Dennis M. Ritchie, the Creator of Programming Language “C” and Unix Dies (at age 70)

I’m not a GNU/Linux Kernel programmer (not a programmer of any kind actually) but I did give it a little go while I was young (I mean really young). So thanks to that very limited knowledge, I know that most of the codes in GNU/Linux Kernel (which is the heart of the OS) are coded using the extremely robust programming language known as “C”.

This is also the basic foundation of the Unix operating system. Although GNU/Linux is not Unix (since Bell-labs started making it a “proprietary system) but the OS is designed by using Unix as an example as far as I know. So in general, if it wasn’t for “C”, well  I don’t know how GNU/Linux would be “implemented”.

Anyhow the latest news is that, both creator/developer of “C” and the co-founder of Unix operating system, Mr Dennis Ritchie has passed away (on October 8, 2011), he was 70 years old. According to his brother, in the recent years he had troubles with prostate cancer and heart disease thus had a fragile health.

A P.H.D for Physics (from Harvard) and by following his farther’s steps, he too stepped into the Bell-Laboratories. You can find more about his work on his personal page on Bell-Labs and in his own words, not just C or Unix but he has contributed in areas such as:

“…things I’ve been involved with are available in HTML, PostScript or PDF. Some are papers of mine or by others, some are just interesting incunabula…”

Till the end of his life, he was single, unmarried it seems (at least from the data that I was able to get out of “mighty” Google). He was a bit of a loner, it seems.

Receiving the 2011 Japan Prize in May…

And it’s said that when he was awarded, the National Medal of Technology (from the US president Bill Clinton himself, 1999), he wanted as little publicity as possible.

Some people would say he was perhaps a bit publicity shy, but while having a look at some of his famous quotes, I think even if he was a bit shy of publicity, I think it came from a deeper understanding of life, in his own words…

“C is quirky, flawed, and an enormous success.”

So Mr. Dennis, “C” is like a book that I just can’t get by head around (I did my best though), but for what it (you actually) has done for us, thank you. So long.

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