The Tragic Talented Programmer

Posted on 21 Jul 2020, tagged thoughtsTemple OSprogrammingtechnology

I’m king Terry…

It’s good to be a king.

Maybe, maybe I’m just a bizarre little person who walks back and forth.

Terry A. Davis

Recently I watched a video from Linus Tech Tips that introduces Temple OS. I’ve heard of Temple OS (maybe on Hacker News) before. But I didn’t really get it when I looked at its official website. However, it really interests me this time. So I looked at more resources, especially another video called TempleOS | Down the Rabbit Hole which is mentioned by Linus. This time, I known the full story about the person behind Temple OS, Terry A. Davis.

Temple OS is written by Terry himself. He even created a language for the OS called HolyC, and wrote the compiler by himself. However, the UI of Temple OS is so unusual that the posts by Terry that promote Temple OS either got ignored or considered as spam. And the most important, Terry had schizophrenia. His posts are often out of topic. He believed CIA is after him. And he believed he can talk with God through some random generator. That’s one of the reason he renamed the OS to Temple OS and refer it as God’s third temple. Later on, he published videos and streamed at YouTube. This time he attracted some people’s attention. But unfortunately, some people harassed him by calling his personal phone and sending trolling Emails. I think that’s one of the reasons his schizophrenia get worse. At last, he was kicked out from his home by his parents, and became a homeless. After that, he still wrote code in the van. Then he got arrested and also lost his van. He wandered to Portland at last. And finally dead at 2018 because of hitting by a train.

I feel so sad about this story. I downloaded Temple OS and played with it for a while. Under it’s unusual GUI, I was shocked by the OS. It’s complete, and it’s different. The whole shell is just a console of HolyC. You run the command the same way as you write the code. You can search and navigate to the source very easily. You can modify anything in the OS. And it even has fairly powerful graphic system. It’s so new and so fun to me. I cannot believe it’s all written by one person. That says how talented Terry was. I also watched some videos about he talked about HolyC, which has a lot of inspiring ideas.

The more I watched his videos, the more I felt empathy with him. I know a lot of people in Chinese history that are very talented but are not recognized by the sociality at the time they were living. There are a lot of poems about that. And I also had hard times personally. So I can really feel it. In Terry’s case, it’s even more tragic because of the mental illness.

I have been in Portland for a short period of time at 2018. Portland has highest number of homeless people in the US. And there are also a lot of homeless in Toronto. I don’t know the sociality in the north America so I usually feel uncomfortable around the homeless. Now I know not all of them are drug users. At least some of them are worth respected.

Luckily, Terry left a lot of videos behind him that recorded his thoughts and ideas. And most important, he left his epic work: the God’s third temple - Temple OS. A lot of people remember him, miss him and respect him because of this. In this sense, he is not really dead. I really get inspired by him. I’m also trying to left ideas and work behind me. After all, that’s the meaning of life.

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