Dennis Ritchie (1941 – 2011)

Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie invented the C Programming language and together with Ken Thompson co-created the UNIX operating system at Bell Labs. Ritchie co-authored the book “The C Programming Language” together with Brian Kernighan and is the “R” in “K&R”.

C is until today the language of choice for systems programmers who want to get the fastest performance from operating systems, compilers and other programs. It’s a small, clean and simple language which lets you get close to the machine, without getting tied up in the machine.

Thompson and Ritchie used C to write the UNIX operating system. Both C and UNIX were monumental building blocks for the later BSD and Linux variants (as well as for iOS and Android).

Fun Facts:

  • Ritchie was supposed to be solving the problems of the US telephone networks during his long tenure as a research scientist, instead Ritchie was hiding in the shadows of Bell Labs and designed C.
  • Google’s success in the 21st century is partly due to the fact that Google allows its developers to function in the spirit of Ritchie and his peers with their 20% projects and their Labs products that slowly metamorphose into mainstream tools.

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