Few weeks ago a CEO of well know technology company has pass away, and the mediatisation over his death have been far too much in my opinion. And few days afterwards the father of computing died Dennis Ritchie. The mass media have not said much about him because he is almost unknown to everyone, except the most of people who have studied computer science in the past three decades. Unfortunately people/media prefer to prise someone who wasn’t a programmer, nor a graphist, nor electronics engineer, but who began a simple technician, and who did not even graduate. Yes his has skills. His skill is that he knew how to persuade people he was right.
Dennis Ritchie contributed to create with Brian Kernighan and Ken Thomson a computing language and UNIX operating systems which are the root of modern computing. The root of C language, and UNIX will remain for a very long time.You can read here an article from Wired which praise to Dennis Ritchie, as he should be praised.
Because I think it’s easier to remember someone who was very good communicator and persuasive, and which does let indiferent. It is also easier because people could associate his name, with the popular phone, tablet, fancy colorfull computers his company was making. People embrace him for his talent, his visionary, whereas they should praise the hard work of his employee rather him, and the employee of Foxcon in China. UNIX or C language are concepts which remains something difficult to understand, and you cannot make it cool it you’re not interested in computer science.
“UNIX is basically a simple operating system, but you have to be a genius to understand the simplicity” [Dennis Ritchie]
That’s sad to remember someone who claim in 1994 who said without shame a sentence from Picasso “Good artists copy great artists steal”. Several years later his company became the most secret corporation ever, and claim intellectual property for everything they are making.
Do you know Linux Torvald or Richard Stallman ? Do you think they will be remembered like this famous CEO for what they have contributed to the computing world ? Richard Stallman the founder of the Free Software Foundation have been harsh towards him in the recent days, and have a been heavly criticized. Because Richard Stallman fought all his life against the principle of intellectual properties, yes I am not shocked when he said :
I am glad he would not be able to create any more “jails” to lock people in..
If you’re intersted in the Free Software community, I found a webpage there which is a give interesting critics over Richard Stallman, which I think is interesting if you want to read more about it . At least but not at last I found a blog at this page which at counter current despite everyone thinking these days, with more analysis than emotional tribute…
No unfortunately I do not admire him and is not a customer of his products….
Think different … (Stolen from a great company)