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In the beginning there is darkness. The screen erupts in blue, then a cascade of thick, white hexadecimal numbers and cracked language, “UnusedStk” and “AllocMem.” Black screen cedes to blue to white and a pair of scales appear, crossed by a sword, both images drawn in the jagged, bitmapped graphics of Windows 1.0-era clip-art—light grey and yellow on a background of light cyan. Blue text proclaims, “God on tap!”
This is TempleOS V2.17, the welcome screen explains, a “Public Domain Operating System” produced by Trivial Solutions of Las Vegas, Nevada. It greets the user with a riot of 16-color, scrolling, blinking text; depending on your frame of reference, it might recall DESQview, the Commodore 64, or a host of early DOS-based graphical user interfaces. In style if not in specifics, it evokes a particular era, a time when the then-new concept of “personal computing” necessarily meant programming and tinkering and breaking things.