Insanity + OS Dev = TempleOS

Sometimes you stumble upon interesting but yet very strange projects. TempleOS is absolutely one of those. It’s been developed by Terry A. Davis who has single handily been working on his Operating System project for over ten years. During these ten years it’s been called LoseThos and SparrowOS.

TempleOS is quite special since you are writing code directly towards the hardware and the whole point is to produce an OS that is more simple to understand. It has taken a lot of  inspiration from what the Commodore 64 meant for programmers in their teens, who are now in their 30’s and 40’s: A hackable OS for “recreational programming”.

But that is not really what makes TempleOS special is probably its creator. Terry is diagnosed with schizophrenia and there are times he doesn’t make any sense with his random angry outbursts, flavoured both with an unhealthy portion of profanity, racism and endless paranoia. Terry on twitter:

He’s been actively banned from a myriad of forums due to the fact he spam irrelevant and offensive posts. This is a bit tragic since I figure Terry possesses oceans of knowledge to share, regarding OS development.

I found this thread which is a rare case where Terry gets some room and is being tolerated, and the participants in the thread doesn’t ridicule him. This gives him enough room to actually construct answers that makes somewhat of a sense. See:

Even stranger

TempleOS is a very religiously Christian operating system. It’s filled with biblical passages and features, such as “Talk to god”, “Offerings to God” etc. In one of his videos, Terry talks about listening to God via TempleOS own random generator which is to be fair pretty strange!

The cause of the low resolution (640×480 with 16 colours), was apparently also a size that is easy enough to use and understand, according to what God has been telling Terry. He also wrote his own JIT compiler in a language he calls HolyC, which is a modified C/C++ language. This is used the same way under Temple OS as Basic was used on the Commodore 64, right from the start on the prompt.

It’s very hard not to be impressed what he’s actually made:

  • A 64-bit multitasking operating system
  • A compiler, AOT/JIT which is build in to his shell
  • A vast range of tutorials and games (including 3D games) for people that want to start tinkering with the OS

The idea of making an OS that is simple for the programmers is of course a cool idea. But I personally believe the people who still are tinkering with low-level programming are already hacking on Ardunio or RaspberryPI. And not to forget, the Commodore 64 demo-scene is still quite active and it’s super impressive to see how hackers still find new ways of pushing the 8-bit MOS 6510 processor and the 32 year old hardware further to do amazing stuff. (Probably a Commodore 64 post will come up later)

TempleOS is an interesting project. It’s certainly a mountain of work put into it, but who is it for? Probably mostly for the author. The Christian theme will put many persons off, since it’s like an OS that’s been designed by Salvadore Dalí in secret collaboration with Jehovah’s Witnesses. I like the idea of having an OS that’s built simple so programmers can learn more about the assembly and code behind, but I believe the audience and its users are elsewhere.

Read more about TempleOS:

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