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They Interrupt Regular Programming

April 22, 2002

The U.S. government, state judicial systems and Sun Microsystems are apparently not the only foes troubling Bill Gates and Microsoft Corp.

For nearly 20 years, a loosely affiliated group of computer hackers and programmers, virtual Davids, if you will, have pooled their talents and aimed their cyber-slingshots at techno-Goliath Microsoft and its dominance of personal computer operating systems.

In the process, they created the alternative operating system Linux as well as the Open Source movement.

Their story is told in J.T.S. Moore's new documentary, "Revolution OS," part of Laemmle Theatres' Documentary Days 2002 weekend film series.

"I consciously set out to make a narrative about the movement," explains Moore. "It's first a character story, not a how-to or what you can do on Linux or even why Microsoft and the Open Source movement are opposing one another. Microsoft is the villain on the horizon."

The activists' enthusiasm was what initially drew Moore to the subject. "They were so passionate, I thought there must be something to it."

Moore, serving as his own cinematographer, chose to shoot in wide screen, a rare format for a documentary, because he felt the film's classic-style narrative was well-served by the wide-screen treatment.

The expense of the format forced Moore, who financed the film himself, to be more disciplined in making the film, shaping the structure as he went along.

Featuring interviews with such figures as Linus Torvalds, who created the Linux kernel--the missing piece of the puzzle in developing a true alternative operating system--and Richard Stallman, the founder of the Free Software movement, the film tells the story of both the technology and the philosophies behind it.

"Revolution OS" screens at 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Monica 4-Plex in Santa Monica; May 4-5 at the Playhouse 7, Pasadena; and May 18-19 at the Lido, Newport Beach.


--Compiled by Times staff writers

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