This seems like an unduly complicated theory.  Maxwell had a good 19th-century Scottish gentleman's education (he knew great chunks of Paradise Lost by heart as a child) and he would have been far more familiar with classical literature than most scientists are today as a result.  Chances are he knew what daemons were in mythology because he'd  read either the Greek originals or Latin translations at school & university.

Even today the term can be used without the connotations of evil that it often has: His Dark Materials has daemons which are not in any way evil.  Perhaps significantly it is heavily influenced by Paradise Lost as well: perhaps the common source is that.  I have a copy but I haven't read it, sadly.

On 20 Mar 2018, at 18:46, Clem Cole <> wrote:

On Tue, Mar 20, 2018 at 2:24 PM, Bakul Shah <> wrote:
On Tue, 20 Mar 2018 14:04:38 -0400 Dan Cross <> wrote:
Dan Cross writes:
> On Tue, Mar 20, 2018 at 1:56 PM, George Michaelson <> wrote:
> I think daemon/demon came from printers demon, which is carved into
> > the government printing office in Brisbane. the printers demon is the
> > one which stuffed up letters in the tray, to make printers tear their
> > hair out. Did I say tray? I meant case, upper case, the one above,
> > with the big letters, and lower case, the case with the little
> > letters. oh dear. really? is that why they are cases?
> >
> While this story (and the others I trimmed for brevity) is (are) great,
> "daemon" is actually from the Greek, I believe: an intermediary between
> humans (users) and the gods (the kernel).


  Fernando J. Corbato: ... Our use of the word daemon (@
  Project MAC in 1963) was inspired by the Maxwell's daemon of
  physics and thermodynamics. (My background is Physics.)
  Maxwell's daemon was an imaginary agent which helped sort
  molecules of different speeds and worked tirelessly in the
  background. We fancifully began to use the word daemon to
  describe background processes which worked tirelessly to

  perform system chores.

​Right -- that is what I was under the impression from where the term came for computer use.   Although, I was also under  the impression that Maxwell had taken the term from ideas from some his Cambridge colleagues that were working on human thought and described the ideas of these daemons running around in your head supporting things like vision, hearing and your other senses.   The later was formalized I believe years later by Oliver Suthridge (IIRC my Cog Psych of many years ago) - into the something like the Pandemonium model of cognition.

i.e. I think the term was used first in Cognition, then to Physics and finally to Computers.

As for Paul's comment about the daemons.  Yes, Kirk McKusick who actually drew the original BSD daemon with purple sneakers, was wearing the infamous blue tee with said logo out walking on the street, as one someone else in the party (maybe Sam Leffler) sporting a 10 anniversary USENIX shirt in San Antonio many years ago, which has the daemons shown top of a PDP-11 with pipes, the null device, et al.   He has quite a tale of the experience.