Terry Davis was born in December 1969, in West Allis, Wisconsin, just west of Milwaukee, the seventh of eight children.
Terrence Andrew Davis was born in West Allis, Wisconsin, later moving to Washington, Michigan, California and Arizona. 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. On the subject of his certifications, he wrote in 2011: "Everybody knows electrical is higher in the engineering pecking order than CS because it requires real math ;-) I'm a rocket scientist, though, not a very good one".
Terry, the sole developer of TempleOS, Davis earned a masters degree in electric engineering from the University of Arizona in 1994 and worked briefly at TicketMaster as an OS programmer.
Davis grew up as a Catholic and was an atheist for some of his adult life. After experiencing a self-described "revelation", he proclaimed that he was in direct communication with God and that God commanded him to build a successor to the Second Temple. He committed a decade to creating an OS modeled after the DOS-based interfaces of his youth, first calling it the "J Operating System" and later "LoseThos".
Later on life, he created TempleOS which is a Biblical Themed Operating System. He made it over a course of ten years, from scratch which he made videos on and had multiple fans online, doing interactive livestreams and video blogs. In 2013, Davis announced that he had completed the project, now called "TempleOS". It was released to public derision contrasted by mostly favorable reviews from members of the tech community.
References to Biblical tropes are ubiquitous in the OS. One bundled program, "After Egypt", is a game in which the player travels to a burning bush to use a "high-speed stopwatch". The stopwatch is meant to act as an oracle that generates pseudo-random text, something Davis believed to be coded messages from God. He likened the process to a Ouija board and speaking in tongues. An example of generated text follows:
among consigned penally result perverseness checked stated held sensation reasonings skies adversity Dakota lip Suffer approached enact displacing feast Canst pearl doing alms comprehendeth nought
During his final months, Davis struggled with periods of homelessness and incarceration. He stopped taking medication because he believed that it limited his creativity. Some fans helped him by bringing him supplies, but he refused their housing offers. After living with his sister in Arizona, Davis traveled to California, and in April 2018, stopped in Portland, Oregon.
In his final video, recorded on a bench at the Dalles Wasco County Library and uploaded hours before his death, he explained that he had removed most of his videos because he did not wish to "litter" the Internet, and that he had learned how to "purify" himself. At the very end, he states: "It's good to be king. Wait, maybe. I think maybe I'm just like a little bizarre little person who walks back and forth. Whatever, you know, but..."
Terry unfortunately passed away on August 11th, 2018 in Dalles Oregon. He will be missed dearly from his Friends, and Family.
As reports of his death surfaced online, he was memorialized by fans in a number of tributes posted to social media. Through the TempleOS website, his family asked people to donate to "organizations working to ease the pain and suffering caused by mental illness".
Rest In Peace, Terry.
Marietta Collins Davis
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