Revolution OS (2001)
by J.T.S. Moore
Revolution OS (2001)
REVOLUTION OS tells the inside story of the hackers who rebelled against the proprietary software model and Microsoft to create GNU/Linux and the Open Source movement.
On June 1, 2001, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said "Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches."
Microsoft fears GNU/Linux, and rightly so. GNU/Linux and the Open Source & Free Software movements arguably represent the greatest threat to Microsoft's way of life. Shot in cinemascope on 35mm film in Silicon Valley, REVOLUTION OS tracks down the key movers and shakers behind Linux, and finds out how and why Linux became such a potent threat.
REVOLUTION OS features interviews with Linus Torvalds, Richard Stallman, Bruce Perens, Eric Raymond, Brian Behlendorf, Michael Tiemann, Larry Augustin, Frank Hecker, and Rob Malda. To view the trailer or the first eight minutes go to the ifilm website for REVOLUTION OS.
Companies such as Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Oracle, Wipro, Ogilvy & Mather, OSTG, and Dreamworks Animation have rented REVOLUTON OS for private theatrical screenings. It has also screened in numerous film festivals including South By Southwest Film Festival, the Atlanta Film & Video Festival, Boston Film Festival, and Denver International Film Festival. REVOLUTION OS won Best Documentary at both the Savannah Film & Video Festival and the Kudzu Film Festival.
REVOLUTION OS is available in the 35 mm motion picture format and runs 85 minutes.
Revolution OS is a 2001 documentary which traces the history of GNU, Linux, and the open source and free software movements. It features several interviews with prominent hackers and entrepreneurs (and hackers-cum-entrepreneurs), including Richard Stallman, Michael Tiemann, Linus Torvalds, Larry Augustin, Eric S. Raymond, Bruce Perens, Frank Hecker and Brian Behlendorf. The film begins in medias res with an IPO, and then sets the historical stage by showing the beginnings of software development back in the day when software was shared on paper tape for the price of the paper itself. It then segues to Bill Gates's Open Letter to Hobbyists in which he asks Computer Hobbyists to not share, but to buy software. (This letter was written by Gates when Microsoft was still based in Arizona and spelled "Micro-Soft".) Richard Stallman then explains how and why he left the MIT Lab for Artificial Intelligence in order to devote his life to the development of free software, as well as how he started with the GNU project. Linus Torvalds is interviewed on his development of the Linux kernel as well as on the GNU/Linux naming controversy and Linux's further evolution, including its commercialization. Richard Stallman remarks on some of the ideological aspects of open source vis-á-vis Communism and capitalism and well as on several aspects of the development of GNU/Linux. Michael Tiemann (interviewed in a desert) tells how he met Stallman and got an early version of Stallman's GCC and founded Cygnus Solutions. Larry Augustin tells how he combined the resulting GNU software and a normal PC to create a UNIX-like Workstation which cost one third the price of a workstation by Sun Microsystems even though it was three times as powerful. His narrative includes his early dealings with venture capitalists, the eventual capitalization and commodification of Linux for his own company, VA Linux, and ends with its IPO. Frank Hecker of Netscape tells how Netscape executives released the source code for Netscape's browser, one of the signal events which made Open Source a force to be reckoned with by business executives, the mainstream media, and the public at large. (this text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License)