The Retro Gaming Corner

Forget SteamOS: Man Told By God To Make OS For Gamers

Last week, Valve unveiled its controller design for its upcoming SteamOS. Gamers had mixed reactions to its ambitious design. The controller replaced the traditional d-pad, and analog stick with touch sensors. A little before Valve had any ideas of releasing an operating system, and its new controller, a man on a mission by the name of Terry Davis had crafted, and perfected, a system exclusive to gamers called TempleOS (sometimes referred to as SparrowOS).

How did this revolutionary operating system go under the radar for so long? Why hasn’t the mainstream media reported it? Could it be that TempleOS’s ring-0 design is over zealous? Or was it Terry Davis’s anti-Semitic rants found on his website?

“Jew on radio said You were a bot. Jews are sabotaging everybody so they can own
You. Bastards. Most Jews think You don’t exist cause of the Holocaust. Those
who read the Bible will say, “Yep! That’s our God.”

- Terry Davis rant about a reaction to his TempleOS, Sept, 16th, 2013

According to the Bible, God said unto his children “Judge not lest ye be judged.” Later on, God told Terry Davis to make an Operating System with a single graphics mode of 640 by 480, with 16 colors, and monolithic sound.

Reddit Quote

A Ouija Board is too dangerous for “technical reasons,” but inside TempleOS resides an oracle – which Terry Davis believes is God talking to him. Is it crazy that God told Terry to make an operating system? Centuries ago, God spoke to Noah and told him to build the ark to protect him from a flood that would cleanse the world of evil. Noah did as instructed, with two scenarios likely to have occurred. Either a flood did happen, with Noah safe inside the ark. Or Noah sat inside the ark, and no flood occurred. If the latter happened, Noah would have been labeled a crazy person, but history records him as a hero.

Here’s some games here, and there’s, Get out! Get out! He was in my chair. Games, Games. Here’s some games. Games that want to get out, ha. See? More games. Games, they vegetize you. See? Bah! If you play the games you’re voluntarily taking a tranquilizer.

Here’s some games here, and there’s, Get out! Get out! He was in my chair. Games, Games. Here’s some games. Games that want to get out, ha. See? More games. Games, they vegetize you. See? Bah! If you play the games you’re voluntarily taking a tranquilizer.

So far this may seem like the false ramblings of an Atari Poop column, but everything I have talked about regarding TempleOS is true. Is Terry Davis a nut? Maybe just a little, anyone who creates their own operating system is crazy. In my opinion I think Terry Davis is a genius, and his operating system is revolutionary. The only problem I have with the operating system is the lack of colors, and resolution that would allow it to compete in a modern gaming market. If TempleOS was aimed at the retrogaming audience, it would still lack what’s needed to make it competition for the NES. It is an operating system better aimed at hobbyists. It just depends on if a hobbyist is willing to toy with an operating system littered with bible references.

Not very many people can build their own operating system. Linus Torvalds built a kernel, that is the bare bones of what makes Linux. Terry Davis, on the other hand, built a complete operating system, with a few games and other programs. It took over 10 years, and more than 100,000 lines of code. TempleOS’s goal is to be a 64-bit multicored version of the Commodore 64.

TempleOS is unique in that it uses a ring-0 architecture making it easy to program. Rings are protection layers found in an operating system that keeps tasks from interfering with other tasks. The problem with protection layers is it makes it difficult for a programmer to freely manipulate every aspect of the computer. Protection layers are useful for defending a computer from potentially harmful viruses and spyware. The only sacrifice is performance, which for gamers can be a serious issue. That’s why home consoles have for the longest time toppled the PC gaming scene.

There was this guy, and he was always requesting shows that had already played. Yes. No. You have to tell her before. He couldn't quite grasp the idea that the charge nurse couldn't make it be yesterday. She couldn't turn back time, thank you, Einstein! Now, *he* was nuts! *He* was a fruitcake, Jim!

There was this guy, and he was always requesting shows that had already played. Yes. No. You have to tell her before. He couldn’t quite grasp the idea that the charge nurse couldn’t make it be yesterday. She couldn’t turn back time, thank you, Einstein! Now, *he* was nuts! *He* was a fruitcake, Jim!

Hobbyists build programs using a custom compiler called Holy-C, a variant of the C/C++ programming language. If a program wants to communicate with another program, all it has to do is directly manipulate its memory. Hardware is mapped and accessed directly, no device driver required. It’s like programming the Nintendo Entertainment System, which like the Commodore 64 used the 6502 processor. The programmer is in control.

There are issues with TempleOS that would keep gamers from taking it seriously. Other than the religious references, TempleOS lacks network support. It can only handle 16 colors at a 640×480 resolution – this is smaller than what most mobile phones support in portrait mode. The advantage of TempleOS is users can communicate with God directly, through a little program called the Oracle. Through the oracle, Terry Davis quotes God, who told him “Modern graphics (are) hard for kids (and) amateurs (to understand).” Along with the quote, Terry provides a link to a YouTube video on the Principles of Lighting and Rendering.

The point Terry is trying to make is that his OS was created to introduce programming concepts. Modern game design is too advanced for a hobbyist to tackle. He’s got a point: if more people are to learn programming, a great place to begin is in a simple environment.

TempleOS is an operating system that captured the Commodore 64 spirit. In many aspects it is a well thought out OS that could use expansion in the graphics department. I understand what TempleOS is trying to achieve, but this is not 1984. If it is going to appeal to a larger audience it’s going to have to take on modern technology, other than multiple cores, and 64-bit instructions.

In conclusion, this operating system deserves a perfect score, I give it 4 Eyeball Running Sonics out of -1.

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References
  1. Terry Davis. “The Temple Operating System” TempleOS.org. n.d. Web 29, Sept 2013.