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Revolution OS

timothy posted about 12 years ago | from the magic-of-cinema dept.

Movies 263

Though it's been out for more than a year, most people have not gotten a chance to see Revolution OS ; luckily for those who'd like to, a video release is planned for later this year, and for California readers, the screenings page lists four two-night showings over the next several weeks, in Newport Beach, Pasadena, California, Santa Monica, and L.A. Reader AdamBa submits his impressions of the movie (below).

Linux users who wonder why drag-and-drop doesn't always work between applications may find themselves treated to a lengthy philosophical discourse on the difference between Gnome and KDE -- a difference they may not have known existed.

Linux users who watch the documentary Revolution OS will find themselves treated to a lengthy philosophical discourse on the difference between free software and open source software -- a difference they may also have been unaware of.

The film by J.T.S. Moore is about the growth of the free software movement, and its eventual co-option by the open source movement. I don't think that's what the movie was supposed to be about; it was supposed to be about Linux and its battle about Microsoft. But the movie is quickly hijacked by its participants and turned into a theoretical discussion, in which Linux itself is a mere sideshow.

The combatants are Richard Stallman for free software, and Eric Raymond and Bruce Perens for open source. Much of the movie is after-the-fact interviews with them, as well as other notables: Linus Torvalds, Michael Tiemann from Cygnus, Larry Augustin from VA Linux, Brian Behlendorf from Apache. Rob Malda, aka CmdrTaco of Slashdot, even makes an appearance. But the Stallman vs. Raymond/Perens debate forms the core of the movie.

All three main participants come out looking reasonably good. I think when Microsoft executives see photos of typical open source luminaries, they might feel an urge to give them a hug and a bowl of soup, rather than worry about them taking market share from Microsoft (forgetting that Bill Gates created the same impression at age 24, negotiating the deal to license DOS to IBM). But Stallman and Raymond and Perens are not like that; they have spent decades writing software and thinking about writing software, and the intellectual heft of their arguments reflect that. Stallman, in particular, gets a chance to explain at length his feelings about software and how these led to the Free Software Foundation and the GNU public license, which may be news to viewers who only know about Linux.

Heavy with interviews, the movie lacks the staple of documentaries: scenes with multiple people that are later analyzed individually by each of the participants. The main characters almost never appear together, and when they discuss the rare events at which two or more were present, they contradict each other as often as not. This is an artifact of distributed development: there are not a lot of scenes where they are together because they do not need to be together a lot.

The movie also lacks a villain, a battle of good vs. evil. Nominally Microsoft is the bad guy, but except for Bill Gates' quarter-century-old "Open Letter to Hobbyists" and a snide comment from Bruce Perens about intellectual property, it isn't clear why Microsoft is disliked. Nobody explains why Windows is worse, or Linux better. In fact, the movie demonstrates that GNU and Linux began as alternatives to expensive and proprietary hardware and software from Sun, not from Intel and Microsoft.

Even the open source vs. free software debate is presented from both sides. Since more people have heard of open source than free software, the fact that Stallman gets equal time is in a sense a victory for him over Raymond and Perens. But all three are shown acting both profound and petty, combining smugness with "aw, shucks" modesty, and attempting to claim their rightful credit without being obvious about it.

* * *

An outsider might come away from the movie with the inaccurate impression that open source is the commercialized cousin of free software. Digging a little deeper, he or she might find the Free Software Foundation's web page that attempts to clarify the issue. "While free software by any other name would give you the same freedom, it makes a big difference which name we use: different words convey different ideas. The term 'open source' quickly became associated with a different approach, a different philosophy, different values, and even a different criterion for which licenses are acceptable." However, after kicking the ideas around a bit, the article doesn't come up with any concrete differences. The site also provides a handy chart, but the "free software" and "open source" boxes intersect completely (except for the small space allocated to their names).

The two movements do have different grounding philosophies. Free software is based on four freedoms, open source is based on nine criteria. The freedoms are more general -- they could be applied to almost any creative work -- but in practice, when it comes to software, the four freedoms generate a set of rules very much like the nine criteria. Linux, the standard-bearer for open source, was released under the GPL, a license that came from free software.

While the Free Software Foundation's site devotes significant verbiage to the difference between free software and open source, the Open Source Initiative doesn't talk about free software. Its history begins (somewhat guilelessly) on February 3, 1998, the day the term "open source" was coined (an event whose location is pointed out by Larry Augustin in the movie).

This gives some insight into the difference between the two movements. The Open Source Initiative has a more pragmatic attitude, and I think this rankles the Free Software Foundation. Of course, OSI has to please various people, while the moral compass of the FSF is inseparable from that of Richard Stallman, making it easier for it to stay the true course. In the movie Eric Raymond describes the term "free software" as "lousy marketing," which if it was intended as an insult, I fear will miss the mark. As Stallman puts it, free software is "important for quality of life and the good of society." What worries the FSF about OSI is not so much the nine criteria that exist and whether they conflict with the four freedoms, but whether the tenth criteria would conflict with the fifth freedom.

In computing, with its thousand ways to do the same thing, such arguments are often termed "religious," and the comparison is not inapt. In his book What is a Jew?, Rabbi Morris Kertzer writes, "[Jewish] tradition pictures God as saying, 'It would even be all right if my children forgot me, as long as they keep my commandments.'" That is an open source attitude: who cares what is motivating you to release the source code; just release it. Free software is different. To do free software right, you gotta believe.

In the movie, neither side is completely frank during its interviews. As part of the GNU project, the FSF created every part of a working Unix system except the kernel, a gap that was filled by the Linux kernel. Linux would not exist without the GNU code (particularly the compiler), lending credence to Stallman's claim that the system should be known as "GNU/Linux," but it is disingenuous of Stallman to portray the kernel as just one part of the whole system, on par with a text editor.

Stallman appears annoyed by a lack of purity in the Linux project. Linus Torvalds had the temerity to start writing software without first working out a detailed philosophy that governed all aspects of his life. Furthermore, he used a simpler approach to kernel writing (a monolithic kernel) than what GNU was planning for its Hurd kernel (a microkernel), and more gallingly, got it working sooner and wound up having the name of his kernel be used to refer to the whole thing, a synecdochic slap in the face to Stallman.

Open source has done such a complete job of embracing and extending free software that we are treated to the sight of Richard Stallman receiving an award named after Linus Torvalds, when historical events seem to dictate the other way around as more appropriate. Stallman, to his credit, shows up to accept the award at LinuxWorld, but he cannot resist haranguing the crowd about the GNU/Linux name (a premise that Torvalds elsewhere labels "ridiculous"). Linus gets the last laugh, however, since during Stallman's rant he is being upstaged by Linus' two adorable toddlers, scooting around on the back of the stage.

* * *

Revolution OS does unearth some good background information on a few aspects of open source. We learn about Cygnus and VA Linux, two of the first companies to attempt a business model based on free software. The movie goes into some detail on Netscape's decision to open-source its browser

But Linux itself is rarely seen, missing from its own movie. The product is merely an adjunct, a manifestation of the battle between open source and free software, with both sides claiming moral ownership. When two dogs fight over a bone, you don't see the bone fight. We are never shown anyone using Linux, except for unhappy users at an Installfest. The rise of Linux is chronicled only in occasional titles, superimposed over footage of cars zooming down a road, showing the impressive rise in the numbers of users through the years. Important issues, such as what a distribution is and why there are different ones, are never addressed.

Tiemann and Augustin discuss how Linux can help customers, but they are too polished to make much of an impression amidst the geekosophical debate. Stallman and Raymond and Perens care more about the abstract fight than the market battles, and their passion drives the movie. If they developed their software to scratch an itch, it's clear they gave the interviews for this movie to scratch a different itch, the nagging feeling that someone else was trying to steal their glory.

This leads one to wonder about the movie's target audience. Open source navel gazers will enjoy matching names to faces, but the average non-technical user will probably fail to grasp the significance of most of the issues discussed. They will be left with an entertaining story, peopled by colorful characters who obviously disagree about something they feel passionate about, but the gist of the arguments will likely elude them. An executive watching the movie may also be puzzled; the term "open source" was chosen over "free software" partly to avoid the non-commercial associations that the old name evoked, but watching the internal bickering may cause some to wonder if the software is ready for prime time, or if it is best reserved for zealots willing to accept certain tradeoffs because of the feeling of moral superiority that the software engenders.

The organization that screened the movie in Seattle, the Northwest Film Forum, has two theaters, one seating 70 and one seating 48. They chose to show it in the little theater (called, in fact, the Little Theater), which seemed to me a mistake in tech-savvy Seattle, at a theater just a few miles from the University of Washington campus. Yet, despite being hyped in the Friday "What's Happening" section of the paper, only 19 people showed up for the show on a Saturday night -- mostly Linux users and their tolerant dates, as far as I could tell.

Others may have to wait a while to see the movie. It has been showing at film festivals since last year, and is now starting limited runs in some cities. Luckily, the film is planned for DVD and video release in the second half of 2002.

The filmed part of the movie ends on a positive note, first with LinuxWorld in 1999 coinciding with the Red Hat IPO (featuring Rob Malda commenting on what the unevenly divided influx of money will mean to the Linux community), and then the VA Linux IPO in December 1999, where the stock rose 698% the first day, a record. Check out the NASDAQ stock ticker crawling by on the CNBC footage from that period! Of course in retrospect we know what is coming, and the movie finishes with a couple of intertitles explaining that VA Linux and Red Hat are now trading below $5 a share.

I think this leaves the average viewer a little puzzled. Did Linux peak in 1999? Now that the money that fluxed in to Linux has fluxed out again, is the community closer to its pure roots, moving away from the open source movement and back towards free software? The movie doesn't say, but you get the feeling that somewhere, Richard Stallman is smiling.

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263 comments

Hope its not a fake. (-1, Interesting)

TheDick (453572) | about 12 years ago | (#3373594)

What was that One from MIT that was a hoax not too long ago? AtheOS or somesuch right?

More power to them!

Re:Hope its not a fake. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3373626)

lol in your rush to get first post you didnt read beyond "revolution OS" did you?
Rofl..

Re:Hope its not a fake. (1)

qurob (543434) | about 12 years ago | (#3373793)

How is this interesting?

This is a MOVIE, not an OS!

new rule - you must READ the article before you moderate!

Re:Hope its not a fake. (-1)

Sarcasm_Orgasm (535390) | about 12 years ago | (#3373969)

new rule - you must READ the article before you moderate!

But I liked the ld you must've been up for at least 48 hours, & have done at least 20 hits of acid before you could moderate rule.

Re:Hope its not a fake. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3373794)

Why would anybody mod this as Interesting? Is it interesting that the Dick is totally oblivous to the actual topic of the story?

Re:Hope its not a fake. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3373839)

lol http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=31362&cid=3373 626 gets offtopic for pointing it out!
, fucking crazy it is.

And... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3373597)

...And this is interesting HOW?

Don't believe the hype (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3373599)

The movie sucks. It's a complete chick flick. You go to this movie expecting the sort of action that the others have promised, and you get a bloody chick flick...

No action at all.

Re:Don't believe the hype (5, Funny)

hij (552932) | about 12 years ago | (#3373662)

From the list of the cast of characters:

Linus Torvalds .... Himself

Richard Stallman .... Himself

Eric Raymond .... Himself

Bruce Perens .... Himself

...

Rob Malda .... Himself (On Inflatable Couch)

With studs like this running around it is definitely a real chick flick. With this sort of beef hanging around this will definitely be the big date movie of the summer!

Re:Don't believe the hype (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3373896)

Agreed. I saw this on my new DirecTiVo MPEG2 digital content management unit, and was severely disappointed. But not with the quality of the DirecTiVo or my optical audio/S-video home theater experience.

It will do a lot to educate one's parents or SO to what 99% of /. readers already know. But is you know what one might find in /usr/src, or understand what `./configure; make; sudo make install` does, then you will be bored.

it's nice to see and hear Linus, RMS, and Bruce Perens speak, but the film is "Open Source 100", a non-techie's introduction to the movement. Bleah.

Re:Don't believe the hype (3, Funny)

fobbman (131816) | about 12 years ago | (#3373942)

The product tie-ins are a joke as well. Why on EARTH would anyone want a CowboyNeal action figure? *shudder*

Re:Don't believe the hype (-1)

neal n bob (531011) | about 12 years ago | (#3373982)

Stallman, to his credit, shows up to accept the award at LinuxWorld, but he cannot resist haranguing the crowd about the GNU/Linux name (a premise that Torvalds elsewhere labels "ridiculous"). Linus gets the last laugh, however, since during Stallman's rant he is being upstaged by Linus' two adorable toddlers, scooting around on the back of the stage.

What sick bastard brings children into a den of pedophiles like linuxworld?

Re:Don't believe the hype (1)

igottheloot (573080) | about 12 years ago | (#3374023)

where's the love story? which one is the "ugly" girl, the captain of the football team she longs for, and where's his bitch cheerleader girlfriend?

CowBoyNeal! (2, Informative)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | about 12 years ago | (#3373600)

Yes, CBN is in this film. Same with Taco.

Re:CowBoyNeal! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3373624)

uhh.... duh... VA is who's put money down for the film.

They are basically hyping their own film her, dumbass

Re:CowBoyNeal! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3373639)

Well, after reading the review, I was thinking of picking it up ...

After seeing that CowboyNeal is in it ... I think I'll leave it on the shelf ...

Re:CowBoyNeal! (1)

jruschme (76180) | about 12 years ago | (#3373771)

And thanks to this movie, they (along with Linus, Stallman, etc) all have Bacon Numbers of 3.

Apple and The Beatles (1)

OpCode42 (253084) | about 12 years ago | (#3373605)

...gives you Revolution OS X

Re:Apple and The Beatles (Or Aerosmith) (1)

thryllkill (52874) | about 12 years ago | (#3373614)

At least it isn't Revolution X,

I never played a worse shooter, and the musical tie ins were laughable at best...

Apropos Revolutions: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3373607)

Release Candidate 1 of Mozilla 1.0 is available from mozilla.org. Is there some kind of ban on Mozilla related news before 1.0 is final or why hasn't this made it to Slashdot yet?

Re:Apropos Revolutions: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3373724)

Um.... you mean an article like this [slashdot.org]?

First! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3373609)

Frist Pr0st!

Interesting film... (0)

ringbarer (545020) | about 12 years ago | (#3373610)

Is it available on the P2P Megaplex yet? I wouldn't mind seeing it, but I don't live near the screening areas.

Of course, I'll buy the video when it comes out. What better way to support the cause?

dvd (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3373612)

of course it will be css and region coded so all the anti MPAA zealots will boycott it, right? FIGHT THE POWER!

Hail America (-1, Flamebait)

QuantumG (50515) | about 12 years ago | (#3373623)

Ever think about giving the film to anyone outside the US? God, there's only 284 million of you, and probably less than 1% of that actually care.

Re:Hail America (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3373808)

You're right. The 2.9 Billion people packed into Asia are much more interested in seeing dweebie Americans pat themselves on the back.

Neutrality is right (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3373629)

The movie also lacks a villain, a battle of good vs. evil.

Isn't that supposed to be a good thing?

Discussing matters on the one-dimensional Good vs. Evil axis is plain stupid. The world isn't black and white, good or evil no matter how Ashcroft and other dangerous people would like you to believe it.

A video release? (4, Funny)

Bazman (4849) | about 12 years ago | (#3373640)

And there's me thinking "The Revolution OS Will Not Be Televised"....

Baz

Re:A video release? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3373678)

It has been on the Sundance channel already.
[slashdot] [slashdot.org]

Re:A video release? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3373904)

Actually, the Independent Film Channel has been playing "Revolution OS" with some frequency the last few months. The revolution has been televised, as it were.

DVD? (1)

microbob (29155) | about 12 years ago | (#3373642)

Can it be ordered on DVD?

Anyone got an address and price?

DVD? No. VCD? DivX? Yes. (2)

mbourgon (186257) | about 12 years ago | (#3373717)

For what it's worth, I've seen this on the alt.binaries.multimedia NG. If you can't get to a screening, this might be an alternative.

Required viewing? (1)

yack0 (2832) | about 12 years ago | (#3373644)

I'd like to make the first half of this movie required viewing for our staff. Some people who don't necessarily 'get it' when it comes to Linux. It'd be most useful for sales weasel types to watch it.

The second half of things got a little too political and might not necessarily be watchable by weasily types ;)

However, the first half should be a good watch so that people can understand what Linux and Open Source is all about.

j

Sigh (5, Interesting)

the_rev_matt (239420) | about 12 years ago | (#3373645)

I know, don't take rejections personally, blah blah blah. I did submit my review about 4 months ago, and posted it on my site as well [punitiveart.com]. At least the producer linked to my review ;)

It really is a great documentary, and can serve to show people (esp. business types) that the OS/FS community is not only diverse and innovative, but also easy to get along with and eager to help.

Re:Sigh (3, Insightful)

jgerman (106518) | about 12 years ago | (#3373841)

Though not necessarily a GOOD documentary. The dramatic reading of the Gates letter to Hobbyists was a little over the top.

The difference between M$ and OS (4, Interesting)

mgv (198488) | about 12 years ago | (#3373647)

I think when Microsoft executives see photos of typical open source luminaries, they might feel an urge to give them a hug and a bowl of soup, rather than worry about them taking market share from Microsoft (forgetting that Bill Gates created the same impression at age 24, negotiating the deal to license DOS to IBM). But Stallman and Raymond and Perens are not like that; they have spent decades writing software and thinking about writing software, and the intellectual heft of their arguments reflect that.

I have often wondered why Bill Gates is responsible for such bad (and occasionally good) software.

He's not a fool, certainly, and I keep wondering why he has allowed so much rubbish to creep into the windows source code. (Particularly at a kernel level where it can do so much damage.)

Has he forgotten about the basis of good code? Did he never know how in the first place? Or is there something intrinsic in the business model of microsoft that makes it become different from the open source models?

Just wondering,

Michael

Re:The difference between M$ and OS (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3373680)

The hell are you talking about? How can you call it rubbish when you've never even seen the win2k kernel? Go on and spread your FUD, hypocritical linux jockey.

Re:The difference between M$ and OS (1)

egreB (183751) | about 12 years ago | (#3373702)

Has he forgotten about the basis of good code?
Well, there have to be some reason that he had to copy an OS (CP/M) to have something to sell IBM, and not create one of his own.. Maybe he's not that great a coder after all. I don't know, just a thought. But you certainly got a point there.. If Microsoft just made good software, the world would be a better place. If Microsoft did have GOOD policies on stuff (like marketing, monopoly, open source and stuff), the world would be even better.

Now, this got a little off-topic. Sorry (-8

Re:The difference between M$ and OS (1)

sQuirlbuz (518615) | about 12 years ago | (#3373711)

I don't believe Bill Gates produces software for the purpose to serve the computer user or to create fundamentally good software. He owns a business and his only goal is to make money.
That's my stupid opinion.
But really, I have a hard time these days believing anything isn't done for money.
People make me sick.

s

Re:The difference between M$ and OS (2)

garett_spencley (193892) | about 12 years ago | (#3373726)

Why do you assume that Gates is a programmer? Sure he did his fair share of coding when he was younger but that's not the career that he pursued.

Most historical representations of the early days of MS depict Paul Allen doing most of the technical work. Gates is a business man. Nothing more.

So when you ask yourself why he did this or that it's because it was the best thing for business at the time.

Nobody except the technically inclined have ever given a shit about Windows' stability of lack of security. And Microsoft's market has never consisted of these types anyway because they're running *nix.

But when Linux became popular our biggest outcry was that Linux was more stable. This gave MS a bit of competition and decided to make their next 9x release based on NT which has always been more robust.

It was the best business decision.

--
Garett

Re:The difference between M$ and OS (-1)

flaw1 (572429) | about 12 years ago | (#3373910)

There was never a Windows 9x based on the NT kernel. We went from NT4 to Win2GAY to WinXP.

Re:The difference between M$ and OS (2)

garett_spencley (193892) | about 12 years ago | (#3374037)

This gave MS a bit of competition and decided to make their next 9x release based on NT which has always been more robust.

Just to clarify I'm talking about XP here. I guess there's room for confusion and you may think I'm talking about ME or something (which is pretty funny considering it's the most unstable of the 9x series).

--
Garett

Re:The difference between M$ and OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3373887)

Okay, reality check is needed here.

Windows (NT, 2000 and XP) DON'T have filedescriptor-limits, limits on open sockets, limits on message-queues etc etc etc. Unix has LOTS of limitations, Linux included.

The server-problems windows has has more to do with the fact that they throw in tons and tons of features (witch can have security holes) even if all you want is a simple HTTP server with basic functionality.

If it was easier to just install things you really need and not using things you don't need I think windows (not 95,98,me ofcause) is a hell of a lot better to use as server. Not so much limitations and good quality enterprise software available.

Re:The difference between M$ and OS (2, Insightful)

Stephen Samuel (106962) | about 12 years ago | (#3374028)

He's not a fool, certainly, and I keep wondering why he has allowed so much rubbish to creep into the windows source code. (Particularly at a kernel level where it can do so much damage.)

IMO, Microsoft (and Bill gates as it's leader) is a Market driven company, not a technology driven company. This is the fundamental difference between Microsoft and Apple, for example. Apple has put a lot of work into the creation of the 'perfect OS', but made a lot of marketing errors in the process -- mostly because it would have diluted the perfection of the OS.
(as an example, opening up the hardware would have created new markets for MAC-OS, but would have made it a bit harder to have the OS remain stable and predictable).

It's been pointed out more than once that, for Microsoft, security and stability are marketing issues -- not technical ones. They didn't take them seriously until they began to be issues that were starting to (threaten to) cost them big contracts.

In short: Bill Gates doesn't seem to give a rat's ass about the OS. He cares about the market. The OS is simply a means to an end.

synecdochic (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3373648)

: a figure of speech by which a part is put for the whole (as fifty sail for fifty ships), the whole for a part (as society for high society), the species for the genus (as cutthroat for assassin), the genus for the species (as a creature for a man), or the name of the material for the thing made (as boards for stage)

Umm Where is the source? (5, Funny)

asv108 (141455) | about 12 years ago | (#3373650)

How can you have a movie about open source without making the video available for download in a non-proprietary format that includes the script in a .RTF file?

Re:Umm Where is the source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3373947)

oh fuck off! why should this guy give away his film after he sunk his own cash and hard work into it. Because it's about OS he sould just give it away??? wtf have you busted your hump for, spent your own money on and just given it away? Move to Cuba you leech.

Re:Umm Where is the source? (1)

ergo98 (9391) | about 12 years ago | (#3374016)

In case you missed the humor, it's an ironic twist about the standard open source/free software spiel advocated by many frequenters of Slashdot.

DVD release (2)

totallygeek (263191) | about 12 years ago | (#3373656)

First, I hope the DVD does get released (it will be the only way for me to view it).


Second, it would nice to see some other features on this DVD along with the DeCSS source (hehe).

Not just for geeks,...it's education for everyone (3, Interesting)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | about 12 years ago | (#3373657)

I am busy using open source technologies to benefit small players in an industry that is held slave to legacy based stuff.

I try to explain what open source is to these folks every time I go to a conference and address attendees but I always feel like I fall short explaining what open source actually is. These folks like most normal non geek people can't grasp that it's free and superior!

So I think as a gift to every new client I am giving them a copy of this so they can get informed. This DVD does so much better of a better job explaining this revolution to people.

Now if they would hurry and release the damn thing so I can buy my 1,000 copies.

I suggest you buy it and use it to educate your friends. It will have the impact of "Scared straight" except it's for non OSS people.

Re:Not just for geeks,...it's education for everyo (1)

jrp2 (458093) | about 12 years ago | (#3373932)

I try to explain what open source is to these folks every time I go to a conference and address attendees but I always feel like I fall short explaining what open source actually is. These folks like most normal non geek people can't grasp that it's free and superior!

I think that is a good idea, because I am not sure you get it either. OSS is not, by definition, "free" (as in free beer), it is only, by definition, free as in speech. A developer can release the source but still charge a license fee.

Perhaps I misinterpreted your use of the word free, if so, I apologize. ESR made me post this :)

Reminds me of those false movie reviewers... (0, Troll)

FortKnox (169099) | about 12 years ago | (#3373661)

Hyping the movie you (well, VA) created with reviews? Reminds me of the "false reviewers" to put "good reviews" on their movie ads.

Can we get some background on the movie, like who paid for it (VA as I understand), if you are charging for screening, how it was made, etc...

The news value of this article was what? (3, Informative)

realgone (147744) | about 12 years ago | (#3373673)

Other than to plug the movie, which has an undeniable cool factor thanks to appearances by a few /.ers, why was this even posted as a story? Where's the news hook?

Is it the possible video release? Nope. That's only mentioned in passing and no real info is given on it.

Is it the local screenings for this year-old movie? Nope. Slashdot isn't the local events pages of your daily newspaper.

Is it the reader review of the film? Nope. The film's a year old and has already been reviewed and reported on quite a number of times already.

So what's left exactly?

Re:The news value of this article was what? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3373721)

It was funded by VA

Re:The news value of this article was what? (2)

ncc74656 (45571) | about 12 years ago | (#3373836)

Other than to plug the movie, which has an undeniable cool factor thanks to appearances by a few /.ers, why was this even posted as a story? Where's the news hook?

Is it the local screenings for this year-old movie? Nope. Slashdot isn't the local events pages of your daily newspaper.

Considering the limited release for the film, I'm not inclined to complain if a few screenings are mentioned for it. Just because it's not on in your neck of the woods isn't much of an excuse.

(I don't live in California, but I'll be there a couple of weeks from now for a homebrew get-together...that's the weekend that it'll be running in Pasadena. That's only about 80 miles from Temecula, so I might wander over that way before returning to Vegas.)

shame (3, Funny)

asv108 (141455) | about 12 years ago | (#3373687)

How could they have GIF's on the movie's website [revolution-os.com] when one of the main stars is RMS [fsf.org]. You think there would be a clause about that in his contract.

Natalie Portman Strikes Back--Kickin' Harvard Butt (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3373713)

Some excerpts...

On Wednesday, the Jerusalem-born actress objected tartly [washingtonpost.com] in the Harvard Crimson to law student Faisal Chaudhry's April 11 essay on U.S. policy concerning Israel and the Palestinians.

Portman continued: "Outrageous and untrue finger-pointing is a childish tactic that disregards the responsibility of all parties involved."

Didn't stop here long (1)

delphin42 (556929) | about 12 years ago | (#3373732)

The movie showed in Austin for about 1 weekend. I wanted to get together with some friends to see it and by the time we got organized, it wasn't playing anymore. It's good to see a review so I can decide whether to get it on video...

Re:Didn't stop here long (1)

mindflux (122573) | about 12 years ago | (#3373933)

Are are you part of the ALUG that was goung to see it at the North Alamo Draft house?

I was going to go to that, then chickened out.

Re:Didn't stop here long (2)

max cohen (163682) | about 12 years ago | (#3374020)

You should've gone solo--it's a good film. I went the night before ALG's field trip and the theater was about 75% full. Not bad for a Wednesday night. One of the interesting things I noticed while I was there were the three or four guys who showed up in official Microsoft denim shirts. On the way into the theater there was a table covered with photocopied documents, flyers for Linux support companies and free Redmond Linux CDs, but on the way out there was a stack of official Microsoft .Net promo CDs next to all the Linux stuff. I wonder where that .Net stuff came from...

Re:Didn't stop here long (-1)

MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM (537317) | about 12 years ago | (#3374029)

Well, you are not much organized, aren't you? Better start planning your trip to the rest room immediately, otherwise you will shit your pants.

My thoughts (5, Insightful)

lkaos (187507) | about 12 years ago | (#3373733)

I was fortunate enough to see the movie on Sundance. I really liked the movie although I do not expect non-geeks to enjoy it (in fact, I watched it with a bunch of non-geeks and they absolutely hated it).

I thought Stallman was portrayed in a pretty positive manner (which IMHO is good as he does alot for the community but gets a heck of a lot of criticism for his views). ESR just came off as a total prick, touting his Bazaar essay as "changing the world." Bruce Perens came off as a business man and the whole OSI thing tended to be viewed as a way to commericialize Free Software (which I do believe is true to some extent).

What really suprised me though was how Linus came off in the movie. He almost seemed indifferent and a little aggreviated with Linux. I don't know, he definitely wasn't passionate about it which kind of disappointed me.

My favorite scene that illustrated the difference between Linus and RMS was at a LinuxWorld expo keynote where both were on stage. RMS is rambling off about how important free software is, trying to rally the world, and Linus just kind of was goofing around on the stage with his little daughter, totally oblivious to anything RMS was saying.

Good movie though, I will definitely buy it when it comes out on video.

Re:My thoughts (1)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | about 12 years ago | (#3373815)

you have just stated what each personality is like. ESR is a prick, RMS is a good guy who gets very seriouse about Free Software, Bruce is very businessman like, and Linus is a very down to earth, not-take-life-to-seriouse kind of guy who likes to keep linux at an arms length and in hobby mode so that he can enjoy hacking it. why do you think he did not want to take a Linux job?

Re:My thoughts (4, Insightful)

Pope Slackman (13727) | about 12 years ago | (#3373857)

ESR just came off as a total prick,

Gee, that's surprising...

He almost seemed indifferent and a little aggreviated with Linux. I don't know, he definitely wasn't passionate about it which kind of disappointed me.

This is a man who has to deal with ESR, GNU/RMS and countless other whiny, socially inept dorks [slashdot.org] on pretty much a daily basis, because of linux...
I think that would burn anyone out on project pretty damn quick.

Linus just kind of was goofing around on the stage with his little daughter, totally oblivious to anything RMS was saying.

'Least it sounds like Linus has his priorities straight.

C-X C-S

Re:My thoughts (2)

jgerman (106518) | about 12 years ago | (#3373864)

Yeah I was actually a little pissed at that seen. Linus acted like a complete dick, completely dis-respectful. Regardless of their personal viewpoint differences there was no excuse for that.

Re:My thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3373981)

I wouldn't even share space with RMS, so RMS should consider himself fortunate to even be around the man that made his fruity project get somewhere.

If it wasn't for linux, GNU would be some fringe whackjob, taking a back seat to bSD.

Fabulous! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3373752)

ESR, RMS, Malda, Perens, oh my!

Is this the Open Source gay porn movie I've been waiting for
ever since I heard about the Linux Gay Conspiracy?!
I do hope no penguins [trollaxor.com] were abused in the production tho.

Can any of you comment on the gay sex in this movie?
Does RMS look characteristically dirty, or did he shower for this production?
Did ESR stick a gun in any orifices?
Is there full penetration? Cumshots? A cameo by the Goatse.cx man? Tell me please!

--
Anonymous Open Source Homo

I saw Linus once... (0)

newbob (546783) | about 12 years ago | (#3373758)

...in the Sunnyvale Fry's.


I don't think I'd want to see his face any bigger than "actual size."


I'll pass on this movie.

Great (1, Offtopic)

fobbman (131816) | about 12 years ago | (#3373761)

Like the choosings aren't already watered down, we have to deal with yet another Linux distro.

Wow. (3, Funny)

Frac (27516) | about 12 years ago | (#3373773)

Never in my life have I thought that this page [imdb.com] would someday exist.

Now it's all about waiting for the nomination from the academy.

Mail the damn photos to imdb! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3373886)

I really love how they've got an absolute nobody like Susan Egan narrating the movie and she at least has her photo in imdb.

For chrissake, somebody mail photos of Rob, ESR and RMS to imdb!

Too bad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3373799)

:-( Too bad there's no date's listed for Toronto, Canada! Guess I'll have to wait for the "Jon Katz" review (there's a joke in there somewhere)

Seriously, I guess I'll bave to wait for the DVD

Dated stuff (3, Insightful)

moankey (142715) | about 12 years ago | (#3373805)

I was able to see this thing on Sundance. It was rather dry and dated info. Currently GPL and GNU has taken a different form that what these people had originally intended and become more legalesse than necessary.

The movie was made around the tech boom and days that VALinux was worth the price of a PC per share. Although Stallman was true to form an Open source advocate, you could see others in the film (Bruce Perens, Michael Tiemann, Eric Raymond,...) get that greedy glimmer that Gates always has in their eyes.

It also ends slightly before the bust and if compared to current day their comments seem naive.

Never quite understood this (2)

The Cat (19816) | about 12 years ago | (#3373810)

This leads one to wonder about the movie's target audience.

You know, I never, EVER wonder about anything's "target audience." This is a term which has slithered out of the marketing department and into daily decision-making, and enough is enough.

Shakespeare never wondered about a target audience. Neither did Mozart. Target audiences only matter to people who are packaging demographics for advertisers.

Prior to about five years ago, NOBODY CARED who the target audience was. Time to send the term back to the marketing department, file it, and forget it.

yeesh..

Re:Never quite understood this (3, Insightful)

Damek (515688) | about 12 years ago | (#3373865)

You are very much mistaken. Many artists think about their target audience. This is particularly important in the theater/film world. If you are trying to please or entertain somebody, you'd better have some idea of what will please or entertain them.

Shakespeare especially would have been concerned about his audience. He wrote for the nobles in the balcony just as much as the riff-raff on the ground.

There is nothing wrong with considering those who would use your creation. In fact, if you're creating some sort of technology, this should be of utmost importance, if you intend others to use it. If it's just for you, then no, it shouldn't matter.

yuck (2)

gargle (97883) | about 12 years ago | (#3373821)

If the movie is as boring and difficult to follow as this review, I don't think I'll be watching it.

What?! (1)

shadowbearer (554144) | about 12 years ago | (#3373828)

No violence, sex, car chases or explosions and they think this
movie is going to sell?!

*snort*

SB

Re:What?! (-1)

flaw1 (572429) | about 12 years ago | (#3373972)

With that many Lunix homofags, you just know there's going to be a lot of violent gay sex in the movie.

Confusion... (2, Insightful)

FurryFeet (562847) | about 12 years ago | (#3373832)

This is a great test to notice who does or doesn't read the article.
How many posters actually believe RevolutionOS is a new OS/Linux distribution?

So, is it coming to Atlanta? (2)

Uttles (324447) | about 12 years ago | (#3373862)

I read the screenings page on the website and there was no mention of further east coast exposure, and I missed the Savannah GA screening.

Anyone know if we can see it here in Atlanta or if it will go to video some time?

And...? (2)

Otter (3800) | about 12 years ago | (#3373870)

Linux users who wonder why drag-and-drop doesn't always work between applications may find themselves treated to a lengthy philosophical discourse on the difference between Gnome and KDE -- a difference they may not have known existed.

There's a philosophical reason for drag-and-drop problems between Gnome and KDE? For those of us who don't live in SoCal, could you tell us what it is?

SUNDANCE! (2, Informative)

RumGunner (457733) | about 12 years ago | (#3373888)

Revolution OS has been playing for over a month, on and off on the Sundance Channel. Set your TiVo tonight, and you'll be set!

wait another day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3373899)

If this story were posted tomorrow instead of today, we could've had a lot more input as those in Los Angeles will have had a chance to see the film. Too bad.

preaching to the choir . . . (2, Interesting)

fetta (141344) | about 12 years ago | (#3373903)

Sundance channel showed this a few times (thank god for Tivo).

I thought that it was okay overall, but that it suffered a bit from the "preaching to the choir" syndrome. The best example: when they read Bill Gates' "Open Letter to Hobbyists" and they have the reader read increasingly fast and in a high pitched voice.

Open Source has good enough answers to the issues raised in the "Open Letter to Hobbyists" that it really wasn't necessary to "fix the fight" by making Bill Gates sound like a hyperactive chipmunk.

Eric Raymond's "I'm your worst nightmare" anecdote about encountering Bill Mundie in the elevator also hit a sour note. I've heard Eric speak, and he is a very thoughtful speaker. But the way this anecdote was presented out of context made him sound pretty childish. Fortunately, he gets some good air time later in the movie.

If you want to try to arrange a local screening... (2)

AdamBa (64128) | about 12 years ago | (#3373935)

This is email I got from the filmmaker:

From: "J.T.S. Moore"

The key is to make the local arthouse theaters aware of the number of people passionate about Linux. Most arthouse theater bookers are not really conscious of the Open Source movement. If people do try to lobby their local arthouse theater, tell them the distributor is Seventh Art Releasing in Los Angeles.

Also, people interested in screenings can also e-mail info@revolution-os.com. I cannot promise that the distributor will be able to set up anything, but any feedback helps. At some point in the near future, I hope to make the film available on videotape for LUGs to screen it at their meetings.

Sincerely,

J.T.S. Moore

How About a Movie Called "Revolution Website" (4, Funny)

Goody (23843) | about 12 years ago | (#3373938)

Two geeks create a community-based discussion website that turns into a militant geek site monster that goes out of control. The geeks try to take back control with underhanded moderation and editorial tactics. The movie ends with the site being drowned out with advertisements and the geeks fired from their own company.

Don't forget about THGSB !

I saw this movie (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3374003)

In Austin, TX, and being a film snob, I have a few comments. True, the movie may be interesting to geeks and so forth, and its not the subject matter that will turn other audiences off. Its the way the movie is put together. There is nary a cohesive theme to be found, and the main performers come off like jerks, trying to take credit for every big thing that came along. in a sense, it doesnt really have a point, but it gets points for being shot in film (widescreen, no less!) and not on ugly DV

Did we watch the same movie? (2, Interesting)

dant (25668) | about 12 years ago | (#3374036)

But the Stallman vs. Raymond/Perens debate forms the core of the movie.

Huh? That was in there, sure, but I definitely would not call it the core of the movie.

To me, it was about explaining how Linux came to be, what makes it different from proprietary software, and why the people that build it are willing to 'give away' their code.

And it does that fairly well, I think. For most of us, it's nothing we didn't already know, but I think it can go a long way to educating non-geeks about what's different and why we care.

The only problem I had with it was that it ended with the hi-tech market collapse and kind of implied that that was somehow the end of Linux. Those same non-geeks who would be informed by the first 90% of the movie could be seriously mislead by the last 10%.

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