I've run out of adjectives

The news of Dennis Ritchie's passing hit hard. So much has been written in the past day. His impact was enormous, and outside the tech world, mostly unknown - but very much felt. C underpins everything. My whole career has grown out of C and Unix. Wow.

For most engineers working today, it's hard to understand the euphoria I felt in the 70s when a programming language finally came along that I (and everyone else) could use to move up from writing in assembler to a real programming language. We could do everything we needed to do to write all the low-level bits of systems. Before C, programming languages just weren't up to the task: the overheads were just too large. The sophistication of systems was really held back by the difficulty of writing large pieces of software in assembler. C was like JATO for code.

October 13, 2011