Article: The Windows/macOS/Linux Triumvirate

A humorous interpretation of three Elder Scrolls deities as an allegory for a trio of popular operating systems.

Tags: Humour, Elder Scrolls

SPOILER WARNING: this article discusses key plot points from The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and its Tribunal expansion.

When working on cross-platform open source projects, it is quite common to hear developers refer to successful support for Windows, macOS, and Linux as achieving “the trifecta”. Although significantly less common, I have also heard developers refer to this trio of operating systems as “the triumvirate”. The term triumvirate is most commonly used to refer to two ancient Roman political alliances. However, as a fan of the Elder Scrolls series of video games, the term immediately brings to my mind the Almsivi Triumvirate, first introduced in the 2002 game Morrowind and its Tribunal expansion pack. This triumvirate consists of three gods who play a key role in the plot of the main questlines for both the base game and the Tribunal expansion.

Amusingly, aspects of these three characters are strongly reminiscent of the three most popular operating systems in use today. Although this interpretation represents a vast oversimplification of these characters’ personalities and motives, and also relies in part on real-world events that occurred many years after the release of Morrowind, I share it in the hopes that readers may find it entertaining.

The Almsivi Triumvirate as allegories for operating systems are as follows: