After a long illness, Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie, father of Unix and an esteemed computer scientist, died last weekend at the age of 70.
Ritchie, also known as “dmr”, is best know for creating the C programming language as well as being instrumental in the development of UNIX along with Ken Thompson.
Today, C remains the second most popular programming language in the world (or at least the language in which the second most lines of code have been written), and ushered in C++ and Java; while the pair’s work on Unix led to, among other things, Linus Torvalds’ Linux. The work has without a doubt made Ritchie one of the most important, if not under-recognized, engineers of the modern era.
His work, specifically in relation to UNIX, led to him becoming a joint recipient of the Turing Award with Ken Thompson in 1983, as well as a recipient of the National Medal of Technology in 1998 from then-president Bill Clinton.