Jobs is praised by the media as the Jesus of Computing while Dennis Ritchie (UNIX) is ignored.

The Facebook graphic implies Jobs did nothing significant, that he was hipster who stole all his ideas and somehow this is an insult to Dennis Richie.

This is not a sensible comparison.  The two accomplished entirely different things. And Jobs did not steal everything.

TLDR: Richie created a programming language used to create an OS. Jobs created hardware that was accessible to non-programmers and consumers.



All the computing god praise cannot go to any single person

Richie developed C programing language with Ken Thompson, which was an iteration of B developed by Thompson. B was based on BCPL by Richards. And Unix was inspired by Multics.

However, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak (and later Apple without Wozniak) created hardware that could be bought off the self, ready to use.  Before that, individuals had to build their computers or pay tens of thousands of dollars for a pre-built machine.

Jobs and Apple successfully commercialized computing making computers a house hold appliance. Apple computers and devices successfully made operating systems and programming languages invisible to the consumer.

Jobs is not a programmer. He was essentially an industrial designer. He and Apple combined programming languages and hardware into a greater system.

Jobs did not steal everything

Apple did not steal the GUI from Xerox, they had given Xerox shares of Apple to see their work. There was no working relationship between Apple and Xerox. No lines of code were stolen.  Xerox’s attempt to sue Apple was dismissed by the courts. Apple’s Lisa team was already developing a GUI at the time Apple employees visited Xerox.

Plus, Xerox’s Star OS did not function like Apples System OS. The only thing they had in common was that they were picture-based and used a mouse. Star was more like having just one app on the machine. It do not function as a standalone machine. A user would have to buy 2 workstations, a file server and print server. (Essentially a $100,000 word processor and email client).

Unix inspired Minix and Minix inspired Linux

Don’t forget Linux and Torvalds. Richie owes much of his impact on computing to the success of  Linux. Unix cost money to use. Also, because MS software and OS was so prevalent and expensive, Linux became popular. What we really see today is Linux being used everywhere. Google’s operating system Android is also built on the Linux kernal.

Mobile Devices contribute the most to the popularity of Linux

NeXT computer and Apple’s OS X and iDevices made Unix/Linux commercially successful with consumer devices. Google’s cellphones use Linux.

Before Apple, C and Unix did not have a consumer footprint. Microsoft/IBM computers were not using C nor Unix. They used DOS. In fact, most consumer and business computers were using a variant of DOS. (All DOS are not related, “DOS” was just a popular naming convention.) One could say that without Apple, no one would give a damn about Unix and C programming language.

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