Terry A. Davis: The Man Behind TempleOS

Terry A. Davis: The Man Behind TempleOS

Terry A. Davis was an American programmer who created and designed TempleOS, a public domain operating system. Its development was an extremely complex, time-consuming and unusual undertaking for one person.

Early Life and Career

Davis was born on December 15, 1969, in West Allis, Wisconsin. He was the seventh of eight children, and his father was an industrial engineer. As a child, Davis used an Apple II at his elementary school, and as a teenager, learned assembly language on a Commodore 64.

He earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Arizona State University in 1994 and worked for several years at Ticketmaster as a programmer for VAX machines.

Onset of Illness and Spiritual Awakening

In 1996, Davis began experiencing regular manic episodes, one of which led him to hospitalization. Initially diagnosed with bipolar disorder, he was later declared to have schizophrenia. He subsequently collected disability payments and resided in Las Vegas with his parents until 2017.

Davis grew up Catholic, but was an atheist for some of his adult life before experiencing what he called a “revelation from God”. He proclaimed that he had been in direct communication with God and that God had commanded him to build a successor to the Second Temple. He then committed a decade to creating an operating system modeled after the DOS-based interfaces of his youth.


In 2003, Davis began developing TempleOS as “J Operating system.” The name was subsequently changed to “LoseThOS” and “SparrowOS” before becoming “TempleOS.” The operating system used an original programming language, editor, compiler and kernel all designed by Davis, which included over 100,000 lines of original code. Davis claimed much of the operating system’s development was dictated by God, even claiming that the OS was meant to be God’s third temple.

The operating system was generally regarded as a hobby system, not suitable for general use, but Davis received sympathy and support for bringing the project to fruition. The OS featured a unique interface that allowed users to interact with God through a random text generator, as well as create graphics and games using simple commands. The OS also had a distinctive aesthetic, using only 16 colors and a resolution of 640×480 pixels.

Online Presence and Controversy

During his final years, Davis amassed an online following and regularly posted video blogs to social media. Although he remained lucid when discussing computer-related subjects, his communication skills were significantly affected by his schizophrenia. He was controversial for his regular use of racial slurs, which he explained was his way of combating factors of psychological warfare. He also expressed paranoia and hostility to government agents, especially the CIA, whom he accused of harassing him and sabotaging his work.

Davis’s online behavior attracted attention from various internet communities, some of which mocked or harassed him, while others admired or sympathized with him. He was featured in several articles and documentaries that explored his life story and his creation of TempleOS. He also received donations from some of his supporters who appreciated his work or wanted to help him with his struggles.


After 2017, Davis struggled with periods of homelessness and incarceration. He often wandered around different states, sometimes hitchhiking or sleeping in motels or shelters. He also suffered from physical ailments such as diabetes and kidney stones. On August 11, 2018, he was struck by a train and died at the age of 48 in The Dalles, Oregon. The cause of death was ruled as accidental.


Davis’s death sparked an outpouring of condolences and tributes from his online fans and followers, as well as from other programmers and journalists who recognized his achievements and challenges. His work on TempleOS was praised as an example of originality, creativity and dedication in the field of computer science. His life story was also seen as a tragic case of mental illness and social isolation that highlighted the need for more awareness and support for people suffering from similar conditions.

Davis left behind a unique legacy that will continue to inspire and intrigue many people who encounter his work or his story. He was a man who followed his vision, despite the obstacles and difficulties he faced. He was a man who created something remarkable, despite the limitations and criticisms he encountered. He was a man who spoke to God, despite the doubts and fears he endured. He was Terry A. Davis, the man behind TempleOS.

: [Terry A. Davis – Wikipedia](
: [Terry Davis / TempleOS | Know Your Meme](
: [A Constructive Look At TempleOS](
: [TempleOS | Down the Rabbit Hole – YouTube](
: [God’s Lonely Programmer – Motherboard](
: [Terry A. Davis, Troubled Creator of TempleOS, Has Died – Motherboard](

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