'Revolution OS'

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the making of this groundbreaking documentary.

By J.T.S. Moore, director
August 28, 2001

When I started making Revolution OS in July of 1999, Silicon Valley was still getting drunk on the giddy Gold Rush atmosphere of the day. That environment definitely had an impact on the type of documentary I was going to make: one that would chronicle the breathtaking IPO of a start-up company.

At the same time, another more fascinating story became the dominant focus of the film. That was the story of Richard Stallman of the GNU Project and the Free Software Foundation, and how his vision of free software led to Linus Torvalds and the Linux operating system. From there the movie morphed into the tale of the grassroots open-source revolution that continually, through no grand design, kept battling one of the most powerful corporations on Earth: Microsoft. Thus, I had the classic underdog story.

For six months I tried to involve Microsoft in the documentary. However, all I got was the runaround from Microsoft's PR firm, Waggener Edstrom. At times they would send me cute but evasive emails. Ultimately, Microsoft's lack of involvement was fine with me because the film was always going to be about GNU, Linux, free software, and the open-source movement.

To have included an occasional clip of some random Microsoft spokesperson would have only given the film the same disingenuous veneer of faux journalistic objectivity that is the silly hallmark of network TV news. More to the point, an anonymous Microsoft spokesperson would have lacked the first-person perspective that was needed. "Revolution OS" is about the people who participated in the history they are discussing. It is not a film of talking heads reading pre-approved talking points.

All the people who appear in "Revolution OS" are speaking of their own personal stories. Those stories together build the mosaic that comprises the story of the rise of the open-source movement. In that spirit, I still wanted to give Bill Gates a chance to speak for himself. So after some detective work in the Stanford University archives, I tracked down an original copy of Bill Gates' "Open Letter to Hobbyists."

It was in that 1976 letter that Gates articulated his view of the proprietary model of software development and distribution. (The letter is also quite entertaining when read aloud.) Thus, Bill Gates and Microsoft positioned themselves as the natural antagonist in my dramatic story despite refusing a role in the film. The great irony of all this is that Bill Gates' own photo image company, Corbis, supplied all the eye-catching photos of him and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer used in the documentary.

J.T.S. Moore has a bachelor's in history from Stanford and an master's in film production from the USC School of Cinema, and has worked as a screenwriter for Walt Disney. "Revolution OS" is his first documentary.

Copyright 2001 TechTV Inc.

Revolution O.S. is director J.T.S. Moore�s first feature length documentary. Moore previously has worked as a screenwriter for Walt Disney Studios. He earned his B.A. in history from Stanford University and his M.A. in film production from the University of Southern California�s School of Cinema/Television. Moore�s previous film, the Civil War action-drama Shooting Creek, premiered at the Telluride Film Festival and later was licensed by Starz-Encore. Moore was born and raised in Atlanta and currently resides in Los Angeles.
Linus Torvalds, Richard Stallman, Eric Raymond, Larry Augustin, Bruce Perens, Michael Tiemann, Brian Behlendorf, Frank Hecker, Chris DiBona, Nick Moffitt, Donnie Barnes, Rob Malda, The GNU/Stallmans, Marc Merlin.
Produced, Written, Edited, Photographed, & Directed by:
J.T.S. Moore
Music Composed & Conducted by:
Christopher Anderson-Bazzoli
Narrated by:
Susan Egan
Location Sound by:
Steven Balick
Format: 35mm film/color
Sound: stereo
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Running Time: 85 minutes
Reels: 5
In 1991 Torvalds created the Linux kernel (the unifying program for a Unix-like operating system) at age twenty-one while enrolled at the University of Helsinki in his native Finland.
Stallman founded the GNU Project in 1984 in an attempt to create his own Unix-like operating system that was freely shareable. He also started the Free Software movement to espouse his political agenda of freely-shared intellectual property. Stallman�s philosophical and technical work became the foundation for Linux and the Open Source movement.
Perens authored the Open Source definition and currently works as an Open Source evangelist for Hewlett-Packard. 
Raymond authored the paper "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" which brought outside attention and understanding to the sociological underpinnings of the Open Source movement.
Behlendorf is one of the original co-developers of the Apache Web Server. Apache is the most commonly used web server in the world with almost 60% of the market. Apache was the first "killer app" for Linux.
In 1989 Tiemann co-founded the first company based upon the GNU Project technology and principles of the Free Software movement. Tiemann is currently the CTO of Redhat Software, the most prominent Linux company.
Augustin co-founded VA Linux Systems, one of the first companies based upon the Linux operating system. VA Linux Systems was a key early supporter of Linux and the Open Source movement. VA Linux System also set the record for the highest opening price for and IPO. On December 9, 1999, its first trade was at $299 per share. Currently, the stock trades around $1 per share.
Hecker is a former Netscape systems engineer that authored a key internal white paper that advocated Netscape releasing its source code to the public.
Malda (a.k.a. CmdrTaco) is the editor of the famous hacker website Slashdot.


November 18, 2001........St. Louis International Film Festival 

November 17, 2001........St. Louis International Film Festival

November 7, 2001.........Hawaii International Film Festival

November 3, 2001.........Savannah Film & Video Festival

October 31, 2001.........Savannah Film & Video Festival

October 30, 2001.........Savannah Film & Video Festival

October 20, 2001.........Denver International Film Festival

October 11, 2001.........Kudzu Film Festival, Athens, GA

October 5, 2001..........IFP Market, New York City

October 3, 2001..........IFP Market, New York City

September 17, 2001.......Long Beach International Film Festival

September 12, 2001.......Boston Film Festival

August 29, 2001..........LinuxWorld San Francisco

July 25, 2001............O'Reilly Open Source Convention

July 23, 2001............O'Reilly Open Source Convention

June 10, 2001............Atlanta Film & Video Festival

March 15, 2001...........South By Southwest Film Festival

March 14, 2001...........South By Southwest Film Festival

March 12, 2001...........South By Southwest Film Festival

February 1, 2001.........LinuxWorld New York (sneak preview)

hp sponsors a special screening of "Revolution OS"

Come see the inside story....

Hewlett Packard is sponsoring a special screening of 'Revolution OS', a documentary that chronicles the Open Source movement, as part of LinuxWorld.

'Revolution OS' tells the inside story of the hackers who created the GNU, Linux and the Open Source movement.

The 90 minute-long film explores the movement's origins and depicts the key events in the march of GNU, Linux and Open Source into the mainstream. Filmed in 35mm CinemaScope on location in Silicon Valley, "Revolution OS" includes interviews with Linus Torvalds, Richard Stallman, Bruce Perens, Eric Raymond, Michael Tiemann, and Brian Behlendorf.

Go "behind the scenes" of the making of Revolution OS, with director JTS Moore and find out about the birth of a movement. Join Bruce Perens for an interactive discussion on the future of Open Source after the screening.

Hear what others have said about this innovative film:

Austin Chronicle review that appeared during the South By Southwest Film Festival: click here.

Wired.com review: click here.

Screening will be Wednesday, August 29 at 7 p.m. at the Sony Metreon theater. Tickets are available for free at the HP booth at LinuxWorld. The filmmaker, J.T.S. Moore, along with Bruce Perens, Senior Advisor, HP Linux Systems Operation, will be on hand for pre and post show talks.

(Director's Bio: JTS Moore earned his BA in history from Stanford and his MA in film production from USC. His narrative feature, Shooting Creek, was licensed by Starz-Encore.This is his first feature documentary.)


Copyright 2001