|Developer||Terry A. Davis|
|Source model||Open source|
|Latest release||5.03 / 20 November 2017|
|Default user interface||Text-based|
TempleOS (formerly J Operating System, SparrowOS and LoseThos) is a biblical-themed lightweight operating system designed to be the Third Temple prophesied in the Bible. It was created by American programmer Terry A. Davis, who developed it alone over the course of a decade after a series of episodes that he later described as a revelation from God. The OS was released in 2013 and last updated in 2017.
TempleOS was characterized by Davis as a modern x86-64 Commodore 64. He proclaimed that he was in direct communication with God, and that God ordered the OS to have a 640x480 resolution, 16 color display, and a single audio voice. It was programmed with an original variation of C (named HolyC) in place of BASIC and uses an interface similar to a mixture of DOS and Turbo C. It also included an original flight simulator, compiler, and kernel.
Davis struggled with schizophrenia and periods of homelessness throughout his adult life. Over the years, he posted hours of video blogs to social media, and by the time of his death, had amassed a small online following. One fan described him as a "programming legend", while another, a computer engineer, compared the development of TempleOS to a one-man-built skyscraper. Davis died in a train accident on August 11, 2018 at the age of 48.
Terry Davis (1969–2018) began experiencing regular manic episodes in 1996, leading him to numerous stays at mental hospitals. Initially diagnosed with bipolar disorder, he was later declared schizophrenic and remained unemployed for the rest of his life. Davis began developing TempleOS circa 2003 and worked on the operating system for 12 years.
Davis later suffered from delusions of space aliens and government agents that left him briefly hospitalized for his mental health issues. Davis grew up Catholic and was an atheist before experiencing a self-described "revelation". He described the experience as seeming "a lot like mental illness ... I felt guilty for being such a technology-advocate atheist ... It would sound polite if you said I scared myself thinking about quantum computers." After being in direct communication with God, God told him the operating system he built was for God's third temple, and that TempleOS is of "divine intellect" due to the inspired nature of the code. He initially called it the "J Operating system" and later renamed it to "LoseThos", a reference to a scene from Platoon (1986). Another name he used was "SparrowOS" before settling on "TempleOS".
TempleOS is a 64 bit, non-preemptive multi-tasking, multi-cored, public domain, open source, ring-0-only, single address space, non-networked, PC operating system for recreational programming. The OS runs 8-bit ASCII with graphics in source code and has a 2D and 3D graphics library, which run at 640x480 VGA with 16 colors. Like most modern operating systems, it has keyboard and mouse support. It supports ISO 9660, FAT32 and RedSea file systems (the latter created by Davis) with support for file compression. Many of these specifications—such as the 640x480 resolution, 16 color display, and single audio voice—were instructed to him by God. It also included an original flight simulator, compiler, and kernel.
The operating system was written in a programming language developed by Davis in C and C++, called "HolyC". HolyC is a variation of C, developed by Davis as the programming language of TempleOS. It is used to interact with the shell, and to write and execute entire applications from the shell. The IDE that comes with TempleOS supports several features, such as embedding images in code. It uses a non-standard text format (known as DolDoc) which has support for hypertext links, images and 3D meshes to be embedded into what are otherwise regular ASCII files. A file can have, for example, a spinning 3D model of a tank as a comment in source code. Code can be JIT-compiled. He ultimately wrote over 100,000 lines of code for the OS.
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- Cecil, Neita (September 7, 2018). "Man killed by train had tech following". The Dalles Chronicle. (subscription required)
- Cassel, David (September 23, 2018). "The Troubled Legacy of Terry Davis, 'God's Lonely Programmer'". The New Stack.
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- Davis, Terry A. (n.d.). "Scheduler". The TempleOS Source Code. Archived from the original on 2016-06-01. Retrieved 2018-06-16.
- Mathieu, Bruno (November 28, 2014). "TempleOS : le système d'exploitation qui parle à Dieu" [TempleOs: The operating system that talks to God]. Tom's Guide (in French). Retrieved 2015-04-21.
- Davis, Terry A. (n.d.). "The Temple Operating System". www.templeos.org. Archived from the original on 2017-03-31. Retrieved 2017-03-30.
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