Ghostboard pixel Skip to content

The 80-Year-Old Computer Scientist Who Termed 'Unix' Adds Unicode Support to AWK Code

Brian Kernighan is still active to add code contributions to his original project AWK in his 80s. That's inspiring!

Brian Kernighan is popularly known for his work along with the creators of Unix, Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie. He made significant contributions to the development of Unix.

Not just that, Brian Kernighan also suggested the name "Unix" and created the "Hello, world" as a test phrase for programs.

You might also recognize him as a co-author of the book "The C Programming Language" along with Dennis Ritchie. So, it is safe to say he's an important part of everything you know about Unix, Linux, BSD, and the evolution of C programming language.

And, as an 80-year-old (now), he seems to have invested some time to add a new feature to "AWK", a scripting language he co-created back in the 1970s.

💙 That's wonderful, right? And, sounds like something to inspire us.

Note: AWK is still a powerful utility to process text and extract data, true to its original purpose. If you're curious, you can learn more about it on freeCodeCamp.

Adding Unicode Support to AWK

The feature addition was recently spotted by The Register via a recent interview on YouTube.

Technically, the contribution was made a few months back, but now it's getting the attention.

Of course, the feature addition may not be a big deal for many. But, the effort behind it, and who contributed it, makes a world of difference.

Moreover, it is interesting to note that he is not entirely aware of how Git works. So, keeping that in mind, I think he did pretty well with the commit here:

Add BWK’s email. · onetrueawk/awk@9ebe940
One true awk. Contribute to onetrueawk/awk development by creating an account on GitHub.

He mentions:

Once I figure out how (and do some more checking, I will try to submit a pull request. I wish I understood git better, but in spite of your help, I still don't have a proper understanding, so this may take a while.

I would recommend you to watch the interview linked above, if you have a curiosity on the original creators and contributors of Unix and many essential innovations along the way.

You can also check more of his work and recent books in his page on Princeton University's website.

💬 So, what do you think about this code contribution by a Unix legend in his 80s? Do you admire him for anything particular? Share your thoughts in the comments down below.

More from It's FOSS...