Bisqwit analyses TempleOS & its sole author, Terry A. Davis

People often ask me
to comment on TempleOS. For some reason! TempleOS, formerly known as
J Operating System, SparrowOS, or LoseThos, is an operating system
written by — this guy. But I am not that guy. [Beepy sound effects] TempleOS is essentially a
spiritual successor – of both the Commodore 64
and MS-DOS systems. It runs on a 64-bit x86 PC, gives you access
to the hardware, and is heavily focused towards
recreational programming. Its boot-up time is impressive: No later than 1 second
after reboot, you can immediately
begin programming. It has a custom programming language
that is neither BASIC nor C, but has clear influences
from both and some others. For example, you can directly type and
run program code on the commandline, but it also has a compiler
that produces native binaries. It is designed for simple games
and music creation, and has some really
clever design features – like the all-pervasive
mixing of hypertext, bitmap images, and
even polygon meshes. For instance, you can embed 3D models
inside the source code comments. On the flipside, it has
no security features whatsoever. Memory is not protected, meaning that a stray
pointer write can crash the system. There are no passwords or file permissions,
and not even network access. This is a deliberate design choice, evoking the same experience
as those old computer systems – like Commodore 64 – where you could simply POKE
in any memory address, and see what happens. The lack of networking
is also a smart choice – considering the absense
of security features. TempleOS was written
by Terrence Andrew Davis, known as Terry A. Davis. He had a master’s degree
in electrical engineering, and a bachelor’s degree
in computer engineering. As a teenager, he learned the assembler
language on a Commodore 64, and later, he worked as a programmer
for a ticket sales company, working on DEC VAX computers. In the early 21th century, he began gaining
fame and notority – with the operating system
he wrote himself. He also livestreamed
programming on this system, and participated often in discussions
on Reddit and other sites. In the *22nd century*, he—
[sound washes out] [worrisome music] Mr. Davis grew up an atheist
despite his catholic upbringing, but at some point in his life
he experienced some sort of revelation, which turned him
into a believer in God. He described that he
received revelations from God. Among these supposed revelations
was the idea that he, Terry Davis, should personally build
a temple to God, and not just any temple: The successor of the destroyed
Second Temple in Jerusalem, i.e. the Third Temple, and that his operating system
would be this temple. Among the specific instructions was
the idea that this operating system – should be limited
to 640×480 resolution, 16 VGA colors, and that it should only
speak in a single voice, namely the square-wave
PC speaker. Many of the aspects of his
operating system were shaped – after this supposed revelation. For example, the compiler and
programming language he wrote – was called HolyC, pronounced the same way
as the Holy See in Vatican. The programs in the
operating system – are littered with references
to biblical or religious ideas, such as a game called AfterEgypt, which leads the player
to a burning bush – and involves an oracle that
generates pseudo-random text. [more worrisome music] Two decades before his death, that is, before the
development of TempleOS, he began experiencing
manic episodes, which later lead into a
proper diagnosis of schizophrenia. This was public knowledge, and no secret to anyone
who heard of him, and no surprise to anyone who saw
him talk or read his posts online. Shortly put, Terry Davis was a genius. Philosophically speaking he had a vision. I wholeheartedly support
his philosophy – that a computer should be first
and foremost easy to program – with its full power
at your finger tips, and you should not
be denied the joy, and the dangers, of performing experiments
with the hardware. I honestly admire his passion
and commitment to this vision. His programming skills
were not exceptional, but he had passion, knowledge,
and lots of time, and this combination
created something great. However, it is also
a regrettable fact – that Mr. Davis suffered
from a terrible illness – that influenced and impacted
his behavior, his thinking, his values and
even his appearance. I do not believe for
a single moment – that Mr. Davis was on
an actual mission from God. In Biblical thinking, any religious revelation
and teaching – must be first and foremost judged
in light of prior scriptures, and rejected
if it fails to line up. Nobody is exempt;
it affects everyone, including prophet Elijah,
Jesus Christ, John the Apostle, Mohammed,
Baal Shem Tov, Martin Luther, Joseph Smith, Bahá’u’lláh,
David Wilkerson, Nabeel Qureshi, and Terry A. Davis. There is absolutely no
reason to think – that his supposed revelations, if he indeed had any, were nothing but figments
of his mental illness. Anyone who entertains the idea
of genuine revelation in his case – is either ignorant, or maliciously predisposed
against supernatural beliefs. Because personally I am
a strong advocate and believer – in the Biblical narrative of God,
creation, history, and life, I do not want to touch TempleOS. To the date I have never
downloaded TempleOS nor used it. I have not written programs
in HolyC nor do I plan to. All footage in this video
was assembled from clips – of videos made by others, and from screenshots
created by others. And I intend to keep
things that way. In short, I admire the commitment,
passion and talent, that Terry A. Davis had, but as much as I want to frame this
positively in honor of his memory, and as much as it hurts me to say
such things of a passionate artist, the product of his life’s work
evokes feelings of disgust in me, and I do not want to touch it. This is because it’s
his personal project. It feels like raiding someone’s
underwear drawer, or worse. Every single bit of
the project is Terry. It has his soul in it. It is too intimate. You just don’t do that. It feels dirty. I am sorry for not covering
the system in more detail, but other channels have
already done that, and I really don’t want to focus
on TempleOS more than this. I only made this video because it
was a frequently asked question, and I intend to leave it at that. Maybe it helps clear out some things. Have a nice day,
and see you again.

100 thoughts on “Bisqwit analyses TempleOS & its sole author, Terry A. Davis

  1. You did well on this bisqwit; only touch what needs touching. It's a real touchy subject for many and Terry was definitely a genius in his own right. A shame his life went thr way it did – I'd love to know what he could have created without his affliction. As for not touching temple os, I'm on the same team you are, for the same reasons.

    I hope Terry found the peace he sought.

  2. I like you Bisqwit but you misrepresent some of the religious stuff here. Especially with that albeit funny atheist though process meme lol

  3. I find his music was actually weirdly good, in a Phillip Glass kind of way.

  4. I have mad respect for you Bisqwit. You are exceptionally good at computer science, and you take the time to make well informed videos to try and pass on that knowledge. Not only that, but you analyze other's work and are very respectful of their thought processes and beliefs.

    Keep doing you

  5. Bisqwit, what is your religion? Also, great video. Very respectful towards his memory. His mental illness invokes sorrow in my person, and I see myself unable to laugh on his absurd sounding statements.

  6. I don't know anything about programmig. And is hard to me to understand if that OS was something big. Don't know if I missed but, when you said that he was a genius, do you mean like someone who did something from anther world? It was a hard thing to do? templeOS was a real big deal?. I can't catch it

  7. According to Terry, God gave him the exact specs for TempleOS. I've always wondered if he had Scrum meetings every day with God.

  8. hey bisqwit , first of all thank you for putting out such awesome videos, you've inspired me to pursue a career in computer science, you're awesome 🙂 .

    So, taking into account your religious beliefs, how do you feel in a field that is (seemingly) permeated by atheism (technology )? What do you towards people of different beliefs as yours? I know it is a personal question so feel free to ignore it.

  9. It's always beautiful when someone creates a complex structure that is the product of extreme dedication of heart and soul. It's not unheard of that mental illness is involved with that dedication.
    TempleOS is, sadly, impractical and therefore useless for actual PC usage that we do today, however, I think it can still be perpetuated. Besides its place in PC museums and PC history archives, it might be interesting to slightly continue its development and adjustment for the purpose of using it inside virtual computers that are inside game worlds.

  10. I am not a believer in the sense of being a practitioner of a religious faith. Though, I really have a hard time with some comments on this channel, advising Mr Bisqwit to steer away from the topic, or even worse, from his belief system.
    Such comments show ignorance, and pure unawareness of the fact that they also convey… a belief system – i.e that religion is bs, and not believing either makes people smarter, or is a consequence of being superior. The main difference being that they are not even aware of it.

    Continue with you great great content Bisqwit! I learn so much from your "out of the box" thinking! You are obviously a brilliant mind.

  11. Bisqwit, I'm unclear as to why your reaction to TempleOS is so severe.

    You said that everything that is written today in terms of revelation is to be tested by scripture. It is so, or at least, I believe that as well. But there is a prevalent leap in logic that I would like to resist. It looks like this: person a claims some kind of revelation. Revelation turns out to be untrue or broadly doesn't fit with scripture. Therefore, person a is horrible (at least in some specific spiritual way), and nothing they do is worth consideration.

    The thing is, Terry was a very confused guy. Mental illness is horrible, and I'm painfully familiar with it. In once sense, Terry misrepresented his own esoteric internal dialogue as a mission from heaven, but in another sense, he launched towards the moon and merely made a suborbital trajectory. But it is still a suborbital trajectory (if you get my analogy).

    I think TempleOS is amazing purely because it's entire purpose is catechistic (sorry if I'm not using that word right, I'm very low-church) — to teach people religious truths, or at least the Terry A. Davis understanding of it.

    I would LOVE to see a functional, well-written langauge/OS/app centered around Christianity on github/gitlabs/whatever. I don't mean just a bible app or a devotional app or a prayer times app or an advent calendar app. I mean an app that does something useful in an ordinary setting, which has religious truths weaved into its very structure.

    I think that is a fantastic, amazing idea. Was TempleOS a successful execution of said idea? Not really. Sadly, Terry and his work were not well known, except perhaps as a byword.

    While I've never booted up TempleOS, and I loathe the memification of Terry (let the man rest in peace!!), I think TempleOS is something that could stir up positive motion and thought. I don't mean that people will learn much biblical truth from it, but the intent was fascinating, and I'd like to see it repeated.

    I would like to honor Terry — not specifically as a programmer/engineer, but as someone who had a very lofty idea (create a spiritual operating system that works well and isn't terribly campy), and actually followed through with it, despite the torment of schizophrenia.


  12. I still think that TempleOS is important due to its simplicity, the issues of programs scaling so far up that it becomes hard to maintain or understand by individuals or small groups, and the importance of having as many options as possible. Look at the Linux kernel and how people have discovered it's filled with DRM. Imagine if Linux was the only kernel left for people to choose from. Thankfully we have not only the BSD kernel, but also Terry's kernel.

  13. the temple os source is actually very well structured and documented, its just his interface that's totally shcizo

  14. There are forks of TempleOS which have basic networking abilities. There is Discord application (a very basic one) for it as well. Nevertheless, as far as I remember when someone asked why God wanted such limitations to the system, he said "gore", which makes sense. In his mind, a holy place is no spot for such things, so in a way adding those features might be blasphemy.

    Anyhow, I like how you kept everything on a good note, and that you recognized his work. While Terry did specifically want people to get his OS and play around. (he even wrote fully fledged tutorials and hints for the system, it's clearly noticeable he did design it so others could use it if they never used anything like it)

    Now on your note you didn't want to use it because of the stated reason, I completely understand and agree. Knowing his backstory, and just generally speaking, when using his system I can feel his presence. It's just the weirdest thing ever. I think there is no other computer related 'thing' that gives away such eerie and ghostly feeling of someone's presence.

  15. Great video Bisqwit! Terry Davis is a big inspiration of mine, i especially admire his dedication. For me his is a reminder that you can achieve your dream goal if you just put in the time and work hard enough. Even tough his personality may be a big put off to anyone learning of his work, i think one should try and look past that. If you have a dream i think you should chase it and try to make it happen! The importance is maybe not the end product but that he managed to achieve his goal though all odds. RIP Terry Davis

  16. It's very disrespectful to compare the temple that Saint Davis has built explicitly for everyone to his dirty laundry. But surely he'll still watch over you.

  17. ok, is there any reason you didnt mention his rampant, repulsive, violent racism, sexism, antisemitism, and self-described murderous hate crimes – all of which he also justified with scripture in the bible? is your only offense with this "genius artist", the fact that his software conflicts with your religious views?

    it just seems like a pretty big thing to leave out lol. you really cant chock that up to "oh we was a lovely genius but he was sick so disregard that stuff. his religious delusions that i dont like are way more important, thats why i wont touch the software". idk, im just just saying lol

  18. There's something very amusing about hearing Bisqwit talking in a very calm and informative voice while Terry's yelling "shut up, bird" in the background.
    I don't know if that was intentional or not, but I really hope it was.

  19. I have always felt those asking you about TempleOS and Terry Davis are folks who related you to Terry, Bisqwit. I feel those folks may feel your ability in programming to be like that of Terry's, or that your usage of text interfaces would be like that of Terry's.

    Folks may also perceive your oddities and abnormalities in personality, speech mannerisms, and whatever else to be like that of Terry's. I feel this is my perception of what those folks desired when asking you about TempleOS and Terry Davis in your streams and such, Bisqwit. I feel they are simply trying to relate you to being similar to Terry, and perhaps want you to comment on that subject matter to help them better understand you or Terry.

    But, as VMA has said already in the comment section of this video, it is perhaps immaturity that has some folks asking you about Terry and TOS. Perhaps they are simply "meming," as it is known.

    Bisqwit. You are such a sweet individual and beautiful human. I greatly appreciate you. I wish well for you. Please continue smiling, Bisqwit. 🙂

  20. Regardless of religious beliefs I think everyone can agree that the idea of an omnipotent deity giving a mentally ill programmer OS specifications is pretty ridiculous.

  21. Maybe Terry's computer and his code could be preserved in a museum or some kind of art gallery dedicated to the computer geniuses of the past century.

  22. I think the reason why your videos take too long to come out is because you've been hitting the gym and focusing on your new look. You should do a video about how to stay healthy for programmers and stuff. I feel health starting to decline. Lol.

  23. You accuse atheists/scientists of operating under the assumption that religion is bs, yet you operate under the assumption that it's not. You are a hypocrite in short. In reality the people you accuse of being closed minded use evidence based reasoning to conclude that religion is bullshit. If you have any legitimate evidence at all of religion, people like Dawkins would be the first ones to forego their previous beliefs in light of substantial conclusive evidence.

    Do you have any such evidence? If you do come forth and provide it. Otherwise stfu.

  24. I used to be a fan of your videos, but after finding out you're a vehement islamophobe and Israel-apologist I must say I'm disgusted. Goodbye

  25. Neat! I was looking into this over the last two days. The build process is… intense. XP Holy-C is a part of that. Also the custom file system. :/ An absolutely fantastic achievement, and a testament to the productivity of mania.

  26. I don't get why you even included the part where you try to prove his 'revelation' wrong
    To me, it felt like justifying your religious beliefs at the expense of a dead man who suffered from schizophrenia, then later call his work disgusting
    Given that it is painstakingly obvious that his claims are a result of his illness, those comments only felt disrespectful and out of place

  27. I have a lot of respect for all of your words on this subject, Bisqwit. Thank you for making this video. I feel that I will make some response video in the near future. I think we can learn some things about how to structure well-designed and modular systems in general (specifically Ring-0 systems) for making learning programming and making games easier and more fun. Terry had a vision, regardless of where it came from. I respect your words about the work being too personal, and to be careful when examining statements of revelation. I do not think getting your hands into TempleOS would be counter to your personal ethos.

  28. Hmm. I can understand why you wouldn't want to touch it. Satan oftentimes dips his dirty fingers into religion and the works of religious people quite often, and if you see something claiming to be religious and it fails the Scripture Test, it is either A). Some misguided person who thinks they're doing God a favor but are sadly errant, or B). More insidious — it came from Satan. Now, I don't want to tarnish the memory of Mr. Davis, but personally I wouldn't touch TempleOS for the fear that it came from Satan (even if Mr. Davis didn't know it). There are a LOT of people who love God, who want to worship God, but they get dreams and things from Satan because the Bible warns us that we have to "test every spirit" (meaning anytime we get a supposed revelation/dream/whatever) to see if it is from God. If it isn't from God it is either our imagination (which means its flawed) or it's from Satan (which means it's evil). Good Christians can get ideas from Satan; in fact the Bible guarantees that we will get ideas and thoughts from the Devil himself and we need to understand how to tell, as Satan is always 99% truth, 1% lie, but the 1% lie is always carefully chosen to sour the rest of it. I think you did the right thing in refusing to download and touch TempleOS, and remained respectful to the man and his work without going down the meme path. Much kudos to you!

  29. Its always nice to hear perspectives among creative people about each other. And your take on his revelations is pretty unique.

  30. I wonder, is it possible to continue Terry's work improve TempleOS and make it to production and worldwide popular? I
    Or at least reverse engineer it to open source and host on GitHub. :/

  31. Hey @bisqwit you clearly have the skill to design your own OS, is this something you would consider doing in the future.. ?

  32. makes a review of TempleOS
    >"I have never touched TempleOS"
    I mean I respect your religious beliefs, but how can you review/analyze something you have never used/installed?

  33. I don't agree that running TempleOS is like rummaging through someone's underwear drawer. I see it more like walking through a cathedral designed by a long-dead architect.

  34. I respect you so much for making this video that polite and positively framed even tho you are that strongly opinionated on his beliefs. You focused on the technical side of it and ignored the rest, which makes it a positive video for someone who probably would have been less toxic without his disadvantage.

  35. Terry Davis was super intelligent. His temple is beautiful. Looks like the computer is expressing itself.

  36. ya templeos was very much one man's kingdom. i don't think it's possible to really understand it, only davis really could

  37. I hope you and your family are doing well, Mr. Bisqwit.   I shared your video with Behold Israel, Mr. Amir Tsarfati's YT channel, I thought he'd find it interesting, if he manages to see it at all, we can only hope.   I'm familiar as well with the two individuals you've mentioned, Nabeel Qureshi, and David Wilkerson (The Cross and the Switchblade preacher) God Bless you, and Bless the Nation of Israel.  Shalom Aleichem 🙂

  38. Just wanted to say that I'm here to watch your videos Bisqwit regardless of anyone's religious beliefs. If we all agreed about everything life would be pretty dull. I really like your programming content so I'm more than happy to hear about your beliefs and respect them. I'm an atheist. We don't all assume that everyone with a different opinion than ourselves are stupid, even if youtube makes that hard to believe!

  39. Terry A. Davis is a really sad story. Dude was a legit computer genius. He was a normal guy until his mid 30s from what I found. he would have manic episodes ever once and awhile then once they got to be three times a month he could no longer work and had move in with his parents and go on disability. From there the episodes got worse and more frequent until he no longer had episodes of normality it was just insanity. This is the period when he went back to work on his OS that was a side project started for fun like 10 years earlier. Then it got to bad for his parents, and he ended up homeless for a few years. He would say in his later videos when some semblance of sanity would return, that he know he was broken and you could see he was scared. He was kill by a train in what the train operator said looked like a clear suicide. I think he was having a small moment of clarity and was just tried of dealing with an ever growing mental illness and just wanted to be a peace, but we will never know. I think sane Terry would of been happy that his pet project and videos have made so many people laugh.

    If you want to see or study what a slow decent into total madness looks like Terry A. Davis is a great case study.

  40. I admire the respect you have for his project. It really is his soul, and I see it as a product of his mental illness mixed with a genius mind underneath and a life dedicated to develop such skills. Terry A. Davis suffered a lot before dying, at the time he got his mental problems it wasn't understood like in today's society and so people "gave up" on him instead of offering help. I know it's sometimes hard to deal with this kind of mental issue, but still, they simply gave up on a man that worked and studied his whole life when he faced a problem bigger than he could deal alone.
    Some "live stream trolls" triggering him to say things all the time made him looks like a bad person and really made his reputation go bad with the "clips" people cut from the whole session. At the very end he was barely "normal" on his actions, his mental health was not good at all and it kinda hurts to see people making fun of it, looking in the face of a really sick person on the edge of his illness and laughing because he throws completely out of mind racial slurs on sentences that didn't even made any sense.
    May he rest in peace now, I believe he was mistaken enough by others during his life.

  41. I'm a schizophrenic. But can't code an operating system. In fact I avoid every task that is hard, because it can make me delusional. I would like to code, I just get weird hallucinations so I avoid to do much work on the computer. But it's not just on the computer, it will be everything that I will be avoiding.

    In general I just smoke and watch Tv or YouTube or lay in bed the whole day. I'm at disability. Being a highly functional schizophrenic would be a nice thing, but it ain't like that for me.

  42. this is a fair assessment. To be perfectly honest its not super hard to write a bootable OS in x86 assembly. Its actually a pretty fun activity to do if you have an extra computer laying around. (seriously, don't use your main computer for this)

  43. Terry A. Davis is a very sad story. I'm glad he could find peace. Not saying i think his suicide was a good thing but this man was suffering. There is one video where he is yelling at his parents in a dulusinal way and all the sudden he stops and says "I forgot i love you" and walks away. He would have fights with his father because of his racism (Which the internet did not help). People would call and torment this guy they would say something to get his delusions going then he would be on the phone doing 2-3 hour long rants.The worst thing about Terry Davis is you can see his decent into madness. From start to beginning before he went really off the wall to the point where he is homeless and up to a couple days before his death.

    Internet trolls played a big part in this guy getting into physical fights with his father not seeking the treatment he so desperately needed, catfished him into believing he was into a relationship with this girl he admired, and even fed into his delusions. Terry Davis is a sad story that shows the true evil in people when hidden behind a keyboard. If people wouldn't tell him he was right and make crank calls (That Terry in his state of mind had no idea they were trolls and took the calls as legitimate) The people who helped Terry Davis get kicked out of his home and beat him down every time he made progress in treating his schizophrenia should feel real good about pushing this man to what he ultimately did. Step in front of a train.

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