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[6]: horrible to hear
by Laurence on Thu 13th Oct 2011 11:34 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: horrible to hear"
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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

RE[7]: horrible to hear
by MacTO on Thu 13th Oct 2011 15:40 in reply to "RE[6]: horrible to hear"
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I think that you will find it equally true today. Every age creates far more information that it can handle. A lot of that information ends up destroyed. A lot more ends up being ignored by future generations.

What matters though is what we choose to pass on to successive generations. I think that Ritchie has a real opportunity to be passed on no matter how obscure he may be today. Perhaps it will only be in textbooks of the trade, but that is something. And it will be because he contributed to foundational knowledge.

Jobs is certainly a bigger figure today, and he made some big contributions. But those contributions were in the 80's when Apple was first on the scene and defined markets. So if Jobs is remembered, and I think that is a big if, it will be as part of Jobs & Wozniak. (The same goes for Woz, alas. If he's remembered it will be as Jobs & Wozniak too.)

Reply Parent Score: 2