How many hours, days, weeks, months, years of my academic and professional lives have involved the C programming language and the Unix operating system?
But Ritchie’s C is even more important, in many ways, than Unix. It is the fundamental building block upon which much of what we consider to be the modern world was built . . .
By creating C, Ritchie gave birth to the concept of open systems. C was developed so they could port Unix to any computer, and so that programs written on one platform (and the skills used to develop them) could be easily transferred to another.
In that way, Ritchie has shaped our world in much more fundamental ways than Steve Jobs or Bill Gates have.