live in the era of IT and don’t know how contemporary technologies came
to us, but all modern inventions are connected somehow with Dennis
MacAlistair Ritchie, the creator of UNIX operating system and C
programming language. Have you ever heard about him? No? So, I am going
to tell you about this great man.
Ritchie was born in New York and graduated from Harvard University with
degrees in Physics and Applied Mathematics. After graduation Ritchie
found out that he was more interested in IT than in Physics. He started
his career in Bell Labs as one of the main developers of UNIX OS.
Meanwhile, Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson were working on the
programming language for UNIX system and by 1973 they created C.
had an excellent development prospect, because it could work on
different computer platforms and its kernel was programmed using C,
which became really potent programming language. Many commercial
vendors, universities, and non-profit organizations started using UNIX
and customized it. Eventually, the development of UNIX split into
various branches of UNIX-like systems. One of these branches led to the
appearance of Mac OS X (made by Apple for personal computers), and iOS
(operating system for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch). Another branch of
UNIX-like systems led to the creation of Linux OS. This system is widely
used by IT specialists. First of all, it’s absolutely free. Secondly,
it’s "open source”, so any programmer can legally customize or modify
it. Thirdly, it is a leading operating system on servers and other big
iron systems such as supercomputers: more than 90% of today's 500
fastest supercomputers run some variant of Linux, including the 10
There is also an operating system, based on Linux, for PDA,
smartphones, electronic books, netbooks and tablet computers. It is
known as Android OS.
is the "father” of many other programming languages, which are used
nowadays. In 1983 Bjarne Stroustrup added some enhancements to the C and
called it C++. C and C++ are the most popular programming languages in
the world and widely used for making systems and application software,
entertainment software (for example, video games). All modern operating
systems, such as Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Linux, and software for them are
made using C/C++.
received many awards but the most important was the National Medal of
Technology of 1998. It was received from President Bill Clinton for
inventing the UNIX operating system and the C programming language
which, according to the citation for the medal,"led to enormous advances
in computer hardware, software, and networking systems and stimulated
growth of an entire industry, thereby enhancing American leadership in
the Information Age".
died at the age of 70 on October 12, 2011, one week after the death of
Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple Inc, but Ritchie’s death did not
receive that much media coverage. Dennis was not a public person,
nothing is known about his character and his family. People have never
heard about him, some of them see nothing great in his inventions, but
in fact it’s impossible to overestimate his contribution to the IT
industry. There would be no smartphones and Apple products without UNIX
and no development of Windows and software programs without C. That’s
why I want you to know about Dennis Ritchie, the man who laid the
foundation of IT development.
1. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_Ritchie