|Re: R.I.P. Denis Ritchie|
Message #16 Posted by Borja on 17 Oct 2011, 5:15 a.m.,
in response to message #3 by uhmgawa
Actually both (Jobs and Ritchie) have some things in common. Even though Jobs was an entrepreneur and a businessman (not a scientist or inventor, as he has been portrayed by the unsurprisingly ignorant media) and Ritchie was a scientist.
Both took part in a revolution against undue complexity. Ritchie, with Ken Thompson, developing C and Unix while the next big thing was an operating system, MULTICS, more complicated than soviet bureaucracy. Jobs, by leading Apple towards making computers much more usable for the general public, in the case of the Mac, and, later, to launch the computer-that-is-not-a-computer, the iPad.
Both were immune to the dreadful Second System Syndrom described by Fred P. Brooks in his awesome book, "The Mythical Man Month". Following Jobs, who, although obviously didn't "invent", "code", etc, Apple products, there is a steady improvement from the Apple II to the Mac, to the NeXT, and to the iPhone/iPad.
In the case of Ritchie, from C and Unix, and, although Plan 9 was mostly (as far as I know) Pike's and Presotto's idea, I'm sure he contributed ideas, then Inferno... Eveything I've seen coming from that research group led by Ritchie has been brilliant. From systems software to just software engineering (or I should say counter-engineering).
Both have made enormous contributions to technology. I don't think there are entrepreneurs like Hewlett, Packard or Jobs, and by looking at the sad state of software engineering in general, seems that generation of computer scientists won't get a replacement either.
I think we will miss them sorely.