REVOLUTION OS tells the inside story of the hackers and computer programmers who rebelled against Microsoft and the idea of proprietary software to create GNU, Linux, and the Open Source movement. Shot on location in Sili... more »con Valley on 35mm film and in widescreen, REVOLUTION OS captures an offbeat group of characters who are three-parts libertarian, two-parts communist, and one-part bad garage band.« less
Joe Olivas | Fair Oaks, CA United States | 09/23/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Being a geek, I bought this assuming it was going to be a dry documentary on the history of Linux, but I would enjoy it anyway. I was amazed at how well done this movie is. Not only does it document the general history of Open Source and Free Software issues, but it provides a great story of conflict between 'good' (Free Software and Open Source) and 'evil' (Proprietary Software). I watched this with my girlfriend who is a non-geek and she was able to follow along very easily and enjoyed the movie as much as I did. She even wanted to make the switch to Linux after watching.The pace is quick, and one of the best aspects of the movie is the music. It helps keep the movie fun and light-hearted, yet provides an intelligent 'edge' at the same time. All of the interviewees have very unique and dynamic personalities; they are the type of thinkers you don't generally meet everyday. Richard Stallman in particular has some of the most convincing comments in the film, and by the end, I was quick to pop in the second disc to see the bonus interviews with him.Overall, I think this is a film which anyone who uses a computer on a regular basis should watch. We need to not take Microsoft for granted and realize there are alternatives that don't try to control what we do.This is one of the best movies I've seen."
The interesting world of open-source and linux
M. Miller | TN | 07/10/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It is not often when you find a truly amazing and intriguing documentary but this is it! True, it is about Linux and it's history, but that does not mean you have to be a computer "geek" to enjoy it, although I'll admit it would help you understand it more. Everything is so well done, from the interviews, to the cinematography, and even to the research that went into the movie. I had know idea that Linux was even that big or part of this phenomenal computer movement, but know I feel completely versed about it! This is a must see for anyone, especially if you have an interest in computers."
Good Intro to Free/Open Source Communities
Otto Yuen | Toronto, ON Canada | 03/17/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It comes with 2 DVDs, the first one is the Revolution OS movie and the second one contains interviews and bios of those well known anti-microsoft gangs like Richard Stallman, Eric Raymond, Linus Trovalds, etc. In the first DVD, it's not really a movie but a kind documentary film. No subtitle but closed caption is supported. Unlike Starup.com movie, this film gets a bunch of well-known gangs who devote themselves to the free & open software revolution to talk about 'how' the free software and open source evolve and 'why' it is getting more & more attention from industrial leaders. It also highlights some companies betting on Linux and open source getting rich at IPO during the Internet bubble, but not forgets to conveying audiences the message that most of those instant millionaires were broke overnight after the bubble busted.If you're not familiar with open source or free software, I recommend you should put on the disc#2 and watch the Bios section first. Since the movie in disc#1 embeds a lot of people talking and comments, you may find confusion of who & what. In disc#2, besides the bios and some interviews, interestingly, it also includes the first version of the famous well-known paper written by Eric Raymond, 'Cathedral and Bazaar'. This paper actually played a very critical role on Netscape's direction to the open source world. You can read it from your TV screen, and press your remote `back' and `fore' to flipping pages. Although this is convenience for people who do not have computer and read the paper on TV screen, you may find it's quite annoying to flipping and reading twenty something screen pages on your TV. After a while you may feel dizzy. Unfortunately, the DVD does not come with a PDF or other softcopy version of this famous paper in the open source world. If you are interested on how Netscape went to the open source path, there's another good documentary film called 'Code Rush' from PBS, you may also want to check out.Overall, this is quite informative, knowing how the free/open software revolution begins and the reasons behind it. If you want to have a good intro of this open source communities, this is a pretty good choice."
A More Recent History of Computing
J. Howard | Olympia, WA USA | 10/13/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an excellent follow-up to a set of three movies entitled "Triumph of the Nerds", which details the development and successes of Microsoft, Apple, the Internet, IBM PCs, Altair, etc, but which came out in the mid-1990s, and doesn't mention much about Linux. Also, the mood of all these movies is similar. They belong together for a great summary of the development of personal computing since the 1970s, and all are full of interviews with the key players."
A history of linux with open source insights
Robin G. Sowton | Plano, TX | 10/23/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This documentary uses interviews to trace the origins of Linux, and in the process, it provides an interesting insight into the open source movement and its philosophy.
Richard Stallman, founder of the GNU project, is featured prominently throughout the film. (GNU is a set of applications that provide a UNIX-compatible framework.) He explains how GNU was developed through the open source environment, an environment where code can be taken, modified, and shared, but it cannot be made proprietary. He also explains the development of the GNU General Public License which prohibits developers from making the code proprietary.
During GNU's development, Linus Torvalde, was developing a kernel--which was just the piece that was missing from the open source environment. (A kernel is use to allocate resources to other applications.) This kernel became Linux. As Stallman said, it would take years to get GNU and Linux to work together smoothly, but eventually things would take off. Although Linux started in 1991 with 10,000 lines of code, it might have remained a hobbyist's OS, if it had not been for the Apache web server. Apache became the 'killer app,' the business case for buying Linux. (There is an interview shown with Brian Behlendorf, president of the Apache project.) By 1998, Linux had 7.5 million users and companies like Red Hat were contributing to its growth by selling distribution and support.
This film also shows the tug-of-war between Microsoft and open source proponents. Eric S. Raymond, author of The Cathedral and the Bazaar, describes some differences between the proprietary and open source environments, and he explains how his book was one of many influences on Netscape's decision to release their source code.
You will see interviews with Michael Tieman (co-founder of Cygnus Technology) and Larry Augustin (co-founder of VA Linux). The interview with Bruce Perens, author of Open Source Definition, is interesting. It is used throughout the film to frame the GNU and Linux development stories within the open source context. Also, as Perens lists the 'rights' of open software, one senses that the open source philosophy is one that has been seriously thought out.
Overall, this was an interesting documentary. However, I'm giving it only 4 stars because I found the segment at the end (where Torvalde and Augustin were speaking) to be very tedious. It didn't add to the content and it seemed more like personal 'grand-standing.' Still, I'd recommend this film to anyone who is interested in computer history or is looking to get a better understanding of what the open source movement is about."