I have been seeing a lot of posts about how everyone cared so much about Steve Jobs death and not Dennis Ritchie's. Thats the sad reality of life, people appreciate business people more then engineers/hackers. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zukerburg are world renowned figure because people use products created by their companies first hand on a day to day basis.
Everyone uses so much code and ideas that were initiated by Dennis Ritchie, Linus Torvalds, Richard Stallman but are unaware of it. I dont even know the name of the guy who created Apache on which majority of the web runs. Even though these guys gave away whatever they created for free for everyone to use. I forgot the name of the engineer who invented the vacuum cleaner but I know the person who first started selling them was called Hoover.
Even in tech community, David H. Hansson is a legend in some circles but I bet 90 percent of software developers have never heard of him, without him the web would not have been so 2.0ish, we might not have had Twitter, scribd, 43Things, luminosity, github, etc.
Lesson: If you want to be well known, do something that everyday people use. Or if you dont care about fame(or money) that gives you the freedom to do whatever you think is worth doing.