Opens Fri Dec 6
Revolution OS is the documented story of the battle between the proprietary, capitalist giant of software, Microsoft, and the creators of Linux and the Open Source movement. Oh, by the way, "OS" stands for "operating system." What's that? Well, it is the underlying system on your computer that allows you to operate software programs. Without it, the computer is about as useful as an ungainly paperweight. So, whoever controls the codes for the operating system is therefore King Tut of the computer world, and the most predominant of these in our times has Gates capitalist monopoly intellectual property rights hippie guys free software zzzzzzzzz.
J.T.S. Moore's documentary could have been sexy. It's successful in its effort to avoid getting tied up in techie jargon, and is accessible for the lay population's understanding. It's also a modernized case of The People uniting to thwart the greedy intentions of The Man, and contains a number of important points of view on issues of intellectual property rights and concepts of community.
However, it eschews the route of passionate filmmaking and ends up with an experience akin to what one would imagine an ethics lecture at MIT might feel like: a scintillating prospect to some, and Chinese water torture to others. The film is stark, its bulk consisting of steady camera shots of smart, important people like Richard Stallman and Eric Raymond. They just sit there talking, only occasionally becoming more excitedly animated than a flight attendant explaining the emergency flotation devices on an aircraft. To shake it up, the film occasionally segues into classroom video-aid mode, such as the condescending moment at which it is exposed and written out across the screen that GNU is an acronym, and the G stands for GNU.
This documentary is edifying and informative, and although it's consciously adapted to be palatable for non-computer whizzes who would nonetheless like to take an informed stand behind the film's anti-capitalist sentiments--it's boring. It's no fun.