On Oct. 12, Dennis Ritchie died at the age of 70. To many people, this event went unnoticed, as his death came exactly a week after the Apple co-founder Steve Jobs passed away.
But to those in the computer world, we mourned, because Dennis Ritchie changed the world.
In the 1970s, Ritchie worked at Bell Labs, and he developed the C programming language and helped develop Unix.
To those not in the computer industry, let me explain this in simple terms. Microsoft uses C to write the Windows operating system. Microsoft Windows provides Unix APIs for developers to use. Jobs brought Unix to Apple, and all current day Apple products run a Unix core, with their GUI on top. Linux is a derivative of Unix, written by Torval Linus and given away for free.
Whether or not you are using a desktop computer, laptop, netbook, tablet, or smart phone, the operating system would not exist as is without Dennis Ritchie.
After Jobs died, California Gov. Jerry Brown Oct. 16 to be Steve Jobs day in the state. Technology mogul Tim O'Reilly took it upon himself to declare last Sunday, Oct. 30, as Dennis Ritchie Day since no one else did.
So raise a glass or bow your head, but I urge you to take a moment today to honor Dennis Ritchie, a quiet man who changed the world.
If you want to learn more about Dennis Ritchie, I suggest reading the following web pages: