Category: analysis

The Troubled Legacy of Terry Davis, ‘God’s Lonely Programmer’ – The New Stack:

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Despite his struggles with schizophrenia, some videos capture moments that were simple and happy. There’s Davis singing along with a heavy metal song, just banging away on some drums, and singing with a guitarist on a street corner.

I’ll always remember him wearing that backwards baseball cap, showing off his creation with excited eyes. “I am the smartest programmer that ever lived,” he says several times. As the video gravitates to profanity-laced chest-thumping, he demonstrates the 3D shapes he’s just coded up to spin over his command line. He calls Unix “the last war” and was critical of the Massachusetts Institute if Technology.

Davis’ work may continue, since there’s a fork of TempleOS “for heretics.” It’s called Shrine.

And over on Hacker News, other fans shared their own condolences.

“The phrase, ‘tortured artist’ is thrown around a lot, but he really was a tortured artist… it’s a sad end to a life that went awry for reasons beyond his or anyone’s control.”

“He needed a lot of help, but a great hacker has passed, and we should remember him for his work.”

“I can’t begin to imagine how difficult it’s been living such a challenging life for all these years.”

“I always thought of Terry as somewhat of an anti-hero of the hacker community. Most of us know what it feels like to go down a rabbit hole building something technically impressive, yet ultimately useless, because the voices in our heads told us to.”

Over 600 people upvoted the story, offering one more testimonial to the memories Davis left behind. In the end, nearly 200 comments were added to the thread.

Digital Human, Series 18, Episode 4: Devotion