Dennis Ritchie, Father of C and Unix, Died

Dennis Ritchie, Father of C and Unix

For C lover, let me say it this way:

#include <stdio.h>
int main(void)
    printf("Dennis Ritchie, the Father of C has died\n");
    return 0;

Dennis Ritchie, famous for inventing the programming language C and who co-developed Unix, was found dead at his home in New Jersey last week.

He died at the age of 70, never fully recovering from his struggles with prostate cancer and heart disease during the last years of his life.

Dennis Ritchie might not get all tributes that Steve Jobs got – but many believe that Ritchie’s shoulders helped Steve Jobs to achieve what he achieved in his life.

Dennis Ritchie joined Bell Labs after graduating from Harvard with a BS in Mathematics and a PhD in Physics. There he and Ken Thompson were among the key creators of the UNIX operating system. The influence of UNIX cannot be stated enough – you know it well.

Just in case if you aren’t aware, Linux, the free open-source variant of UNIX is used in the largest data centers in the world by companies like Google. UNIX has been translated to run on different types of hardware and it also laid the foundation for operating systems like Apple iOS 5 on which the iPhone runs.

While still at Bell Labs, Dennis Ritchie developed the C programming language which is the second most popular language in the world and is considered as the main pillar of modern computing and software.

In addition to creating the language, he also co-authored “The C Programming Language” which is considered as the most definitive book on the programming language.

C grew wildly popular exceeding expectations because of its concise syntax and features that made it simple yet powerful tool. It seemed to cover all the basics and was heralded as a “language by programmers for programmers”. It also laid the ground work for more modern programming languages like C++ and Java.

Dennis Ritchie won numerous accolades and awards during his lifetime for his work. He received the Turing award in 1983 for his work on UNIX. And he was bestowed with the US National Medal of Technology in 1999 for his work on UNIX and C, which is the highest technology award that can be given in America. After a long and fulfilling career, Dennis Ritchie retired in 2007 as the head of System Software Research Department at Lucent Technologies. His death may not have made the same waves as Steve Job’s did, but his influence was equal to his at the very least, if not greater.

Talal is a Director at ProPakistani. Reach out at [email protected]

  • Khankool

    Sad news. A great loss.

  • Nauman Afzal

    October is proving to be tough for the IT community.

  • MAC and iOS (iphone etc) are built with the help of Unix and C, right?

    He has more importance than Steve Jobs.

    • Agreed..!!

      • Uzair

        Yes me too… This guy was great… :'(

  • whizKID

    RIP Dennis, he indeed gave the world a base to build the best companies on this earth.

    If any one wish to be a programmer, C Is the best language to start from.

    Thanks For such a nice language Dennis ritchie.

    • Shahid Saleem

      C is actually not that great a language for starting programmers. Same with JAva. You have to immediately be exposed to a lot of concepts. A better simpler language is Python. Now at MIT they make everyone in CS take a python class first. I think same in University of California at Berkeley (home of BSD Unix).

      Dennis Ritchie said the language he liked was not C but Alef:,Ritchie/

      Unfortunately that language does not exist any more but its successors are Limbo (search for Inferno OS) and Google Go.

      • Talking about big man?

        I like Python language :D

  • Multan

    Great. Hats off to his work, inspirations. although C language is one of the most famous language.

  • Oh .. Great Loss… Tough time for computer engineers.

  • Kashif

    A huge loss for this world .. his contribution is priceless :(

  • iWhizKID

    @shahid actualy i agree, and indeed agree that python can be helpful to understand the concepts of programming. Why i said start with C is that because some one adviced me the exact same thing, why because Newbies Start directly with C++ or C# which are actualy based on c and after some time they loose interest in learning because of advanced syntax of C++.

    But yeah i am not opposing your opinion, python indeed is an awesome language.

  • AsadGhumman

    Another legends passed away….. Hats off to a great man, you will be remembered

  • Asim

    I first programmed in C in 1989 in a programming languages course at Stanford University. At that time, Stanford used Pascal as the beginner’s language followed by this course which taught 5 new languages in 10 weeks including Ada, C, Lisp, Prolog, and Smalltalk. Later on, I took a course in C++. Oh wow, those were the early days of object oriented programming!

    Asim Husain
    Stanford 1992

  • salman

    I love this guy and i hate Bill Gates