Tim O’Reilly admits freely in a recent blog item that he doesn’t have the authority that California Gov. Jerry Brown has (and that’s OK, Tim — few of us do). A while back, Brown declared Oct. 16 Steve Jobs Day, and while O’Reilly writes that he admires Brown for taking a step to recognize Jobs’ extraordinary contributions, he “couldn’t help be struck by Rob Pike’s comments on the death of Dennis Ritchie a few weeks after Steve Jobs.”
Most of us were struck by them, too.
Clearly Dennis Ritchie’s contributions in the digital realm far surpass Steve Jobs’ vision or marketing acumen. While Jobs made a career of molding people’s use of technology and, in the process, garnered him the tech spotlight (for better or worse), Ritchie worked in relative obscurity to bring us the foundation of what we all do today, both in programming and how we use computer hardware, online or off.
So allow me a Captain Obvious moment: We owe a significantly larger debt of gratitude to Dennis Ritchie than we do to Steve Jobs. So with Tim O’Reilly and everyone else who’s interested, I’ll be celebrating Dennis Ritchie Day tomorrow, Oct. 30, and I would urge you to remember the man who brought you Unix and C.
My SCALE 10X colleague Lori Waltfield points out an interesting page with quotes from Dennis Ritchie (and more quotes here) that may come in handy for tomorrow’s observation of Dennis Ritchie Day. Thanks, Lori.
Spread the word — #DennisRitchieDay.
This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.
(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software in his new home office. Watch this space.)