Dennisritchie

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  • Publicado : 19 de enero de 2012
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Dennis Ritchie: The shoulders Steve Jobs stood on - CNN.com
By Cade Metz , WIRED 2011-10-14T14:00:56Z Dennis Ritchie stands over Ken Thompson as he works on the PDP-11 in 1972. (WIRED) -- The tributes to Dennis Ritchie won't match the river of praise that spilled out over the web after the death of Steve Jobs. But they should. And then some. "When Steve Jobs died last week, there was a hugeoutcry, and that was very moving and justified. But Dennis had a bigger effect, and the public doesn't even know who he is," says Rob Pike, the programming legend and current Googler who spent 20 years working across the hall from Ritchie at the famed Bell Labs. On Wednesday evening, with a post to Google+, Pike announced that Ritchie had died at his home in New Jersey over the weekend after a longillness, and though the response from hardcore techies was immense, the collective eulogy from the web at large doesn't quite do justice to Ritchie's sweeping influence on the modern world. Dennis Ritchie is the father of the C programming language, and with fellow Bell Labs researcher Ken Thompson, he used C to build UNIX, the operating system that so much of the world is built on -- including theApple empire overseen by Steve Jobs. CNN's GeekOut blog: Without Ritchie, you wouldn't be reading this "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 Cderivatives, 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." Even Windows was once written in C, he adds, and UNIX underpins both Mac OS X, Apple's desktop operating system, and iOS, which runsthe iPhone and the iPad. "Jobs was the king of the visible, and Ritchie is the king of what is largely invisible," says Martin Rinard, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT and a member of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. "Jobs' genius is that he builds these products that people really like to use because he has taste and can build things thatpeople really find compelling. Ritchie built things that technologists were able to use to build core infrastructure that people don't necessarily see much anymore, but they use everyday." From B to C Dennis Ritchie built C because he and Ken Thompson needed a better way to build UNIX. The original UNIX kernel was written in assembly language, but they soon decided they needed a "higher level"language, something that would give them more control over all the data that spanned the OS. Around 1970, they tried building a second version with Fortran, but this didn't quite cut it, and Ritchie proposed a new language based on a Thompson creation known as B. Depending on which legend you believe, B was named either for Thompson's wife Bonnie or BCPL, a language developed at Cambridge in themid-60s. Whatever the case, B begat C.

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B was an interpreted language -- meaning it was executed by an intermediate piece of software running atop a CPU -- but C was a compiled language. It was translated into machine code, and then directly executed on the CPU. But in those days, C was considered a high-level language. It would give Ritchie and Thompson the flexibility they needed, but atthe same time, it would be fast. That first version of the language wasn't all that different from C as we know it today -- though it was a tad simpler. It offered full data structures and "types" for defining variables, and this is what Richie and Thompson used to build their new UNIX kernel. "They built C to write a program," says Pike, who would join Bell Labs 10 years later. "And the program...
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