


    -Peter

  18. #18
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    Broadcast obituary

    Dennis Ritchie's death was noted in this week's (BBC R4) Last Word obituary slot.
    Included recording of the presentation of 1998 National Medal of Technology, followed by a potted biography which mentioned his NY State origins, studying Physics at Harvard then following his father into Bell Labs. BBC staffer Bill Thompson put his achievements into context, crediting him with laying the foundations of the Digital Age with Unix and C. His colleague at Bell Labs, Prof Brian Kernaghan, put details on the story of the development of these, of course mentioning Ritchie's collaborator Ken Thompson and telling of the 'side project' nature of the work. Sir Tim Berners-Lee praised the elegance and economy of C and the usefulness of it in powering his world-wide-web. Contibutors also position this case of mortality against the recent demise of Steve Jobs and arrive at a wise settlement.
    Worth a listen.

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