back to article C and Unix pioneer Dennis Ritchie reported dead

C programming language inventor Dennis Ritchie is reported to have died. Rob Pike, a Google engineer and former colleague of Ritchie, said on Google+ that the 70-year-old, who was a founding developer of Unix and known as dmr, died at home over the weekend after a long illness. At the time of writing, Ritchie's web page on the …

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R.I.P. Dennis

I encounter your work every day.

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man man

recurse ad infinitum.

I hope this helps.

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Unhappy

Very little debate needed about Dennis' contribution to IT,...

"massive"

printf("hello, afterworld\n");

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I once drove by the AT&T building in Murray Hill.

and the by-line should have said: system("init 6");

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Unhappy

A sad day

A very, very important man, whose work has been fundamentally important in so many ways. It's even sadder that his passing will go largely unnoticed by many.

Rest in peace, Dennis.

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Unhappy

RIP dmr

main( )

{

printf("goodbye, world");

}

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K&R

Don't forget that he also co-wrote "The C Programming Language" which I still consider the gold standard in how to write a clear and yet concise book about a programming language.

Of course some of that is simply a reflection on the simplicity of C itself, but it was the first non-BASIC programming book I read and I have yet to read a more clearly written (and short) programming book that is not a "nutshell" style reference.

It's also a great demonstration of why nerds need to be good communicators.

For me personally this is a far more significant passing than Jobs, and I say that as an Apple user.

It's a shame that so few people (including in the industry) understand how much we owe to the old guard of early software pioneers, many of whom are still kicking around.

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Well said

I read the C Programming Language 2nd Ed cover to cover on a number of occasions. It is as you say an excellent book.

Then I bought Soustroup's C++ Programming Language expecting more of the same. Oh dear.

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I quite agree

Goldberg & Robson's Smalltalk-80 book is the only other thing I can think of that even comes close, but K&R is the gold standard. Ritchie did tremendous work bringing elegance to the internal structure and organisation of computer systems and deserves every compliment already posted here and a million more.

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Anonymous Coward

@Mr Brush

that would be "Stroustrup". Hardly the time and place to go bragging about your lack of reading ability and comphrension skills, now is it?

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Anonymous Coward

Oh dear indeed.

While I use C++ a bit more because some of it features I'd keenly miss for those programs that benefit from them, the language is just a bit too large to fit in an elegant book. I like that its warts and quirks turn out to have (often deep, tricky, or obscure but most always) technical reasons, but there's something to be said for a less complex and much more elegantly describable language, too. So I do convert things that need no more than C so that a C compiler is all they need. And yes, my "dot h" can all be fed to a C compiler, too.

Tangentially, with the proliferation of integrated development environments and general reliance on graphical user interfaces, computer- and thus also programming language books have tended to include lots of screenshots, exploding the books and making them that much more vulnerable to version changes. IE this generates lots of "virtual dead weight" in computer related books. There are also quite a lot of titles now-a-days, but very few genuine gems.

C is by no means perfect, but it did strike a chord somehow, as does the book describing it. Something to remember, over a glass, but also as something to strive for.

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FAIL

Speaking of Old School

comphrension

Ah, grammar nazi making a typo. As classic as C. Well, almost....

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Anonymous Coward

It's a fucking typo

What is wrong with you people?

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Headmaster

Comphrension?

Muphry has been sighted!

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Headmaster

:-D

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Meh

Re: Typo

I'm surpised that so many technical people on this site make so many typographical mistakes - doesn't bode well for their software! I can only assume that they are in a rush and bash out a quick reply to a post. <grumpy done />

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Typos

Much as I hate typos I struggle myself to type coherently using this ridiculous touchscreen on my phone.

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Pint

Typist

Those of us who can type at significant speeds know that windows is legendary for "losing" characters while it stalls momentarily to manage itself.

Also, you will find many of the transposition and other errors are a direct result of the electrical path length differences between the right & left hand. Yes, your brain sent the messages in the right sequence, no they arrived out of order.

As for DMR - one of the more significant figures of my age. Another sad loss for our industry. Who cannot recognise that big blue C? No one I know!

Have one for me up there!

philip

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Very much agree. As significant as Steve Jobs was in IT, Dennis Ritchie's impact was much deeper and wide-reaching.

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This post has been deleted by its author

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free *dmr;

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Headmaster

delete [] dmr; // huh?

/* one of a kind, pure C surely? */

free(dmr);

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free(dmr);

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A bit hasty to reclaim space...

...shouldn't we just content ourselves with ensuring his termination was done correctly:

dmr\0

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Unhappy

:(

Sad news indeed.

No doubt his passing wil be overshadowed by the beatification of Pope Jobs I.

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Anonymous Coward

Totally unnecessary and disrespectful to the memory of both men. That the El Reg mods thought that this was acceptable a distinct lack of respect on their part too.

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Thumb Down

Whilst I largely agree with your first sentiment, I cannot agree with second. Firstly, the Reg mods doubtless have far, far better things to be doing with their time that acting as sentiment police or niceneess filters. Secondly can you even begin to imagine the uproar on these boards if people discovered that that sort of comment was being censored ?

You may not like what people have to say here, but if you need a nanny to prevent you from hearing it, then can I suggest China or Saudi Arabia?

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Borderline unnecessary

But completely true. Given the mainstream coverage of Jobs you'd think he could walk on water...

One man created tools, and the other man created trinkets. Neither was evil, both will be missed. Dennis Ritchie will be missed by far fewer people though, despite having a greater effect. Hardly anyone you see in the street will know his name, let alone his accomplishments. Nobody will make a movie of his life.

RIP, Dennis. My sympathies to his family and friends.

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Flame

Dennis Ritchie

Given the media coverage of Jobs, you'd think he invented boolean logic. Yet Ritchie has much, much, much more to do with modern OS and programming, yet he is being overshadowed by the iCult.

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Anonymous Coward

Yep, just like when Ken Olsen passed.

The man who built the company that made the machines that Ritchie used.

The guys at at good old DEC changed the world just as much as and (probably more) than Jobs and Apple ever did.

These were the guys that changed the way every company in the world worked, rather than just provide toys to the masses.

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Both are related

You know, it was Steve Jobs who brought down UNIX (yes, OS X is still UNIX and even certified) and Objective C (still c) to hands of general public.

Years ago, people imagined #login on a green monitor when you said UNIX, now some ordinary, a bit technically curious say "I heard this stability comes from the fact that it is UNIX with a nice interface."

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Unhappy

RIP

Sad times ... a real pioneer.

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Reported dead?

So, is he, or is he not?

Damn! Another of the good ones gone. Requiescat In Pace, Ritchie.

-dZ.

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void main() {

break;

}

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Stop

err.. no.

int main()...

Or if you really want to be old school just:

main()

But this practice is deprecated these days.

Please.. no void main () stuff. Probably won't make him turn in his grave, but I reckon you owe it to this guy not to do this :P Although in fairness, in some conditions (compiler, OS, embedded) it may not matter. But fix main up the way it's meant to be.

And... one sloppy habit may mean others. Find these, and get rid of them, you'll be better for it.

RIP Ritchie. I may not have met him, but I learnt a lot from him and his like. Those 3 lads (or more at Bell labs!) did more than we can probably ever appreciate.

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Anonymous Coward

Shouldn't it be

int main(int argc, char *argv[])

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Arguments

One can leave out the arguments (it is acceptable if one is not using them, and the OP did not intend to) but most compilers will grumble about a void main declaration.

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As I'm sure many other alpha nerds will point out

UNIX was deved on a PDP-7, then moved to a PDP-11.

RIP dmr

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Anonymous Coward

Sad News

It was almost by chance that I found myself sitting in front of a Unix system and a shelf of manuals. For the first few months, I didn't realise that I was teaching myself the career that I would follow for the rest of my working life.

With no previous computing background, I took to Unix, its philosophy, methods, and even the language of its documentation. This was computing, not marketing.

The masses will probably never even recognise the name. The true innovators pass unnoticed.

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Unhappy

Very sad news.

I've read so much about the man's history and achievements and still rank "The C Programming Language" as in my top 2 tech books of all time, jostling for top spot with Stevens' "TCP/IP Illustrated, Volume 1 - The Protocols".

A TRUE pioneer and innovator. Pretty much personifies those words, in fact.

Rest in peace Dennis.

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"Unix paved the way for many, many operating systems, including Linux."

To put it mildly. In fact most operating systems are just versions of Unix, or thinly disguised versions. Linux, Android, OSX. And most embedded systems, at least in my house, routers, NASes, and so on, run versions of Unix.

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WTF?

And by some logic that is too bureaucratic for me to follow, Windows NT was certified as a Unix system. Certainly the got BSD's IP code ...

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Anonymous Coward

semantics antics

ISTR it was the "posix subsystem" of wnt that got certified, which may or may not still be supported, but certainly wasn't easily accessible (required to be separately installed? don't recall, but it was and is simpler to slap on cygwin or use mingw or something) and didn't come with much of any graphics support. Bit of a dead ducky in that pond. But hey, it could be certified and that's marketeering winings* right there. Windows NT was also designed by a well-known unix hater**, and that's clearly noticeable.

While we're talking defining influences, Unix itself was a third system after multics and its second system effect ailments, so in a sense it started out as a "3.0", to lasting success. Which is curious, seeing the long history of antagonism, lawsuits, and infighting. But let's not dwell on that today, eh. It did get a couple things very right and the result is useful to this day.

* typo left in.

** look it up if you don't believe me

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Yeah, I'd forgotten about Cutler. Thanks for the reminder.

I do remember pinging a fresh out-of-the-carton NT box when we were setting up servers for a new project and spending more than a minute wondering why I kept finding some BSD server when we had no BSD servers, only Solaris, AIX, and the new NT box.

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dmr RIP

main () {

printf("Goodbye World");

}

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at my desk with tears in my eyes

this is sad news indeed,

c (and unix) genuinely changed my life, my k&r, now battered and old, was the spark that led to two decades of the most fun i've ever had working, plus i got paid for it

i'll be raising a glass to his memory

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Yag
Unhappy

Sic transit...

It sadden me to learn the demise of one of the father of modern computing science, Dennis Ritchie, inventor of the C language and one of the founder of Unix system.

He belonged to this generation of forerunners, he was what we can called a computer genius, and he was really able to write three lines of code without having two compilation errors.

He was one of those people who built their reputation of visionary thanks to their technical skills, and not only on their abilities of crushing their competitors, terrorize their underlings and screw their dummy customers.

A computer scientist who never cared about the visual appearance of C, or how many hours are needed for a chineese factory worker for building an UNIX machine.

Someone who helped the humanity to go forward, and who invented things that we could not live without.

Someone that no one cares about...

(Original by Asp Explorer)

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Anonymous Coward

"he was really able to write three lines of code without having two compilation errors"

To be fair, it's pretty hard work coercing a compilation error out of a K&R C compiler.

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"To be fair, it's pretty hard work coercing a compilation error out of a K&R C compiler."

Apparently you've never worked with Accenture/Andersen ...

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Unhappy

RIP

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