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Terry Davis has died (templeos.org)
634 points by leibwiht on Sept 4, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 198 comments

Here's a few of the previous HN posts about Terry or TempleOS, unfortunately a lot of the links are broken:

Terry's HN account https://news.ycombinator.com/user?id=TerryADavis

TempleOS creator Terry Davis is homeless and living in a van https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16105043

TempleOS is applying to Y Combinator. Partners desired, send an email https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9246855

A Constructive Look at TempleOS https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9681501

TempleOS: 5 minute random code walkthrough https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8349910

Porting third-party programs to TempleOS https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9843065

TempleOS: FlightSim and FirstPersonShooter https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9673554

Mal Lisp for TempleOS https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15840054

Mega Man for TempleOS https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13971627

Voce:motherboard article from 2014 "God's lonely programmer":


Discussion on hn: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8658283

There is also a channel that someone has mirrored with some of his earlier videos here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEPEqMr199q3iRTwToIotVA/vid...

I believe that https://news.ycombinator.com/threads?id=TempleOS is also one of his HN accounts, with some more recent posts.

I wouldn't necessarily believe it, I've seen many posts on multiple boards on 4chan wherein people claim to make Terry impersonation accounts on HN specifically to troll

Yeah. His Facebook account was hijacked by someone pretending to be him / created a fake account and added Terry's family members.

Lots of fake screenshots are circulating around, so "proofs" by screenshots of emails are doubtful at most.

The guy who admittedly impressioned Terry on social networks is also known for taking money from Terry's PayPal. (Along with at least another guy who manipulated Terry into giving him $200). He said he did all of this "out of concern for Terry" It's the same guy who first claimed Terry's death on twitter.

He's now in damage control and wiping his internet presence after the infinity Chan crowd is trying to link him to the events.

Lot of disinformation around. Some people refuse to believe Terry's death until confirmed by a third party. Some other are spreading FUD and flood with stuff like "he's dead lads. Let's all forget and move on, shall we?" Some are just trolling around falsifying screenshots and "proofs". And some are just derailing threads to pull down any constructive discussion. And in this shitfest, kiwifarm is avoiding the blame and accuse others and whenever someone point a finger at them.

> His Facebook account was hijacked by someone pretending to be him / created a fake account and added Terry's family members

This is one of the things that should be remembered when people say "don't use facebook": if you're not on there and you're a "public figure", even in a very small space, it opens you up for someone else to impersonate you. I know a couple of people who have Facebook presences solely to prevent fraudulent facebook presences from being created for them.

I wondered why TD's comments on HN were so sober!

Well, I didn't have `show dead` on. It's actually really nice that HN has a setting for disabling this filtering.

Compiling TempleOS in its native environment. RIP.

That is a lovely epitaph for a hacker. Do not understand downvotes on this

I really appreciate Terry's work, if any consolation.

I overheard a guy gushing about TempleOS at a data jam last weekend. It was great. He really liked the fresh takes on the old-school freedoms of the commodore 64. I pried him for more and he graciously gave me a short walkthrough of his favorite features since he had it running on his laptop.

I hope someone writes a book about it. I love learning about long term solo artworks like this that are difficult to appreciate.

Pouring one out for this passionate artist tonight. rest in peace

Does anyone here have any contacts with the MOMA? I think TempleOS should be submitted.

I actually like that idea a lot. I definitely think it's a work of art.

>pried plied

Terry came to an event I helped host many years ago and showed off his baffling inventions. We felt a bit bad because it was really intended to be just a party, but he'd made a huge effort to come and so we set up and area and let him demo.

It was the kind of crazy that I'm sure resembled Tesla's less-good ideas, but everyone there was in agreement that while we didn't plan to switch, what he showed was truly original.

Like many of you, this story makes me really sad. I struggle with mental illness, but not like Terry did. It had to have been hard - not a strong enough word - and I never feel like we're doing enough to help.

All I can do, at this point, is stand and be counted.

In his last YouTube upload (which is currently the only available video; it appears he deleted everything else from his channel) he says that he is now homeless and living outdoors. In the video he seems remarkably less lucid than he normally was in his previous videos, almost having problems with his speech, and his face looks like something entirely else than it did in his videos from a year ago when he was still living at his parents' home.

Both of these are symptoms of schizophrenia. I imagine what we saw is him on meds vs. him off meds.

TempleOS Hardest Question in Programming

> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uLzaKlZSQQ

I'm not entirely sure why this is upsetting me so much, but I think it has to largely to do with empathy.

While I'm nowhere as severe as Terry, I do suffer from manic depression (bipolar II), and if it weren't for the support of friends and family I'm certain I would have offed myself years ago.

Terry suffered from an illness, but he was undoubtedly a smart guy. TempleOS and HolyC, even if they were niche, are certainly interesting projects, and aren't something that any lay-person could make.

While I'm relatively certain that his racist profanity-filled posts are how he's going to be remembered, I'll try and think of him as a misguided and misunderstood person who needed more help than society was really able to provide.

I'm not entirely sure why this is upsetting me so much

There may be some element of feeling guilty because he was shadow banned here. It seems to be a common pattern that people who didn't know how to help when the person was alive feel some kind of responsibility for the death, like he might have lived if only we could have figured out how to engage him more effectively or something.

Individual outcomes are never entirely individual. There are always a great many factors involved and that makes it complicated to figure out who is responsible for what and how much.

I didn't really know him. But it's nice to see some of the remarks here. I sometimes am very angry when I see nice comments about a dead person who was excluded in life. But I don't have any idea how it could have been handled differently in this case.

Some things are simply tragic.

> While I'm relatively certain that his racist profanity-filled posts are how he's going to be remembered

I'm not quite so sure. Michael Jackson, for example, isn't remembered today as a pedophile or a degenerate, even though everyone was quick to demean the man while he was alive. Maybe the same will be true for Terry Davis. Respect is often something that is given posthumously. People tend to forget and forgive when the negative is vastly outweighed by the positive.

Kidding, right? Its all I remember about MJ. Never listened much so that must be it. But TD's work was even more obscure to most people

>Implying that your anecdotal experience represents anyone besides yourself.

Please don't use meme arrows on HN. It's not hard to write normal English.

Maybe not being obvious enough. My example of my experience with a well-known-but-not-by-me dead rock star, is extendible to a not-well-known-outside-a-certain-circle programmer. Because some actions in life are very much more visible to the outsider with no appreciation/knowledge of the finer accomplishments

It's pretty common to deeply fear mental illness because we're all secretly afraid of it happening to us. It's the same feeling you get for a homeless person on the street, a combination of empathy and terror at the thought of ending up there.

Yeah, I mentioned this in a reply to to a post that appears to have been flagged (I don't think it should have been, even though I disagreed with it), but I feel like none of us are fully immune from something like this happening to us; all it takes is one bad head injury to cause brain damage, and then all bets are off an how it's going to affect your mental state.

I wish everyone felt like we do. Most people with comfortable (or better) lifestyles who have never endured suffering could never imagine themselves homeless. For the record, I've had as pampered a life as any, but I still empathize with homeless people, especially those who seem to be homeless because of schizophrenia.

I'd never heard of the posts you mention and will forget you mentioned it. I like to remember him as a troubled man who dedicated so much of his time to showing us the silliness of our own technological orthodoxy.

Part of the troubled aspect of his mind is that he was spouting all this hate. You can t pick and choose the parts of someone you like if you are actually going to respect them.

He made and OS that was far beyond an average person. He also spouted hatefull messages constantly. It's a package deal

Thank you, I feel exactly the same way. It would be nice to see the black bar on HN.

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

>It would be nice to see the black bar on HN.

Seconding this. He was a great programmer, and deserves to be remembered.

It'll certainly be the first time a black bar is shown for a user that's been repeatedly banned.

Thirding this.

Terry definitely was an old-school hacker that didn't care about whether or not his products saw mass adoption, he did it because it was what he wanted to do most. There is a lot of humor in TempleOS and Terry in his more reasonable moments was actually a very nice and caring person. I spent some time trying to convince HN to look past his troubles but alas it did not come to pass.

He's always been one of the best arguments for enabling `showdead`. His posts were frequently incoherent, but they deserved to be seen.

You needed to watch a lot of his videos and read enough of his daily posts he used to make on his site to understand it, but everything he said was actually perfectly consistent within his own world view.

Fourthed or whatever.

God decreed that 640x480 in ring 0, was enough.

I'm surprised (and somewhat upset, though probably irrationally) there's not a black bar right now.

Agreed RIP

I think his flaws, borne of crippling mental illness as they were, will be largely forgotten in favor of his intelligence, his oddness, the unique nature of TempleOS, and his obvious pain. The phrase, “tortured artist” is thrown around a lot, but he really was a tortured artist. I think it’s natural to be sad st his death, because it’s a sad end to a life thst went awry for reasons beyond his or anyone’s control. I think most people would have wished for a way to help him, but also realized thst was just impossible, even for his nearest and dearest.

In short, a tragedy should be upsetting, especially when at the heart of the tragedy was a bright man with a serious illness.

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. In this way, Terry seemed vaguely relatable. This is a tragic outcome and I hope his family can find some peace.

I think there's a lot in TempleOS that could/should be useful, though. It's basically a Lisp machine but with HolyC instead of Lisp. Plenty of valuable lessons to be learned in OS and compiler design.

It appears he committed suicide by train [0].

His last youtube video from the local library made it sound like he wasn't having a particularly good time there.

He's suffered so long from his mental illness, frankly I'm surprised it didn't happen earlier. I can't begin to imagine how difficult it's been living such a challenging life for all these years.

From what I saw, occasionally watching his streams, there was a significant amount of internet bullying and general predation going on with Terry and it really messed with his already strained life.

It's all a huge bummer.

[0] https://www.reddit.com/r/TempleOS_Official/comments/9c63qr/t...

It is a huge bummer.

"there was a significant amount of internet bullying and general predation"

Hmmm, I think it's more complicated than that... Terry (because of his illness) said a lot of horrible things, including claiming to commit pedophilia, rape and murder. His comments were very often filled with racist rants.

Yes, some people responded very poorly to those comments. You can maybe forgive them for either not knowing Terry had a debilitating mental illness, or not knowing how to respond to someone with that illness.

But if anything I think there was an enormous amount of sympathy and defense of Terry.

There were also a bunch of copycats making those same racist and violent rants. Perhaps they were just pretending. Perhaps they were being ironic. I believe echoing the dark parts of his behavior was exploiting his illness, more than anything. Others acted like it was celebrating him.

Regardless, I hope he is in peace now. I believe he would have wanted people to keep TempleOS going, and I hope someone does. I also hope we all learn a bit more about mental illness and how best to respond to it.

The post linked to by the parent is just an unfounded rumor created by someone on Reddit, with very little basis:

I'm going to call it. From his last video(Aug 11th 2018): https://youtu.be/oH41gGBVpkE We see he is at the Dalles county library.

​Later in the evening (Aug 11th, 2018), The Dalles Chronicle reports an unknown man was hit by a train: https://tinyurl.com/ybakopls*

His sister's facebook page has a post memorializing him.

That doesn't mean he committed suicide or that a train was involved.

It's since been confirmed that Terry was indeed struck by a train in The Dalles, OR.

The only question which remains is wether it was suicide or not. A witness described him as "straddling the tracks". It doesn't seem likely to be an accident.

Confirmed by whom? Can you provide a link to something authoritative? I feel that another comment on the Internet making a claim only adds to noise, not signal.


If you require more authoritative firsthand confirmation, phone the PD yourself.

This is a random, anonymous person on Twitter named "WildGoose", which is not credible IMO. By now, I hope we have learned not to trust such things. Does anyone have a credible source?

> Does anyone have a credible source?

Yes, the police department of The Dalles, OR. I believe you have both their phone number and email address.

Obligatory: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Our lives have far more worth than we know, of this I am convinced.

The Internet bullying angle angers me.

> The Internet bullying angle angers me.

He would probably still be alive had he never started streaming. It was brutal. He was unable to distinguish fake manipulative interactions from the truth. He live-streamed things like reading spoofed emails from internet crushes, presumably with those responsible watching as it unfolded, with total disregard for his well-being and mental condition.

There was some degree of trying to provoke him once he got very internet famous and latching on to some of his memetic hiccups, but the majority of it was genuine admiration. His projects are a lot more impressive than most of the show hn material that gets passed off here.

He didn't really interact with his followers too much. Most of his later live streams were just him broadcasting his thoughts. If you followed his train of thought for like 7 or so minutes you could see the kernel of some truth.

His live streaming also enabled him to collect donations from his followers. I gave him a few bucks numerous times when he was hard up.

I'd say I'd love to punch some people, but the sad truth is that whoever did those things likely had no idea what harm they were causing and did it for the attention

You clearly haven't spent much time on 4chan.

I have, albeit on /g/ which is actually quasi-regulated. I'm still not convinced that people understand what they're doing. It doesn't make it right, but I don't think a lot of people grasp that what they're doing has a real impact on a real person with a real life on the other side of the screen. They think it's just a sick role-playing game, and they play the role, and they forget that it isn't just a game.

If true this is really sad. Based on the little information I have about Terry, he seems like a basically nice guy victimized by mental illness.

Yeah, and clearly bright as hell if he could string together something as complicated as TempleOS. Imagine what he could have done if he had been able to direct it towards something more globally useful. RIP dude, hope there's a reward for determination in the afterlife.

TempleOS is going to be hailed as one of the most impressive pieces of outsider art ever

I hope so. I'm a little worried it'll only ever be appreciated in niche communities that really understand the depth of what he did. Maybe I'm not giving enough credit to fringe artists, but I don't know that it'd be easy to express how impressive it is to build a functional OS as a single person that could do as much as his did, with the hardware it was based on.

Is it really outsider art though? Didn't he have a background in programming?


That's pretty much the worst imaginable way to take what I said. What I meant to express is that something that complex means he could have been working on problems on the world scale. Equivalent accomplishments don't have equivalent usefulness. I don't think anyone would argue that the Mona Lisa is as globally useful as penicillin, though I'd happily argue that they're equivalent human accomplishments.

Edit: And for the record, yeah, I should probably stop spending so much time on HN.

I think Sileni meant that the effort spent on an awesome piece of work like TempleOS would be better appreciated if it was less niche.

> I find this comment extremely offensive.

Probably because it is. The reverse of NIMBY is something like OWICAM - Only What I Care About Matters

Deeply troubled. Very combative. Extremely racist.

I think the reason he's so popular within the tech community is because he's _very_ relatable to some of us in a dark way. Most tech people see themselves as artistic geniuses who can hack things like TempleOS, but almost all are also suffering from mental illness in some way. Sure, being socially awkward in conversation isn't exactly comparable to Terry's schizophrenia; still it's very easy to reflect our physiological fears on him these days where depression (or detection of depression) rates have skyrocketed.

I don't know, maybe I'm more crazy than average, but this feels like a good explanation of why people are so obsessed with him. Not every homeless person in the US gets enough donation money from 4chan to run their own website and video show.

I am loving the empathy people are feeling for Terry Davis in this thread. His final video is heart breaking.

Terry was the proverbial homeless person: Schizophrenic and paranoid. Too sick to be helped or supported. It's easy to get frustrated with the homeless people you see day to day, but I think it's extremely important we acknowledge these people's humanity and keep them from becoming wallpaper.

> Too sick to be helped or supported.

I disagree with that. He definitely was not too sick to be helped or supported.

This was previously submitted[0] and deemed "unconfirmed". Does it showing up on the TempleOS page make it any more official? Who runs the website in his absence to make this update?


There is additional proof, from his sister's Facebook page, but I'm not sure I want to link it here because it seems rude to link his family's pages to random people. Is there a moderator here whose email address I can message with the proof?

You can email the mods at hn@ycombinator.com.

Though Wikipedia already has such a link confirming it. I don't think you need to prove it.

Edit: Or did. I can't find it now. I was sure there was a really short page for him on Wikipedia when I looked the other day. At the moment, he only appears on their disambiguation page without a page of his own. It also shows a death year of 2018.


Odd, I thought I remembered reading it about two days ago too...


FWIW, I was always impressed how you looked out for Terry on HN.

It's a pity we never could be inclusive enough to take someone in who clearly needed a bit of support. Terry definitely was a troubled person, there is zero doubt about that but if you looked past the sillyness (which I understand is hard in an environment that puts great value on political correctness) he was a really nice guy with some surprising quirks and a good sense of humor. On off days he was not so nice. Nobody's perfect.

> which I understand is hard in an environment that puts great value on political correctness

Taking a shot at people with whom you disagree undermines your message. What might have been thoughtful is now a diatribe based on a stereotype.

Try hn@ycombinator.com, it's actively monitored by the moderators.

Maybe this will live on as a "Terry's death was never confirmed" (Andy Kaufman style). Would be a pretty cool way to memorialize him. Not sure if that would affect his family negatively though.

His Facebook page shows his account is memorialized.

(I will leave it as an exercise for the reader to log in to FB and search for his name.)

It's still strange, doesn't the death rumor predate the website being updated?

I might have misunderstood you, but presumably he didn't update the website with his own death date.

Terry Davis was a bright individual who was, even with his handicaps, able to produce something noteworthy. Many people viewed his pursuits with some disdain, but I doubt most of them have produced anything on that level.

It is worth noting that he would not have been able to truly participate in this very discussion, due to the shadowbans he received on multiple accounts.

I don't know if this is the correct post for this or not, but I've been thinking about it for some time.

We hackers and founders obviously suffer from mental illness and poverty, yet some of us do really well -- rich beyond most folks' understanding.

I don't want to get into a discussion of "what's wrong with society". I just want to know: why aren't we taking care of our own? We obviously have the resources. If we can do a basic income experiment, we can take care of the Terry Davis's in the world. Why aren't we?

So, I think this video succinctly captures him pretty well:


Clearly a very intelligent and insightful guy. On the other hand, he also comes across as racist and an egomaniac, and it's debatable how much of that we can chalk up to mental illness.

On a cynical level, I don't think he was the "right" kind of mentally ill person for a charity campaign. Someone who is rendered, for lack of a better word, pathetic, or pitiable, by mental illness is a good poster child that will encourage visibility, donations, etc. However, no one wants to be the company sponsoring a guy who brazenly and defiantly calls everyone who disagrees with him a CIA n-word, while repeatedly claiming himself "the smartest programmer who ever lived". Simply put, no one pities an asshole.

That's not a judgment on him specifically, more on society as a whole and how there are social repercussions for showing pity on "the wrong" kind of people.

EDIT: I'd also argue that giving him a platform whereby his worst behavior can be encouraged and goaded by faceless followers is probably the worst thing you can do to a mentally-ill person.

>>EDIT: I'd also argue that giving him a platform whereby his worst behavior can be encouraged and goaded by faceless followers is probably the worst thing you can do to a mentally-ill person.

I agree that for some mentally-ill people that it can make them more sick.

But is "more sick" better than dead? I don't care how obnoxious or racist the guy is. I hate his opinions myself. From looking at the video, this is not somebody I would want to be associated with. But I don't hate the person. I hate his opinions. No matter how worse his behavior becomes, if he's alive, there's hope, right?

Isn't this the problem? People from a particular looked-down-upon outgroup are those that we would really, really not like being around, and we don't know how to help them, yet we feel that we should? (regardless of the group or why we feel we should help them)

I've got plenty of family with severe mental illness. Some of them have died from it. More will.

The unfortunate reality is that we haven't yet figured out how to really help these people. There are no perfect solutions. There aren't even really any good ones. Even for a family member who's motivated to help, and who's spent a lot of time and effort understanding these illnesses, there's very little that can be done.

For the most severe illnesses, the drugs that are available are still too primitive to ease the symptoms without bringing other side effects that many people have trouble accepting. Some classes of illness work so that while taking the medication, the person doesn't believe they need it, and without taking it, they're incapable of making the decision to start taking it. Keeping those people medicated is difficult, at best.

For anyone suffering with less severe forms of mental illness, I'd strongly encourage you to try out different doctors and medications until you find something that works for you. Many illnesses seem to progress with age, and the people who are treated early in life have much better chances of living happier, healthier, longer lives.

There are no easy answers, but I think that early treatment and de-stigmatization of mental illness probably offers our best chances of real progress.

Money alone can't guarantee good outcomes in cases of severe mental illness sadly.

Our medications are not good enough, nor are they well-tolerated enough, and sometimes even with medication and money and strong supports and a willingness to try to improve patients still don't get better.

Terry didn't have any medication at all. He used to and he was doing better but in the last few years he was forced to stop them( got kicked out of his parents' house).

>>Money alone can't guarantee good outcomes in cases of severe mental illness sadly.

An important point. I am not talking about giving people money. I'm asking if we care enough to try to figure out how to help them. I make no assumptions on what kinds of help would be useful or not.

There's going to be four things you have to confront when it comes to helping people.

1. Resources. Money and people are the two hardest resources, although space can also be a problem, especially when you start taking eg homeless shelters. It's not enough to have a big pile of money to spend on the problem, it's hard to find people who want to take on a front-line position in solving it.

2. Morality. It's odd to say, but one of the harder questions when trying to help people is how to do so morally. What if someone doesn't want help? What if they don't want the sort of help you want to give them? The low-hanging fruit of helping people is giving help to people who want it. What to do when someone refuses to leave a dangerous situation or refuses medical treatment is a hard question if you still want to help them.

3. Information. Having resources available to provide help to people who want it is all well and good, but if you don't know who needs help and people who need help don't know about you trying to give it, it doesn't do much good. Knowing who needs help is a really hard problem. Even if you have a vague notion that your neighbor is having a rough time of things, you don't always know how rough of a time, and they don't always tell you.

4. Risk. When you put yourself out there to help, you make yourself vulnerable. That scares a lot of people. Most people are nice people and most people aren't dangerous but some people aren't and are. If you do anything in the world that involves people, including helping them, problems will crop up. The challenge here is mitigating the risk of them without losing your humanity in the process.

If the four points above don't daunt you, then the next thing is to avoid the classic hacker mistake: reinventing the wheel unnecessarily. There are countless organizations already trying to help people out there. Can you join one and help it help more hackers?

I know an awful lot about helping people with special needs, including mental health issues.

I learned of Terry only after he was shadow banned. I don't know what went down before that.

How a person's issues are addressed by others can amplify or mitigate their issues. The dismissiveness, social isolation and similar typically exacerbate their problems.

If Joan of Arc were alive today, she would be in some psych ward getting her meds adjusted, not playing handmaiden to the birth of a country.

In order to reach someone like Terry, you need to genuinely respect them. This means entertaining the possibility that something real and meaningful is happening that isn't mere insanity. Even if you aren't comfortable calling it "God actually talks to this person," you have to allow for the idea that they are experiencing something meaningful and not merely chalk it up to insanity because it falls outside of our current mental models for certain things.

That's a rather tall order.

When I was homeless, a different forum actively heaped abuse upon me and told me it was my fault. They did that to a lot of people. I wasn't the only one.

That sort of behavior is super common and can drive you crazy if you don't start out as such.

(I will add that they ultimately banned me for basically bullshit reasons that boil down to "No, you just aren't allowed to have a positive experience. There is no redeeming yourself in our eyes because you never did anything wrong to begin with and we aren't willing to admit it's us, not you." Many people get behind the 8 ball socially and find that no matter what they do, the world won't let them get out from behind it because the world is racist, sexist, classist, whatever. It's designed to justify their abuse.)

I don't fit in anywhere. I never have. I have a lot of (personal, not financial) assets in some sense and I'm still struggling to make my life work.

It's hard to find a place to talk about my experiences and make sense of them. The fact that I was homeless for nearly 6 years makes it hard to relate to anyone.

If I talk about those experiences, I'm assumed to be complaining, a drama queen, a political activist etc. You talk about going to the office and no one thinks that's some bid for attention or whatever. I talk about my life, it's somehow a problem to say it at all, no matter the framing.

I'm extremely fortunate that I was on the street with my adult sons. They knew me as something other than a total fucking loser. That helped enormously with preserving my identity and head space from the worst of what can happen to your mind on the street.

My sons also knew to just not leave me alone and also not engage the crazy when I was suicidal. It was a best case scenario that most people will never see.

I'm also fortunate to have reconnected with a forum I participated in years ago that is full of really great people who are actively helping me try to figure out how to socialize "normally" again.

Spending a lot of time homeless creates an inherent barrier to feeling like society cares about you, you are acceptable etc. Every time you open your mouth, you have to decide between denying those experiences happened or accepting the stigmatization that goes with admitting to it. It's psychologically a no win situation.

That's kind of rambly. I'm trying to engage your question in good faith, but it's a difficult thing to talk about because people want to act like mental health is something bad happening in that one defective person's mind. They don't want to hear that there is a huge social component and how we treat such people is part of the problem.

I wasn't here before Terry was shadow banned. I don't know if the forum could have handled it better. But I have seen far too many cases where people who are different are mistreated and then told it is their fault. And I'm absolutely certain that's literally a crazy making experience that helps paint people into a corner from which there is no escape.

Thank you for asking.

There's a spectrum. Consider the numerous open source projects used in proprietary products. A small bit of money would go a long way to ensure stability.

And from a coldly pragmatic standpoint, think of the advances in tech society could have by funding people who naturally are obsessed with making tech.

This seems like a no-brainer.

Terry was schizophrenic and was homeless and in poverty due to his condition. Tragically, he is basically the proverbial homeless person you see on the street. Outside of UBI it is very hard to help these people.

The sad fact is that it's very hard to take care of and control people like Terry due to their illness. They have delusions and think you are out to get them.

If you look at the criteria for schizophrenia it becomes a bit more clear: https://www.webmd.com/schizophrenia/schizophrenia-tests

I don't think UBI can help someone like Terry. Only a community and nothing less.

UBI doesn't get rid of a person's agency. Terry was mentally ill enough that he either had to have a guardian, or society had to decide that he held diametrically opposing views from the mainstream and would be allowed to live a life according to those view, regardless of the consequences

> UBI doesn't get rid of a person's agency. Terry was mentally ill enough that he either had to have a guardian, or society had to decide that he held diametrically opposing views from the mainstream and would be allowed to live a life according to those view, regardless of the consequences

For this, we need no UBI. Simply donating to him suffices.

The world is full of people who would rather let the poor and mentally ill starve and die than lend them a dollar, for fear that doing so would just prevent them from leaving and drive down property prices. Which is why we put caltrops under bridges and on benches.

This is why we need UBI... because charity doesn't scale to the level of societies unless you force it to.

If that worked, there wouldn't be mentally ill homeless people because we already have donations. People do not voluntarily donate in enough quantities to handle society's problems

> If that worked, there wouldn't be mentally ill homeless people because we already have donations. People do not voluntarily donate in enough quantities to handle society's problems

This is a democratic vote in terms of money about society's problems. This vote shows that most people find this all quite OK.

If you want to argue that we should pay less taxes and let people die if they cant hold a job, then feel free to make that argument. Trying to hide behind "other people are cool with it" has never been a winning move in any serious debate

> If you want to argue that we should pay less taxes and let people die if they cant hold a job, then feel free to make that argument.

I do not argue for that, but I argue that the behaviour of many people provides strong evidence that this is the opinion of the majority.

The honest answer is "because the richest hackers and founders got there precisely because they didn't take care of 'their own'".

It's controversial to talk about Facebook's origin story, but the generally accepted interpretation is that at times Zuckerberg worked with other people and subsequently turned around and screwed them. "Ladder kicking"

YC was doing a Basic Income experiment a while back? Can't recall how it went though, maybe there weren't any updates.

It ran into IRBs. It'll start in 2019. Maybe. See https://www.wired.com/story/y-combinator-learns-basic-income... (Yes, that's right, in 2018, you literally can't give away money without a ton of work.)

I know you’re being tongue in cheek but I feel like an IRB is warranted here.

For the non US audience could you say what IRB means?

An Institutional Review Board [1] is a mechanism most research organizations use to ensure that any research conducted is done in an ethical manner.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institutional_review_board

Was looking for info about TempleOS and found this video of him installing it on a VM and going over some of its features.

NSFW, prepare for an abundance of profanity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBgIBF9Y6PE

this is absolutely amazing!

I'm introduced to this guy via Hacker News. See you in another life, cowboy.

This was just posted on the IRC channel (https://kiwiirc.com/client/irc.rizon.net/#templeos)


from what I can quickly see - lots of videos, articles, ISOs, etc.

R.I.P. Terry!

Actually full msg:


In Memoriam Terrance "Terry Muthafuckin" Andrew Davis Rest in Peace, 1969 - August 11th, 2018 Terry was hit by a train on August 11th around 9pm in The Dalles, Oregon, where he had been living on the streets, shortly after uploading the last video to his youtube channel [citation: https://media.8ch.net/file_store/8f7768746a7f506321a02470643...] Furthermore, BipolarBear, var-g, and some others claim similar emails/ phone calls to the police, as well as to The Chronicle (the paper that first published the train story) In addition, Therese Davis (Terry's sister) released a FaceBook post about his death, as well as some other poorly timed deaths. Furthermore, it seems TheTemple, who opperated a fake Terry Davis FaceBook account, released rumors of a fake Terry's death shortly after the real death but before anyone had knowledge of it.

Archives of Terry media:https://archive.org/services/xsl.php?xsl=/includes/locations...

Who wrote that?

> Therese Davis (Terry's sister) released a FaceBook post about his death, as well as some other poorly timed deaths.

What does that mean?

Looking at the archive and knowing that it will never have new content added is really hitting me hard right now :(

Why is this on the second page when it has >400 points + 135 comments in 2 hours? It was at the top position on the front page at first. Did someone manually alter it?

Perhaps I am seeing patterns where there are none, but I've seen that articles with the wrong kind of controversial potential sometimes get bumped back. I'm having difficulty putting it to words, though, and can't produce any evidence to back it up.

It's a real shame, sometimes. I feel there is a lot that can be learned from Terry Davis and TempleOS.

Yes, there are definitely different weights for threads based on multiple factors such as flags, certain domains/topics, and manual intervention by the mods.

I'm not sure if Terry Davis should be considered like the outsider art of programming or more of a sad side show that captivated the internet's attention.

Definitely the former.

Porque no los dos?

For those thinking about hacking on TempleOS, here's Jack Whitham getting started: https://www.jwhitham.org/2015/07/porting-third-party-program...

I have absolutely no interest in TempleOS as a codebase, and I can't imagine that many people would ever want to use it as their main OS. However, Terry Davis and TempleOS expanded my conception of the possibilities of computing. Alan Perlis said, "A language that doesn't affect the way you think about programming, is not worth knowing," and by that standard, I think that Terry and TempleOS have secured an eternal legacy.

Sad to see him go. TempleOS update discussions were always a really interesting read on this site and others.

HN’s interactions involving Mr. Davis — at the user and admin level — was always interesting and enlightening to see, in terms of how an online community should accommodate someone with mental illness while not tolerating the rants he was prone to make. Thank you to everyone who have and continue to openly and honestly discuss mental health issues.

Ultimately, it was very disappointing, since the resolution was to hellban him---The electronic version of trying not to make eye contact and treating him like an animal.

Rest easy. You have finally escaped your demons.

I saw from this image:


That somebody [his family?] was encouraging people to donate to the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation. I know from my own research into nonprofits that this is seemingly a good and legit charity for mental health research. I would encourage HN readers to check it out.

I have first heard of Terry Davis on HN. I am not American, so I couldn't probably do much. A lot of comments blame mental illness etc, whereas IMO, his condition being well known, an otherwise talented person like him should have been more taken care of by his relatives and anyone who was in capacity to recognize his good parts. So much people knew about him and him being so unique I thought someone would support him somehow.

As I understand it, some people did. He was living with his parents at one point, and had family support to at least some degree. Mental illness is tough sometimes...it's not always possible to protect an adult with mental illness from themselves (and it's not always safe to welcome an adult with mental illness into one's home or allow them to remain if their mental illness proves dangerous).

There's a lot of discussion we, as citizens in the US, should have about safety nets for people with mental illness, and I think it's clear Terry wasn't getting the help he needed. There are homeless folks in every major city in America who are similarly dealing with mental illness, we just don't hear about them because they aren't brilliant programmers working on such an odd project that it almost demands attention from fellow nerds.

We have no idea what hardships Terry's family dealt with. He was certainly brilliant, but not always kind or calm. I've found him fascinating for years (in a sort of "there but for the grace of god go I" sort of way, as severe mental illness runs in my family), but he could be incredibly hostile and unpredictable (in addition to the overt racism that ran throughout his work and words). He was banned from HN numerous times (someone linked an HN profile of his but he's had several) for his hostility and racism. I'm not saying this to speak ill of the dead here...it just seems awful to blame his surviving family when we know so little about what went on that led to him being homeless. I don't know that they'd ever see it, but it's still kinda shitty to blame someone's family for not doing enough, especially when we don't know anything about them or what they did for Terry.

In some of his videos his parents yell at him for racism and anti-semitism. IIRC they kicked him out at some point.

I have followed Terry for a few years now and from my limited understanding he had a lot of support from family. He lived with his parents and while taking medication he was "okay" however he was a grown man and unless hospitalised there is no forcing him to take his medication. I can recall a number of times he clearly came off his meds and went off the rails. He has said both that his parents kicked him out and that he left because he wanted to. It was very hard to know what was true and what was the illness with his rants.

The sad truth is that while he had family that cared about him that wasn't enough. He should have been hospitalised imho.

> I have followed Terry for a few years now and from my limited understanding he had a lot of support from family.

About 11 months ago, his parents kicked him out.


> https://www.reddit.com/r/Drama/comments/7218gh/templeos_crea...

He was supported by his family. I'm sure you understand that receiving support doesn't make mental illness disappear. And in the US, no one can force him to take meds unless it's proven in court that he is going to harm himself or others.

You're assuming that schizophrenia is always treatable, and we know that's not the case.

Dear Terry,

I didn’t know you...but I respected you. You had mad coding chops and a sense of humor one can appreciate when they view your YouTube videos. Reviewing the code of TempleOS made me a better programmer.

Long live Holy C and 640x480...

RIP and thank you.

A virtual friend.

Watching him drop undecorated assembly code into his Holy C editor and then wrap it in a for loop was an eye-opener for me. Even more interesting was the one-line function call with a sprite object argument that is 'printed' in the console. Thought-provoking to say the least.


9:20 mark. It's Terry so the language is NSFW.


Thanks! Watching him over the years made me start writing my own tools for a lot of things instead of just accepting what functionality an app provide and how they choose to provide it.

This guy definitely belongs to the hacker community. He was a weirdo, a misfit, a nerd, like many of us. There is always a thin line between being a genius and being insane.

Pretty sure this would be seen as defiling TempleOS... but as a way to preserve it, can someone get it to run inside WebAssembly? Maybe inside a VM?

Terry himself does it, so I think it can be run on a VM while maintaining the purity of the OS (there's a lot of profanity): https://youtu.be/mBgIBF9Y6PE

I was always fascinated by Terry Davis work, but for some strange reason I also watched a lot of his more casual videos, like "Picnic Monet" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBtkHMdh_V8.

I'll make sure to tell the legend of "el solitario programador de dios" to my fellow countrymen.

Descansa en paz Terry.

For those wanting further confirmation that Terry was the man killed by a train in The Dalles, OR:


Terry Davis' legacy will be remembered by a lot of different communities. I found him through a YT video that focused on his controversial side but was pretty inspired by his projects. All I can say is he touched a lot of different people and his legacy/infamy is vast.

Terry was such an interesting dude. Just check out his response to all the haters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBgIBF9Y6PE

Any introduction about this guy, his accomplishments and TempleOS in general?

This is the only article I can remember reading about him: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/wnj43x/gods-lonel...

Another article that centers not around the person, but TempleOS: http://www.codersnotes.com/notes/a-constructive-look-at-temp...

What was the license on TempleOS? I know a lot of people thought it had clever language features. Will there be any continued development?

It's public domain, and seeing as Terry was the sole author it's unlikely to have any sort of official continuation.

a fork with tcp support lives on - https://github.com/minexew/Shrine

a network stack has no place in the temple.

It's released into the public domain.

Great programmer; unfortunate illness. RIP.


I will miss you Terry

RIP Terry. I hope he finally gets his space alien.

Thanks for the inspiration, RIP

this dude taught me to really value simplicity. thank you

He will live on in legend.

King Terry has risen.

He would have been furious about the request to donate to mental health organizations being on his website.


We detached this hellish subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17913084 and marked it off-topic. (Edit to be clear: it wasn't that this root comment was so bad, but that it inevitably led to the same flamewar that has raged many times over the years on HN, which causes people to break HN's rules badly.)

All: continuing this flamewar will get your account banned. Find some other place to do it, or get your fix by searching for the countless previous times people got nasty and abused each other about this exact issue.

That's a lot to unpack.

I'm not saying we should condone the racism, but he was mentally ill, and I'm sorry, you do get a bit of leeway with that. The guy was schizophrenic, thought he was hearing voices from God, then killed himself. The courts have decided that if someone is proven to be mentally ill, they're not fully responsible for their actions, and if Terry doesn't qualify as "mentally ill", I don't know who does.

I am not saying that he should have been un-banned from HN, I'm not saying we need to pat him on the back, and I really appreciate you trying to imply that I'm ok with racism because I engage in some form of empathy when a mentally-ill human does some awful stuff.

None of us are immune from this; all of us are just one head injury away from some kind of mental illness or brain damage. If I start hearing voices from God telling me to be racist, I would hope that people would engage in at least some level of understanding.

I'm not trying to "gloss over" anything; I pretty specifically said that he will be remembered for his racism, but I think we should always remember his illness.

Okay... but Davis was literally mentally ill. Not euphemistically, not as some hand-wave, but literally, actually ill. So yes, it is completely fair to not define a person by something that they have no control over.

When telling someone that something they said was racist, it's important to keep it focused not on the person but the act. Racism and prejudice is learned, and it can certainly be unlearned. Unfortunately, you cannot unlearn mental illness.


Aside from his brazen use of racial slurs how exactly was he racist? His racism always sounded like paranoid nervous talking. He was schizophrenic. Until you can actually show he was racist beyond clips of him using inappropriate language, stop spreading this. Racism is and always has been much much deeper than word choice. A homeless schizophrenic has absolutely no power to enact any kind of racism against anyone, and as a matter of fact was probably victim to a similar amount of discrimination due to his own position.

He's not. It was just a neologism for him.

I don’t think it’s illuminating or productive to call him a racist. He was obviously mentally ill to a life-changing extent.

People I respect sometimes say dumb stuff when they are drunk or tired or are having a terrible day or whatever; they can have a rest and return to “normal”. Terry couldn’t.

And sometimes it’s a misguided attempt at shock humor. And sometimes it’s self-sabotage. We don’t know what he really believed or wanted to achieve. The one thing we do know is he was sick. No sensible person will take the rantings of an obviously sick person and think racism is ok.

Your indifference to the hardships of having a mental illness is nauseating. You think bigotry is a good tool to fight racism?

If you post like this again to Hacker News we will ban you. No matter how wrong someone else is, you can't attack others like this here.

No more name-calling and no more flamewars, please.

Please review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and follow the rules.

Your indifference to the troubles and hardship of people that have to deal with racist is nauseating. You think ignoring it and calling it by a different name is a good tool to fight racism?

Posting like this will get you banned. No matter how wrong someone else is, you can't attack others like this here.

No more name-calling and no more flamewars, please.

Please review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and follow the rules.

You have no idea what psychosis does to you do you? Also you know nothing of my stance on racism. But I can clearly read how much of a bigot you are.

I don't know why someone flagged the parent to this. I didn't really agree with him but I don't think he violated any rules.

It was a low effort ad hominem post. Not really something we want on HN.

Its a bit ironic to be called a bigot by someone who is upset that I refuse to praise a racist.

Again you are putting words in my mouth. I'm upset of your lack of understanding for the mentally ill.

I'm going to assume that you didn't see the comment I posted warning you that we would ban you if you continued this flamewar.

Please stop now.

yeah yeah, I didn't see it. I'll refrain from engaging him any further.

That's a subtle way of sticking the blame on the other person. This is not about "him". It's about respecting the community and its rules.


> you didn't see the comment

Aside: occurrences like this are what amaze me at (a) HN's lack of a built-in system of notifying users when others reply to them, or at least a linear view of all replies; and (b) the resulting reliance that people either discover and use third-party scrapers, or be experts with the F5 key and the Mark-1 eyeball.

I agree with you completely, and I think you would not be getting downvoted if the demographic of Hacker News readers was different. Being mentally ill doesn't mean that racist things you say aren't racist.

There are several reasons why HN users would correctly downvote and flag this subthread. First, it's a flamewar topic that has burned itself out on HN countless times in the past, that amounts to nothing more than people calling names at each other and worse.

Second, none of the people who do this kind of flamewar have any substantial notion of the relationship between schizophrenia and socially taboo language. Nor is that a topic that can be discussed on an internet forum at all, since any knowledgeable comment would immediately be buried by angry ignorant ones.

It's mindless, and those of you abusing each other should be ashamed of yourselves.

I agree; I apologize for fanning the flames here.

Thanks man, it really sucks that this is what HN has become. IMO its a sign of the times w/ Trump etc... You literally get down voted and flagged for refusing to ignore racism and praise a racist. The worst part is that they don't even see it.

This is not the place to discuss this. But it is baffling to me that you think your disparage for the mentally ill is standing up to racism. You are no better than racists that refuses to understand socio-economic causes, and link behaviour to ethnicity no matter what. Try empathy instead of hate.

Stop it w/ the straw man BS. No where did I "disparage" the mentally Ill.

BTW: My mother has been committed since I was 2 and is still going in and out of institutions. ( Im 35 )

First, I'm really sorry about your mother. That is a heavy fate, for both of you. And I see that you have deep reasons for having strong feelings on both sides of this question.

In case it helps, the flags and moderation are not because you're outnumbered or because HN is full of racists or racist sympathizers. It's because this is a flamewar topic that rages in the same way every time it comes up and for some reason leads people into behaving extremely badly. This site has rules: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html, and they are the way they are for good reason.

And it's because no matter how one feels or how right one is, it's impossible to have a principled discussion about racism in the context of a comic book feud about a schizophrenic homeless man whom people on the internet have been treating as their personal mascot for many years. The only sensible reaction to that is nausea and—if you're responsible for this site, as I am—shame.

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