Dennis Ritchie co-authored the book, The C Programming Language, a classic,
which many of my peers grew up with. It was one of the textbooks at MIT for Civil Engineering 1.00 when we were attending when the course was essentially an introduction to programming with C.
The harsh irony is that when Steve Jobs passed away I was probably the only one around me who
felt no remorse and hoped the curve fanaticism Jobs fueled would die with him. When Dennis Ritchie passed
away I was probably one of the few around me who knew who he was and appreciated the great contributions
he made to the computer industry.
I felt it as quite a blow to hear of Richie's passing. He was a generous and gentle, tho also wickedly funny (see his intro to the Unix Haters Handbook) soul. I know people that worked with Ritchie, and it is eminently clear that a friend has been lost.
I hear your irony, and appreciate it somewhat, disagreeing only insofar as I find that all deaths diminish us.
Surely. There's some deep irony that there's more or less an "iSad" product line for those so in need to express their sadness that they feel the need to decorate their phones with pictures of a visibly ill man. (Visit DealExtreme, and look at recent products for a whole lineup of such stuff; on some, he looks mighty ill.)
I'm a little hopeful that the people that are in the habit of actually creating computing artifacts will take a poke back at pieces of Ritchie's legacy. We could use some improvements to the infrastructure we're using, and heading back towards the simplicity and elegance that his work evidenced would be a very right direction.