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While Microsoft may be the biggest software company in the world, not every computer user is a fan of their products, or their way of doing business. While Microsoft's Windows became the most widely used operating system for personal computers in the world, many experts took issue with Microsoft's strict policies regarding licensing, ownership, distribution, and alteration of their software. The objections of many high-profile technology experts, most notably Richard Stallman, led to what has become known as "the Open Source Movement," which is centered on the belief that computer software should be free both in the economic and intellectual senses of the word. Eventually, one of Stallman's admirers, Linus Torvalds, created a new operating system called Linux, a freely distributed software which many programmers consider to be markedly superior to Windows. Revolution OS is a documentary that examines the genesis of the Open Source Movement, and explores and explains the technical and ... Written by
Mark Deming, Rovi
[when awarded the Linus Torvalds Award]
Richard M. Stallman:
So, very ironic things have happened, but nothing to match this. Giving the Linus Torvalds Award to the Free Software Foundation is sort of like giving the Han Solo Award to the rebel fleet.
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If this really is a serious attempt for making a documentary it tries to cover so many areas that it should have been made a series instead. It fails to give a proper history of open source/free software. It fails to recreate the role of open source/free software during the period of focus, namely the dot com boom and crash of 1997-2001. It fails to give any new insights, even for the year it was made. And it fails miserably to have any kind of objectivity or dialogue.
The value of this movie are the interviews with the key persons of the various open source and free software movements, though it becomes quite tiresome to sit and wait for the goodies. What really brings the credibility down is the overly hostile reading of the letter by Bill Gates and the traditional Microsoft bashing through the entire production, combined with the heroic soundtrack during the interviews of the "good guys". It gives the over all impression of really being a sales pitch for a church from a bunch of overly enthusiastic believers, though without the visionary parts that can make it a document of its context of production.
In conclusion, even though far between, there are some good bits in this documentary that could make it worth watching if you have a special interest in the open source movement. Just be aware that you might also get some chills of embarrassment in between.
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