HUMOR/PHIL: Philosophies and Operating Systems

Max More (
Fri, 06 Jun 1997 14:26:00 -0700

Forwarded with permission.

>Imagine an operating system called RANDOS. Its inventor, Rand, a
>brilliant programmer, died in 1982, and consequently there are no plans
>by the RANDOS Institute to release an upgraded version. Instead, the
>RANDOS Institute will publish new-and-improved user manuals, how-to
>books, taped lecture courses, and international seminars explaining how
>to get the most out of RANDOS 1.0.
>Unfortunately, RANDOS 1.0 has a particular limitation which has been
>causing such a level of frustration among a growing number of users qua
>users that not even _RANDOS for Dummies_ could placate them: RANDOS 1.0
>only supports a maximum of 64 Kilobytes of intellectual growth--this was
>more Random Access Wisdom than anybody could fathom when RANDOS was
>invented, but, as information technology improved, the typical user's
>capacity for growth actually expanded well beyond this barrier--a
>potential which remained unfulfilled.
>Some of the key personnel at the RANDOS institute, led by R&D specialist
>Kelley, harbored some sympathy for the concerns of their consumers.
>They decided to broach the idea of expanding upon RANDOS to the CEO.
>Now, CEO Peikoff was not a programmer, but a grammarian who came out of
>the documentation department--he rose through the corporate ranks by
>being Rand's consummate "Yes-man." Peikoff deftly retorted that the 64K
>cutoff was not an oversight, but a brilliant feature; he went on to
>attribute all of the purported problems with RANDOS to "operator error"
>because if these incompetent users would only check their "config.sys"
>premises and buy more of his taped lecture courses, then they would
>learn how to work around their difficulties. He then fired all of those
>within the organization who objected to this line of thought, and issued
>a public statement warning that anyone who modified RANDOS would void
>their warranty and that they would not be able to count on the support
>of the RANDOS Institute in the future.
>So Kelley departed and formed the Institute of Operating Systems. IOS
>published subroutines which users could patch into Rand's original
>program so that it would support up to 1 Megabyte of intellectual
>growth. Initially, this seemed very exciting and controversial, but as
>the information age proceeded further, and the cost of Random Access
>Wisdom became more and more affordable, some users of these IOS patches
>could not even live with that limitation. Ideally--even Kelley admits
>this--there should be no such limitations at all. So IOS began to work
>on more sophisticated dynamic R.A.W. allocation subroutines, but they
>encountered some performance difficulties in trying to optimize between
>surviving and flourishing. They got so bogged down in the minutiae of
>code development, that some users eventually ran out of patience with
>the developers of RANDOS all together and began to study programming
>themselves so that they might be able to develop their own operating
>In the midst of their research, a handful of these independent renegades
>came across an ancient system in the public domain archives called
>EPICUR-OS, and although it was originally compiled to run on an abacus,
>they soon realized that this program had all of the best features of
>RANDOS without its shortcomings: its Hedonistic Telos Architecture, for
>instance, eliminated all the switching back and forth between Survive
>and Flourish Modes which allowed its users to accommodate unlimited
>amounts of Random Access Wisdom without untoward propagation delays.
>Additionally, its robust metaphysical parameters rendered it
>modern-science-compatible, so it was quite easy for them to port over
>the code for their personal applications, which they did with splendid
>They soon became convinced that if it weren't for the ancient JES-OS
>cartel, who succeeded in outlawing their competitors, then EPICUR-OS
>would have perhaps survived as the predominate operating system today.

Max More, Ph.D.
President, Extropy Institute:,
EXTRO 3 CONFERENCE on the future: