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Posted Oct. 12, 2011   62649 views

RIP, Dennis Ritchie, Father of Unix and C

We lost a tech giant today. Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie, co-creator of Unix and the C programming language with Ken Thompson, has passed away at the age of 70. Ritchie has made a tremendous amount of contribution to the computer industry, directly and indirectly affecting (improving) the lives of most people in the world, whether you know it or not.

I am very fond of the C programming language. Despite all its flaws, I love the simplicity of C, and the raw power it gives me. And his book "The C Programming Language" (co-authored with Brian Kernighan) truly set a standard for excellence. I remember, right after I finished reading the book in my freshman year, I gained a sense of invincibility - that there would be no language too hard to learn, no program too difficult to write. Of course, naïveté was in play then, but it was nonetheless an eye opener, and I loved what I saw.

Here's my tribute to the great Dennis Ritchie, a word cloud made of words from the book "The C Programming Language." Not just a few paragraphs, but words from the entire book. The top 10 most frequent words are function, declaration, expression, character, pointer, return, int, program, operator, and value. The top word, function, appears a total of 717 times. Those who have read the book would not be surprised by this list, as Kernighan and Ritchie wasted no time on fluff, but instead focused on getting the concepts across.

RIP, Dennis Ritchie.