C. It was his creation, alongside Kevin Thompson. Developed between 1969 and 1973 at Bell Labs, it is the most widely used programming language in the history of mankind. Its use is pervasive, and there is hardly any domain where C has or can not be used.
It was designed to be portable, and to work on any hardware. Programs that were written in C could run with little or no modification on any other computer that ran C. It was a massive leap in software engineering. It freed programmers up, especially in the early days of the 70's and 80's, when hardware and computer systems were in a state of constant flux.
And its a symbol of greatness when a programming language can remain relevant even 4 decades after its creation. It, and its variants, are used everywhere! As an electronics engineer, I cannot even hope to describe its importance in the world of embedded systems. It has sometimes even used as an intermediate language by implementations of other languages.
C++ and Java, say, are presumably growing faster than plain C, but I bet C will still be around.
- Dennis Ritchie
UNIX. He helped make it. It revolutionized the computer industry. The he remade it with C. Made it portable. Brilliant. Need I say more? Sigh
UNIX is basically a simple operating system, but you have to be a genius to understand the simplicity.
We need to remember that C and UNIX spawned a revolution in the computer industry. Every subsequent software owes something to these two. And no one can ever take that away from DR.
He was the truest of computer engineers. Intelligent, with enough brains to make lives easier for us dumber folks. And his death did come as a massive shock to me. The software industry all over the world owe enough to DR to award him every honour possible. Darn. And what made me sad was watching a world obsessed over Steve Jobs, a maker of shiny toys, while a true genius died in relative anonymity.
The world is unfair. Often.
Slashdot Comments - The true place to understand the pain software engineers feel at this news.
Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie. September 8, 1941–October 8/9, 2011
(Links to be updated in a while)
A non-updated version of his biography - Encyclopedia of World Biography - Dennis Ritchie
Dennis Ritchie, father of Unix and C, dies
Interview with Dennis M. Ritchie
The future according to Dennis Ritchie