zivot: Still not the great game of ‘Life

I mention zivot today out of a sense of obligation, because were it not for zivot, there wouldn’t be much more left of the Z section. And since most of the Y section was borderline functional, it won’t hurt to staple zivot up here on the Internet wall.


zivot is an exceptionally rudimentary rendition of Conway’s Game of Life. It is included in the Debian repositories, but I honestly am not sure why. I see that it is written in Fortran, and I know that if you check the source code, it dates back to 2001.

zivot is not animated per se; in fact, that bizarrely shaped gif up there was my best attempt at making zivot’s scrolling update appear to be actually animated. Hence the irritating bouncing effects. 😡

zivot updates its “playing field” one frame at a time, scrolling the terminal and updating the population through each turn of the “game.” You get the chance to plot the locations of your original organisms, and from there, zivot follows its algorithm into eternity, whether your population lives or dies.

If you can sense a little disappointment in my writing, it’s because this is the second time through I’ve seen zivot, and it’s the second time through I’ve been less than enthusiastic about it.

I’m not sure why it persists in Debian; I’ve seen much better, more useful programs cast out of the Imperial Debianic Repositories for far smaller transgressions. I guess the fact that it continues to work is what keeps it on board.

Regardless. … There are better renditions of ‘Life available, and unless you need something strict ASCII with no frills whatsoever, zivot is only somewhere in the middle of the stack.

2 thoughts on “zivot: Still not the great game of ‘Life

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