iOS descended from the late Dennis Ritchies work

first_imgIf you’re a Linux developer, have a programming degree, or are the founder of a billion-dollar tech company, then you already likely know about Dennis Ritchie, who passed away this week. For the rest of us, though, hearing about the death of someone who created a programming language might not resonate right away. May I suggest, then, that you remove that new iPhone 4S from your pocket and briefly marvel at iOS 5. Or power on your PC, and enjoy Windows. Or maybe fire up your MacBook Air, and soak up the brilliance of OS X. Or start up your Linux machine… What am I saying is that if you’re on Linux (of any sort), then you already know who Ritchie was.The C programming language and the UNIX operating system were the pinnacle achievements of Dennis Ritchie’s life’s work. It’s possible that you don’t know what any of that is, but I can promise that you have enjoyed the fruits of it. Nary a computer architecture exists that doesn’t depend, at a core level, on C or some later evolution of C.The C language is primitive by today’s standards, and is currently used primarily for core system-level operations. But C spawned nearly every other significant programming language to come after it. C++, which is at the core of Windows (and about a billion other systems), is a direct descendant of C. C is also a direct ancestor of Unix, which was developed by a team headed up by Ritchie and Brian Kernighan in the late 60’s at Bell Labs.If you still haven’t grasped the significance of these landmark innovations spearheaded by Ritchie, consider that C led to UNIX, UNIX is at the core of today’s OS X, and OS X shares the same foundation with iOS. So it isn’t simply hyperbole to say that your iPhone, Windows 7 machine, or MacBook Air was made possible in some distant — yet very elemental — way by Dennis Ritchie.More at PC Magazinelast_img

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