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You can make a huge list of important people, inventors, scientists, explorers, painters, etc... but most people will only recognize the likes of Brad Pitt, Rihanna (who has at least 10 US number one hits vs 0 for Depeche Mode, go figure) or the current boy band.
Would anyone recognize Nikola Tesla? Or Isaac Newton? Or even heard of them or what they did?
Dennis Ritchie earned his place in history, but he wasn't in a boy band. Nor was Steve Jobs, but he got much more media attention during his live and lots of people use Apple products and while Steve was in charge Apple and Steve were basically the same thing.
Mention Ritchie and people don't know him. Mention C and it still doesn't ring a bell (pun intended), mention UNIX and some people may ask if that wasn't something like DOS where you had to type stuff.
More people know what Britney Spears had for breakfast than people know Dennis Ritchie.
And right here is why this excessive worship of all things Steve is ultimately ridiculous.
History remembers Tesla and Newton. They truly impacted culture and society. They advanced the human race.
In the future it will be Ritchie and Woz who are remembered. Jobs will be like Brittany Spears and Brad Pitt. No one will remember nor should they.
What do you call excessive worship of Steve? The video on the website of his own company, a year after his death, was more a trip-down-memory-lane than any kind of worshipping. Apart from that I don't know anyone who has a Steve tattoo or do I know of any Steve worshipping groups.
There are probably some that do worship Steve, but there are a number of strange people in this world. Had there been no Steve they would have picked someone else.
Dennis Ritchie will go down in computing history. Woz too, but only in a very small role. What did he do after the Apple I and II? Segway polo and a celebrity dancing show. He didn't come back to Apple (well, technically he never left as he's still on the payroll), saved it and made it in a huge profitable company.
If you talk about computer history from the 70's to the first decade of this century there is no way around Steve Jobs or Bill Gates with lesser roles, but important ones, for Jack Tramiel and Sir Clive Sinclair for example.
Whatever you think of Steve and Apple or Bill Gates and Microsoft, their products, their way of doing business, they played a mayor role the last couple of decades. They can not be forgotten unless you forget these decades, which is hard to do considering the enormous progress that has happened.
We're still talking about Steve. Do we ever talk about Michael Dell or any of the recent HP CEOs? And we only talk about Woz when he says something that the media spreads around.
Dennis Ritchie probably deserves more recognition, because of C and UNIX, two things that still play a mayor role in computing today which is quite a thing in the IT world where things move fast and become obsolete even faster sometimes.
But alas for Dennis C and UNIX and things that are hidden from the general public who do see iMacs, iPods, iPhones and iPads. You can't see that their inner workings can be traced back to Dennis, but you can see the Apple logo.
Now I like history and credit, so I think it would be very cool if Apple recognized people like Dennis, even if it's some tucked away about box.
How cool is it to know you're using a modern piece of hardware, running modern software, with roots all the way back to the late 60's? It's something you and I know, but also easy to forget.