Thoughts on Revolution OS

As mentioned elsewhere, there was a screening of the movie Revolution OS, a movie about Linux, Free Software, Open Source, and their impact in the business world.

It was an interesting movie, mostly interviews with the big wigs of the Linux and Open Source world. Not exactly action filled, but as an examination of a world that I’ve been “in” for the last 10 years of my life, a very interesting show. A couple of things did strike me though.

  • I don’t totally agree with Silverstr about the egos. Yes, there were people saying “I invented open source” (for a few different cases), and while there were egos involved, they seemed honest and accurate to history as I understood it (ie: the way that GNU started, the invention of the term “open source”, etc). Might be just me though.
  • It took a full hour before RMS talked about “Linux” vs. “GNU/Linux”.
  • The ending credits were run to the free software song. I had a version of the original with just RMS and a guitar (which can be found here), and it was far far worse. There are other versions around though.
  • One of the first things I learnt about time management was to do the most important and biggest job first, not the little bits. The reasoning behind this was that if you spend all your time doing the “oh this is easy, it’ll just take a quick minute” jobs, you won’t have time for the big jobs. Do the big parts first, and the rest will fall into place, or the small bits that are unimportant will simply fall away. Anyway, this is the trap that RMS fell into. It was funny to listen to him try to explain why the GNU kernel wasn’t done in a reasonable amount of time, and how Linus was able to produce a kernel far faster than the FSF was.
  • I’m glad I wasn’t the only one looking for people I recognized during the shots of the show floor of the August 1999 Linux World Expo (which I wrote about here). Very cool to look and say “I remember that!”.
  • Is it just me, or do a lot of the upper folks in the open source community have strange ticks, lazy eyes, lisps or random slight physical non-normalness?
  • Kinda sucked they spent the last half hour of the show talking about Linux company stock souring 600-700% in the first day, and ending with a simple slide saying that such-and-such company got out of the linux market and their stock was $2 that day. It would have been nice to not give the impression that linux based companies are dead, or give some sort of prediction of the future. Probably a sign of when the movie was finished/edited or whatever.
  • There were a couple of cases of historical in-accuracies. I’m not sure if it was intentional, or just an abbreviation of history for time’s sake. From what I remember from Linus Torvald’s book Just for Fun, or maybe it was elsewhere, he originally named the kernel “Syncix” or “Uniteix” or something lame like that, and the guy running the FTP site he uploaded it to said “that’s a crappy name, I’ll call it Linux”.
  • It was really cool to see the numbers of lines of source code and users go upwards from the early 90s, and to realize that in 1993 or 1994 I (with Fred) installed my first distro on a computer at the Fraser Valley Real Estate board on a 386 or 486, downloading the disks from (I think) a BBS. I don’t remember if it was SLS or slackware, but it did have “disk sets” of A, AP, E, X, etc. I can’t tell from the historical documents if that disk naming scheme was originated with Slackware or carried over from SLS. The kernel was either 1.0 or just before 1.0, in the .99 range (I remember there being a big hubbub about “Linux 1.0” at that time, and I knew enough about it to understand why it was a big deal. So I don’t remember exactly what kernel was my first, but I am pretty sure it was pre-1.0.

A good movie for Linux geeks, but probably not a good movie to use to spend an evening at home with your significant other (unless s/he is a linux geek as well of course).