Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dennis Ritchie, RIP

I just want to point out that, had OS X not been founded on Unix, I never would have switched from PC to Mac or bought a Mac for my daughter's first computer. Unix and open-source compilers changed everything. It made it possible for millions of tinkerers to tink. We didn't buy a Mac because it was cool or because we liked black turtlenecks. We bought them to mess around under the hood.

I am astonished at how little attention Dennis Ritchie's death has generated in the lamestream media (a phrase I learned from Eric). If you don't know who Dennis Ritchie is, read this eulogy at ZDNet, Dennis Ritchie, father of Unix and C, dies.

Iris and I had fun messing around with "Hello, world" in Perl last year. When she saw me on my MacBookPro working the exercises in a Perl programming book, I started expanding the program with questions and decision trees. I had the code in one Xterm window and ran the code from another one.

She watched the effect of the code changes on the behavior of the program and exclaimed, "I see how they made The Moron Test."

Well, not really. The Moron Test was likely written in a proprietary API, application programming interface. APIs have been proliferating like tribbles of late.

Us old-timers prefer open source ubiquitous languages. Our memory banks are too full to cram in every API du jour.

1 comment:

  1. I was very sad upon reading of Dennis Ritchie's death; perhaps even more so because most people I know would just say "who?".

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