Linked by Eugenia Loli on Thu 13th Oct 2011 00:28 UTC
General Unix Twitter is currently buzzing about the death of Dennis Ritchie, the visionary creator of UNIX and C, among other things. We hope it's just a false rumor. Story developing, we will be updating. Update: Unfortunately, it seems to be confirmed. Rob Pike, co-creator of the Plan 9 and Inferno OSes, who has worked with Ritchie in the past, and he's currently working for Google's GO language, posted this.
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RE[4]: horrible to hear
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 13th Oct 2011 06:58 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: horrible to hear"
Thom_Holwerda
Member since:
2005-06-29

sadly, probably because it's not sensational enough. ;)


Invent the C programming language and UNIX, then die: nobody gives a shit.

Market other people's technologies to rich white kids, then die: HE WAS LIKE FCUKING EINSTEIN ZOMG EDISON WTFBBQ.

I don't want to live on this planet any more.

Reply Parent Score: 30

RE[5]: horrible to hear
by Almafeta on Thu 13th Oct 2011 07:56 in reply to "RE[4]: horrible to hear"
Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

Invent the C programming language and UNIX, then die: nobody gives a shit.

Market other people's technologies to rich white kids, then die: HE WAS LIKE FCUKING EINSTEIN ZOMG EDISON WTFBBQ.

I don't want to live on this planet any more.


You're hearing the grief for Steve Jobs because Richie did his job well and well enough. That in and of itself is a fitting tribute to his legacy.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[6]: horrible to hear
by Gone fishing on Thu 13th Oct 2011 08:20 in reply to "RE[5]: horrible to hear"
Gone fishing Member since:
2006-02-22

We are comparing Dennis Ritchie and Steve Jobs for the arbitrary reason they died at almost the same time - this is a mistake.

I know as a Linux and a FreeBSD user and a computer user that I am very grateful for the contributions of Dennis Ritchie. I hope it is comfort to his family that so many people are grateful for his contributions to computing.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[5]: horrible to hear
by MacTO on Thu 13th Oct 2011 08:04 in reply to "RE[4]: horrible to hear"
MacTO Member since:
2006-09-21

In all likelihood, Jobs will be virtually forgotten twenty years from now. A hundred years from now, Ritchie will be remembered. The reason is simple: historians have a tendency to choose the significant figures and ignore the rest. Ritchie was a significant figure because he helped to define programming languages and operating systems. In effect, he was a 'nation builder.' Yet Jobs was more of a pop culture icon. His real contributions were in the 1970's and 1980's when he helped to build a business that popularized computers. But the reality is that there were hundreds of people waiting to step up and take his place. You can't say the same thing for Ritchie.

Reply Parent Score: 15

RE[6]: horrible to hear
by Kebabbert on Thu 13th Oct 2011 08:15 in reply to "RE[5]: horrible to hear"
Kebabbert Member since:
2007-07-27

In all likelihood, Jobs will be virtually forgotten twenty years from now. A hundred years from now, Ritchie will be remembered. The reason is simple: historians have a tendency to choose the significant figures and ignore the rest. Ritchie was a significant figure because he helped to define programming languages and operating systems. In effect, he was a 'nation builder.' Yet Jobs was more of a pop culture icon. His real contributions were in the 1970's and 1980's when he helped to build a business that popularized computers. But the reality is that there were hundreds of people waiting to step up and take his place. You can't say the same thing for Ritchie.

It makes sense.

There are lot of big business men back in the 19th century. Who remembers them? No one. But many have heard about Cantor (19th), Einstein (20th century), etc. The scientists.

Who know about big business 2000 years ago? Who know about Pythagoras who lived 2000 years ago?


If you discover a new important scientific discovery, you will be remembered even 1000s of years later.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[6]: horrible to hear
by steve_s on Thu 13th Oct 2011 11:30 in reply to "RE[5]: horrible to hear"
steve_s Member since:
2006-01-16

Only time will tell how history judges these two men, and personally I find it difficult to judge the comparative contributions of the two.

My feeling is that you are undervaluing the contributions that Jobs made. Whilst they began in the 70s and 80s, they continued through right up until he died. The value of bringing easy to use, high technology, mass-market products like the Apple ][, Mac, iPod, iPhone, and iPad to the market should not be underestimated. In virtually every one of those product examples the prevailing wisdom was that it couldn't be done.

In contrast Ritchie's contributions of C and UNIX were done before Steve Jobs' career began. Their value is not to be underestimated, since they serve as valuable foundations for much of what has followed.

Whilst you say that there were others waiting to step up and take the place of Jobs at his rise, the same can also be said of Ritchie. Sure, the industry was younger with less people involved so fewer could have taken his place, but there were other languages besides C, and Ritchie was one member of a team that produced Unix.

Let's face it - neither man is really well known outside of geeky circles. There are plenty of people, even those that own iPhones, that didn't know who Steve Jobs was. Far fewer people have heard of Dennis Ritchie - it is only geeks that have heard of him, and most only know him because his name is on the cover of the C book.

The fact is that both men have their place. They will both be missed. This is not a competition.

Reply Parent Score: 9

RE[6]: horrible to hear
by Laurence on Thu 13th Oct 2011 11:34 in reply to "RE[5]: horrible to hear"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

In all likelihood, Jobs will be virtually forgotten twenty years from now. A hundred years from now, Ritchie will be remembered. The reason is simple: historians have a tendency to choose the significant figures and ignore the rest. Ritchie was a significant figure because he helped to define programming languages and operating systems. In effect, he was a 'nation builder.' Yet Jobs was more of a pop culture icon. His real contributions were in the 1970's and 1980's when he helped to build a business that popularized computers. But the reality is that there were hundreds of people waiting to step up and take his place. You can't say the same thing for Ritchie.


That comment was true for a time when education was a luxury so records were kept by the learned.

However these days everything we say is recorded and saved. So the millions of transcripts from the masses echoing Steve Jobs's name will totally drown the few tributes to Dennis Ritchie from us geeks.

The information age is a double edged sward. ;)

Reply Parent Score: 3

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

I saw one post comparing the death of Mr Jobs to the death of President Kennedy.

A man who has had cancer for a decade and was really good at selling blinky lights and branding compared to a US president who died suddenly and violently infront of millions of whitnesses and who's murder never has been fully solved.

You want to talk about blowing things out of preportion.

Yeah, stadly, this is just the passing of someone who gave us modern computing and one of the most popular programming languages.. no biggie..

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[5]: horrible to hear
by tupp on Thu 13th Oct 2011 17:18 in reply to "RE[4]: horrible to hear"
tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

Steve Jobs dies and then Dennis Ritchie dies.

Yet another example of the *nix camp copying Apple!

Reply Parent Score: 6