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Old 06-12-2019, 05:47 AM   #1
Lysander666
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J.R. "Bob" Dobbs and computing


I understand that 'slack' from 'Slackware' comes from the Church of the Subgenius but what I want to know is... why?

I was reading about Ataris and saw this:

Quote:
Atari originally intended to include GEM's GDOS (Graphical Device Operating System), which allowed programs to send GEM VDI (Virtual Device Interface) commands to drivers loaded by GDOS. This allowed developers to send VDI instructions to other devices simply by pointing to it. However, GDOS was not ready at the time the ST started shipping and was included in software packages and later ST machines. Later versions of GDOS supported vector fonts.

A limited set of GEM fonts were included in the ROMs, including the standard 8x8 pixel graphical character set for the ST. It contained four unusual characters which can be placed together in a square, forming a facsimile of the face of J. R. "Bob" Dobbs (the figurehead of the Church of the SubGenius)
It seems that Bob had quite an influence in the world of computing in the 20th century.

Quote:
Back in 1994, I walked into the Computer Science lab at McGill University here in Montreal for the first time and what did I see as a screensaver on some of the Unix machines? The floating disembodied grinning head of J.R. “Bob” Dobbs!
So why was Bob the influence for Slackware and why did he have such a wide interest and influence in the world of computing in the 80s/90s? To whom or what was the trend accountable?

Last edited by Lysander666; 06-12-2019 at 05:50 AM.
 
Old 06-12-2019, 05:40 PM   #2
Mechanikx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lysander666 View Post
I understand that 'slack' from 'Slackware' comes from the Church of the Subgenius but what I want to know is... why?...
Maybe this will help answer your first question...

https://www.slackwiki.com/Church_of_the_SubGenius
 
Old 06-12-2019, 06:23 PM   #3
upnort
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Quote:
why did he have such a wide interest and influence in the world of computing in the 80s/90s? To whom or what was the trend accountable?
Why are people addicted to farcebook? Human intelligence is highly overrated -- myself included.

Otherwise, sometimes geeks are just geeks.
 
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Old 06-12-2019, 07:42 PM   #4
frankbell
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Many of the persons in question were college students in that time period.

Having once been a college student myself, I can easily understand the appeal of the Church of the Subgenius. Plus it has a very strange podcast that is an absolute hoot.
 
Old 06-12-2019, 08:02 PM   #5
volkerdi
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Heh, (as might be expected) I'm the one who patched xlock to contain the Smiling Face of Dobbs. Happily, upstream absorbed the suggestion from us.
 
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Old 06-12-2019, 10:25 PM   #6
frankbell
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As an aside, I have a Church of the Subgenius tee-shirt featuring a portrait of J. R. "Bob" Dobbs.

A stranger once identified me as a Slackware user therefrom.
 
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Old 06-13-2019, 10:36 AM   #7
GazL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by volkerdi View Post
Heh, (as might be expected) I'm the one who patched xlock to contain the Smiling Face of Dobbs. Happily, upstream absorbed the suggestion from us.
Is he still in there? Been a long time since I've looked at xlock, but it seems the default bitmap is now of Tux.
 
Old 06-13-2019, 01:50 PM   #8
volkerdi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GazL View Post
Is he still in there? Been a long time since I've looked at xlock, but it seems the default bitmap is now of Tux.
Ah, it looks like it is and that we're still patching the xdefaults here to use "Bob". I guess I was thinking of the XFlame mode in xscreensaver which picked up "Bob" independently (though perhaps we had an influence there).

BTW, to get "Bob" into my computer so long ago I faxed it to my machine from the local copy center.
 
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Old 06-13-2019, 05:42 PM   #9
GazL
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Ahh, yes, I can see he's still specified in the xlock app-defaults file for use on the 'bounce' mode, but the more wider matching resource entry is commented out.

I can remember using Bob for the -head option on the Dr. Who title sequence inspired timetunnel xscreensaver hack which was kind of fun. Of course, that was before the BBC entirely ruined that show and I no longer have the heart to run that screensaver any more.


Quote:
Originally Posted by volkerdi View Post
BTW, to get "Bob" into my computer so long ago I faxed it to my machine from the local copy center.
Yikes! I can just imagine young voices now, asking... "Dad? What's a fax?"
 
Old 06-14-2019, 02:06 AM   #10
gus3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GazL View Post
"Dad? What's a fax?"
It's an old term for a scanner/sender/printer setup. It was short for "facsimile," or "telefacsimile." The first ideas were worked out in the mid-19th century and a real working system between Paris and Lyon in 1862, but in France it was called a "pantelegraph".

If you want to read some more about this... we can look it up together tomorrow. But now it's time for bed.
 
Old 06-14-2019, 09:04 AM   #11
Paulo2
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Dobbs' face is in Debian, XFlame from Xscreensaver.
But it isn't installed by default I think.
 
Old 06-14-2019, 10:05 AM   #12
freemedia2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gus3 View Post
The first ideas were worked out in the mid-19th century and a real working system between Paris and Lyon in 1862, but in France it was called a "pantelegraph".
Those French, they have to have their own words for everything.

"Frites liberté", absurdité...
 
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Old 06-14-2019, 01:36 PM   #13
kgha
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https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...-a-documentary
 
Old Yesterday, 07:34 PM   #14
jr_bob_dobbs
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I actually knew about the Church of the SubGenius before Slackware. Back in the day, I was a fan of Devo. From that I stumbled onto the Church.


p.s. Was surprised no one had this nick already when I signed up.
 
  


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