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Dennis Ritchie Day

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the celebrate-the-C dept.

Unix 301

mikejuk writes "Today we celebrate Dennis Ritchie Day, an idea proposed by Tim O'Reilly. Ritchie, who died earlier this month, made contributions to computing that are so deeply woven into the fabric that they impact us all. We now have to remark on the elephant in the room. If Dennis Ritchie hadn't died just after Steve Jobs, there would probably have been no suggestion of a day to mark his achievements. We have to admit that it is largely a response to the perhaps over-reaction to Steve Jobs which highlighted the inequality in the public recognition of the people who really make their world work."

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Awesome (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37885760)

It's my birthday!!!

That's why the world works. (3, Informative)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#37885768)

If we had days and events to recognize each and everyone who helped to make the world work, the world would not work.

Re:That's why the world works. (1)

Co0Ps (1539395) | more than 2 years ago | (#37885900)

> Come up with crazy suggestion inside your head. Explain to people how crazy that suggestion is and imply that this suggestion was the original suggestion.

Also know as a strawman argument.

Re:That's why the world works. (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37885934)

California had a day to recognize Steve Jobs, Dennis Ritchie had a much larger impact on the world at large than Steve did. Steve just was really good at PR.

Re:That's why the world works. (3, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886002)

You missed off "in my opinion" from the end of your comment. As good as "inventing Unix and C" is, "helping to ignite the home personal computer industry" is not far off. Neither did it alone, of course. And Dennis didn't court the spotlight like Jobs, but that doesn't automatically make Jobs' contributions any less profound. They both made pretty significant contributions in the genesis of the modern computing era.

Should I start a thread on how Alan Turing is overrated because of Tom Flowers and Bill Tutte doing the heavy lifting on the Lorenz cipher - ie, the really hard one :p

(for the record, I do not believe Alan Turing is overrated, but I should probably specifically spell that out for the purposes of quickfire moderators who read but don't comprehend)

Re:That's why the world works. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37886100)

You missed "from my head in Steve Jobs' dead ass" from the end of your comment.

Re:That's why the world works. (4, Insightful)

Improv (2467) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886180)

If you want to highlight one of the founders of Apple, the Woz was far more influential and important than Jobs. Also, a much better guy.

Re:That's why the world works. (2)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886278)

the Woz was far more influential and important than Jobs.

Why so? Woz didn't do anything that others at the time weren't doing (neither did Jobs). The company basically fell apart when Jobs left and was restored to health when he returned. When Woz left, well nothing happened.

Also, a much better guy.

I see no evidence to support that, Woz would appear to be an arrogant self absorbed jerk (saying that as a arrogant self absorbed jerk myself). He seems very bitter about not being as widely recognized as Steve Jobs and tries to be snarky about anything related to Apple because it wasn't his idea/work. He reminds me a lot of RMS, except not as well known.

Re:That's why the world works. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37886290)

Actually, Woz only invented 2 computers - the Apple I and Apple II. He would still be at home playing with them if it weren't for Jobs.

Re:That's why the world works. (2, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886304)

And who says I won't? Why does it have to be mutually exclusive, is the point I'm driving at with the Ritchie/Jobs comparisons. It seems to be a common feature of slashdot lately that it's not good enough to simply like or support Thing A, but that part of that means trashing Thing B and disparaging anyone who thinks Thing B has any positive aspects at all. Why must I choose between Woz and Jobs? Why can't I highlight both? Or Ritchie and Jobs?

I think Dennis Ritchie should be recognised for his massive contributions to computing, but because I also think Steve Jobs deserves recognition my opinions are now suddenly invalid as a "worthless fanboy who only wants to suck Steve's cock" (and I'm really not using hyperbole there)?

Re:That's why the world works. (3, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886432)

We have a name for what Woz did. He was an engineer. Jobs was an entrepreneur and product manager.

Woz was an extremely good engineer. I don't know that he was the best in the world. But for the sake of argument lets say he was.
Jobs was a extremely good entrepreneur and product manager. I think probably the best in the world.

Which is more important? Here on Slashdot a lot of people think Woz. Because there's a lot of engineers here. They idolise engineering and don't really like managers.
On sites filled with entrepreneurs, product managers or designers, they'd say Jobs was the more important.

My take is that there are plenty of talented engineers in the world. And in any case, Woz gave up back in the 1980s. The pinnacle of his achievement was the Apple II.
Jobs as an entrepreneur and product manager was the best in the world at what he did. And he didn't stop after the Apple II. He went on to many more successful product developments, and moved Apple from near bankruptcy to the biggest capitalised company in the world in just 14 years.

In my book Jobs was far more important than Woz. Woz is undoubtably a nicer guy than Jobs was, but that's rather irrelevant to a discussion on their influence and achievement.

Re:That's why the world works. (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886336)

Steve Jobs made no such contribution to the modern computing era.

Steve's contribution to the Amiga 1000 is the only good contribution to what could have been, but it was insignificant in itself.

Steve's company has never introduced something radically new. Most of anything Apple has ever made, had already been made before them. That's not to say that the products weren't elegantly thought-through; they were just household objects that the majority of people could realy use to their (limited) full extend, as opposed to just the programmers and the enthousiasts who know all the ins and outs.

Dennis had made something that is to this day in everything. Even modern Windows has UNIX compatibility backed in, for the sake of porting over UNIX to Windows executeables. NT is, ofcourse, written in C.

The point in all of this is that Ritchie contributed to the entire computing industry, while all that Jobs has ever did was create more intuitive itterations of products already created by others. Even Braun design was shamelessly recycled.

Now what if Oracle's CEO would die, do we get the same ceremonies? No we don't. So why does this freaking UNIX electronics CEO gets so much attention that I have to fight his name in defence of the computer God Dennis Ritchie?Marketing, you slaves! Have you not figured out how stupid that is?

Re:That's why the world works. (0)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886400)

I see you've chosen to think about "modern" Steve Jobs. Just ignoring all that stuff at the beginning with Woz, and then later at NeXT?

I swear the bling, frothing hatred for "modern Apple" for daring to release a smartphone that doesn't work in exactly the way neckbeards want it to is clouding people's view of history.

The comment:

Steve Jobs made no [in the same ballpark as Ritchie] contribution to the modern computing era.

..might be one of the most short sighted and "I really wish it were true because I hate Apple!" comments in a long time.

Love or hate the man, his contributions to the early days of personal computing are really not something you can just pretend didn't happen. (And no, this doesn't mean I think "he did it all himself" or that he "personally invented computers" or that Woz wasn't an integral part of the whole thing etc etc. No single person works in a vacuum.

This also doesn't mean that I (or anyone else) thinks any less of Ritchie's achievements, which were clearly extremely substantial.

Re:That's why the world works. (2)

wjwlsn (94460) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886352)

I'm no fan of Steve Jobs, but I think it's reasonable to acknowledge his contributions. His particular talents seem to have been the imagination and insight required to identify and specify the attributes of devices that people would *want* to use, an unwillingness to accept anything less, and the charisma to make others share his vision.

Don't get the idea that I'm some kind of Apple fanboy or Jobs-fawner. I pretty much despise Apple, and never liked Jobs. There are only two Apple devices even allowed in my home, and I tried damn hard to persuade my wife and my daughter to choose something other than ipods (but failed).

Anyway, this is supposed to be about Dennis Ritchie, so I'll shut up about Jobs now.

Re:That's why the world works. (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886410)

Not really, home computing is definitely significant, but it was Woz and the guys at PARC that ought to get the lion's share of the credit there. Woz for allowing for the Apple ][ to be produced at a price that people could afford and PARC for creating all the stuff that Apple ultimately ripped off for the Mac. Take away either of those and you probably wouldn't have Apple computers still on sale by Apple.

Computing power was increasing, even without Apple, machines would have been powerful enough to run Unix before too long. Sure, Apple sped the process up, but it's really hard to suggest that it wouldn't have happened. Unix OTOH, was completely revolutionary and between it and C, you have a very hard time finding products that don't at some point come into contact with either of those things during production. Apple products, not so much.

It doesn't mean that Steve Jobs didn't contribute, but it does lead to questions as to why he's deserving of a day, when somebody who gave so much more hasn't.

Re:That's why the world works. (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886458)

That was my point though, and remember Steve's influence was not just at Apple - he had a major hand with NeXT, which was a big part in creating tools that were used by other people in the creation of the web as we know it (Berners-Lee, for example).

And regarding Apple, while Woz was the technical genius, Jobs was his driving force - putting Woz into the right places at the right time to be able to really show that off. Neither one would have made it to where they were without the other (or without meeting someone else like that - they're two essential pieces of a puzzle). I'll let the "ripping off" thing slide (that's all been done to death - PARC shared the innovations in exchange for Apple stock etc, it wasn't 'wholesale theft'), but no one person works in a vacuum - Jobs and Woz wouldn't be where they are without each other, nor would they be where they are without Ritchie (and a whole slew of other pioneers).

To use a film analogy, a classic film needs a number of different skills applied to it to make it what it is. You can be the best director in the world, but with a terrible crew or poor acting or a dire script you are not going to make it very far. What Jobs brought to the table in the early days was an essential ingredient - this doesn't mean I think that what others brought (Woz, Ritchie, others at PARC, etc) should be diminished at all.

Re:That's why the world works. (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886500)

Sure, but was Steve Jobs all that more important for the home computer revolution than whoever forgotten person was in charge of Commodore in the 1980s? After all, people bought $595 C64s and $699 Amigas for home use, not less capable Macs (compared to the Amiga) for several times the amount of money. Steve Jobs is remembered for his contributions to early home computing because of the success of the iPod and the number of fawning fanboys like yourself.

Re:That's why the world works. (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886534)

You're trying too hard, I can see the bridge you're standing under. 1/10.

Re:That's why the world works. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37886532)

You missed off "in my opinion" from the end of your comment.

...and you missed off "I'm a snarky asshole." from yours.

As good as "inventing Unix and C" is, "helping to ignite the home personal computer industry" is not far off.

Yeah, it is. Key word is "helping", which you use to obscure how incidental Jobs' contributions to the ignition of the industry actually were. Most of what Jobs did was swoop in at the right time for a market to mature and make a product that was good enough to seize a large part of the market, but which was otherwise comparable to other products that other companies release around the same time (compare the Apple ][ with the Commodore PET and TRS-80). If jobs had never existed, 99% of the people who bought home computers between 1977 and 1984 still would have bought them. Now the Mac was a somewhat larger draw for the otherwise less computer-inclined, but given that Xerox had already tried to market the GUI and mouse, it would have been at most 3 or 4 years before some other personal-computer maker would have thought to copy Xerox. Meanwhile, personal computer use would still have been expanding exponentially among those who don't need pretty pictures to convince them a device is worth using.

Ritchie's contributions, on the other hand, were fundamental. Everything we do with computers, we do differently because of him. Every computer we use works better and faster because of him. C and UNIX were not comparable to anything that was being done anywhere else in the world at the time. The ideas they introduced, of modularity, flexibility, portability, and deference to programmers/users, are truly profound and have been woven into the fabric of modern computing. Without Ritchie, the internet (among other things) probably would not exist. Can you say that about Jobs and the home computer? Clearly not. Without Jobs, the home computer would certainly exist and be only slightly different.

Neither did it alone, of course.

Well, Ritchie wrote C entirely by himself. Of course, he based it off BCPL and B which were written by others, but he did all the work to get from those languages to the C we know and love. The fact is nobody else at that time was working on a language with the features that made C ubiquitous except Ritchie, and it is very unlikely something even roughly equivalent would have come along for another decade or more.

Should I start a thread on how Alan Turing is overrated because of Tom Flowers and Bill Tutte doing the heavy lifting on the Lorenz cipher - ie, the really hard one :p

Complete red herring. All three of them contributed to furthering the progress of science and computing, rather than simply marketizing existing progress and calling it a day.

Re:That's why the world works. (-1, Offtopic)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886560)

You didn't log in, so I did not read any of that. Sorry.

Log in next time.

Re:That's why the world works. (2)

Hope Thelps (322083) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886012)

California had a day to recognize Steve Jobs, Dennis Ritchie had a much larger impact on the world at large than Steve did. Steve just was really good at PR.

Absolutely true, but the best response to that is to roll your eyes at the idiots who came up with "Steve Jobs day", not to come up with days for everyone who had a larger impact than him. Einstein had more impact thn Steve Jobs or Dennis Ritchie, but he doesn't get a day as far as I know.

Re:That's why the world works. (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886086)

Einstein had more impact thn Steve Jobs or Dennis Ritchie

[citation needed]

Alexander Fleming [wikipedia.org] had more impact than any of them. In terms of absolute impact, Hitler also had more. The advances in emergency medicine, the Cold War and the moon race, along with the forced accelerated growth of technologies like VLSI, which gave us modern electronics, were all directly traceable to the consequences of having to squash that freak.

Well..a bit more than that (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886370)

Fleming's discovery would have gone nowhere had not Florey and Chain worked out how to produce the stuff, and had not US chemical engineers worked out how to make it in volume. Hitler would not even be a footnote in history but for Napoleon and Peter the Great, and some truly foolish decisions made after WW1 by the victors. Personally I don't totally subscribe to the "Great man" theory of history. If Sculley hadn't messed up Apple, Jobs would today be known as a film exec.

But K&R actually built something almost from the ground up using rather primitive tools, and today the children and bastard children of their ideas are running six machines in my house. (Possibly 7 if, as I suspect, the solar panel inverter supervisor is BSD based).

I entirely agree about Einstein, though. Physics is much more of a collaborative effort than the media like to pretend. The fact is that we could have developed all modern technology without the Theory of Relativity, using empirical rules. Quantum mechanics, however, is actually necessary for the furtherance of chemistry and modern materials (including things like IC substrates). But there is really no one father of quantum mechanics.

Re:Well..a bit more than that (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886480)

I'm not belittling what Ritchie accomplished - quite the contrary, I think that c continues to be more important than any of the languages that have since been developed, and that unix will continue to be the gold standard for operating systems for at least another generation.

Does this mean we should have a "day" for him? It's a free world - there's nothing stopping anyone from marking a day on the calendar as Dennis Ritchie Day. I don't expect it would get to the masses, any more than I expect people to be making a big thing out of "Oh, it's Steve Jobs Day" a decade from now - not unless they can get a paid holiday out of it.

Re:Well..a bit more than that (3, Insightful)

Broolucks (1978922) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886538)

Had Einstein not existed, somebody else would have come up with the Theory of Relativity shortly thereafter. It was just the next logical step in the development of physics. Similarly, had Ritchie not existed, all of modern computing would still work pretty much the same way it does now, using tools other people would have developed. Had Jobs not existed, Apple would probably never have got off the ground, an Apple lookalike would have come up a bit later instead, somebody else would have introduced multitouch devices, and so forth. Heck, if Walt Disney never existed, some other creations would have taken the available mindshare instead of Mickey and al. One must always keep in mind that when people invent or develop stuff, it reduces the incentives for others to redo the work. Worse yet, these people who might have done the job later on might have done it better - there was a need for a language like C, and had Ritchie not come up with C, a much better language might have taken its role. Or a worse one. We simply don't know. Basically, people deserve a lot of credit for their discoveries, but the impact of their discoveries is a poor barometer for these people's importance. The more impact a discovery has, the more likely it is that somebody will do it eventually.

Re:That's why the world works. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37886372)

the best response to that is to roll your eyes at the idiots who came up with "Steve Jobs day"

Yeah, I think we should continue the usual practice of naming our public buildings, bridges and highways after dead politicians, oops I mean "public servants" who worked about 9 months/yr AND got an annual pension in high five or low six figures.

Re:That's why the world works. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37886578)

California had a day to recognize Steve Jobs, Dennis Ritchie had a much larger impact on the world at large than Steve did. Steve just was really good at PR.

Absolutely true, but the best response to that is to roll your eyes at the idiots who came up with "Steve Jobs day", not to come up with days for everyone who had a larger impact than him. Einstein had more impact thn Steve Jobs or Dennis Ritchie, but he doesn't get a day as far as I know.

Everybody knows who Einstein is. Everybody knows, rightly or wrongly, who Jobs is. Nobody outside geekland knows who Dennis Ritchie is. I see giving him a day as a method for righting this wrong. People should know who he is; he deserves it. Now every year, on Dennis Ritchie day, I get an opportunity to tell people about him and have them actually listen. Seems like a win to me.

Re:That's why the world works. (1)

cjcela (1539859) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886114)

Yes, but they appeal to a different demographics. Not everybody knows about Ritchie, or can understand how fundamental his contributions were; on the other hand, Jobs was a bit of a star for consumers in general, an iconic figure. Both of them made incredible things, thou. Setting up a day to recognise a single person is silly in a world with 7 billion people.

Re:That's why the world works. (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886366)

Which is precisely why Ritchie is in need of a day of recognition. The work he did was influential in a way that Steve Jobs can only dream of. Hell, even the products that Apple sells these days make heavy use of innovations from C and Unix.

Re:That's why the world works. (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886456)

But what's so great about C and Unix? There was stuff like Multics and Lisp before Unix. And Plan 9 and Smalltalk after.

Maybe progress would have been delayed for a decade, but it's hard to say that the world would be such a worse place if C and Unix weren't around.

Might even be better - from what I see there aren't that many C programmers who can safely write in C, but because of its popularity and performance they end up picking C.

Re:That's why the world works. (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886434)

So when will be the John McCarthy day?

Re:That's why the world works. (2)

DougReed (102865) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886518)

I am not sure that is quite true. Bill Gates is the one that was 'really good at PR'. Not to belittle Steve. He was good too (indeed he may have learned from Bill because he got better as he went along), but Steve actually had a better idea. M$ has never had ANYTHING that wasn't stolen. Windows only exists because they copied the Mac (or tried to), and yet Gates seemingly had the ability to sell eyeglasses to a blind man. As for Dennis. Indeed, he is the one who deserves the praise, but were it not for Steve, only the people on this blog would know what a computer was, because my father would never have an MS-DOS or a UNIX machine. The Commodore Amiga deserved the crown, but Commodore couldn't market eyesight to a blind man. M$ would not have built Windows without the Mac, because M$ has no vision at all. It is possible that without Steve, Commodore might have stumbled into the spotlight by accident, but I doubt they could have marketed their way to success because from a marketing point of view they did absolutely everything wrong. These guys tried to SELL their demo units to the reviewers!!

Anyway.. Happy Dennis Ritchie Day. He deserves the praise. Without him I might be a Cab driver.

Re:That's why the world works. (2)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886598)

according to dennis himself, he just did what any sane person would have done in his position, that he was just at the right place, tasked with the right task, at the right time, which is why he didn't go out making an ass out of himself every day yelling that he invented free as in freedom computing movement. and the people who were in that position, to work with advanced computers so early, was much, much more limited limited set of people than people who were later in the same position as steve(that makes steve 'special', that despite not being the only ceo in the town in early '80s he still ran first to yell about gui for home use).

that's the beauty of c anyhow is that it, or something very, very similar would have been invented regardless of dennis. no nonsense, no lsd inspired trains of thought- no calling shit what it isn't, no sandcastles made of shit to hide what you're doing. just manipulating memory, logically.

in that his different to steve. steve did what any person with need for cash from selling computers would have done... but still quite few people actually did. why didn't others go to parc to spy on the shit? (probably because they thought memory as too expensive for gui to be of practical home use, tbh).

still. bill gate's BASIC day should woop the ass of both dennis and steve days. basic is less obvious of an invention than asm or c, even though it has sandcastles of shit to hide what actually happens.

Re:That's why the world works. (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886140)

Exactly, its the unsung heroes who really make us and shape our world. For me it would be the 7th grade tutor after my bike accident that saw that teaching me more than the basics when it came to English comp was pointless and that I did math better in my head than trying to force me to do it their way, the guy who invented the VIC chip that gave me my love of all things computing, my late uncle who was always getting me new tech that "fell off the back of a truck", the friend who had such a hard on for Hexen he sold me his less than a year old Pentium 100Mhz for $100 so he could blow a major wad on the latest and greatest, and of course my parents, my dad who didn't try to force me to be anything or anyone but the best person I could be, and my mom who instead of reading me Horton hears a Who was reading me greatest Sci Fi writers of the 70s.

In the end there are a bazillion people who shape each and every one of us, a few that are famous but the majority never will be, they are just people that came into our lives, sometimes for a short while, that shaped the way we are. Maybe instead we should have an "Unsung Heroes of our lives" day instead?

Re:That's why the world works. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37886548)

Yeah and compare a developed world country and a poor country.

The first has electricity round the clock and it makes headlines if there's a significant brown-out/blackout. It takes a fair bit of effort to achieve this. It's not easily stored so whatever electricity you are using this very split second was generated on-demand miles away, whether from burning coal or uranium etc. If stuff goes wrong, the lights go out.

In contrast in the latter, you get electricity whenever stuff works, or they ration it. In such countries if you want a lot of electricity round the clock you'd practically have to build your own power station and get your own fuel etc.

Then there are the other utilities (water, sewage, garbage collection).

maybe a education fund ? (1)

johnjones (14274) | more than 2 years ago | (#37885772)

i was thinking maybe a fund to help educate people would be a more fitting memorial ?

how about a free e/book ?

regards

John Jones

Re:maybe a education fund ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37885894)

My thoughts entirely.. Wouldn't be at where I am right now

Re:maybe a education fund ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37886122)

speaking of ejumication, isn't it AN education fund...?

So are you saying? (-1, Troll)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 2 years ago | (#37885782)

Dennis Ritchie Day = Fuck Steve Jobs Day

Re:So are you saying? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37885854)

Fuck Steve Jobs Day

... every day?

Re:So are you saying? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37885856)

Only if you're a moron

Keep your perversions to yourself. (0)

Hartree (191324) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886398)

"Dennis Ritchie Day = Fuck Steve Jobs Day"

Only if you're a necrophiliac. He's been dead for several weeks.

Is there a security patrol at the cemetery he's in? They might not like the idea.

prediction (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37885808)

More people celebrate "Talk like a Pirate Day" than "Dennis Ritchie Day."

Re:prediction (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886386)

In all fairness, TLaP day has been going on for several years now, and has had time to gather more momentum than this newly proposed day.

Well... (4, Insightful)

calexontheroad66 (975611) | more than 2 years ago | (#37885814)

People like good salesmen not people that work in unknown office spaces, regardless of their contributions.
A public image is the luxury of those who don't have to labour, and so can afford to put their efforts into selling their ideas and themselves.
Dennis Ritchie was a giant within his tribe, RIP.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37885994)

"Stupid people like good salesmen not people that work in unknown office spaces, regardless of their contributions."

(tftfy)

I hope this is soon forgotten (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37885828)

There have been many great physicists, artists, actors, authors, musicians, mathematicians, doctors, engineers, architects, statesmen, etc etc. If the calendar gets littered with memorial days for everyone it'll just be exhausting and pointless.

Re:I hope this is soon forgotten (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37885886)

What is the problem? The calendar is already littered with saints (today it's Alonso Rodríguez, Herbert, Marcellus of Tangier, Saturninus of Cagliari &
Serapion of Antioch) and other nonsense. So why not fill it with great physicists, artists, actors, authors, musicians, mathematicians, doctors, engineers & architects? Personally I do not care at all, so I ignore it anyway.

Re:I hope this is soon forgotten (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37885896)

There have been many great physicists, artists, actors, authors, musicians, mathematicians, doctors, engineers, architects, statesmen, etc etc. If the calendar gets littered with memorial days for everyone it'll just be exhausting and pointless.

You can't appreciate an industry paying respects to someone who essentially tailored where they are in life?

Will there be readings from... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37885834)

The book of K&R?

Re:Will there be readings from... (2)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#37885936)

The book of K&R?

... and singing ...

free() at last!
free() at last!
Error: Double free or corruption.
Aborted!

C is just a rip off of BCPL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37885846)

If Dennis Ritchie hadn't come along the world would still look the same

Re:C is just a rip off of BCPL (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886070)

BCPL only had one data type. Everything in it was a word. It didn't have arrays or structures, just arithmetic on words (which could then be treated as pointer to other words). Try writing C with no data types other than uintptr_t, intptr_t and uintptr_t* - no arrays, no structs, no chars - and see how far you get.

Re:C is just a rip off of BCPL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37886300)

Clearly no one else in the world would have ever came up with any of those ideas. Ever. It's like saying that if the Wright brothers never existed we never would have airplanes.

Re:C is just a rip off of BCPL (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886330)

BCPL only had one data type. Everything in it was a word. It didn't have arrays or structures, just arithmetic on words (which could then be treated as pointer to other words). Try writing C with no data types other than uintptr_t, intptr_t and uintptr_t* - no arrays, no structs, no chars - and see how far you get.

Okay. Its not hard, its tedious, but you're basically describing what happens when I work in assembly. To the computer, its all just numbers. The structures of C are artificial constructs to make it easier on the developer. They are reduced to pure numbers for the computer itself to work with. I would be much slower working that way, but only until I could write a BCPL program to preprocess my source files to turn my structure definitions into BCPL code.

Don't get me wrong, C did change the world (something else probably would have done it if it wasn't C), Dennis Richie deserves our remembrance for his contribution.

Re:C is just a rip off of BCPL (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886428)

Yes, but ultimately, they did implement it and it's still going strong 40+ years later. That says something, and it's not like Apple which manages to maintain a small section of the market with limited competition. C isn't as widely used as it used to be, but it's managed to do quite well considering the huge number of languages that have popped up in the mean time, many of which were gunning for it.

C is nothing like BCPL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37886092)

You've never even seen a BCPL program, have you?

GET "LIBHDR"

LET START () BE
$(
WRITES ("Hello World!*N")
$)

Nice idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37885872)

Happy dennis ritchie Day..

(The Geek's day)

dmr (5, Informative)

amanicdroid (1822516) | more than 2 years ago | (#37885928)

Today we come to slashdot not to piss on the memory of appliance designer Steve Jobs but to celebrate a true computer scientist and engineer dmr.

He was not a boisterous man or one too proud and busy to assist various teenagers on the internet who now wish they'd archived those emails. He was able to admit his greatest works were flawed. And perhaps most importantly, the man could create excellent documentation.

To commemorate dmr is to commemorate ourselves as his ideas still hold sway. He lives on in the constantly modified code base. His DNA remaining as his direct additions are slowly dropped from the source while his patterns remain.

ALL HAIL ELDER GOD OF COMPUTING DMR, MAY HIS LANGUAGE AND OS LIVE ON UNTIL WE ADOPT SOMETHING BETTER

Really? (3, Insightful)

mlingojones (919531) | more than 2 years ago | (#37885948)

Am I missing something here that says we have to compare all these people on the merits of their accomplishments?

Steve Jobs did great things. Dennis Ritchie did great things as well. We can argue all day about who was "better" or "more influential", but what's the point? Why not just celebrate their lives to honor them, instead of to passive-aggressively piss off people who look up to someone else?

If you celebrate Dennis Ritchie, do it for his monumental contributions to computing. If you do it just because you think Steve Jobs got too much attention, you're doing a disservice to both of their memories.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37886016)

Am I missing something here that says we have to compare all these people on the merits of their accomplishments?

Steve Jobs did great things. Dennis Ritchie did great things as well. We can argue all day about who was "better" or "more influential", but what's the point? Why not just celebrate their lives to honor them, instead of to passive-aggressively piss off people who look up to someone else?

If you celebrate Dennis Ritchie, do it for his monumental contributions to computing. If you do it just because you think Steve Jobs got too much attention, you're doing a disservice to both of their memories.

I usually hate to do the "me toos" and the "I wish I had mod points" but yours is probably one of the more succinct and cogent posts in quite a while here. Thanks.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37886098)

I usually hate to do the "me toos"

So do I !!!!!!!!!!!11111111111

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37886164)

this

Re:Really? (-1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886020)

This comment is what I was driving at in one of my replies above. The current state of some slashdot commentary is just absurd.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37886056)

I agree. Steve Jobs has a day for the unsavvy morons and Dennis Ritchie has a day for the technically informed. There is now a day for both types of computer users.

Re:Really? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37886420)

Ah.. fanboi butthurt! Priceless!

Re:Really? (0)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886462)

You forgot to log in!

Re:Really? (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886030)

Thank you.

You know, I'm sad that John McCarthy just died, with hardly a mention at all here, and I'm not out to piss off all the Dennis Ritchie fans just because I got my panties in a bunch. Some people need to grow up.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37886128)

I'm sad that John McCarthy just died, with hardly a mention at all here

Slashdot on John McCarty's death [slashdot.org]

I've said it once I'll say it again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37886200)

If I had "discovered" lisp living under one rock in Chile I would have grabbed a second rock and crushed its little head with it. (Doing everybody a great big favor.)

Re:I've said it once I'll say it again (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886294)

Even if you don't use lisp, it has affected programming. I see a lot of later languages as starting with a 'C' foundation moving towards lisp. Java would be a major example, python too.

Re:Really? (1)

Dupple (1016592) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886042)

Well said. The most thoughtful and balanced comment I've seen on Slashdot in months. Bravo.

Re:Really? (4, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886078)

Am I missing something here that says we have to compare all these people on the merits of their accomplishments?

No, you're not missing it, because it's not there. The summary and article say nothing of the sort.

What they do point out is that if we hadn't been somewhat sensitized to it because of annoyance at the media reaction to Jobs' death, we likely wouldn't have paid nearly as much attention as we have to Ritchie's passing. This isn't a question of comparing Jobs and Ritchie, it's just pointing out that we often don't recognize the accomplishments of the people who really changed the world, but did it quietly.

Re:Really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37886084)

What great things did Steve Jobs did? He sold overpriced pieces of shiny plastic to morons too stupid to realize it. He profited off of other people's hard work.

People like, for example, Dennis Ritchie. Literally everything Jobs did in the past decade was ultimately based off the work of Dennis Ritchie. Probably longer than that, but I don't know enough about Apple to say for sure.

Dennis Ritchie gave the world the platform that practically everything computing-related uses. He developed a programming language that just about every program ultimately uses in some way. No matter the language used, if you run a program under Windows or Linux or Mac OS X, you're using at the very least C code in the kernel. Not to mention libraries written in C, JITs written in C, and interpreters written in C.

Jobs? He marketed shiny plastic devices to idiots.

Dennis Ritchie literally created the building blocks of nearly every single computing device created in the past 30 years.

Yeah, I'd say there's a BIT of a difference between the two, and one deserves a bit more respect than the other.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37886104)

If you can't argue your point without calling other people morons and idiots, you can't make a valid argument.

Re:Really? (2)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886158)

Am I missing something here that says we have to compare all these people on the merits of their accomplishments?

How can the level of recognition you get not be a de facto comparison? It's not whether about you give your grandkids $50 or $500 for Christmas, it's that you gave $50 to one and $500 to the other. And the response is like "Giving $500 is crazy, but if you gave it to Steve then Dennis damn well deserves the same." I feel that is a logical and natural reaction, by breaking the scale with Jobs you are changing the expectations for everyone else.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37886222)

Steve Jobs (among others) paid a company (Foxconn) to run a Gulag that was so horrible that people preferred to kill themselves over working there.
There's no excuse for that. If you support evil, you are evil.

Case closed.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37886520)

I bet the everything I own that the computer you typed that comment with has Foxconn parts in it, therefor you are evil.

Case closed.

Re:Really? (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886528)

How much attention somebody received immediately following their death is almost invariably based much more heavily on their fame in life than on the merits of how much people were positively impacted by the things that person actually did during their life. In general, the latter only tends to become more recognized by later generations, and not the one that actually was personally involved with the individual.

You are right though... it is silly to compare them.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37886592)

I agree totally. This kind of makes me want to stop reading slashdot.

Happy DMR Day! (1)

gnapster (1401889) | more than 2 years ago | (#37885968)

It is a nice idea, I suppose... But why Oct 30? Is it just because his birthday (which is in September) is too far away, and we'll forget him by then?

Re:Happy DMR Day! (4, Interesting)

Junta (36770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886072)

Maybe he was a big fan of Chrismas Eve?

(Oct 30 = Dec24)

LISP (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37886010)

When is John McCarthy day?

Re:LISP (1)

sco08y (615665) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886390)

I had no idea he had died. RIP. (November can't come soon enough!)

The puppet? (1)

Hartree (191324) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886444)

"When is John McCarthy day?"

Most people aren't sure if he's the caricature with the hand up his butt from the 1950s or the congressman from the 1950s.

Oh wait. I repeat myself.

Seriously, though a number of the pioneers of computing are leaving us or soon will be.

Recognition vs. Relevance. (4, Insightful)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886018)

"...the inequality in the public recognition of the people who really make their world work."

You're joking, right?

When a surgeon saves the life of a loved one, no one EVER walks right past the doctor to make a phone call to thank the inventor of plastic, blended steels, or surgical procedures. I don't even have to wonder how many surgically-enhanced women walking around these days have EVER thought to thank the inventor of silicone, because the answer is likely zero.

And the same thing should be expected in damn near any other industry. Most of us probably owe our lives to some scientist or inventor, yet you've probably not even bothered to know who it is, much less give them any recognition, living or dead.

Re:Recognition vs. Relevance. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37886550)

Usually they don't even thank the surgeon - they thank God (at least in the US).

How about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37886040)

we recognize that someone else would have come up with their achievements, or possibly one better. Who cares. Give them your thanks and move on for crying out loud.

So be it (2)

fishtorte (1117491) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886126)

How can it be a bad thing for Steve Jobs' death to have brought increased awareness of Dennis Ritchie's contributions? Assuming, that is, that there's ANY connection between the two. It doesn't have to be a competition.

Ooh, could we have a Maurice Hilleman day too? (1)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886170)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maurice_Hilleman [wikipedia.org] The guy develops loads of vaccines include 8 of the 14 currently recommended. Some how they forgot to give the guy the Nobel prize in medicine. Seems like it's long overdue. (I mean he's got a couple of buildings with his name on them but nothing that would tell anybody that he probably saved the lives of tens to hundreds of millions of people.)

GTFU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37886186)

Wait, you're just now learning that life isn't fair and that people who (you feel) deserve recognition for their efforts rarely get it? Well, here’s a learning moment for you.

Re:GTFU (1)

Haxagon (2454432) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886596)

I'm just now learning how huttburt you are.

More about media attention than the two men... (2)

DThorne (21879) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886192)

...and there's nothing wrong with that. The point to me wasn't so much about 'who was better or more influential', it was clearly about the fact that mass media was utterly swamped, to the point of nausea on my part anyway, with Jobs 'retrospectives' and commentaries. Celebrating that this other man who so recently passed was in many ways more influential on the 'guts' of IT, ostensibly what the readers on slashdot would care more about, is neither disrespectful to Jobs or out of place in any way.

every discipline contributes (0)

ThorGod (456163) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886202)

It isn't just computer science that the world ignores. People still smoke, go on drinking binges, and smoke pot - all of which are very bad for you. But, for a number of reasons, medical research into the impact of the aforementioned's affects on human health go ignored or even denied. There's a paper (written by Case and Shiller in 2003 named "is there a bubble in the housing market?") where a pair of economists CLEARLY suspect irrational behavior in the residential real estate market. Back in 2003! But it wasn't convenient for society to hear that message, so they didn't.

Ultimately, people pay attention and homage to whatever or whoever they *think* is important.

More lead time? (1)

rstanley (758673) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886248)

I wish this had been more publicized. I just found out about this by reading this article. I would have preferred that there was more of a chance to do events locally today. A gathering in a pub, or a Linux fest celebrating his accomplishments.

As for the S.J. vs. D.M.R.:

Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Richard Stallman, Tim Berners Lee, Linus
Torvolds, ..., and millions of others owe their lives to the work done
by Dennis Ritchie, Ken Thompson, with the assistance of Brian
Kernighan. The IT World would be MUCH different, and definitely not as
technologically advanced as it is today, without their efforts.

They deserve much more recognition, awards and thanks from the entire
world than they will ever receive.

Rest in Peace Dennis! You and your work will never be forgotten! Thank you!

Obituary in The Guardian (3, Informative)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886308)

Dennis Ritchie obit [guardian.co.uk]

OK, a number of people contacted the Guardian before this, but however it happened they got the point and gave him a full page on the Saturday edition. I hope that goes some way to make up for Google having to help rescue Bletchley Park.

Stop merging the two (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37886320)

What bothers me is every tech site that posts a Ritchie story can't seem to do so without also adding a paragraph about Steve Jobs. Even when they're complaining Jobs' passing stole Ritchie's thunder. Apparently the hypocrisy is lot on them. I wish the tech media could treat these men as two separate people and stop mentioning them both in the same breath.

Re:Stop merging the two (1)

mikejuk (1801200) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886446)

In this case though the point is do you think that anyone would have suggested a dmr day without the same having been done for Steve Jobs. It''s not about stealing anyones thunder.

Ritchie isn't dead. (1)

greg_barton (5551) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886510)

He's just refactoring.

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