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Dennis Ritchie -- An Appreciation

 
 
Patrick Scheible
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      10-19-2011
Dann Corbit <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

> C is close enough to the hardware to allow me to avoid writing assembly
> in order to keep a program fast. Yet C is abstract enough to write
> complicated ideas in a symbolic way in order to make the code easy to
> maintain.
>
> C is the mother of the modern OO languages like C++ and Java.
>
> My first programming language was Fortran IV. My second programming
> language was PL/1. But C (while the 3rd programming language that I
> learned) was the first programming language that I loved.


My exposure was Basic, Pascal, C, then various assembly languages and
other languages. C was my favorite for a long time. And while I have
other favorites now, they were invented after C.

> And I am really, really hard to please.
>
> There are some programming giants. Donald Knuth, W. Richard Stevens,
> and Dennis Ritchie top my list. How about yours?


Here are a few more:

Robert Sedgwick, for clear and cogent explanations of algorithms.
Ralph Griswold (RIP), creator of Snobol and Icon.
Daniel Murphy, primary creator of TOPS-20, the first modern timesharing
OS.

-- Patrick
 
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Frederick Williams
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      10-19-2011
Dann Corbit wrote:

>
> There are some programming giants. Donald Knuth, W. Richard Stevens,
> and Dennis Ritchie top my list. How about yours?


There is one of those whom I would exclude. I would add (in no
particular order) Tony Hoare, Charles Moore, Bertrand Meyer and John
McCarthy.

--
When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by
this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.
Jonathan Swift: Thoughts on Various Subjects, Moral and Diverting
 
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88888 dihedral
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      10-19-2011
I recommend the Winograd's Fourier transform programs for 1 D DFT not covered by the Oppenheim nad Schaifer's text books, and programs of the Nussbaumer polynomial transform for multidimensional DFT.
 
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Kaz Kylheku
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      10-19-2011
On 2011-10-18, Dann Corbit <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> There are some programming giants. Donald Knuth, W. Richard Stevens,
> and Dennis Ritchie top my list. How about yours?


Dough Smith: Very nice work on the game Lode Runner for the Apple II circa 1980.

Philip Greenspun: http://philip.greenspun.com/narcissism/resume

This new resume doesn't have a lot details of the cool exploits that I remember
from a prior version. But I didn't know that Greenspun was one of the brains
behind PA-RISC.

``Helped architect, simulate and design prototype of HP's Precision
Architecture RISC computer. The prototype took two man-years to complete and
ran at VAX 11/780 speed in June 1983. This architecture became the basis of
HP's computer product line for 15 years and then became the basis for the
64-bit generation of Intel processors.''

That was in 1982-1983. He was only born in 1963.
 
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Roberto Waltman
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      10-19-2011
Dann Corbit <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> ...
>There are some programming giants. Donald Knuth, W. Richard Stevens,
>and Dennis Ritchie top my list. How about yours?


Not sure if to call them "programmers", but ...

Add Niklaus Wirth, Edser Djikstra, Per Brinch-Hansen, Chuck Moore,
Alan Perlis (even if only for the humor,) Alan Kay.
--
Roberto Waltman

[ Please reply to the group,
return address is invalid ]
 
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AK
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      10-20-2011
On Oct 17, 5:00*pm, (E-Mail Removed) (Steve Summit) wrote:
> [I haven't posted here in quite some time, but I should
> definitely post this here. *It's also on the web athttp://www.eskimo.com/~scs/dmr.html.]
>
> I'm a programmer, and just about always have been.
> My favorite programming language is still C, and my favorite
> operating system is still Unix. *Dennis Ritchie was, of course,
> jointly responsible for both. *So I have definitely lost a
> personal hero and, to the extent that I can claim I've learned
> from his work, a mentor as well.


Same here. In fact, I'm quite ****ed at the press in my country, who
gave a front page tribute to Steve Jobs and not even a mention about
Dennis Ritchie.

> It's been said that Unix killed research in operating systems.
> I find I don't mind, because Unix is just about perfect.
> It's said that you have to keep updating your skills in the tech
> world, but I've been programming professionally in C and Unix for
> more than 30 years now, and I don't expect to have to switch anytime
> soon. *In a field that does tend to burn down and reincarnate
> itself at least once every five years or so, those two wonderful
> little programming systems have proved remarkably durable.
> (And they *are* little, which is one of their underappreciated charms.)
>
> Just about everybody of a certain era in programming probably
> considers Dennis a hero. *The tech world being a bit more
> gregarious and less stratified than (say) Hollywood, Dennis was
> delightfully approachable. *It was always a thrill to see a post
> from dmr in a Usenet newsgroup, the more so if it was in response
> to one of your own posts, the more so if he agreed with you.
> And if you got an email out of the blue -- well, that was
> *really* one to be treasured. *But you didn't have to wait; any
> random hacker out there on the net could send an email to dmr,
> and he'd often reply. *(I know this because he once thanked me --
> another email to treasure! -- for being able to save time by
> simply pointing supplicants to the comp.lang.c FAQ list I'd
> compiled.)
>
> Random reminiscence: it's a USENIX conference, sometime in the
> mid-90's. *There's a session on copyright and other intellectual
> property issues, and as always happens when computer types
> discuss this topic, there are a bunch of flamboyant statements
> being made about how copyrights and patents on software are
> Evil, information wants to be free, etc., etc. *One commentator,
> objecting to the possibility that too-strict copyrights might
> stifle progress, solemnly opines that he doesn't want to be
> stuck using 20 year old software. *But sitting right in front
> of me happens to be Dennis Ritchie, who calls out in a rather
> commanding voice, "But you all do!"
>
> I'd like to say I'll miss him not only as a mentor but as a
> personal friend, but I only met him once or twice, so I can't
> honestly say that. *But I can say this: every time I simply type
>
> * * * * r = read(fd, buf, 13);
>
> to read 13 bytes from a file without worrying about its record
> structure, Dennis Ritchie lives. *Every time I pipe something to
> grep rather than having to eyeball it for a pattern I'm looking
> for, Dennis Ritchie lives. *Most importantly, every time I have
> the pleasure of writing (or using!) a software tool that's
> wondrously small and simple, that does one job and does it well,
> Dennis Ritchie lives.
>
> In fact, that's not a bad epitaph. *Dennis Ritchie: he did one
> job, and he did it well.


Amen...


 
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Nick Keighley
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      10-20-2011
On Oct 19, 10:13*am, Malcolm McLean <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:
> On Oct 18, 11:37*pm, Dann Corbit <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
> > There are some programming giants. *Donald Knuth, W. Richard Stevens,
> > and Dennis Ritchie top my list. *How about yours?

>
> Ada Lovelace was not only the first programmer, she also understood
> what programming was and what a computer could and couldn't do. So
> she's got to be on the list.


there's some doubt about these claims. Some think she was just a ghost
writer for Babbage. She was rather over-rated as a mathematician too.

> I'd also add Cooley and Tukey for the fast Fourier transform.


 
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lovecreatesbeauty
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      10-20-2011
On Oct 18, 8:00*am, (E-Mail Removed) (Steve Summit) wrote:
> [I haven't posted here in quite some time, but I should
> definitely post this here. *It's also on the web athttp://www.eskimo.com/~scs/dmr.html.]
>

R.I.P Dennis.

 
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lovecreatesbeauty
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      10-20-2011
On Oct 19, 5:37*am, Dann Corbit <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> C is close enough to the hardware to allow me to avoid writing assembly
> in order to keep a program fast. *Yet C is abstract enough to write
> complicated ideas in a symbolic way in order to make the code easy to
> maintain.
>
> C is the mother of the modern OO languages like C++ and Java.
>


I think C is just enough

> There are some programming giants. *Donald Knuth, W. Richard Stevens,
> and Dennis Ritchie top my list. *How about yours?


Dennis Ritchie is the one on my list
 
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lovecreatesbeauty
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      10-20-2011
On Oct 20, 3:01*pm, AK <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> Same here. In fact, I'm quite ****ed at the press in my country, who
> gave a front page tribute to Steve Jobs and not even a mention about
> Dennis Ritchie.
>


I read it on Google News and New York Times reported it.
 
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