I recently watched the entirety of the Revolution OS documentary. While it definitely is not a video that can be enjoyed by most people, nor even most computer users, it is a very intersting watch for a number of reasons.

Visiting the documentary’s site, you quickly gain a sense of what this documentary is aimed to be: “… the inside story of the hackers who rebelled against the proprietary software model and Microsoft to create GNU/Linux and the Open Source movement.” However, that’s not what this video is about.

When I first started watching the documentary, I thought I would get this intimate insight into how people made calculated movements against the growing monopoly of Microsoft’s operating systems. In fact, this isn’t anything near what actually happened.

Microsoft and its actions were not the focus of anyone involved in getting the ball rolling on the open source movement. Richard Stallman was motivated to create the Free Software Foundation and started building GNU not because of Microsoft, but because of the actions of administrators that wanted to control access to computer systems, by hardware vendors that didn’t release the source for their drivers, and by a myriad of other things. If Bill Gates and his company, Micro-Soft (as it was called at the time), was any consideration, it was merely another straw on the camel’s back.

There are many other surprises like this in the documentary, and it is why I highly recommend those that are interested watch it and pay attention. You will gain a good beginning understanding of the foundation and history of GNU, GPL, FSF, Linus Torvalds and the Linux kernel, how the Linux kernel created the opportunity for today’s Linux distros, how the open source movement began, how the open source business model works, and much more.

The documentary may not be perfect. The creators may not have understood what they actually produced. And the material is actually quite dated by now. Just the same, it’s a very good watch, and I recommend that you check it out.

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