Last week Steve Jobs died. From the media, the obituaries, and the person in the street, you'd think we had lost a combination of Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, and Leonardo Da Vinci. The truth was, he was the CEO of an extremely successful company that feeds consumerism, and the world went gaga. In my opinion it was uncalled for.
Today the news is that Dennis Ritchie died. Dennis Ritchie may be unknown to most people, he may not get accolades from politicians, but he was a far more important person in the IT world. He created the C programming language, which is simply the most significant, influential programming language there is. After 40 years (which is a grand epoch in IT time), a variant of C (Objective-C) is still used for most Mac software and iPhone software. Untold IT students and programmers carried around a well-worn copy of a book co-authored by Ritchie, The C Programming Language, which is THE book which got us into C and serious programming.
Ritchie also was a co-creator of Unix, the operating system that has morphed into Linux and Mac OS X.
In 1983, Ritchie was co-awarded the Turing Award. This is the Nobel Prize of computing.