Friday, October 14, 2011

The Sad demise of creator

Linus Torvalds wrote in coding style for Linux kernel that Kernighan and Ritchie are prophets and further elaborated that:

"but all right-thinking people know that (a) K&R are _right_ and (b) K&R are right.".
This was in reference to one true brace coding style.
But the influence of Dennis Ritchie is much more that just coding style. He is the father of C language and Co-Father of Unix operating system.

Here is how I think the conversation between Ritchie and Thompson would have been
"Let's write UNIX, Oh see I have written C. Oh then shall we rewrite the UNIX in C"

But today is a very sad day and a sad day indeed. The prophet has passed away. The creator of two of the greatest software products in the history of computing has passed away. 
Every modern programming language is derived from C, may it be C++, Java, C#, perl, python. C is pretty much the first thing anyone will learn to understand structured programming. The efficient nature of C makes it ideal candidate for writing operating systems and low level code. I can go on and on about the beauty of language and its applications. 
Ritchie gifted us with this language of programming poetry, the language which is so simple and elegant yet so powerful and beastly. 
His other gift is a modern functional operating system. Pretty much most of the operating system today owes it to Unix for their fundamental concepts and theory. Has there never been a unix, there would never been a Macintosh or Linux for that matter. 
Linux community is heavily indebted to Ritchie for creating these two great software and probably its one of the reason why most people in community is mourning his death. 
His contribution to computing is immense, entire modern computing is standing on his shoulders. His contribution to The world is not fancy or tangible which a lot of people can understand, but he created pillars on which entire building of software infrastructure is standing. He can be thought as Issac Newton of computing, may be in coming times he will be revered but in these times people are not as appreciative of Ritchie as  the world was to Newton.
 Ritchie will be honoured by writing more code in C language and use of Unix in our lives. His name may not be taken everyday by people, but his creation will benefit mankind forever. 
Thank you DMR for doing this great service to mankind.