Trawling through a DVD of videos from Prof. Mungbean — Excelent stuff: Charlie Chaplin, Jan Svankmejer, The Trapdoor, etc. — I happen upon something I didn’re realise I had: Revolution OS (A documentary about the history and success of the Linux operating system.)

Two things arise from this discovery (but not necessarily in this order):…


I showed the movie to the students here. Well actually to the last two stages who, for their sins which must be many, get sto study JKUAT’s Diploma in IT and are taking a Unix course in which Linux is discussed. This is a whole story in itself but mostly a booring one that has to do with how Kioko and I struggled to set the show up despite every piece of hardware we tried to use letting us down in some way and having to be replaced. Nevertheless I think the show was a success. Before the show I asked the group two questions, one they should know the answer to already (though they would know it much better after the movie) :

  • Who is Linus Torvalds? what did he create? and why is it important?

and one they should learn the answer to by watching the movie:

This ought to have ended in a raucus discussion about whether the GNU General Public Licence could change society. But, this being Kenya, the girls (with one notable exception, I wonder if she’s reading this) sat quietly and waited for me to spill the beans.


There’s a moment in the movie when some geek in a pony tail gets interviewed at a Linux install-fest. He wants someone to help him install Linux on some tiny and obsolete PDA. And I shout (even though there’s nobody there with me in the house at that point): **I’ve danced with this guy!**

And I have. It turns out to be Dave who came and visited London a year or so back. Also responsible for a Lindy Exchange at Burning Man, or for the concept of one at least.


  1. Prof Mungbean Says:

    Hurrah! Happy birthday again (did you get my txt? Seems only about half of them actually get through these days).

    [ Hey that Dave guy must own the world-record for registration of Dave-related domains… ]

    Interestingly it looks like the GPL might end up being tested in court… check out slashdot for recent discussion of "CherryOS", a MacOS X emulator package for PCs. Turns out that this code, which is being sold, is totally ripped off from the open source (and GPL-ed) "PearPC", amongst other stuff.

    Did you move onto looking at Creative Commons stuff? I feel much happier with (cc) licensing than GPL, although since it’s been a very long time since I actually read any of the GPL, I can’t quite remember why.

    There was a BBC Tech news item recently about schools in Kenya using Linux hand-held machines BTW, did you see it?

  2. Chris Says:

    [ I *did* put a URL in at the end of that article, but the blog s/w has chopped it off…. ]

  3. Webmaster Says:

    What SMS, on my BD? No didnt get one from you. Kencell got merged with Celtell recently and since then the whole SMS thing has been very hit and miss — ie. typically Kenyan.

    Erm, I’ve removed a stray "<a href=" from the end of the comment you left. No idea why that got cut in half, can you please give us the url again, or email it to me so I can add it here myself? As far as I know ther is no reason why Greymatter should have cut off your URL.

    Thanks and thanks again for that movie


  4. Chris Says:

    OK, trying again…

  5. Tyg Says:

    UUUuuuu … I sent you an sms from me and sunshine on your BD too … did you get it?

    Erm, excuse the ignorance, but what is Creative Commons and GPL and all that stuff? Paulalalalalala is quitting her job at the Beeb and joining Creative Commons (whatever it may be) – thought I’d mention it ..


  6. Mark Says:

    I’ve been re-reading the creative commons site, it’s very interesting. Good for Paula! If it ever happens that I show that video again I’ll have to mention creativ commons in the context of the GPL.

    Tigger: I did get your SMS from you and sunshine! Thank yu!

    Chris, I’m reading the BBC thing about hand-helds in Kenya now. We (HRC) got donated a little compaq colour hand-held recently. The sister almost creamed herself and went off with it and I’v never seen it since. I wonder if it would run linux… Hmm.

  7. Mark Says:

    OK, if my own comment throtteling doesn’t stop me doing this, I want to post another URL about the Linux based wireless hand-held computers being used in Western Kenya. This is great stuff!

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