Sarah Thayer - Revolution OS

Sadly, I was unable to watch Revolution OS in the great Cinestudio, but I caught it on Google Video over the weekend, and must say it was better done than I expected. Though in my past couple of years at Trinity, I've learned a great deal about the Free Software Movement and the Open Source Initiative, there were certain things which were new and therefore stood out.

I was startled to be so intrigued by the concept of passwords at MIT. It seemed so clear, in this context, that passwords were the first step in removing community-building lifestyles. On a personal computer, this makes some sense - though you should be able to trust the people in your home - because more private things can be stored on a personal computer. On a lab computer, such as the ones at MIT, where everyone has a common goal to make or improve a system, putting passwords on the computers seems obnoxious. Richard Stallman's reaction to this, however amusing, was also well-played, though the world would soon come to disagree.

I think what surprised me most was exactly how big the free/open source software movement was in the 90s. The clips about the stock prices for VA Linux and the huge conferences was incredible to me. I was reminded of the power of Apache. I've only just learned about it at all since I came to Trinity, and even then it took me until sophomore year to understand why we had these new and strange Linux machines in the computer science labs. I was younger, yes, but suddenly I felt so out of the loop as I watched this - what was I missing in the 90s? I'm curious now if my parents knew about it at all. Thanksgiving comes at a good time!

Highlights:

  • Richard Stallman: certainly an interesting character, it was somewhat amusing to know I met and interacted with him (however briefly) during HFOSS '08.
  • The focus on Linus Torvalds kids during Stallman's speech.
  • The Free Software Song: That band really, really tried to rock it out.


RAM Comments: I too was informed by the Apache story and its impact on the success of Linux. Yes, you were Stallman's videographer!