The Dennis Ritchie Effect

SUREN on October 13, 2011

In other words, the butterfly effect. That is what Dennis Ritchie's work in creating the Unix operating system and the C programming language did to the world. Most people don't know this; it set in motion a whole new industry around computing.

Count me among the legions of programmers who learned their ropes by implementing the recursive quicksort after being challenged by the bible for coders of my generation - "K&R", the popular moniker for The C Programming Language by Kernighan & Ritchie. Mobicip's co-founder, Pradeep, one of the best hackers I know, says, "I think this guy affected the lives of software engineers like us more than any other individual. His book was an inspiration to me and redefined the way I saw programming." And that is an understatement.

Rupert Goodwin writes on ZDNet, "Unix and C's direct and spiritual descendants cannot be counted, but include Linux, Android, Mac OS, iOS, JavaScript, C++, the genius of the internet and a world full of developers."  You can add your microwave, printer, TV, set-top box, smartphone, car and anything that has any firmware to the list. Enough said.

RIP Dennis.