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Dennis M. Ritchie 1941 - 2011

Dennis M Ritchie (standing) and Ken Thompson:

"Perhaps paradoxically, the success of the Unix system is largely due to the fact that it was not designed to meet any predefined objectives. The first version was written when one of us (Thompson), dissatisfied with the available computer facilities, discovered a little-used PDP-7 and set out to create a more hospitable environment. This (essentially personal) effort was sufficiently successful to gain the interest of the other author and several colleagues, and later to justify the acquisition of the PDP-11/20, specifically to support a text editing and formatting system. When in turn the 11/20 was outgrown, the system had proved useful enough to persuade management to invest in the PDP-11/45, and later in the PDP-11/70 and Interdata 8/32 machines, upon which it developed to its present form. Our goals throughout the effort, when articulated at all, have always been to build a comfortable relationship with the machine and to explore ideas and inventions in operating systems and other software. We have not been faced with the need to satisfy someone else's requirements, and for this freedom we are grateful." - D. M. Ritchie and K. Thompson

(My well-worn copy of K&R First Edition. I still write K&R style C - I learnt C before the ANSI standard was finalized, and I never really liked its changes.)