13 October 2011

RIP, Dennis Ritchie



No, it's not Steve Jobs who really changed the world. It's Dennis Ritchie, the man behind the C language and the UNIX operating system. For the non-geeks, here's how UNIX made your life livable everyday; you can sleep at night because opposing forces of the world's military organizations depend on it on a daily basis. Smart, Globe and Sun uses UNIX operating system so you can call, SMS and browse Facebook wherever you are. Your banks keeps your accounts safe with UNIX, your insurance company keeps you updated using UNIX. Steve Jobs is heavily dependent on UNIX from his Pixar gigs to his Macs. The influence of UNIX is widespread, Linus Torvalds' kernel is based on it. If you're reading this now, this blog is hosted in a UNIX platform one way or another. If you're on Twitter, Facebook, G+ etc. etc. you're engulfed by UNIX. When you book a flight to an airline and you check in to an airport, it's all done in UNIX. When you withdraw money from ATMs, it's UNIX. When you buy stuff at Amazon, it's UNIX. When you swipe your credit card at SM, Robinson's or Shopwise, it's UNIX. There's no getting away from it.

For better or for worse, Dennis Ritchie and his work has made a larger impact to mankind more than any keynotes Steve Jobs has ever made.

My early encounters with UNIX as a developer involved its different flavors from System 7, AIX, HP-UX, Solaris and SCO. The UNIX culture shaped the way how we build cool stuff, it taught hard lessons that metrosexual geeks of today might not be able to pick up.

That is our lives with UNIX. Thanks Mr. Ritchie, bad design or good design, your legacy lives on.

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