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John Pettitt
Works at Free Range Content Inc
Lived in London
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John Pettitt

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Rob Pike originally shared:
 
I was warmly surprised to see how many people responded to my Google+ post about Dennis Ritchie's untimely passing. His influence on the technical community was vast, and it's gratifying to see it recognized. When Steve Jobs died there was a wide lament - and well-deserved it was - but it's worth noting that the resurgence of Apple depended a great deal on Dennis's work with C and Unix.

The C programming language is quite old now, but still active and still very much in use. The Unix and Linux (and Mac OS X and I think even Windows) kernels are all C programs. The web browsers and major web servers are all in C or C++, and almost all of the rest of the Internet ecosystem is in C or a C-derived language (C++, Java), or a language whose implementation is in C or a C-derived language (Python, Ruby, etc.). C is also a common implementation language for network firmware. And on and on.

And that's just C.

Dennis was also half of the team that created Unix (the other half being Ken Thompson), which in some form or other (I include Linux) runs all the machines at Google's data centers and probably at most other server farms. Most web servers run above Unix kernels; most non-Microsoft web browsers run above Unix kernels in some form, even in many phones.

And speaking of phones, the software that runs the phone network is largely written in C.

But wait, there's more.

In the late 1970s, Dennis joined with Steve Johnson to port Unix to the Interdata. From this remove it's hard to see how radical the idea of a portable operating system was; back then OSes were mostly written in assembly language and were tightly coupled, both technically and by marketing, to specific computer brands. Unix, in the unusual (although not unique) position of being written in a "high-level language", could be made to run on a machine other than the PDP-11. Dennis and Steve seized the opportunity, and by the early 1980s, Unix had been ported by the not-yet-so-called open source community to essentially every mini-computer out there. That meant that if I wrote my program in C, it could run on almost every mini-computer out there. All of a sudden, the coupling between hardware and operating system was broken. Unix was the great equalizer, the driving force of the Nerd Spring that liberated programming from the grip of hardware manufacturers.

The hardware didn't matter any more, since it all ran Unix. And since it didn't matter, hardware fought with other hardware for dominance; the software was a given. Windows obviously played a role in the rise of the x86, but the Unix folks just capitalized on that. Cheap hardware meant cheap Unix installations; we all won. All that network development that started in the mid-80s happened on Unix, because that was the environment where the stuff that really mattered was done. If Unix hadn't been ported to the Interdata, the Internet, if it even existed, would be a very different place today.

I read in an obituary of Steve Jobs that Tim Berners-Lee did the first WWW development on a NeXT box, created by Jobs's company at the time. Well, you know what operating system ran on NeXTs, and what language.

Even in his modest way, I believe Dennis was very proud of his legacy. And rightfully so: few achieve a fraction as much.

So long, Dennis, and thanks for all the magic.
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John Pettitt

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Wow, WSJ defrauds advertisers and sells favorable articles all in the same scandal. If it turns out there was phone tapping involved we'll have the trifecta.
Dan Gillmor originally shared:
 
Saddened to see that the culture of sleaze at News Corp. has infected the news pages of the Wall Street Journal, at least the European edition.
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John Pettitt

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Today I hate Apple. Normally I like them but today an OSX upgrade borked my MacBook (to be fair it was a Symantec PGP file that did the deed) and jury is out on my iPhone coming back from it's iOS 5 update.
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John Pettitt

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The Internet: "I can haz shark jump?" ...And why?
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That was pure ridiculousness. 
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John Pettitt

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Bonus points for anybody who can identify all the paintings.
Micaël Reynaud originally shared:
 
What was that about hats again?
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Nice!
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John Pettitt

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A really good summary of why the BART cell phone shutdown was a bad idea and ilegal
Why Shutting Down Cell Service Is Not Just Against The Law, It's a Really Bad Idea. Home » Policy Blog » Harold Feld. By Harold Feld on August 23, 2011 - 9:40am. 6 comments. I suppose I am really ...
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I was stunned when I heard that BART had done this. I'm glad to see the legal argument against actions such as this. BART had no right to do what they did, and I hope the legal system supports that view in this case.
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John Pettitt

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Don't know much about history…
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John Pettitt

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With a lot less publicity the software Dennis wrote changed the world even more than the products Steve Jobs brought to market (most of which would not have been the same withe C or Unix). I've worked with variants of unix and with the C language for over 25 years. In many ways the work of Dennis Richie changed my life.
Dusty Wilson originally shared:
 
Dennis Ritchie died on Sunday (Oct 9). This is a big loss for the world. He was a gifted man with a brilliant, skilled mind. For those that don't know, he co-invented the C programming language with Ken Thompson. He also was a huge influence in Unix which, along with his work on C, has influenced so much about how we write software and use computers today. I believe there is no aspect of computers and mobile devices that has not directly benefited from his work. Nearly every operating system and compiled program is built with C or heavily influenced by C. Without him, our world would have certainly been a much different, lesser place.

+Rob Pike wrote a post about him as well, linked below.
I just heard that, after a long illness, Dennis Ritchie (dmr) died at home this weekend. I have no more information. I trust there are people here who…
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I'm shaken. We're getting hit left and right with the loss of some influential, great minds. Dennis lived to be 70, and he was ill, but even so he had so much to give .. and so much more he might have done..
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"You have reinvented PHP better, but that's still no justification"
Programming Language Checklist by Colin McMillen, Jason Reed, and Elly Jones. You appear to be advocating a new: [ ] functional [ ] imperative [ ] object-oriented [ ] procedural [ ] stack-based [ ] &q...
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Exactly
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Which is why I think Move to Amend is the most crucial thing that should happen in the USA.  From there all the other bad things will eventually worm their way out of the system and we'll be left with just what we ask and vote for, not what someone else pays for with truck loads of cash.
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John Pettitt

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It's made of Adobe and it's a …
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oh the pun-ishment!
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John Pettitt

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This is what happens when you rely too much on machines to make decisions that impact people. In other news one of the 5 Darth Vader's on G+ started following me this weekend.
Violet Blue originally shared:
 
This is crazy after breaking the story about Google+ accounts being deleted for not complying with the "Real Names" policy, and my continuing coverage on CBSi's ZDNet about the "Real Names" Google+ debacle.

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/violetblue/google-plus-deleting-accounts-en-masse-no-clear-answers/567

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/violetblue/four-things-google-plus-could-do-to-fix-google-plus/576

My account has been flagged for not complying to the Google+ "Real Names" policy.

My account will be banned in two days. I will lose services I use daily.

Hey +Vic Gundotra +Bradley Horowitz +Chris Messina +Joseph Smarr +Louis Gray +Amy Walgenbach

This is entirely ridiculous, especially from a user experience perspective.


It is my real name.

I AM complying with your policy.
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Work
Occupation
CEO
Employment
  • Free Range Content Inc
    CEO/Founder, 2010 - present
  • BitTorrent Inc.
    VP Engineering, 2006 - 2007
  • Beyond.com
    CTO/Founder, 1995 - 2000
  • Cybersource
    CTO/Founder, 1995 - 1998
  • Black Rock City LLC (Burning Man)
    Ranger Logistics Manager, 2007 - 2009
  • Dean for America
    Photographer, 2003 - 2004
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Male
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Polymath, engineer, entrepreneur, troublemaker.
Introduction
I'm a tech entrepreneur, I start companies.  It's what I'm good at. If you've bought goods online in the last 10 years there is a very good chance you've used one of the products I invented.

I'm also a nationally published photo-journalist (I was staff photographer for Howard Dean's presidential campaign)

While I was trying out retirement I worked for Burning Man managing logistics one of the depts.

Right now I'm CEO for Free Range Content Inc (http://freerangecontent.com)
Bragging rights
Started 6 companies took two public and sold another, had my photos published in Vanity Fair and the Washington Post.
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Previously
London - San Francisco - Wokingham - Burlington, vt - Adelaide
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