[TUHS] Happy birthday, Dennis Ritchie!

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Mon Sep 18 10:51:34 AEST 2017

On Sun, Sep 17, 2017 at 8:12 PM, Larry McVoy <lm at mcvoy.com> wrote:

> OK, let's hit the reset button on this one.

​I agree,   Warren said something similar...​

> I'm happy that the GNU
> ​ ​
> project exists, I benefit from it every day.


> I am explicitly stating
> ​ ​
> that I appreciate all of the work that people have done as volunteers,
> I'm one of them.

​And I'll add, we as a community owe a huge thank you to all of them,
particularly many smaller less known folks that have helped out over the
years.  I wish I could thank them all specifically.

I'll give RMS, Len and original GNU team credit for one really important
thing that happened early on.   It really was the getting a C compiler out
that there that worked (sort of) for so many systems.  This was the key
enabler more than anything else.  The C compiler that anyone could get,
that was freely available, was the watershed moment for all us.  [
​And Larry's right, the
 fact the Tiemann mopped up an
really move
it from being a toy to being something that was pretty creditable, it what
made the project actually have a
​ long term​
​   If we had not had the compiler, almost all other project would not have

By getting a compiler that covered the primary architectures being used and
was quickly moved to so many OS's and generated 'good enough' code for so
many folks - we have the options we have today.

The only other compiler at the time, that could have done the same things
was Andy's Amsterdam Compiler Kit (which when it came out, was considered a
"better" compiler)​, but it had a small pay wall.  And 'free' as in 'beer'
was the important difference when it all started.

Like many of other Christiansen style disruptions.... 'worse' technology
was valuable and got better.   And the GNU C disrupted the order in the
software industry.
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