Virgilius of Salzburg

What are we to make of this medieval Irishman who started out on a trip to
the Holy Land, and got distracted along the way and ended up becoming Bishop of Salzburg?
He was skilled in geometry. He taught that the Earth was a sphere, and deduced that there must be people on the other side of the sphere. This in the 8th century… 500 years before Galileo and Copernicus.
He almost got into theological trouble. People with a ‘flat earth’ mentality thought he meant there were people living under the ground who were not descended from Adam.
What he did do , was raise awareness of the existence of the Southern Hemisphere. There is a Church in New Zealand which is named after him… a commemoration of his deduction of our existence, purely from geometrical considerations.
That is his statue in Salzburg Catherdal.

He has something to say about Unix/Linux.
Do we want to embrace this narrow medieval ‘flat-earth’ view of software packaging, which is being foisted upon us by Flatpak and Snap?
Do we want all out software tools separate, so we can discover and combine them in innovative ways?

There is this inbuilt human tendency to see ‘what I see around me now’ as everything that exists… and to package it accordingly. The medieval world was trapped in it for centuries.
Unix got us out of that mind trap, by promoting a philosophy of a large bag of single purpose tools, that can be combined in many ways.
Virgilius used his geometry to expand the world view.
We should use our Unix inheritance to do likewise.


Great story - thanks for sharing :smiley:


Thank you.
Its his Feast Day today. Thats what inspired me.

If we were going to change the date of Australia Day, it might not be a bad choice. A celebration of the existence of the Southern Hemisphere.

1 Like

That bag gets even larger if we include flatpak and snap packages. I use deb, flatpak, and snap. Whatever works.


As long as you dont do it with a closed mind.

1 Like

Interesting story… Thanks for sharing… @nevj

I haven’t forgotten about ‘displaying and honouring legends’ like we discussed previously. Just that I haven’t found the tool for it yet.