Dennis Ritchie--May He Rest in Peace...
You won't hear much about D. Ritchie. There may be a brief blurb on 'programming language writer' or Bell Labs work. But it's more than that.
Like me, you respect and appreciate Steve Jobs' life's work. You may have a few Apple products. If so, recognize this: Dennis Ritchie's work is the foundation on which large segments of modern computing technology is built.
The C programming language, and its offshoots, drives most technologies today. Its terse, efficient style provides reasonable performance and efficiency. It was Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson who created the UNIX operating system, now emulated by several Open Source variants, including Darwin, the core OS from which Mac OS X is drawn.
No, Dennis Ritchie didn't thrill us with rhetoric and ruse and product proclamations. Other than a standard Bell Labs wage, I'm not sure he profited wildly from his work.
No, it is we who have profited greatly from his work.