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Dennis Ritchie passes away… Paying tribute to the unsung heroes of technology

In recent days Steve Jobs’ sad death has been heavily covered by bloggers and the press, along with summaries of his life achievements. Another key figure in the development of the technology we all use everyday has also sadly passed away recently. Dennis Ritchie was best known for being the creator of the C programming language.

Tributes flooding in on Hacker News provide an excellent insight into his impact on the world around us:

There are several billion people using many billions of devices every day. From the code in your microwave to massive computing clusters, virtually all of our software can trace its ancestry back to this man’s intellectual output. I’m eternally grateful for his life and contributions to humanity. – steveb

One commenter summed it up for all those programmers out there:

 #include <stdio.h> main() {   
 printf("goodbye, world\n");  
} - bootload

It is worth remembering that while there are many individuals who have made high profile contributions to the industry, there are scores more who either due to personal preference to lead more private lives or the nature of their work never get much recognition the public domain. So not only would I like to pay tribute to this great man, but also to all those out there without whom the world would be a very different place. So a warm thank you goes out to all those people, their families have every right to be proud.

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