Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie, better known as ‘dmr’ (for his email address) at Bell Labs passed away at the age of 70. He was a legendary computer scientist, a man whose contribution is intangibly present in everything we do with computers today. If it were not for him and the C programming language, the world of computer programming would have taken a completely different path. We would not have the flexible programming we enjoy today.
Dennis Ritchie passed away from ill health and news of his death first appeared through Robert Pike’s Google+ page.
Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson were the duo, famous for creating UNIX and the C programming language. Almost every programmer writes his first code in C and in the course of doing so comes across the “Kernighan and Ritchie” book on C. The book is nearly 30 years old (first published in 1978), but the lessons are as fresh today, as they were three decades ago. The book has been reprinted ever since, maintaining the same flavor. The thickness of the book will surprise you. However, people have claimed to find more useful things in the book than other bestsellers. Nevertheless, this is not what makes C legendary.
So, what is so great about the C language?
Before the birth of the C language, there was diversity in hardware. Every hardware device had its own fancy instruction set and you had to write assembly code following them. There was absolutely no portability of programs (programs written in one computing device would not on another).