Last week, I had the honor of meeting a number of Bell Labs researchers who worked alongside the man responsible for the connected world we today live. His name was Dennis Ritchie.

I, clearly, am no big-brained Bell Labs scientist, but back in 1995 I, too, had the opportunity to work with Dennis. He and his team were launching a new operating system called Plan 9 and I was the PR guy responsible for getting it noticed.

Unfortunately, I was too young, too early in my tech career to realize what a unique moment that would be. Which is why I didn’t hesitate to ask the researchers I met in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress if I could capture their remembrances of Dennis on my Flip while I had the chance. The video quality is rough (Spielberg’s job is safe), the sound is more Dummy than Dolby, but the words are important entries into the historical record of one of the most important humans since Edison.

3 Comments

  1. Mike,

    Dennis Ritchie … a flash from the past. I still have some Plan 9 press kits and the bylined article we wrote for BYTE magazine. I vaguely remember the 64kb kernel OS designed for set-top boxes, etc. Are any of the people from the 1995 team still with Bell Labs? I’m trying to remember the other developments. Was Mothra one of them? Hope all is well with you. Drop me a line when you have a chance. — BJ

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  2. Dennis Ritchie was a true programmer, in fact, he was always and he will remain the #1 programmer in the world. He developed the C language which is the basis of every application in the world (even Java is written on C, and so is PHP, and the rest of the programming languages out there).

    We are forever grateful to this man, who kept a low profile all his life, who lived humbly and died humbly.

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