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Slackware and the Cthulhu Mythos

Posted 12-19-2018 at 11:44 AM by Lysander666
Updated 02-14-2019 at 06:52 AM 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 [CORRECTION - this was the 'scrag' - thanks to cynwulf], 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
  10. Old Comment
    Quote:
    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].
    That would be the "Scrag".
    Posted 02-11-2019 at 07:59 AM by cynwulf cynwulf is offline
  11. Old Comment
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cynwulf View Comment
    That would be the "Scrag".
    Good God, how the hell could I get that wrong? After the hundreds of hours I've spent on that game, as well. Glad to see you know it well enough to correct the reference.
    Posted 02-11-2019 at 08:24 AM by Lysander666 Lysander666 is offline
  12. Old Comment
    I'm sure that "Ghasts" were some kind of ghoulish (acid spewing?) creature in the Baldur's Gate games?

    I had no idea about all the Lovecraft inspiration in Quake until years later. Was very atmospheric and eerie. (still know almost zero about Lovecraft).

    I actually still have my disc... was playing it on OpenBSD earlier last year in fact.

    I'd go with your "code names", much better than the Debian toy story crap or the ridiculous "masturbating monkey" nonsense of 'buntu... but that's all assuming code names are needed at all.
    Posted 02-11-2019 at 08:54 AM by cynwulf cynwulf is offline
  13. Old Comment
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cynwulf View Comment
    I had no idea about all the Lovecraft inspiration in Quake until years later. Was very atmospheric and eerie. (still know almost zero about Lovecraft).
    Weirdly enough I have read that some people don't think of Quake 1 as a horror game. Zombies, ogres, pentagrams, ghosts [not 'ghasts' as such but scrags as you pointed out], demons, crypts, castles, Lovecraftian references. It's all there. Not to mention the skinned human faces that bedeck a lot of the exit portals.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cynwulf View Comment
    I'd go with your "code names", much better than the Debian toy story crap or the ridiculous "masturbating monkey" nonsense of 'buntu... but that's all assuming code names are needed at all.
    There are no indications that PV has an interest in introducing code names to the Slackware releases but he could do a lot worse than the Lovecraft ones. The Debian ones are hit and miss, while the Ubuntu ones seem to be getting steadily worse. First prize, however, goes to Fedora and "Beefy Miracle". No wonder they stopped them soon after that.
    Posted 02-11-2019 at 09:18 AM by Lysander666 Lysander666 is offline
  14. Old Comment
    I don't tend to think of genres - quake was "quake" for me and that's about it. Quake 2 completely lacked the atmosphere. Quake 3 was based on it, but in no way recaptured it being a bit too "colourful". By that time ID were more into making game engines to licence out than making games.

    I go back to the days of DOOM on MSDOS (also Quake on that same OS). Despite it's primitive graphics, sprites, etc, that game gave the sense of being utterly alone and lost in a seemingly endless hell.

    I doubt Pat Volkerding will change much with regards to Slackware. The distribution is very conservative after all.

    The stupid code names for the "popular" distributions are in the realm of millennials and coffee shop dwellers, it's lowest common denominator marketing spiel, that started with 'buntu back in '05 or '06...

    Debian's are silly, but pre-date all that by many years and were not conceived for marketing purposes.
    Posted 02-14-2019 at 04:57 AM by cynwulf cynwulf is offline
  15. Old Comment
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cynwulf
    I don't tend to think of genres - quake was "quake" for me and that's about it. Quake 2 completely lacked the atmosphere. Quake 3 was based on it, but in no way recaptured it being a bit too "colourful". By that time ID were more into making game engines to licence out than making games.
    Quake II was a big disappointment for me. Gone were the monsters and the dark Gothic environments - and with them, the atmosphere. I suppose id were going for the more industrialised look and feel that was becoming so popular in the mid '90s. I don't think I actually finished the game. Quake III I never played because I'm not into deathmatch and Quake 4 is just a Doom 3 clone, albeit a passable one. I play custom Q1 maps through the Quaddicted website, the Q1 mapping community is quite active.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cynwulf
    I go back to the days of DOOM on MSDOS (also Quake on that same OS). Despite it's primitive graphics, sprites, etc, that game gave the sense of being utterly alone and lost in a seemingly endless hell.
    I remember then Doom first came out in 1993 it was rumoured to be the most violent game ever. Which it probably was. "Being alone in a seemingly endless hell" is a dystopia which few other games have replicated successfully. Devil Daggers tries but it's not the same at all. Though not particularly dark, some of the Tomb Raider titles and Portal 1/2 create an atmosphere of solitude very effectively.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cynwulf
    The stupid code names for the "popular" distributions are in the realm of millennials and coffee shop dwellers, it's lowest common denominator marketing spiel, that started with 'buntu back in '05 or '06...
    I can't even bring myself to run Ubuntu because of the names. They've gone beyond creative, beyond wacky and into the realm of the idiotic. It's embarrassing now.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cynwulf
    Debian's are silly, but pre-date all that by many years and were not conceived for marketing purposes.
    I did wonder whether they were there to subtly promote Pixar since Bruce Perens worked for them. I haven't seen any of the Toy Story films but the Debian releases did make me curious to watch them [not that I did].

    EDIT: updated the main post.
    Posted 02-14-2019 at 06:47 AM by Lysander666 Lysander666 is offline
    Updated 02-14-2019 at 06:52 AM by Lysander666
  16. Old Comment
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lysander666 View Comment
    Quake II was a big disappointment for me. Gone were the monsters and the dark Gothic environments - and with them, the atmosphere. I suppose id were going for the more industrialised look and feel that was becoming so popular in the mid '90s. I don't think I actually finished the game. Quake III I never played because I'm not into deathmatch and Quake 4 is just a Doom 3 clone, albeit a passable one. I play custom Q1 maps through the Quaddicted website, the Q1 mapping community is quite active.
    Quake 2 grew on me, but isn't a patch on Quake.

    I bought Quake 3 despite the multiplayer focus, played against bots quite a lot and online and over LAN. Eventually though it just wasn't for me.
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lysander666 View Comment
    I remember then Doom first came out in 1993 it was rumoured to be the most violent game ever. Which it probably was. "Being alone in a seemingly endless hell" is a dystopia which few other games have replicated successfully. Devil Daggers tries but it's not the same at all. Though not particularly dark, some of the Tomb Raider titles and Portal 1/2 create an atmosphere of solitude very effectively.
    I have no idea about newer games. I've played Doom3 and Quake 4 and those are probably the newest games I've played. I bought them cheaply and because I could run them on Linux. It's been a good few years since I've played those, no longer have the time, nor the inclination. Same applies to UT and UT2K4.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lysander666 View Comment
    I can't even bring myself to run Ubuntu because of the names. They've gone beyond creative, beyond wacky and into the realm of the idiotic. It's embarrassing now.
    If only the code names were the only problem with that and indeed Debian...

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lysander666 View Comment
    I did wonder whether they were there to subtly promote Pixar since Bruce Perens worked for them. I haven't seen any of the Toy Story films but the Debian releases did make me curious to watch them [not that I did].
    Good point, I'd forgotten that.

    I've seen some of the first and second ones, never seen one all the way through - I'm not a fan, but I will say that they hark back to a time when these things were at least original if nothing else.
    Posted 02-14-2019 at 06:08 PM by cynwulf cynwulf is offline
    Updated 02-14-2019 at 06:10 PM by cynwulf
  17. Old Comment
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cynwulf View Comment
    I have no idea about newer games. I've played Doom3 and Quake 4 and those are probably the newest games I've played. I bought them cheaply and because I could run them on Linux. It's been a good few years since I've played those, no longer have the time, nor the inclination. Same applies to UT and UT2K4.
    Quake 1 I used to play online at the FvF server, which is still up, but nobody goes there anymore. Whenever I log in I'm the only one there - the same guy's running it though, apparently.

    It seems that only the three newest Tomb Raider games [from the franchise reboot] are available on Linux. The first one is excellent but I don't have the hardware for the newer ones. At some point I'll upgrade.

    Portal 1 and 2 are quite old now and unless you have an ancient machine you will be able to run them. I thoroughly, unequivocally recommend both seeing as they're ingenious and different, something that very rarely gets done effectively in gaming.
    Posted 02-15-2019 at 05:27 AM by Lysander666 Lysander666 is offline
  18. Old Comment
    Back in the Quake 1/2/3 MP days I was either offline or stuck on a very poor dial up connection. I wasn't online until some time around 2000 and did not get off dial up until around 2005. Even then it was a very unreliable DSL connection which dropped out a lot. So in most cases I was just not getting anywhere with MP due to serious lag. Also the MP players scene for most games tended to be dominated by leet speaking teenagers with attitude problems.

    I have heard that it's worse still these days with all the new fangled ultra realistic games and the omnipresent steam and "social network" crap involved.

    Besides my reflexes just aren't what they were for first person shooters like Doom/Quake...

    I only played the first tomb raider - I agree that it was a very original classic.
    Posted 02-15-2019 at 11:23 AM by cynwulf cynwulf is offline
 

  



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