Revolution OS

Recently, my Technology in a Global Society class watched Revolution OS as we began exploring Free Software and Open Source. It’s a film I’ve used to introduce this unit several times over the past few years. Though it claims to be targeted toward “the techno-illiterate” crowd, I find doing a little research in advance beneficial. Here are the links we skimmed over before viewing the film:

Linux kernel Eric Raymond Microsoft Corporation Microsoft Windows Free Software movement GNU Project Open Source Software Bruce Perens Richard Stallman Proprietary Software Free Software Foundation Linus Torvalds Bill Gates An Open Letter to Hobbyists The Cathedral and the Bazaar non-disclosure agreement Unix BSD compiler source code debugger text editor Michael Tiemann Cygnus Solutions Emacs Larry Augustin Sun Microsystems Free Software definition public domain copyleft GPL Apache Brian Behlendorf GNU Hurd Netscape Mozilla FreeBSD Red Hat Internet Explorer Jim Barksdale Open Source definition Debian GNU/Linux Steve Ballmer GNU/Linux User Groups Microsoft anti-trust lawsuits end-user license agreement IPO (Initial Public Offering)

Other great things about this DVD is that it’s Region Free, CSS-Encryption Free, comes with a 2nd DVD containing extra interview footage, and an easter egg allowing you to watch Moore’s civil war film “Shooting Creek” (my son found this by chance when playing with the remote control as a 2-year-old). About the only thing keeping it from perfection is a CC license. I’ve bought and worn out several copies over the years and highly recommend seeing it. I believe it’s available on torrent sites if you’re unable to offer the authors any monetary appreciation.

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4 Responses to “Revolution OS”

  1. Simón A. Ruiz Says:

    Out of curiosity, is it at least licensed to explicitly allow you to play it in the classroom?

    I ask because I’m trying to put together some material for a “History of Computers” class, and it sounds like it might be worth a day to watch it to help understand some of the undercurrents in software history.

  2. Peter Rock Says:

    No, it is All Rights Reserved. It says on my DVD –

    This DVD is for private home viewing only. It is not licensed for any other use. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized copying, public exhibition, and broadcast are strictly prohibited.

    So, depending on the laws of the country you live in and how you go about it, it may not be legal to non-commercially show it to members of your educational community without permission. That’s unfortunate and unjust. Hopefully Wonderview Productions will relicense it in the future.

  3. Simón A. Ruiz Says:

    I’m living in the U.S. these days, so…

    Drats, well…I can ASK for permission; the worst that can happen is they say “no”, right?

    I’m going to try to put together my class materials, where possible (so obviously not including this in the materials, maybe just noting the fact that I showed it, if I do), in a CC-BY-SA license. There are all kinds of neat computer history “museums” and such on the web, but all the ones I’ve found are either “All Rights Reserved” or at most CC-BY-NC-SA…I suppose I could make a CC-BY-NC-SA version, and a CC-BY-SA version with all the NC stuff stripped out…

    You don’t happen to know of any good computer history resources that are CC-BY-SA or free-er, do you? Besides the Wikipedia, I mean ;-)

  4. Peter Rock Says:

    I asked the producer if he grants permission to teachers to show legally obtained copies of the film to students for non-commercial educational purposes. Reasonably, he said he always allows that. However, I think he appreciates teachers who let him know they are doing so.

    Speaking from a legal standpoint, teachers should take care not to put their school at risk regarding copyright law and take precautions. From an ethical standpoint, I don’t feel obligated at all in asking permission to use any works in a non-commercial, educational manner. Laws that require permission to be granted in such a context are unjust, IMO.

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