RIP Dennis Ritchie

It’s a common oldster refrain that when you reach a certain age, you have to get used to people you know dying. I think that we, as a community, will have to accept the fact that over the next decade we’re going to wave goodbye to many of those who were the architects of 70s computer technology.

He died the same month as his contemporary Steve Jobs, but in many ways, he lived on the opposite side of the tech spectrum: Jobs was a great businessman, but Ritchie was a technology man. His contributions to the C programming language and the UNIX operating system are probably the achievements that have had the biggest impact on the world of Linux.

The C programming language was developed by Ritchie in the late 60s. By the mid-70s it had become the language of choice for the system level programmer, offering as it did the advantages of a high-level programming language alongside some of the efficiency of assembly language. It's not as dominant these days because more powerful computers have allowed more complex, and less efficient, languages to become viable choices for application development and even for operating system and driver work. However, it remains, by far, the predominant language in the Linux kernel source code. In addition, the influence of C can be felt in almost all subsequent high-level languages.

The creation of C would have ensured that Ritchie's legacy in computer technology was a substantial one, but he was also one of the main creators of the original UNIX operating system. From UNIX sprang MINIX, a teaching system that inspired Linus to create Linux. BSD, MacOSX and Solaris are other systems that owe their existence to UNIX. Even if not UNIX derivative, all modern operating systems owe something to the influence of UNIX.

Goodbye Mr. Ritchie, and thanks for all of your work in shaping the nerdier side of tech. We'll try to keep our braces closed and our pointers legal.


UK based freelance writer Michael Reed writes about technology, retro computing, geek culture and gender politics.


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whatever we are (as programmer )that is because of you

jigsjjani's picture

Your name already written in the history's golden page(Mr.Ritchie)
Future generation will always proud of you..

Good Bye Father of the C Monster

Konfess's picture

Sleep, perchance to dream, Old Father.

babe main()
return Jacqui;

Thanks !

Rafael Simao's picture

The World lost one fantastic brain and amazing human beeing.
RIP Dennis and ... thanks !

Thank you, Mr. Ritchie

tgerhard60's picture

After discovering I loved programming through BASIC, C was the next language I learned (and am still learning). It opened my eyes even wider to the fun one could have and the wonderful things one could do with a few lines of code. C whetted my appetite for all flavors of programming. In retrospect, Mr. Ritchie's development of C led me to have the cool job I have today.

As others have mentioned, I too will spend some time again reading and coding along with "The C Programing Language."

/* dmr.c */

int main()
printf("Thank you, Mr. Ritchie.\n");

return 0;

RIP Dennis Ritchie. Thank you

RPaul's picture

The first time I came across C, it felt like poetry to me. It was truly an amazing piece of work. It seems like almost all languages that came after C tried to emulate its simplicity.

RIP Dennis Ritchie. You will be missed.

RIP Dennis Ritchie

Siddique Ahmed's picture

I not a software professional, but had the opportunity to learn C language & Unix both in the hope of advancing my career. I was amazed by the simplicity and power of this language and admired Dennis for his genius. Pioneers like Dennis will always be missed and their loss can never be filled in.

RE: RIP Dennis Ritchie

Clay Erickson's picture

Much of his notes, his biography and photos can still be found on the Bell Lab Archives:

C is still one of my top favorite programming languages that I work with. I remember reading about UNIX as a kid and had my first opportunity to write programs (and throughly enjoyed it while doing so) on UNIX S5R4 at a university where VAX/VMS was the dominant system.

Thank you Dennis for bringing us C and UNIX. You will be greatly missed.

int main(int argc, char *argv[])

Peter Roopnarine's picture

C++ and Linux are the bread and butter of my work. I've surprised myself by how sad the loss of Dennis Ritchie has made me. He made my bread and butter possible!


Great loss

Jackie Craig Sparks's picture

His loss will be remembered. The father of C and UNIX, hopefully everyone will remmerb him every time they boot their Linux box

RIP Mr. Ritchie

Anonymous's picture

There are very few people blessed with such a genius brain. Loss of one such a brain is as good as loosing thousands of scientists at once. RIP Mr. Ritchie, your work will be appreciated forever till end of the world.


Nicholas's picture

Thank you for your contribution Dennis. The world will forever be in your debt.

Goodbye Ritchie

Namal's picture

Man with a great brain....

Goodbye Father of "C"........

It is always sad to lose

Fidel Viegas's picture

It is always sad to lose people that have made quite significant contributions to the way we manage our daily tasks.



We'll do our best to keep the

Vinicius's picture

We'll do our best to keep the pointers legal.

Thank you

s aizen's picture

char *s;
int b=1;

printf("%s\n",s=b?"rest in peace":"goodbye");


nobody's picture

printf("goodbye, world\n");

RIP Dennis Ritchie

metin's picture

It is sad for mankind to lose great brains like Mr.Ritchie. We will miss you.


Anonymous's picture


Thank you

JShuford's picture

Thank you

...I'm not just a "troll", but also a subscriber!

RIP Dennis Ritchie. Thank you

kercker's picture

RIP Dennis Ritchie.
Thank you for bringing us C.

RIP Dennis Ritchie. Thank you

kercker's picture

RIP Dennis Ritchie.
Thank you for bringing me C.

Re: RIP Dennis Ritchie

Howard's picture

I think I'm going to have to read "The C Programming Language" again, in his honor. Fair winds and following seas, Mr. Ritchie, and thank you for all of your contributions!