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KDE on the NBC Show "Heroes" 271

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the well-isn't-that-nice-for-them dept.
Vesuv writes "The pilot episode of NBC's flagship drama for the 2006 fall season proudly features a laptop showing a KDE desktop and KDE applications such as Kopete and KMix running on Mandriva Linux. " The show itself looks to have potential for essentially an x-men knockoff. I mean, it ain't written by Sorkin (all hail jesus) so I'll give it a few more episodes to decide if all the angst is gonna kill me or not.
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KDE on the NBC Show "Heroes"

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28, 2006 @09:13AM (#16228763)
    Don't get me wrong... teleportation, flight, invulnerability, etc... all okay. But a hot girl using linux on the desktop? Yeah, right!
  • Do we really need another X-Men ripoff? Wasn't Mutant X already enough?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by falcon5768 (629591)
      Well to its credit, Mutant X was produced by Mavel and was sorta a X-Men without having to use the X-Men since those where a Movie franchise.

      This looks more to be along the lines of DC superhero's.

      • Having John Shea [wikipedia.org] as a character in that show just killed it for me, as everytime I saw him in it I'm like, "Wait, Lex Luthor is a good guy now?".
    • Some of the exposition dialog was *painful. Now that's over with, though, so I have hopes for later episoden
    • by Randolpho (628485)
      Hey, at least they're *open* about the fact that it's an X-Men rippoff... they even mentioned X-Men in the pilot. It was quite funny, and IIRC, it went something like this:

      Hiro: Most people think time is like this, [draws a line] but it's really more like this. [draws a circle]

      Hiro's Friend: Where did you learn that?

      Hiro: X-Men 128!

      IMO, the show was OK but not astounding. Hiro and his friend were quite funny, and made the show watchable. The special effects -- especially the fraternal flight fest at the end
      • by TubeSteak (669689)
        The special effects -- especially the fraternal flight fest at the end -- were sub-par, even for TV.
        You may have been dissappointed because there wasn't a fraternal flight fest.

        The dreamer brother didn't fly. From the preview for the next episode, I gather the other brother dropped his "I dreamed I can fly, so I jumped off a building" sibling.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Joe Mucchiello (1030)
          That was true pathos and I was surprised to see such pathos in a TV show. The nurse brother's empathy for his ambitious brother was so high that he (brother 1) had the dreams of flying for him (brother 2). But the fact that brother 1 began to associate being able to fly with some kind of self-validation: that made the twist that it was actually brother 2 who flies all the more juicy. Oh, the humanity. Good stuff.
    • I'm not going to complain about Heroes being an X-men ripoff as long as they don't paint on those lame costumes from each of the movies. How horrific were those?

      And in fairness, I'm not sure you can say Heroes ripped off the evolution/mutation concept. If you want to go back, X-men "ripped it off" from Darwin. They COULD have claimed all the Heroes got their powers from toxic waste spills, but then they'd all be ripping off Daredevil. Maybe they could be aliens from other planets, bitten by radioactive

      • by Randolpho (628485)
        They COULD have claimed all the Heroes got their powers from toxic waste spills, but then they'd all be ripping off Daredevil. Maybe they could be aliens from other planets, bitten by radioactive insects, whose parents were killed in a mugging outside of an opera.
        Maybe they got their powers from Energy X [wikipedia.org]!!!
      • by kalirion (728907) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @12:14PM (#16232319)
        If you want to go back, X-men "ripped it off" from Darwin.

        Yup, because Darwin was all about random mutations resulting in awesome super powers.
    • by ajs (35943) <ajs AT ajs DOT com> on Thursday September 28, 2006 @09:43AM (#16229349) Homepage Journal
      I've always wondered about all the terminology that we have for derivative creative work. I doubt that anyone could come up with a coherent definition of "rip-off" that didn't rely on subjective evaluation of quality and/or a subjective evaluation of sameness.

      Ask yourself this, is it possible to have a story about a group of super-powered students that won't be considered an "x-men rip-off"? Is that really fair to the authors who actually do come up with interesting and creative ideas of their own?

      I'm not saying Heroes is a unique and beautiful flower. I haven't seen it, and maybe all it does have going for it is its x-menness, but I refuse to evaluate fiction on the sole basis that it is "like" something else. IMHO, it stands on its own merits, or it falls on its own flaws. Anything else just seems like being dishonest and unfair to the creative folks that put the fiction together.
      • by ArmyOfFun (652320)
        I agree with everything you had to say.

        The group of people aren't all students, so far only one is. Most of them so far are adults. One of the guy's powers only seems active when he's on heroin (I forget, which X-Man had this power?).

        When the group gets a bald leader in a pimped out wheelchair and they spend half their time fighting against mutant injustice, then I'll consider it a X-Men ripoff. Until then, it's just a group of super heroes (the show could've been inspired by any number of comics). They're
      • by TopShelf (92521)
        This may not be the original attribution, but it looks like Pablo Picasso [wikiquote.org] coined the phrase, "Good artists copy. Great artists steal."

        I enjoyed the pilot, and it's got a Season Pass on my Tivo...
    • I believe that quote is from Picasso.
  • seems logical, (Score:5, Interesting)

    by joe 155 (937621) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @09:14AM (#16228795) Journal
    It does make sense that in TV and films people would use free and open software on computers, they need it to look like people think a computer should look (and KDE does that) and they need to have the right to use it without worrying about being sued because it's proprietry and they like to not have to give thousands of dollars and coppies of the script over to people so the whole show doesn't get pulled for creating a negative image of software.

    The only thing that amazes me is that more people aren't doing this
    • There's a decent amount of cc-licensed material out there. Televisions that are on in the background, music on a bus, etc. I've heard that clearing rights for this stuff takes up an obscene amount of time and money. Sometimes you gotta bite the bullet because you gotta have a particular clip with some resonance but just as often you only need something that looks professional
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      they need to have the right to use it without worrying about being sued because it's proprietry and they like to not have to give thousands of dollars and coppies of the script over to people so the whole show doesn't get pulled for creating a negative image of software. The only thing that amazes me is that more people aren't doing this

      I think you've got this a bit backwards. Apple often gives free laptops to television shows and movies to be used on screen as advertising. More likely the thought was ei

      • would Apple let them use OSX in the movie/show if it was going to be used by the villains? Mind you... I wouldn't be very surprised if Microsoft paid them to use Linux for the villains... and Vista for the heroes... all part of product placement and the image that Microsoft is trying to project of Linux being a hackers OS... (hacker in the bad sense of the word)
      • by Garabito (720521)
        Apple often gives free laptops to television shows and movies to be used on screen as advertising

        It kind of worked for me. I lived under the impression that most people in the U.S. used Macs, based on the number of Macs vs number of PCs using Windows I would see on american TV shows between 1992-1995.

      • Well probably MS and Apple didn't want their OS associated with online porn so they refused to allow them to use it, musch less be willing to pay for product placement. So they got the prop guy to come up with something quick, and he probably just threw on linux (or maybe just brought in his own computer from home) and it was good enough, since everone would be watching the stripper anyway.
    • they need to have the right to use it without worrying about being sued because it's proprietry

      It goes both ways too. With advertisers getting increasingly twitchy about their commercials being TiVoed away more of the networks are trying to woo them for product placement in the shows themselves. That screen would've been OSX or Vista had Apple or MS greased the right palms. No? Too bad. Open source it is!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 28, 2006 @09:15AM (#16228809)
    BITCH!
    You can't show that on the internet!
  • by zaren (204877) <holdthis@mail.com> on Thursday September 28, 2006 @09:17AM (#16228841) Homepage Journal
    The scene in question with the KDE stuff involves a hot chick getting naked online.

    And you notice the windowing system and applications on her laptop.

    Slashdot, you never cease to amaze me :)
    • As a possible explanation (wish they gave no-prizes for this stuff), the hot chick's son was working on a busted logic board in the next scene. While Ali Larter may not be a computer genius, it's possible that her "son" is, thereby explaining why he would have Linux running on his mom's work computer.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by chrismcdirty (677039)
      The hot chick definitely had my attention while she was on the screen. But soon after, all camera focus was on the desktop.
    • by evil agent (918566) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @09:32AM (#16229107)
      Ah, but that's the difference between a nerd and a regular pervert. The pervert's focus will be on "the porn" while the nerd's focus will be on "how is this person getting it so I can get more of it!" Teach a man to fish...
  • by Fx.Dr (915071) <exterminans@pala ... com ['the' in ga> on Thursday September 28, 2006 @09:18AM (#16228853)
    And if you squint really hard you can see Elvis in the background.
  • Superpowers != Xmen.

    I watched the pilot. It was interesting enough that I'll probably watch a few more episodes to see what the hell is going on.

  • It used to be that Apple was the darling of the TV/Movie business. Of course that was usually on the hardware side. Ordinarily the "screen shots" were graphic-artist nonsense that photographed well (and of course, there is always a beep or click when each character appears on the screen). Maybe now we'll see Apple hardware, and then the screen shots will be Linux. That would be a bit incongruous, but very likely something Hollywood would do.
  • by jellomizer (103300) * on Thursday September 28, 2006 @09:21AM (#16228919)
    Not really big news.
    TV has been doing that for a while. It might not have been KDE. But I can't count the times I have seen alternate OS's.

    Mac OS has been shown all the time, even advertising software or websites that do not even work on a Mac (Or is not needed for a Mac like virus scanners). (Movies follow the general trend. Heros use Macs, while Villains or Dark Heros use Windows)

    Unix and Linux (because they often look the same on TV) with various windows managers. CDE is often popular. This is often used in the Big Data Centers, or when people are doing some real hacking.

    Now they probably used KDE because they didn't need to pay royalty to any company to show it. Plus it looked high-tech enough for the show. But in the grand scheme of things most people don't care what the hero's computer is running. It wont bring packs of people to install linux because they saw linux on their favorite TV Show. Just like in Jurassic Park you didn't see a migration back to Unix because the park ran it, or a huge migration away because the park failed because of it.
    • by coldmist (154493)

      Mac OS has been shown all the time, even advertising software or websites that do not even work on a Mac...

      That's because the advertising agency that made the ad uses Macs, and that's what they have on hand when they get their footage/screenshot.

    • by ajs (35943)
      It's also not Linux.

      The machine in question is almost certainly running Windows or MacOS. The display that you see is the result of a program that can record or emulate behaviors of a UI and play them back in a time sequence, or in response to random key-presses.

      Actors are paid quite a lot for the skill of being able to repeat their actions in multiple takes with every gesture being the same (try it sometime, it's HARD). The last thing they're going to do is memorize a set of UI interactions to go with it.
    • 24 and Alias (Score:3, Informative)

      by antdude (79039)
      Examples of shows I watched: 24 with Pine v4.44 [google.com] and Alias with an old version of KDE [manyhighways.com].
    • or Uploaded, or Sucked, But Not As Much as 3, or whatever it was. The one where the Hot Chick hacked into a mainframe using a known SSH vulnerability.
  • KDE (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Daemonstar (84116) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @09:22AM (#16228925)
    Because if they had used Windows:
    1. They probably would have to pay Microsoft for product placement
    2. Fill out tons of forms just to use the product on-air
    3. Using something that wasn't Windows (and therefore unfamilliar with most people) looks "techier", or
    4. KDE/Linux is free; why spend any more money than you have to? :)

    • by in2mind (988476) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @09:31AM (#16229103) Homepage
      Because if they had used Windows: 1. They probably would have to pay Microsoft for product placement 2. Fill out tons of forms just to use the product on-air 3. Using something that wasn't Windows (and therefore unfamilliar with most people) looks "techier", or 4. KDE/Linux is free; why spend any more money than you have to? :)

      Point no.3 is very valid. By making it look "techy", it gets featured on Slashdot! Seriously,it has helped spread the show.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by NinjaFarmer (833539)
        By making it look "techy", it gets featured on Slashdot! Seriously,it has helped spread the show.

        I know, I downloaded it on Bit Torrent ad free already!
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Xanthis (948279)
      They probably would have to pay Microsoft for product placement

      Actually, in product placement [wikipedia.org] the company that has the product featured on the show either pay or the use is negotiated. Its basically embedded advertising that it pretty much 30 second skip proof.
    • They probably would have to pay Microsoft for product placement

      Since when does the maker of a primetime TV show pay the maker of a product to include it onscreen? It is almost invariably the other way around. Sales of Reese's Pieces tripled when the Movie E.T. came out and showed E.T. eating them, when M&M did not pay the advertising cost to include their product.

    • by ajs318 (655362)
      I thought Microsoft would have paid them for Product Placement?

      As an aside, Tony Blair is thinking of legalising product placement. It was bad enough IMHO when TV programmes were allowed to name their sponsors at the beginning and end of each segment. No, scrub that. It was bad enough when they allowed adverts on TV at all. I think I'm going to get me a Sky Plus, record everything, start watching 15 minutes late and fast-forward through the adverts. Anyone had any joy with this?
    • They probably would have to pay Microsoft for product placement

      Umm. Generally it's the other way around - companies pay big bucks to have their products placed in shows and movies. If anything the conversation would go like:

      Studio: "We can feature a Vista screenshot for $100,000 per episode."

      M$: "Sounds a bit steep - we'll have to think about it."

      Studio: "You do that." (turning to door and shouting) "Hey Bob, we're going with the Linux shots."

      I think "3" is a good possibility. Or perhaps whomever was tasked

    • by smartin (942)
      Not to mention all the extra take while the thing bluescreens.
  • OK, so the show is trying a little too hard to be "Lost" (Look - we've got all these connections between people - there are no coincidences on the Island - I mean, the Earth!)

    But what gets me is how the writers could actually have a conversation like this one:

    Politician: Hey, little brother.
    Good hearted guy: Hey, I think I can fly!
    Politician: Great - that's *exactly* something someone would say in a crowded room full of people.
    Good hearted guy: No, really - I'm going to be like superman!

    I nearly turned
    • by Aladrin (926209)
      "but the next episode looks to kick things into gear."

      I wish this were so. They still have 3 more people to introduce (for a total of 8) until they are ready to get started. And by 'started' I mean 'get on with the introductions. They have only shown 1 aspect of each character and if they write like every other writer in the world (Except Lost, love how they did 1 per show and tied it in) then we'll have a few more eps of people talking about stuff before anything actually happens.

      As a side note, did any
      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        The painter in the original was convinced he was possessed or something and handcuffed himself to a pole. He pulled his wrist off in his sleep so he could paint that huge atomic-bomb-looking mural. Yeah, off. That wasn't in this version... They just had him thinking it was the drugs. Bleh. Much less cool.

        While I agree that using heroin as a stand in for pulling his wrist off is much less cool, I imagine a one handed guy would complicate the plot later on.

        And they'd have to CGI-out his real hand for the rest

  • by mbadolato (105588) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @09:35AM (#16229179)
    I watched Heroes the night it was on and loved it (I missed the Linux part; as someone mentioned earlier in this thread, there were better things to be looking at in the scene).

    I didn't delete it from TiVo because my wife missed it. Last night she was watching it, and I sat down right as the camera was pointing at the desktop, and my eyes noticed the blue in the window's title bar and I laughed and said "they're using Linux".

    Later on when they showed the Japanese guy's friend screwing around on his computer at work, I noticed his desktop was also not Windows or Mac, but didn't recognize the theme (and no, I wasn't going to pause and try to figure it out :)) The site above did not mention/post about his desktop, but I'm sure someone can get a capture of it.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ... we'll see the news:

    "Last night's episode of NBC's drama 'Heroes' scored surprisingly high in the Hopeless Geeks demographic, according to Nielsen Media Research."
  • Kill me now (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kid zeus (563146)
    What a miserably written and horribly acted show. I found myself wishing Nissan hadn't ponied up to bring it to us with limited commercial breaks.
  • It's a sad reflection on my life that I care about this... but I do.
  • Its not an X-Men ripoff - Its a ripoff of Misfits of Science, which was the best television show ever.
    • by MythoBeast (54294)
      I really liked Misfits of Science, especially the rock singer who got caught in an amp explosion. Too bad they couldn't even take themselves seriously.
  • by a_nonamiss (743253) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @10:26AM (#16230145)
    Wait, isn't this the same show where some 10 year old kid was soldering his computer because it was broken? Now, I know they were trying to illustrate that he was a smart kid and all, but you can't fix a computer that was made any time after 1982 with a soldering iron. I really think they should hire consultants to read through the script before they put in stupid things like that.

    I know some geek is going to respond saying he soldered his computer and made it work, but realistically, it's not something that you can do. Some script writer thought it would sound good...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by brufar (926802)
      I fixed a Server motherboard no more than 6 months ago using **gasp** a soldering iron !!

      Yes it sufferd from the deadly failed Electrolytic Capacitor plague. A replacment motherboard was no-where to be found in a timely manner so I replaced the Capacitors and got the server running again. Mind you it wasn't intended as a permanent fix, but the repair DID include the use of a soldering iron which you claim is impossible.. And it ran long enough to get replacement hardware in. as a matter of fact I think
  • I'm guessing it's on because nobody paid to have it on there - or Mandrake did. Would I like my software promoted in big show on NBC? Hell yeah. I'm guessing the message is "If you don't pay, we don't give you any air time." Next time around, they'll know the threat is credible - they can use something other than PC/Mac. And then I'm sure they'll get some petty cash and put the iMac back in.
  • This is about the only time this blog will be on-topic, so here goes:

    No, she didn't like it. [chicagotribune.com]

  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @10:50AM (#16230619) Homepage
    The real news here is that someone got a USB camera working with KDE.
  • Try to imagine this; you're on a stage, you're doing the third take of a scene at the end of a long day. Your prop guy (Andy) chose MS Windows XP, he did set it up in a hurry the same day (everything's behind schedule on a set), your actors are finally in the proper mood for the scene, you're in the middle of filming it and bang, MS Update warns you there is an update available for you and that you should update it now...

    "CUT!, Andy, next time get me a real OS, will you?."

  • by Phishcast (673016) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @01:39PM (#16234013)
    I was watching "Kidnapped" last night (I don't recall which network it's on) and they were looking at someone's computer and "31337" was on the screen. The lead character went on to say that this meant "elite" in the hacker community. This didn't impress me much, but he went on to say, "Also, 31337 is the UDP port that the hacker group Cult of the Dead Cow uses to access Windows 95 PCs using Back Orafice."

    A little dated, but I thought that was a pretty impressive reference for a television show to make.

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