Over-Extended Metaphor for the day – Charlie’s Diary

Over the beer, the conversation turned—for no sane reason—to computer operating systems. There being some non-technical folks at the table, I then had to cough up a metaphor to contextualize the relationship between Mac OS X and UNIX, thuswise:

There is one true religion in operating systems, and it is UNIX. Or maybe it\’s not the one true faith: there\’s an earlier, older, more arcane religion with far fewer followers, MULTICS, from which UNIX sprang as a stripped-down rules-deficient heresy in the early days of the epoch. Either way, if MULTICS is Judaism (and the metaphor is questionable at this point, for unlike MULTICS, Judaism is still alive), then UNIX is Christianity.

via Over-Extended Metaphor for the day – Charlie’s Diary.

The history of the Unix operating system, told using the history of Christian denominations as a metaphor, as only Charlie Stross can do it.

For a (somewhat painful) visual representation of what he’s talking about, check out this chart.

2 thoughts on “Over-Extended Metaphor for the day – Charlie’s Diary

  1. I rather like to use the family reunion with bad relations,
    SlOS/2 is that cousin whose life fell apart when he didn’t make the starting squad in his junior year, Mac is the Unix family crossdressing uncle that DOS junior is always trying to immitate, DOS is the entrepenuer grandpa that had a get rich quick scheme for everyone but grandpa and CPM/80 is the great grandpa that’s always talking too much about the wars if you go to visit him. Linux is the smart college kid with a coffee shop that gets it but has left leaning socialist ideas. Grandma Solaris really knew how to cook but was bossy to everyone and always fishing for compliments. she baked a lot but it turns out her pies weren’t all that great. Not too many people remember Mac’s former wife NextOS but I’ll admit it’s hard to remember her with Mac’s new wardrobe. Digital Research had a store next door to grandpa Dos but he went out of business when grandpa sold the store to Dos junior. Some people remember the deal as unfriendly, but the customer’s were none the wiser. Mac and Dos Junior had a deal going once with memory makers (no stripper poles involved) and they were all getting rich till the judge found out what was going on under the dresses.

    Yep, they’re all one big (psychofuck crazy) happy family.


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