RIP Dennis Ritchie (dmr)
Lucretia Pruitt stashed this in Software!
Another very sad day for technologists all over the world:(
First Steve Jobs; now dmr; who's next? It's tough when your heroes go.
One thing I learned from the Guardian obit here:
is how young he was when he started working on Unix, and how long the whole thing was basically considered... if not a total failure, at least not at all important.
This reinforces something I truly believe about the business cycle: you're not going to come up with your best ideas when the economy is booming and you're working your brains out just to keep up. You're going to come up with them when the economy is busted and you have nothing better to do than sit around bitching all day. One of the formative experiences in my entrepreneurship journey was a slow afternoon in 2001 when a couple unemployed friends and I sat in the park outside Palo Alto City Hall, morosely drinking triple espressos and moaning about how there was no action whatsoever in the business. Without days like that, I might have just kept sending resumes out and never become an entrepreneur.
If dmr had been a more careerist type, he might have thought it was a waste of time to hack around on a crappy operating system written in a programming language no one knew -- allegedly as part of the yak-shaving around writing a dumb computer game that no one wanted. But because he was young and had nothing particularly better to do, Unix and C were born and changed our industry forever.
Age ain't nothing but a number.
Tim Berners-Lee was a 33-year-old who had nothing particularly better to do when he invented the Web -- and two years later pondered the road to riches.
Like Dennis Ritchie, he decided against that path. And changed our industry forever.