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Slackware and the Cthulhu Mythos

Posted 12-19-2018 at 11:44 AM by Lysander666
Updated 12-19-2018 at 03:45 PM by Lysander666

Yog-Sothoth knows the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the key and guardian of the gate. Past, present, future, all are one in Yog-Sothoth. He knows where the Old Ones broke through of old, and where They shall break through again. He knows where They have trod earth's fields, and where They still tread them, and why no one can behold Them as They tread.

In an earlier thread I gave a jocular proposal for all Slackware releases to be named after entities in the Cthulhu Mythos. I did this for two reasons - firstly because I generally disagree with distro naming conventions - some of them are ridiculous and some of them are plain weird [e.g. Bionic Beaver, Disco Dingo]. However, sometimes some of them feel downright personal, as one Mint user said, he didn't want to use LMDE3 'Cindy' because it was named after his "crazy ex-wife". I personally avoid using Debian Buster because I think the name 'Buster' is dreadful, even though Debian Stretch sounded a lot better to me.

Secondly, the names of gods and otherlings in the Cthulhu Mythos just seem to fit Slackware. Slackware, to me, has something of a 'dark' vibe to it, though it's hard for me to totally explain why I feel this way. Maybe it's something to do with how Patrick Volkerding is a Deadhead, so using a dark naming convention fits with the oft-used Slackware host name "darkstar". Maybe it's the darker logo colour, maybe it's the fact that the distro is named after a parody religion, maybe it's the granular, old school feel of having to work in its terminal. There is something innovative and different about Slackware which is not the same for other distributions. So, if we are to use naming conventions, why not go against the boring, or ridiculous, names often used by other distros and go for something otherworldly, dark and imaginative.

I should point out that I am not a Lovecraftian authority by any stretch. I have read a few stories, but I cannot deny the reach his works have had. So many video games, so much music and so many other cultural movements reference him. And why not Linux? So here is a - not totally serious - proposal for all releases for Slackware and their counterpart names.

1.00 Azathoth [ruler of the Outer Gods, the centre of the universe. First appearance in The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, 1926].
1.1 Hypnos [the god of Sleep, likely an Elder God. First appearance in Hypnos 1922].
2.0 Shub-Niggurath [an oft-worshiped female Outer God, wife of Yog-Sothoth, a huge, slimy, tentacled monstrosity. Also a central character and the final boss of Quake 1. First appearance in The Last Test, 1928].
2.1 Yog-Sothoth [ancester of Cthulhu, cotermimous with all space and time, normally depicted as a orblike mass with tentacles; first appearance in The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, 1927].
2.2 Abhoth [the source of uncleanliness. A dark mass that lives in the cavern of Y'quaa and spawns simple and complex evil entities, some which he devours and some which escape into the world].
2.3 Nodens [one of the Elder Gods, a strong, older bearded man with long white hair. He chases down evil entities in the Dreamlands. First appearance in The Strange High House in the Mist, 1926]
3.0 Ubbo-Sathla [a huge, protoplasmic mass that dwells beneath the earth, guarding tablets which contain the Elder God's knowledge. It is said to have spawned all life on earth and will one day reabsorb it. Created by Clark Ashton Smith].
3.1 Nyarlathotep [a tall, striking man similar to a pharaoh who roams earth gaining followers through his demonstrations with magic. First appearance in Nyarlathotep. 1920].
3.2 Tulzscha [an entity which appears as a blazing green ball of flame. First appearance in The Festival].
3.3 Chaughnar Faugn [a vampiric, elephantine humanoid, one of the Great Old Ones].
3.4 Y'Golonac [god of perversion and depravity, a human without a head and mouthed hands. Created by Ramsay Campbell].
3.5 Hastur [a vast octopoid, spawn of Yog-Sothoth and half-brother of Cthulhu].
3.6 Atlach-nacha [a giant spider with a human face, spinning a web between the Dreamlands and earth].
3.9 Bokrug [the lake-welling Great Water Lizard].
4.0 Rhan-Tegoth [a 15-foot insectoid creature with a barrel-shaped body with multiple appendages and pincers. First appearance in The Horror in the Museum, 1926].
7.0 Ghatanothoa [probably brought to earth by the Mi-Go, Ghatanothoa is a hideous monster who petrifies anyone that looks at it. First appearance in Out of the Aeons].
7.1 Shudde M'ell [a mile-long earthworm that spits acid and melts rock, it is the largest and most evil of the Cthonians; first appearance in Cement Surroundings].
8.0 Tsathoggua [a supernatural, pot-bellied entity that dwells beneath the earth. Invented by Clark Ashton Smith and adopted by Lovecraft].
8.1 Yig [one of the Great Old Ones, the father of serpents. Sends denizens out to punish all those who have killed snakes in their lives. First appearance in The Curse of Yig, which was created by Zealia Bishop and rewritten by Lovecraft].
9.0 Dagon [worshipped by the Esoteric Order of Dagon, Dagon is a deity who presides over the Deep Ones. "Call of Dagon" is also a song by the Swedish symphonic metal band Therion from their album Sirius B. First appearance in Dagon, 1917].
9.1 Ithaqua [a fearsome giant with red eyes that wonders Arctic plateaus slaying humans. Created by August Derleth].
10.0 Cthulhu [a Great Old One who lives in slumber beneath the Pacific in R'lyeh, appears as a cross between a giant octopus and a dragon. First appearance in Call of Cthulhu].
10.1 Zar [a green land in the story The White Ship. A place where "dwell all the dreams and thoughts of beauty that come to men once and then are forgotten". Beyond it is the majestic city of Thalarion, "City of a Thousand Wonders", where demons dwell. Thalorion was also the name of a Slovakian doom metal band].
10.2 Cthugha [a large fireball deity, one of the Great Old Ones. Created by August Derleth].
11.0 Shantak [a huge, scaly, birdlike creature with batlike wings that lives in the Cold Waste of Dreamlands and serves Nyarlathotep; first appearance in The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, 1926].
12.0 Ghast [dark-dwelling, keen-sensed humanoids with kangaroo-like legs that live in the vaults of Zin. They are aggressive carnivores. Ghasts are also ghost-like acid-spitting creatures in Quake 1, whereas The Vaults of Zin is a map within the game. First appearance in The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, 1926].
12.1 Sand-dweller [large-eyed cave creatures that look like a cross between a human and a koala. First appearance in "The Gable Window"]
12.2 Deep One [Deep Ones are oceanic humanoid fish creatures that mate with humans; first appearance in The Shadow Over Innsmouth, 1931]
13.0 Mi-Go [a large, fungoid creature with multiple fleshy antennae for heads. First appearance in The Whisperer in Darkness, 1931].
13.1 Tcho-Tcho [Tcho-Tchos are red humanoid cannibals, first appearance in Lair of the Star-Spawn by August Derleth]
13.37 Moon-Beast [Moon-Beasts are large, grey, slippery creatures that look like eyeless toads with tentacles. They live on the dark side of Dreamlands' moon and trade rubies for slaves at the Dylath-Leen port. Dylath Leen is also the name of a French, female-fronted death metal band. First appearance in The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, 1926]
14.0 Hunting Horror [a shape-shifting, light-sensitive serpent with bat-like wings, denizens of Nyarlathotep; first appearance in The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, 1926].
14.1 Cthonian [a powerful, land-dwelling worm that lives for thousands of years].
14.2 Formless Spawn [the will of Tsathoggua. Black ichor-like entities that do his bidding and can attack in many different ways. In Quake 1 they appear similarly, like purple, sinewy creatures].
15.0 Dimensional Shambler [a fanged creature with long arms, living in the lower dimensions, in Quake 1 it appears as a huge, yeti-like creature with large teeth and no eyes which hurls lightning bolts. First appearance in The Horrors in the Museum]
-current - Dark Young [the bidding of Shub-Niggurath - tall, black, tree-like creatures who accept sacrifices and worship for their mistress].

Why these particular names? Since no distro name bears any relation to anything in a distro, I have used this chart to name the distros, with the main deities relating to the earlier releases. The nomenclature is not strictly sequential, I have used what I feel to be the more creative names. Sometimes, for a landmark release number [e.g. 10], I have discounted sequential chart nomenclature and used one of the more powerful deities.

Bear in mind that, due to the magic of public domain, all Lovecraft works are free to read online. I won't point you to them, since being a good Linux user means being able to find things for oneself

I should reiterate - this is not a serious proposal. It's purely an idea that has entertained me over time.
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Comments

  1. Old Comment
    No "Shoggoth"?

    btw, (almost?) all of Lovecraft's works are readable online here http://www.hplovecraft.com/

    p.s. back on topic, I'd always thought Slackware was orginally named for the Church Of The Sub-Genius, but I could be wrong.
    Posted 12-19-2018 at 06:41 PM by jr_bob_dobbs jr_bob_dobbs is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jr_bob_dobbs View Comment
    No "Shoggoth"?
    Well, not yet anyway!

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jr_bob_dobbs View Comment
    p.s. back on topic, I'd always thought Slackware was orginally named for the Church Of The Sub-Genius, but I could be wrong.
    Yes indeed, after the tenet of 'slack' from the Church.
    Posted 12-20-2018 at 08:00 AM by Lysander666 Lysander666 is offline
  3. Old Comment
    I think I'll look you up when I can actually write a serious program in C, for possible names for them.

    You put a lot of thought into a non-serious proposal.

    You must do a lot of reading (outside of LQ of course) ...
    Posted 12-20-2018 at 01:19 PM by jsbjsb001 jsbjsb001 is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jsbjsb001 View Comment
    I think I'll look you up when I can actually write a serious program in C, for possible names for them.
    Haha, please do!

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jsbjsb001 View Comment
    You must do a lot of reading (outside of LQ of course) ...
    It's research rather than reading, if that makes sense. A lot of the information is already out there, it was just a matter of tying names to releases and elaborating on identities. Still, I think it serves as a nice intro to Lovecraft, and it was an education for me too. I'm sure that if Slackware ever did decide to adopt nomenclature at some point, it would be something suitably inventive.
    Posted 12-21-2018 at 09:21 AM by Lysander666 Lysander666 is offline
  5. Old Comment
    I for one would not like to install a distro version named "Nyarlathotep."
    Posted 12-21-2018 at 10:34 PM by frankbell frankbell is offline
  6. Old Comment
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by frankbell View Comment
    I for one would not like to install a distro version named "Nyarlathotep."
    And therein lies the issue with naming conventions. What one person likes, another may not. I'm with you in principle, since some names have passively deterred me from installing releases in the past.

    I think Lovecraft chose the name [as many] for its sound. Etymologically, "-hotep" is the Egyptian suffix for 'peace' [the events of the story take place in Egypt]. I don't think this bears any relation to personality traits though, since the character is also known as The Crawling Chaos.
    Posted 12-22-2018 at 06:22 AM by Lysander666 Lysander666 is offline
  7. Old Comment
    . . . and sometimes as the "Creeping Crawling Chaos."
    Posted 12-22-2018 at 10:24 PM by frankbell frankbell is offline
  8. Old Comment
    The real problem would be : how would you pronounce these names?!?
    And when hearing it : how would you spell?!?
    Posted 01-12-2019 at 06:56 PM by Tonus Tonus is offline
  9. Old Comment
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tonus View Comment
    The real problem would be : how would you pronounce these names?!?
    And when hearing it : how would you spell?!?
    This is a valid point. "Tsathoggua" hardly rolls off the tongue.
    Posted 01-12-2019 at 07:27 PM by Lysander666 Lysander666 is offline
 

  



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