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I just learned Terry A. Davis died

rip templeos terry davis

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i just found out Terry A. Davis (schizophrenic creator of TempleOS) died earlier this year, he was run over by a train after spending a lot of time homeless and wandering the west coast of the US.

he had to leave his parents’ house after going to jail for beating up his dad. most likely due to his deteriorating mental state, which was exacerbated by 4chan and 8chan calling him on the phone constantly and egging on his delusions for a laugh

even though he used the N-word like the word “the” and was kinda generally abrasive and angry, his actual OS had some pretty brilliant features and it’s a shame that he was unable to get the help he needed and instead the internet found him and destroyed him

i’ve been on a deep dive and found some cool blog articles, one in particular about TempleOS itself that led me to discover two other cool OSes: Oberon, and Plan 9

here’s some links

article about Terry himself and a bit about the OS: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/wnj43x/gods-lonely-programmer
article about the actual features and power of TempleOS: http://www.codersnotes.com/notes/a-constructive-look-at-templeos/

article about Oberon, a European OS that also blurs the line between processes and files: http://ignorethecode.net/blog/2009/04/22/oberon/
excerpt chapter from “The Art of Unix Programming”, about Plan 9, an attempt to do Unix over: http://www.catb.org/esr/writings/taoup/html/plan9.html

here’s a movie-length video about Terry and his OS, courtesy of “Down The Rabbit Hole” on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCgoxQCf5Jg


dum thirsty hors

yeah it’s sad. he was clearly very troubled. he got more and more racist and weird as his mental state deteriorated. i think it’s cool that he channeled his troubles into an operating system of all things.

also i think plan 9 is really cool. i’ve met rob pike a couple times irl at conferences and stuff and i really look up to him. this site is written in Go which is also a rob pike thing. plan 9 had lots of neat ideas and it’s sad it never took off. if you want a fun OS-related read, try reading the Unix Haters Handbook, it outlines some gripes people had that led to alternate operating systems like plan 9, and it’s pretty funny.

bird on skateboard

yeah something like an OS is no joke to program, he was absolutely right to be proud of his work even if he did get WAY over the top about it lol

the Unix Haters Handbook is one of my top 10 books easily, i have it in pdf and poke through it every now and again. i was exposed to it as like the second thing i ever read about Unix, when i was just getting started learning Arch a few years ago. i think reading it planted the seeds for me to not turn into an insufferable linux fangirl lol. i’m more of a “use whatever OS works for your use case” kinda person instead (with the major exception that i only use windows begrudgingly because it’s the exclusive platform for a lot of games. fuck windows). i’m kinda conflating unix and linux here cause like, does anybody actually use a straight-up Unix?

unix (and consequently linux) is a very strange OS that i find really fascinating. it’s such a cobbled-together mess at this point because just everything about how we use computers (and the computers themselves) are so different from the 1970s mainframes unix was designed around. you’ve got ugly artifacts like ioctl jammed in there to make things work as systems evolved, and job handling is so inelegant

you REALLY have to wrangle with any given linux distro to get it to fit a home user’s use case, especially if you’re not concerned with productivity and just want like a desktop rig to browse the internet and play games. but also that clunky nature of it is imo part of its charm

i’m rambling now lol. but anyway, as an alternative to windows, linux is amazing, but just in general i wish we had better (or just more choices for) operating systems. i don’t like how we went from computers and tech being this way out of the corporate systems of the past, to now the internet and computers are totally corporate-controlled and ever-more locked down and sanitized. it’s really sad. for those of us who can take the time to learn linux and get our heads round its weirdness, that’s fine as a viable FOSS alternative, but for the Aunt Tillies of the world, they’re stuck

so stuff like plan 9, oberon, templeOS even, i find really fascinating for that reason. like, yeah, go! do it!

Edited by applebaps at 2018-12-28 19:49:182018-12-28 19:49
dum thirsty hors

in particular, the way plan 9 handles files without distinction, the ftp-ish mounting system, it all speaks to me. shame it never took off. like Programming in Unix said, the biggest enemy to new tech is an existing codebase that’s just good enough lol

same thing is true whether you’re talking OSes, social media, etc. it’s that inertia of the familiar

dum thirsty hors

never heard of him but Rest In Peace, shame all that stuff happened to gim

Damn RIP

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