Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie 1941-2011

Posted by in Gedanken, Informatik

Again and again people decide to honour and admire people because of several reasons.
Sometimes the admired ones are funny, beautiful or loved for their way of entertaining us like in the case of singers, starlets and whatever. The deception is that most people admire someone because of it’s fame. What a paradox. Most of the persons are gaining „fame“ not through hard work but with a handful of luck and nice genetic endowments – things you cannot influence.

Sometimes there are people that really deserve to be honoured for the discoveries and inventions they shared with us.
One of those persons left us last month.

Dennis Ritchie gave us one of the most important programming languages of the world: C. In C most of our operating systems are written. So everyone is sitting in front of a computer and state that they are an important part of personal or business life without knowing that one of the fathers of our computers is gone. Nearly every student hast to learn and to use C. In my case I had to learn C in my first semester at university. Before enroling, I learned programming Java. And everyone who deals with computer science knows that Java was created to have a certain similarity to C++, which is an extension of C.
I just have to turn around and look to my bookshelf – there you can find „The C Programming Language“ by Kernighan and Ritchie.
And you will find C everywhere. If you would try to count all the programs written in C or the bachelor thesis that came along with C-code, you would have to count your whole life. I’m sure there are as much programs as there are stars in the sky.

Dennis Ritchie was also involved in the development of UNIX – the stepping stone to our current BSD-operating systems like Linux and the Mac-computers.
Even if I don’t know much about Dennis Ritchie or the development of C, I’m sure about how important his work was vor everyone of us. I cannot express how grateful I am.
He changed our lifes and influenced it for eternity.

Thank you, Mr. Ritchie.