News broke early yesterday that the computing world lost another giant, Dennis Ritchie, co-developer of the UNIX operating system and lead developer of the C programming language. His legacy now rests with the software developers of the world. Most people will never know his name, and yet without his groundbreaking work, the technology we use today would look decidedly different. Most of the programs out there are written in C or a variant of it, and UNIX powers computers, businesses, servers and every computer running Mac OS X (and to a certain degree iOS). You may not have known it, but we've all been reaping the benefits of Ritchie's work.
It is worth taking a step back to think about this: 52 years ago there was no Google, no Apple, no Microsoft, no personal computer and no internet. 52 years ago UNIX was released, it is still active and incredibly relevant today. In the future, when we're using chips implanted in our brains, we'll still be talking about UNIX and C.
Simply put, Dennis Ritchie is responsible for making computer programming accessible to the masses, paving the way for the amazing proliferation of computer systems over the past 50 years and beyond.