Happy Birthday, Dennis Ritchie!

I would like to take the pleasure of saying happy birthday to Dennis Ritchie, creator of the C Programming Language, the R in the famous and revered K&R book, and along with Ken Thompson and others, developer of the UNIX operating system.

It's hard for me to explain how C powers the world today. To quote a wired article, "Dennis Ritchie: The Shoulders Steve Jobs Stood On" (a must read), Rob Pike, "who spent 20 years working across the hall from Ritchie" mentions:

“Pretty much everything on the web uses those two things: C and UNIX,” Pike tells Wired. “The browsers are written in C. The UNIX kernel — that pretty much the entire Internet runs on — is written in C. Web servers are written in C, and if they’re not, they’re written in Java or C++, which are C derivatives, or Python or Ruby, which are implemented in C. And all of the network hardware running these programs I can almost guarantee were written in C.

“It’s really hard to overstate how much of the modern information economy is built on the work Dennis did.”

For now, Go follows Ruby and Python in that it is currently implemented in C.

Dennis' father and uncle also worked at Bell Labs. His brother, Bill Ritchie, is behind Thinkfun which recently released a board game that teaches preschoolers the basics of computer programming.

If you haven't already, definitely take the time to learn more about him! Heck, write "Hello, World" in C, or even just watch this prank by Penn and Teller featuring Rob and Dennis: