Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 24th Jun 2011 22:58 UTC
In the News "I write a trivia column for a newspaper called The Austin Chronicle. Someone has asked me the origin of the word daemon as it applies to computing. Best I can tell based on my research, the word was first used by people on your team at Project MAC using the IBM 7094 in 1963. The first daemon (an abbreviation for Disk And Executive MONitor) was a program that automatically made tape backups of the file system. Does this sound about right? Any corrections or additions? Thank you for your time!"
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Dæmon != Demon
by Liquidator on Sun 26th Jun 2011 01:15 UTC
Liquidator
Member since:
2007-03-04

So...Nothing to do with demons and the devil. Christians can use Linux safely again, no worries ;)

Edited 2011-06-26 01:15 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Dæmon != Demon
by chemical_scum on Sun 26th Jun 2011 20:21 UTC in reply to "Dæmon != Demon"
chemical_scum Member since:
2005-11-02

"The words daemon and daimon are Latinized spellings of the Greek δαίμων (daimôn), a reference to the daemons of Ancient Greek religion and mythology, Hellenistic religion and philosophy. Daemons are good or benevolent "supernatural beings between mortals and gods, such as inferior divinities and ghosts of dead heroes" (see Plato's Symposium), and differ from the Judeo-Christian usage of demon, a malignant spirit that can seduce, afflict, or possess humans."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daemon_(classical_mythology)

So the Xian's might object to the pagan origin of the term. I am sure this is the allusion that the originators of the acronym meant. The were probably literate enough to know Plato's use of the term and were referring to these benevolent behind the scene actors.

Reply Score: 4

Finally the meaning of the work
by ggeldenhuys on Sun 26th Jun 2011 08:10 UTC
ggeldenhuys
Member since:
2006-11-13

Thanks for that. I have always wondered about the word "daemon" and what it really stood for. :-)

Reply Score: 4

Biblical
by MattT on Sun 26th Jun 2011 11:02 UTC
MattT
Member since:
2011-06-26

A daemon is a helper agent.

Not bad or good but just doing it's job.

This is the way it's always been in that fictional work "The Bible".

It's use is very appropriate for system processes that do their job for the end user's benefit.

Reply Score: 2

You could have asked
by sorpigal on Mon 27th Jun 2011 12:08 UTC
sorpigal
Member since:
2005-11-02

- Any graybeard
- Almost any Unix enthusiast
- Any physics student

and arrived at the correct answer.

Reply Score: 2

Convenient Acronym?
by HappyGod on Tue 28th Jun 2011 06:11 UTC
HappyGod
Member since:
2005-10-19

The "Disk And Executive MONitor" name is a bit convenient.

Seems like they just wanted to call them daemon's, and then thought of a name that would match the acronym. ;-)

With regard to the daemon/demon thing. I remember reading somewhere that daemon simply meant 'spirit' in ancient Greek.

It's easy to see how this could have morphed to 'evil spirit' in Christianity.

Reply Score: 2

Jargon file speaks
by quique on Tue 28th Jun 2011 09:05 UTC
quique
Member since:
2005-07-07

According to Wikipedia:

The term was coined by the programmers of MIT's Project MAC. They took the name from Maxwell's demon, an imaginary being from a famous thought experiment that constantly works in the background, sorting molecules.[2] Unix systems inherited this terminology. A derivation from the phrase "Disk And Execution MONitor" is a backronym.[1]

Daemons are also characters in Greek mythology, some of whom handled tasks that the gods could not be bothered with. BSD and some of its derivatives have adopted a daemon as its mascot, although this mascot is actually a cute variation of the demons which appear in Christian artwork.


The jargon file states:

:daemon: /day'mn/ or /dee'mn/ /n./ [from the mythological meaning, later rationalized as the acronym `Disk And Execution MONitor'] A program that is not invoked explicitly, but lies dormant waiting for some condition(s) to occur.

Daemon and {demon} are often used interchangeably, but seem to have distinct connotations. The term `daemon' was introduced to computing by {CTSS} people (who pronounced it /dee'mon/) and used it to refer to what ITS called a {dragon}. Although the meaning and the pronunciation have drifted, we think this glossary reflects current (1996) usage.

Reply Score: 1