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Last week it was Steve Jobs, and everybody - for good reason - paid attention.

But now, the Washington Post carries another obituary for a tech pioneer, Dennis Ritchie, who died Wednesday at age 70 after a long illness.

Here’s why Ritchie was important, compliment s of the Post:

“Ritchie is likely to be best remembered for his famous ‘hello, world’ program, which is used in programming textbooks as an example of a very simple computer program, and has spread to ordinary folks as a phrase to use when starting something new.

“After news of Ritchie’s death broke, words of remembrance came in for the man known to many as ‘dmr,’ which was his e-mail address at Bell Labs, where he spent most of his career.

“Many pointed out that Ritchie’s creation of the C programming language was a seminal moment for information technology. The technology Web site ZDNet wrote Thursday that the language is ‘at the heart of programming — and in the hearts of programmers.’ It also remains the second most popular programming language in the world.

“Ritchie’s co-development of Unix, a multitasking, multi-user computer operating system, has since inspired many descendent operation systems. Amazon’s chief technology officer, Werner Vogels, wrote in a tribute to Ritchie Thursday that although Unix works simply, ‘you have to be a genius to understand the simplicity — Dennis Ritchie, who was a genius, RIP.’”

One Ritchie disciple put it this way on Twitter:

Dennis Ritchie was the engineer/architect who’s chapel Steve Jobs painted.
KC's View:
I had never heard of Ritchie before. But I’m glad I know about him now. And I hope you feel the same way.

Attention should be paid.