Linked by David Adams on Mon 17th Oct 2011 17:28 UTC, submitted by twitterfire
General Unix The groundbreaking work he did with Ken Thompson led to the operating system behind everything from set-top boxes to the iPhone, but who sings the praises of the late Dennis Ritchie?
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Sad to hear.
by rcsteiner on Wed 19th Oct 2011 01:48 UTC
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Sad to hear that someone with the vision to create UNIX has passed away. My comments about C and C syntax are best left for another time.

I didn't encounter UNIX in any form until 1992 after I was laid off from my second programming job. We used a wide variety of OSes in the BSCS program I went through in the early and mid 80's ... VMS, OS1100, KRONOS and NOS, PC-DOS, and even MacOS, but not UNIX. Languages we learned ranged from various mainframe and PC assembly languages to Pascal, F77, and ALGOL, but no C. It simply hadn't become that important in our part of the country.

That said, the creation of a portable OS that could be run on a variety of hardware platforms was a major achievement. Maybe not that hard to do from an ivory tower perspective, but he and Ken Thompson actually *did* it. They walked the walk, and the platform they created became a power in the computing world, and a lingua franca of sorts.

Non-portable operating systems tend to be heavily proprietary. UNIX was not, and Linux and the BSDs were a natural progression. We owe a lot to the existence of UNIX, I think, despite its arguable faults. It works.

Edited 2011-10-19 01:49 UTC

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