Revolution OS

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)

From The Web
Join The Conversation