Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie (b. September 9, 1941; found dead October 12, 2011), commonly known by his username dmr, was an American computer scientist who “helped shape the digital era.” He created the C programming language and, with long-time colleague, Ken Thompson, the UNIX operating system. Ritchie and Thompson received the Turing Award from the ACM in 1983, the Hamming Medal from the IEEE in 1990 and the National Medal of Technology from President Clinton in 1999. Ritchie was the head of Lucent Technologies System Software Research Department when he retired in 2007. The ‘R’ of the K&R C book stands for his name.
“… Pretty much everything on the web uses those two things: C and UNIX,” Pike tells Wired. “The browsers are written in C. The UNIX kernel — that pretty much the entire Internet runs on — is written in C. Web servers are written in C, and if they’re not, they’re written in Java or C++, which are C derivatives, or Python or Ruby, which are implemented in C. And all of the network hardware running these programs I can almost guarantee were written in C. “It’s really hard to overstate how much of the modern information economy is built on the work Dennis did.”