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Antitrust 275

jonkatz says: "The good news is that a lot of people will be exposed in a positive way to the open source idea. The bad news is that Antitrust sucks, a woofer that can't hide its inane writing and plot behind a lot of open source blabber and some tech-savvy consultants. It may, however, be the first film in history to prominently feature the GNOME desktop." Actually, both Mike McCune and Jon Katz contributed their reviews of Antitrust, which opened nationally last Friday; read the rest of Jon's, and the whole of Mike's, in the space below. Anyone else who saw the movie, please contribute your thoughts. (Please note: no major spoilers in this review, although plot is discussed; courtesy would dictate that you label any comments which do contain spoilers and perhaps rot13 them.)

Jon's Review (continued from above)

Some day, a great movie will be made about the Microsoft era, about the arrogance and predations of Bill Gates' monumental power snatch, and the resulting hacker revolution that spawned the open source and free software movements and rocked corporate America.

But the idea that Antitrust is it, or even comes close, is a hustle. Watching a Hollywood studio take the open source idea and infuse it with one stupid line, cliched and inane plot twist after another, and try to turn it into a contemporary thriller, is mildly entertaining for about 10 minutes. But that can't mask the fact that Antitrust doesn't work, either as pop history or, more importantly, as a movie.

Antitrust is the first attempt by Hollywood to capture the genuine drama that occurred in the '80s and '90s when Gates and Microsoft very nearly monopolized the entire software industry, thus the Net and the Web. The media fawned and the government looked the other way for years, even as evidence mounted that rapacious business practices were out of control and the less-than-best possible software was all the public could buy.

It's also the first major movie to introduce the non-tech public to the idea of open source, and in a positive, if confusing and not particularly intelligent way.

Insofar as Gates got reined in at all, it was initially by a motley band of teenagers and older hackers and coders around the world who worked collaboratively -- sometimes for fun, sometimes for idealistic reasons -- to develop alternative programs and operating systems.

That's a pretty dramatic story. Moviemakers are under no obligation to render it literally, with technical accuracy, or even faithfully, but neither should they get away with concocting something this lame.

Perhaps MGM is banking on the fact that the movie is more or less technically accurate (the producers hired hackers as consultants); therefore, maybe for the first time in movie history. But the resulting almost-patronizing Open Source blabber and technical fireworks don't cut it.

Consider the film's conceit, for instance, that one of the ways the evil corporation NURV ("Never Underestimate Radical Vision") stays competitive is to use hidden video cameras to spy on the keyboards of all the smart young programmers in the world and feed their discoveries into a central network -- hidden in a day care center. They then commit their perfidy to videotape, and leave the evidence in non-encrypted, accessible files. That's only one example of the screenplay's foolishness.

Here's another: The geeks, male and female, may be work obsessed, but they are all gorgeous (with a couple of gorgeous girlfriends) and all from Stanford. They are all, as it happens, OS idealists working on a media delivery system as a gift to the world (although they seek venture capital funding for it from Silicon Valley -- huh?). Information wants to be free, and they intend to make it so. NURV, on the other hand, is working on a media delivery system called "Synapse," and it doesn't want to be free. It wants to control the earth, at all costs and by any means. And guess what? It's CEO thinks he's above the law.

Naturally, one of our brilliant young graduates, Milo Hoffman (Ryan Philippe), falling into a Faustian bargain with Gary Winston (Tim Robbins), the reptilian CEO of NURV, gets seduced in about 30 seconds by some fancy hardware and few potato chips into abandoning his friends and helping NURV pillage the noble Open Source ethos. His best friend Teddy (Yee Jee So) is disappointed in him, to say the least. Within minutes, he's also in huge trouble, courtesy of one of the dumbest plot developments in recent film history.

Controlling big media is a powerful lure for all sorts of people these days, but in America, you don't have to murder hordes of programmers to do it. You can just hire them.

Ten minutes into the movie, every upcoming narrative zig and zag is alarmingly clear. NURV's evil tentacles engulf young Hoffman, reaching into every corner of his life, into government, politics, and, of course, most of all into the mass media. The only witty or telling time the movie hits home is when it jabs at Microsoft's alliance with news entities like NBC, Newsweek and The Washington Post, pointing out what journalists seem to miss: this relationship undermines their credibility in coverage of technology-related issues.

Tim Robbins, who plays the creepy, Pringle-addicted, Gates-ish tycoon living in a way-over-the-top Portland (read Seattle) mansion with digital art all over the walls, was phenomenal in The Player, one of the best-ever movies about American culture in general, and about Hollywood valuelessness in particular. Maybe that was why he was chosen for this role. But he's a weak caricature in this movie, completely out of his element as the psychotic, power-obsessed CEO.

Certainly, people working around computers and in tech industries will enjoy the programming stuff, all the self-conscious, painstakingly "realistic" lingo and references -- our heroes start out in a Silicon Valley garage. Does anyone in the software industry start out any other way? ("Our problem is, we don't care about anything that isn't on a hard drive," says one geek ruefully.) Hopefully, even approval-starved geeks won't be bought off this cheaply.

Hiring good consultants isn't nearly enough to save this dog, which steadily degrades into a touch-typing war between Philippe and Robbins, a foolish stand-off that comes just when you think the movie couldn't possibly get any dumber. You really miss Schwarzenneger or Gibson at a time like this.

Maybe that's part of the problem with Antitrust -- the supposed threat of world domination comes down to who can type the fastest. By then, the rest of us are long asleep.

Mike's Review

A short preamble:

Antitrust is getting a lot of buzz in the open source community mainly because it employed John "Maddog" Hall and Miguel de Icaza as consultants, and prominently features the GNOME desktop on computers used in the movie. Because of this, I am reviewing the movie on entertainment value as well as technical accuracy.

Entertainment Value: two stars, out of four

The movie is about a brilliant programmer at a small startup (Ryan Phillippe) who is recruited by a software billionaire (Tim Robbins) to work for his software company called Never Underestimate Radical Vision, or simply 'NURV.' Phillippe's character Milo becomes suspicious when Robbins starts handing him code when he hits programming roadblocks, but refuses to tell him where it came from. Then, Milo notices that programmers at competing companies are turning up dead, which gives a whole new meaning to killing the competition.

The rest of the movie turns into standard PG-13 thriller material. The directing is uneven, and the acting varies from mediocre to bad. Phillippe is unconvincing as a computer programmer and looks bored in his role. Robbins, who was so creepy in Arlington Road gives a tepid performance as a megalomaniacal billionaire.

The movies shows promise early on, then just never delivers. It also reeks with the Hollywood-correct corporation bashing. Corporations will do almost anything to "kill" the competition (figuratively), but despite depictions like this one, murder is not a usual business practice in the real world.

Technical Accuracy (Geek Value): three out of four stars)

Although it is lacking in entertainment value, Antitrust is actually pretty technically accurate. The computers have a real operating system on them (GNOME) and programmers have real code on their screens (it looks like some flavor of C). At one point Milo is at a command prompt using the "mount" command to mount drives. The underlying story line of using low-orbiting satellites to deliver content to PCs, cell phones and PDAs is at least plausible.

There are a few minor gaffes, but far fewer than in most Hollywood movies. At one point Phillippe solves a "bottleneck" in a program then proclaims "We are such geeks!" One scene depicts Milo burning a CD in a few seconds. I would sure like to have that drive!

Scott McNeely and Miguel de Icaza do have cameo roles, but you might miss them if you blink. They are briefly shown in video clips on a computer screen. Still the movie is very pro-Open Source. The characters in the movie sound almost like Richard Stallman when they say that "the software belongs to the people."

It's a pleasant surprise to see a Hollywood movie that is technically accurate and shows computer programmers in a (mostly) positive light.


If you go into this movie not expecting a great movie, Antitrust is reasonably entertaining. While the acting and dialog are bad at times, the technical aspects of the film aren't insultingly laughable. I wouldn't put this movie on my must-see list, but it is worth a look at a matinee or discount theater.

You might also wish to investigate the official movie website, or imdb's Antitrust page.

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Comments Filter:
  • It's just an expensive piece of product placement on Apple's part. Not everything has to be some sort of conspiracy, some things happen due to much less machiavellian reasons. Sometimes Steve Jobs just waves a basket of cash at Hollywood.
  • Maybe you haven't heard, but I believe that Apache is the most used webserver by a larger margin.
  • if you go into this not expecting a great movie

    Good thing I wasn't expecting great reviews. Geez. I didn't watch the movie, but you guys can't even get your reviews to be internally consistent: was it NURF or NURV? I haven't been following along all that closely, but when did GNOME add an operating system to their Desktop Environment and application framework? I don't see the updated status on their website?

    Yet another Katz article with serious flaws in the quality of the grammar, editing, etc.


  • I have to agree, you couldn't have said it better.
  • whats wrong with Jon Katz??
  • Oh well.. just how many of those 3 stars should disapear ?
    Four of them.

    Boss of nothin. Big deal.
    Son, go get daddy's hard plastic eyes.
  • I'd like to say that after I say that 20+" sun flat screen... I didn't care what the hell the movie was about... I nearly wet my pants.

    It had the same quality as Hackers (except DRASTICALY more realistic) But it still lacked the cold hard facts that make the world go 'round.
    I'm sure you all noticed that the satellites had a network address of 10.* which we all know is a private address and can't be accessed outside of the local network. And the amounts of fiber that were running in building 21... omfg... SCHWING!
    The concept was neat, all in all it wasn't too horribly bad.

    In the first parts of the movie where Gary Winston is trying to justify what he's doing, he makes some very good points that I think were valid.
    However after that point... whoa nelly!
    GAPING plot holes, misinformation and other such things that make movies that could've been good, not so good.

    On the other hand me and my co-worker got into a conversation about what the secretary at our work would look like bald... You all saw Star Trek 1: The Motion Picture (aka horrible movie but the FX were neat) You get the idea.
  • This is the first movie I've seen that showed computer geeks doing geeky things without being so ridiculously watered down it just made me want to throw things at the screen. You know what I mean *COUGH The Net COUGH*, 24-point fonts, users typing plain english into command prompts that actually understand them... I got a kick out of seeing real output from the *nix "last" command when he wanted to know who'd been on the machine.

    So, guess what- I liked the film. It did something new I've never seen before. The positive open-source propaganda and other interesting bits just make it more fun. I think the "technical consultants" did a great job- thanks guys!
  • I really liked this movie. The best part of the whole movie was when they were connecting to the satalite by typing in 10.X.X.X ip addresses. I started giggling and my GF asked what was so funny. I told her that I would explain but then she would look at my like I was stupid.
  • Then, Milo notices that programmers at competing companies are turning up dead, which gives a whole new meaning to killing the competition.

    Let's make sure Bill Gates does not see this movie. We do not want him getting any ideas....

    *X-Files music plays...*
  • FLAMEBAIT? Oh, you suck! Hmmmm, geeks find it funny when Microsoft gets bashed. Yeah, that's intended to incite flames. Dickhead.
  • Lousy Standard Oil. Way worse then Microsoft. Somebody needs to break them up so that we won't have these outrageously high gas prices.

  • ...steal code from a company and redistribute it to as many people as possible for free.

    Seriously, the only portrayal of open source software was that its free (beer) software....and that's it. What a noble idea that two kids out of college would write this fabulous software all by themselves and then give it away, only asking a few dollars for tech support. What happend to the benifit of the "million eyes" that open source offers?

    I guess the producers could easily get this impression of open source software. Most people only use open source software becuase its free (beer), and they could care less about it being open. Look at the number of IE users we have on Slashdot....that just shows where most loyalties lie. Maybe it should be called Free Source instead of Open Source.

  • Ding Ding Ding

    Give the man a prize!

    Yeah, Katz Fsked it up again


    Oh, and Katz just changed it to piss us off.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    My esteemed colleague's opinion aside did anyone else go into fits of shitting glee when the saw that Katz wrote:
    a woofer that can't hide its inane writing and plot behind a lot of open source blabber and some tech-savvy consultants
    God, Katz really is amazingly inept for someone that points out his own flaws so often. You would think eventually he would get sick of himself.
  • Hey! It's an alpha release of their review! Just submit the errors in, and wait for the next release!
  • by freeBill ( 3843 ) on Thursday January 18, 2001 @11:40AM (#498429) Homepage
    ...out of four.

    This movie got a lot right. Some of it was silly. But almost everything in these reviews is wrong.

    Katz is blatantly lying to say he got the ending from the first 10 minutes. It involves a surprise ending which is only partially telegraphed.

    Tim Robbins does a brilliant job of showing both the good and bad side of Bill Gates (to say nothing of the guy who got Ballmer right). The corporate culture at MS is well portrayed, showing the internal competition as well as the unethical practices vis-a-vis outsiders (no, I don't think Microsoft murders anybody). The idea of taking that internal competition a step further (in the surprise ending Katz lied about) was a good filmmaking idea, even if some of the tech reasons for it were plain silly.

    To portray this movie as Hollywood exploiting open source ignores the facts of the movie itself. It is clearly outside the Hollywood mainstream, made with a low budget (not a single special effect, that must be why /.ers are slamming it), and has received little promotion from its studio.

    This is a good movie. I enjoyed it. It raises issues which the general public may not be aware of (such as accusations of MS stealing code). It presents a naive view of open source (taking "information wants to be free" one more step to "knowledge belongs to all the people"). Silly, naive, but not anything you can't read on Slashdot every day.

    The reason why there may never be a good geek movie made is because geeks trash perfectly honest efforts like this with perfectly dishonest reviews like this one and the equally unwarranted attacks on "Mission to Mars."

    An interesting side note: The name "Antitrust" is not about antitrust violations or government action against monopolies. It comes from the question of who can be trusted (and is it possible to trust someone who has violated that trust). This is an interesting theme and is explored better in this movie than this movie was explored in these abominable reviews.
  • Remember MGM --> MPAA. Suddenly it's okay for linux hackers to participate in the development and watch the movie of an evil company? I'm pretty much disappointed
  • Well, yes, it's obvious that it's much easier for Microsoft execs to incorrectly influence MSNBC stories if they chose to, than it would be for, say Oracle, to influence CNN stories. This is a reality that shouldn't be ignored or forgotten. That's why it's only a matter of trust, because they've said they won't, but there's nothing technically or legally stopping them from changing their minds.

    But beyond that de-facto assumption, are there any other reasons to distrust them? Have they done any concrete actions which show that they're not trustworthy?

    Because, frankly, I'm surprised that they're as trustworthy as they are. From the begining, it seemed like it was obviously a bad thing for MS and NBC to join together. And I wonder what pressures or initial conditions exist that has kept them clean, despite strong short-term pressures to act improperly.

  • The thing that grabbed me, as the most immediately obnoxious, was that they didn't even pretend to use a real address. I'd like to give the producers the benefit of the doubt, and say that they did it on purpose. So that some poor real site wouldn't get slammed by ppl trying to connect to the satellites. More likely, they were just sloppy.

    All in all, I've been recommending it to geeky friends of mine, as being great for a laugh. And advising everyone else to avoid it like the plague. I walked out smiling, only because it was so absurd.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Who the hell is going through this whole thread [] moderating down everyone? The comment was on-topic, and none of the responses are offtopic (or trolls), yet somebody (who apparently really likes Katz) is going through moderating down all of the responses.

    To the moderator: that's really cheap. Don't down-moderate people just because you don't like their opinions, because you wouldn't like it if someone did that to you.

  • I totally agree, this movie was just a hollywood movie, and was meant to get geeks and normal people into the theater so that geeks could have a movie that pretty technically accurate, and normal people could just have another enjoyable movie. Why do we care that "They then commit their perfidy to videotape, and leave the evidence in non-encrypted, accessible files."? IT'S JUST A MOVIE!!!!! Of course a real corporation would have taken more precautions, but it's just a movie Jon. I wouldn't have liked it either if I had picked apart every little detail of it. We all know the wonderful job that Hollywood did with "Hackers," and I think that many people went to see antitrust with the attitude that it would just be another bad wanna-be geek movie. You have to see this movie with an open mind and realize that it's not just for geeks. Sure this movie could have used a little work, but it had great actors (esp. Tim Robbins) and a decent plot, it wasn't GREAT, but enjoyable.
  • Here Here.

    I too enjoyed, unlike others, I set my Reality to "Suspended". Yeah some things weren't possible, like burning a CD in less than 10 seconds, but so what?

    I mean the basic technology of the story, streaming media to all devices, isn't really within the realm of reality now. But hey, it's a movie.

    Besides, it had some really great lines. "Bill who?", 'Do you want to change the world?' 'Not really.'

  • courtesy would dictate that you label any comments which do contain spoilers and perhaps rot13 them.

    ROT13 only helps unless you've used it for so long that you can read the cipher text as though it were clear text... :)


  • I found it amusing that the message "Knowledge and information should be free to all people" was being touted by the same industry that brought you the DeCSS case.
  • Great at least there's someone who shares my opinion. And why do Open Source hackers contribute to a very proprietary Hollywood movie?
    Guess they're even more money hungry than M$.
  • Ok, I just skipped Katz's review, for the obvious reasons.

    Second review was pretty close on. I went in *wanting* to like the movie, and although the script was *definitely* clunky in the beginning, things starting improving and it did, indeed, become a fairly enjoyable PG-13 thriller. I *expect* to have to grit my teeth at inaccuracies in any movie remotely involving computers (even 'Pi'), and my teeth were surprisingly unworn out when leaving, and that made it all good. Also, I went with my non-techie girlfriend, so it was especially good to see the geeks win at the end. I think the movie captured the essentially idealism of free software pretty well. Even my girlfriend laughed and cheered in recognition when the heros start scrolling the stolen-and-supressed source code on the video broadcast. It was great. =)

    Granted, I've also distributed DeCSS on flyers in Times Square in New York, so the idea appealed to me deeply. =)

    Now the promised geek notes:

    • Yes, I did notice the red fedora on the spy cam and laughed out loud. I had to explain to my girlfriend that that was a very inside joke.
    • Was I the only one who groaned when the ex-cop said "dust the colon and backslash keys: those are the ones that geeks use and normal people don't"? My colon and backslash have been unused (well, at the shell prompt at least) since giving up DOS almost a decade ago. The shell prompt being used is definitely UNIXish, and none of the commands typed on screen involve those evil characters. "*Forward-slash*!" I shouted, accidentally.
    • Ron Rivest's wife Gail was at the showing I attended. She noticed my unintended outburst above and had to make sure I knew that her husband was the 'R' in RSA (RSA Data Security actually heavily sponsored the film). I knew that, of course, and we had a pleasant discussion of the odd peculiarities of my PhD advisor, Martin Rinard, whom she knew well. =)
    • I thought that if I were a *true* geek, I'd be able to tell where the 10.X.X.X IP addresses used in the movie actually corresponded to. (Hint, not a satellite). I can't recall if they're a class-A private subnet or not -- I only use the class-B private subnets.

    That's all the geekiness I can recall for now. =) One other note, though: the movie skips quite a bit of plot at the very end --- actually, terribly typically for a PG-13 thriller. I'd love to hear people's ideas about *exactly* what happens after the Chinese dinner.

  • by Brolly ( 151540 ) on Thursday January 18, 2001 @09:25AM (#498440)
    Goodlooking geeks? Now we're drifting into the fantasy genre!
  • Call me naive, but what is the fascination of geeks and bongo drums? Several geeks that I have met like to get tribal with these.
  • by psychosis ( 2579 ) on Thursday January 18, 2001 @10:41AM (#498442)
    I agree! It was a MOVIE, folks! Ask anyone who works or is intimately familiar with a subject portrayed on the big screen, and guess what?
    Hollywood sensationalizes everything they touch!
    No big secret - you just have to be able to look at the small (and not so small) jabs on M$, and the references that only Open Source folks will see, and enjoy them.

    If nothing else, OpenSource people should see it just so they can let their non-geek friends and co-workers know what the realities and exaggerations were when/if they start a "I saw that Antitrust movie this weekend - you're into open source, right?" conversation.
    Go see it - at least a matinee - it's a good flick!

    Hey Katz, what did you want, a documentary on M$? That'll be on PBS someday, and it will probably still be slanted one way or the other. It's called the media....

  • by OlympicSponsor ( 236309 ) on Thursday January 18, 2001 @09:26AM (#498443)
    "It may, however, be the first film in history to prominently feature the GNOME desktop."

    Edison's first film back in the early 1900's/late 1800's was "Fred Ott's Sneeze" which featured a several second clip of a man sneezing. Everyone already knows this. What I thought everyone ALSO knew was that Edison's second film was "Fred Ott's Linux Desktop Session Manager" guessed it, GNOME. Sure this was back before 1.0, but all the major features were there. Fred even demonstrates an early version of Mozilla (although it core dumps when he tries to load the Java on Standard Oil's website).
    MailOne []
  • Those were two things I was going to comment on, the .java extensions are obviously Java. The burners used across the movie were ZipCD's, which are rewritable drives. So if you're merely re-writing something onto a CDRW it takes sheer moments. The fact that they were external, and possibly USB, means that if they were actually burning anything they were using the 2.2 or 2.4 kernel. Wow, that would have been funny to see a SIGSEGV or something fly on screen.
  • Sigh... NURV in Antitrust is based on MS. I hate explaining jokes, I hate explaining my lame jokes even more. It just exposes their lameness.

    But I'll bet there's only a dozen people reading who understood what the hell I was talking about anyway, so I don't feel *to* stupid.
  • NURV's evil tentacles engulf young Hoffman, reaching into every corner of his life, into government, politics, and, of course, most of all into the mass media.
    Eeek! But I don't even pirate Microsoft software anymore! I work on Linux! Help!

    It's weird when people in movies have the same name as you. :-)

    Torrey Hoffman (Azog)
  • I actually liked the film. No, it wasn't 100% technically correct.. but it doesn't have to be. Duh, its the movies... not a documentary!!!!!!

    Normally, I think Katz is on track with most his writings, but this is just dumb. Its a fricken movie people. Get over it. I enjoyed it, for its entertainment value.
  • Has it ever occurred to anyone that Hollywood isn't interested in targetting US, or in getting in touch with US? Hollywood is OUT TO MAKE MONEY, and their in the entertainment business. To MAKE MONEY, they target the mass of people out there who HAVE MONEY and MAKE UP MOST OF THE AUDIENCE. Geeks are NOT a majority. The movie was most likely not for us. Go figure.

    So why does everyone make a fuss about it? Second, I thought the movie was pretty cool; this is ENTERTAINMENT, not TRUTH for the MASSES, but FUN. So why does just about all of you take something like a MOVIE seriously?

  • I saw this movie last Saturday, over 13 days. I thought this was a great movie, however, I wasn't expecting it to be about opensource. I am a senior in college and am less than a year away from my BS in CS. For me, I thought this was a great movie. I don't like microsoft. However, I think the ideas that the CEO of NURV presented to Milo at the begining sounded great. I enjoyed finding out who Milo could trust, and couldn't. and the "Couselor" role that the CEO played for Milo. I treated any good opensource scenes as a iceing on the cake. You can't expect the world to understand opensource fully yet. I would put this movie as a cross between Sneakers, Net, and a James Bond movie. Lets face it, things in James Bond are stupid, such as the Carver world network, like synapsis in a way, and the corny or unrealistic scenes. My recomendation is to see the movie as a "what if this happened, or is going on, or will go on". All I knew about the movie going in was it was about some company with to much power and about a programmers friend being killed for some reason. Just don't look for the errors in the movie. Look for the fun intertaining scenes that are funny. (I personally liked the scene when Milo says, "Don't Bill Gates have that?". It's not often that a movie will take real tech stuff in to a movie. Hackers the movie sucked, but was stupid-funny, the net was unrealistic and dumb in some ways, but I think atitrust is the next movie on the ever-improving tech movie industry. --Brandon
  • by catseye_95051 ( 102231 ) on Thursday January 18, 2001 @02:44PM (#498451)
    "The computers have a real operating system on them (GNOME) and programmers have real code on their screens (it looks like some flavor of C). "

    Actually over on Java lobby the've identified the piece of code in the still on the Antiturst website as a fragment of Java Web Server, which was open sourced.

    Does this mean if I contact the producers they have to send me the complete Java Web Server source? ;)
  • I too got a kick out of the Red Fedora, the cameos by folks like Miguel De Icaza, and the Gnome Desktop everywhere...

    ...but then it hit me; This movie is all about product placement. If it had anything to do with Science Fiction or Fantasy, there would have been a lot more imagination displayed, rather than reading like some exercise in lucid dreaming. Cliche's abound, like the infamous running the clock down to detonation, or pointing the deadly sesame seed. Instead, it was just a minor work in fiction without much effort.

    The real purpose of the movie was Product Placement. Pepsi products and Pringles, Gnome, Open Source Software, Open Source Ideologies, Open Source Celebraties, Apple Hardware, Cars of Status, and houses doing tricks from Xerox labs twenty years ago.

    If you're polarized on topics like Capitalism or Coca Cola, you'll like find the movie polarizing too. But if you're just out to see an action flick with fast talk and the occassional the-more-you-look--the-more-you-see layers of detail, it's a cool little flick.

    Milo! That's got sesame seeds! What were you thinking!?!

  • I'd definitely agree here. There are many points of view from which I could look at this film.

    I could be a film critic, looking at every plot flaw, every shallow character, every blatant product placement, every buzzword thrown... all of which were present in this movie.

    If I went to the movie looking to gain some deep-down philosophical insight, I would probably criticize the movie for lack thereof.

    If I saw this movie for education on the current state of the software industry, I would find little more than stuffed shirts and lip service.

    If I decided to view this film for a stirring emotional story, a compelling commentary on modern society, or a treatise on the moral ambiguity of our age, I would probably come away a disappointed.

    However, none of these points of view represents me. I can choose why I want to watch movies. I can read reviews, and I can agree or disagree with them. But in the end, in my personal lifestyle, I choose to watch movies purely for entertainment. Perhaps for some people, to be entertained, they must also be intellectually engaged by the form of entertainment. There's nothing wrong with that - and if you are a person who does derive intellectual worth from films, then that's perfectly fine. I don't. My brain is stimulated by my academic studies, by work, by reading of literature, and by my observation and reflection on the real people around me. I watch movies because I want to laugh at stupidity, say "oooh" at "cool" things, wince at blood and gore. I don't go out to the first-run movies too often, so I am willing to shell out $8.50 on occasion to catch such a film.

    I've had this discussion before, after riding home from several movies with friends who are film students. We basically reach the impasse that they are analyzing the movies, looking for the artistic qualities in them, and generally feeling disappointed. I, on the other hand, came away from those same movies feeling entertained.

    I feel that both points of view are equally valid - people who are very critical of movies should realize and accept that there are those of us out there who simply aren't critical, and those of us who are not critical of movies need not feel threatened by those who are.

    In the end, AntiTrust served its purpose to me of entertainment, and justified a rare $8.50 ticket price.
  • I would not call selling people software without letting see the source very ethical. Remember: MS inserted code to detect when Win3.1 was not running on MSDOS. If so, it deliberately put up a message warning of "possible incompatibility", when in fact, there was no compatibility becuase of the excellent reverse engineering by DRDOS.

    When I walk into a car dealership, I demand to see the engine. Sure I can't fix anything, but I think I can tell the difference between an 8 cyclinder and 2 cyclinder engine. Same thing - one should expect to see the source code to the software one buys, without having to sign an NDA. As an example, how can do you know that Quicken does not send a report for your finances to someone else. Without examining the code, how could you maintain it doesn't?

  • by Janthkin ( 32289 ) on Thursday January 18, 2001 @10:51AM (#498475)
    Well, I saw this movie. And I enjoyed this movie. It was all I would hope for, given how little I'd heard about it, and how little I paid to see it. Bottom line: it entertained me.

    What I found MOST amusing was the obvious product placement of anti-MS people: the afore-mentioned GNOME is obvious, but did how could you miss the prominent placement of Sun logos at times? Or how about the more subtle Handspring Visor on the main character's desk? These are companies I can see spending bucks on an anti-MS propaganda flick. It's the little things that make movies worth seeing....
  • It didn't seem like it took him much effort to access them when he was at the TV station. I sure didn't see any VPN client being fired up. It made it seem like if you knew the IP, they would be accessible from anywhere.

    And it was very convenient, that the TV station was 100% compatible with the systems in use by NURV.

    Just felt wrong to me, at the time I was watching the movie.
  • (In other words, I don't think it's a matter of perception becoming reality, it's probably more a matter of healthy skepticism. But there may be a version of reality that's hidden from the average viewer. Does anyone have the scoop on such an actual not-just-suspected reality?)
  • hahaha john katz said power snatch
    a funny comment: 1 karma
    an insightful comment: 1 karma
    a good old-fashioned flame: priceless
  • ...can be found at LinuxWorld.

    For his review [], Joe Barr actually paid attention during the movie and asked maddog, Linus and Michael about their participation. His comments are more to the point as well.

  • by ch-chuck ( 9622 ) on Thursday January 18, 2001 @11:06AM (#498503) Homepage
    would have the movie's source code - the SCRIPT - available for comment and peer criticism before shooting begins and maybe get a plausible plot about this software drama from the point of view of those actually involved, instead of being relegated to the role of mere technical advisors.

    What I'm getting at is the irony that probably everything in this flick is copyright protected, controlled and produced by a small group of writers, cathedral style, just like what 'evil' software companies produce.
  • by jafac ( 1449 ) on Thursday January 18, 2001 @11:08AM (#498505) Homepage
    fuck that. What the review said was that it wasn't worth $8. Most crap at the theaters isn't worth $8. Was it good enough to wait for video rental or second run ($4)? sure, guess so.

    But remember, it's not the audience that started this whole "taking movies too seriously" thing, it was the movie industry, who decided that they were entitled to billions of dollars in profit, regardless of the quality of the product.

    Be a wise and responsible consumer - read reviews BEFORE you go see a lame-ass peice of crap. If it's bad, DON'T reward "them" by paying $8. Sneak in, or wait for it to be second-run, or watch a matinee, or wait for it to be on PPV or rentals, (or Scour).

    The more you encourage them, the more ticket prices will climb, and the more the quality will drop.
  • The letter is written and sent, with credit to Chaim..very neat..
  • by xmutex ( 191032 ) on Thursday January 18, 2001 @09:28AM (#498512) Homepage
    Since when has the open source movement "rocked" Corporate America? What sort of blathering fantasy is that?

    As it much as it pains me to say, the official score is still Corporate America 1, Open Source Movement 0.
  • Actually, my girlfriend quite indignantly corrected me: "I got the joke! I know what Red Hat is!" My having owned (and in fact still owning) RHAT stock having something to do with this. =) I didn't even try to explain the Alan Cox angle to her, though. =)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 18, 2001 @09:30AM (#498519)
    If only the free programs wore blue and the non-free programs wore red... Maybe give them the ability to absorb colors from each other... And discs! Every program should come with a disc that can be used like a frisbee... And a game brig! That would be cool... How about a Master Control Program?..

    End Of Line.
  • Why is it that it is the lawyers that get all the glamour? Here we are, the geeks who built this industry up from the ground, expending our blood, sweat, tears and various other bodiliy fluids in the case of some, and here we are, we have reached the promised land of world domination. But does the entertainment industry make films about us? No, do they hell, instead they glamourise the lawyers, as uaual.

    Many of us were inspired by the geeks of our youth - Einstein, Feynman and the like were loved by the media like film stars. But todays generation of geeks seem too corporate, too boring, too robotic to be idolised. Who will the next generation of geeks be inspired by? Nobody, I guess.

    I think it is about time that we made a conscious effort, starting here on /., to inspire and entertain the youth of the world. Throw away those biros! Get rid of your pocket calculator! Buy a pair of Bongo drums and start grooving with the geeks of the 21st century.

    If you don't, our type will die, and technology will grind to a halt.

  • eg. truckloads of gold driving around You referring to Die Hard: With a Vengeance? I thought they did a good job with that ... having Sam Jackson struggling to carry his ONE bar, and commenting on how "fuckin' heavy" it was.
  • by cybermage ( 112274 ) on Thursday January 18, 2001 @09:32AM (#498538) Homepage Journal
    It occured to me after watching this that a great scene at the end would have been to have a Linux user glance over at his TV to see the big broadcast and then look back at his still working Gnome desktop and shrug at all the fuss.

  • I enjoyed the well-crafted film. But I loathe the false alternative that it presents:
    Anyone who can
    really code would give his code away and demand that others give their modifications away -- as a matter of "moral" principal, while anyone who would want to profit from software development can't really code and must steal code from real coders, killing them in some cases.
    What a load of crap. This movie isn't about open source or about "Evil M$". It's about ignoring real alternatives to this idiotic Holy War. When this film speaks of open source, it's really GPL that is meant (or actually the "moral superiority" embodied by GPL). Try to think of BSD when open source is mentioned. It doesn't fit with the theme.

    I'm grateful to everyone who has created so many wonderful things and released them freely, whether as full-functioning shareware, freeware, public domain, BSD, or even GPL or $-ware. The author of any package is the rightful person to decide the terms by which others my use and change it. But to lay claim on all yet uncreated software and demand that it be open source -- as a "moral" imperative -- is a priori theft.

    -B... [mailto]
  • The only witty or telling time the movie hits home is when it jabs at Microsoft's alliance with news entities like NBC... this relationship undermines their credibility in coverage of technology-related issues.

    Is there any/much evidence that MSNBC has done anything that would decrease their credibility? Other than just the image thing?

    I've been very surprised by some of the anti-MS stories that have showed up on MSNBC. Or is this just a ploy? Put really obvious anti-MS stories up, but when there's something that isn't so visible but could hurt MS greatly, then don't air that one?

  • Way to go Jon Katz for telling off those shallow Hollywood people for jumping on a bandwagon and making inacturate, largely fictional, and stereotyped depictions of "Geeks", pretending that they are on our side when they really don't have a clue what they are talking about!

    (Maybe he should have patended the business model...)
  • Anyone notice during the scenes of Milo flipping through the spy-cams while in the daycare center that one of them showed a man wearing a red fedora with his feet up on his desk? :)

    Also, I thought the movie was fairly decent for a first shot at open source in hollywood. We can't expect a big summer "blockbuster" the first time out. Take it for what it is: Good press. And invite all of your friends to see it.

    As I was leaving the theater last night I noticed a fair number of old people. I really wonder how many of them (or of the audience in general) understood what was going on. We need a real solid documentary on open source that is light enough that the average person can find it entertaining.
  • Again, totally agreed.

    Look -- if Hollywood came out with a true, straight up, accurate portrayal of anything in computers, whether it be open source, system cracking, or anything else, it will be a four hour long pile of boring drivel that I sure as hell wouldn't want to sit through.

    It's fun to live vicariously through the eyes of Hollywood -- Bill Gates Could Be Watching You! You might, someday, screw over a company like Microsoft and make a contribution to the world! Someday, every geek will be accompanied by a beautiful mate who loves him or her very much!

    Until then, we can all only live our own little worlds, where we might have one or two of the above. Lighten up. Enjoy it as a movie, not as a screenplay generated from a Stephen Levy book.
  • Never Underestimate Radical Dorkiness!

    (like this movie?)

    I've been hearing that this is a great movie to laugh at; is it really full of MST3K fodder or what?

  • I'm with you on this one. They've been pretty good about reporting what is news, independant of their affiliation of MS. If CNN is running a ten second blurb on it, you'd be safe to bet MSNBC blew it up into a thirty second spot, complete with commentary and rebuttal.

    On the other hand, it's still a third rate news network, and I'd rather watch CNN or Fox News over them pretty much anyday..
  • by TeckWrek ( 220789 ) on Thursday January 18, 2001 @09:37AM (#498572)
    everyone of the developers is using an x86 running GNOME, but everytime Tim Robbins hands Milo a piece of code, Tim always shows it to Milo on the new Titanium G4 laptop. Does anybody else also think that there is a subtle reference to history here??

  • === Are you all mad? This movie rocked! ===

    Ok, ok, Let me elaborate. I went into the theater expecting another Hackers (in fact, I really wanted to see Thirteen Days, but my wife insisted on Antitrust). I came out, however, thoroughly amazed, and I argue that you should be, too. I understand that there were some things about the movie that could have beed done better, but all you naysayers are overlooking several outstandingly positive facts that seem blatantly obvious to me:

    Oh yeah, I almost forgot. <ASSHOLE TYPE=POMPOUS>
    • There was very little 'Hollywoodization' of the computers. It could have been like in The Net, Jurassic Park, or *shudder* even Hackers. There could have been VR gloves, head plugs, and skateboards galore. But no, we had real operating systems. We had prominent featuring of a free Unix. We had a prominent featuring of Gnome (which is great, even for a KDE fan like myself). The hero used a what looked like a real command line. We had real code. We had real code. WE HAD REAL CODE.
    • The hackers were the heros. With all the assaults on hackers that have been cascading from the media, it sure is nice to see an audiovisual mass communication system showing scenes where the hacker is the hero and the media, law enforcement, and corporations are the bad guys. Someone had some serious cojones to do this...
    • The open source movement got some very positive, prominent advertising. So what if it was simplistic and inserted somewhat haphazardly into the script. It was open source, it was the good guys, and many everyday people will walk away from the theater with some understanding of what it is (along with a positive bias).
    • One of the movie's main statements was "knowledge belongs to all the people". Isn't that what many of us on slashdot have been fighting for for?
    • I'm sorry, but seeing, on a giant movie screen, a Bill Gates lookalike with the words "I AM MURDERING PROGRAMMERS", superimposed and flashing, will be something I will cherish for the rest of my life.
    People, this was a movie, made by a move producer and friends. Given the limits on imagination caused by their lack of first-hand knowledge in the programmer's culture, this was an excellent job.

    SecretAsianMan (54.5% Slashdot pure)
  • by emgeemg ( 182902 ) on Thursday January 18, 2001 @09:40AM (#498587) Homepage
    The computers have a real operating system on them (GNOME)

    I give this review 1 out of 4 stars on technical accuracy. GNOME is not an OS!
  • Does anybody else notice the similarities between this movie's "NURV" and the "NERV" from Evangelion? (Software called 'Synapse'? Geez, rip off!)
  • Hmm. Looks like someone is running around modding down all the anit-Katz comments. Let's see if he get's this one...
  • by ryanw ( 131814 ) on Thursday January 18, 2001 @09:42AM (#498595)
    It's sad that every time anyone trys to do something to please us unix guys/gals we just tell them it's not good enough ... I mean hell, GNOME is on the big screen and they're pushing Open Source! Sure, it would be nice to have good actors and decent lines, but they're starting to at least attempt to make it realistic ...

    Every time they try to please us somebody bags on them .. this movie for example, another example is Loki .. hardly anyone is BUYING their stuff ... we all want all the games in the world ported to linux .. but nobody is buying them..

    I dunno, just sad to see that even when they try to make us happy we don't return the favor.
  • Not having source mean one is more susceptible to fraud than having it.

    As for code, other laws exist to deal with people copying your code. Patent law could be useful that way.

  • I saw it, and I gotta say, I loved it. But what you have to bear in mind is, it's NOT trying to be a movie that represents. For crying out loud.

    The biggest thing that impressed me about the movie was, THEY ACTUALLY got it all right. When they opened up a shell, *IT WAS A SHELL!*.. I mean heck, traditional movies would have this fancy 'undelete' screen that would magically recover files.. They actually had him restoring the friggen inode table. That just rocked..

    Basically, to make my statement short, and very sweet..


    Heck, many geeks favorite movie is 'Heathers'. My personal favorite as well. I suppose you guys wanna rip it to shreads becouse it doesn't 'acuratly portray the typical highschool students'.. Shesh..

    Have a beer. Sit back.. Relax..

    Oh, one more thing.. *I SO WANT their CUBES!*
  • Consider the film's conceit, for instance, that one of the ways the evil corporation NURV ("Never Underestimate Radical Vision") stays competitive is to use hidden video cameras to spy on the keyboards of all the smart young programmers in the world and feed their discoveries into a central network -- hidden in a day care center. They then commit their perfidy to videotape, and leave the evidence in non-encrypted, accessible files. That's only one example of the screenplay's foolishness.

    Oh for crying out loud Katz. Normally, I like some of your insights..

    Do you really thing if that Nightmare on Elm Street is about a REAL street? Or could even happen? LIGHTEN UP!..

    Besides. A good majority of the world doesn't live in an IT utopia. Seems to me that when real hacker broken in to Microsoft, they wheren't looking at encrypted data either.
  • Controlling big media is a powerful lure for all sorts of people these days, but in America, you don't have to murder hordes of programmers to do it. You can just hire them.

    Oh *COMMON*. And in the last Star Trek movie they coulda just blasted the bonehead from space. But what fun would there be in that??

    It's Movie.. Makebelieve..

    Man, you musta had one SUCK of a childhood, or your to darned old to remember..
  • I did find one oopsie as I was watching the movie. At one point, they display a file clearly written in 'C', but he saves and compiles it as a '.java' file.. :-) We forgive you..

    Say, anyone actually get enough of the source to see what the functions actually *DID*?
  • My favorite part was when it scrolled on the screen..

    "This Transmition brought to you by this source code.."
  • by levik ( 52444 ) on Thursday January 18, 2001 @09:45AM (#498611) Homepage
    I saw this film on Friday (though with no high expectations -- the "Castaway" show I was hoping to catch was sold out), and it sucked (as you may have guessed from the reviews).

    But my big problem with the film isn't the fact that the story was bad, or that major technical errors were made. I believe that the movie trivializes the entire open source movement.

    The movie basically said that the company was bad because they killed programmers, without getting into the topic of anti-competitive practices that still obeyed the letter of the law.

    It upheld all the stereotypes that have plagued our comunity throughout its existence.

    It leads us to believe that if the Windows source code was to be broadcast over the internet tomorrow, all the problems with microsoft will go away.

  • Yes, I did notice the red fedora on the spy cam and laughed out loud. I had to explain to my girlfriend that that was a very inside joke.

    As did I.. :-) My wife didn;t get it.. 'It was just a guy with a hat on.. Yer reaching' she said.. :-)
  • *ROTFL* Man, I wish I had mod points.. I just spewed my Pepsi.. :-)
  • How many chiefs of security at major technology corporations run off and leave their workstations unlocked and logged in?

    Lots... Happens every day..

    How many CEOs of tech corporations routinely leave their satellite control computers unlocked and logged in?

    Dunno, how many COE's with Satalite control systems you know?

    How many TCP-IP-based networking programs are advanced enough to control satellite networks but are too primitive to actually REMEMBER IP addresses instead of requiring you to manually enter them by hand each time you want to connect?

    K, 1 point for you.. :-)

    How many people are smart enough to rise to the level of CEO but dumb enough to think they can base their company's success on murder without getting caught?

    And I quote.. 'Well, I'm not sure.. What do you mean by competition.. No, we wheren't competing with them.. Well, Yes, they offered a competing product, but your messing with the definitions..'.. :-) 'Nuff said..

    How many tech-savvy murderers would be dumb enough to leave video-recorded evidence of their crimes available on unencrypted file stores accessible by developer-level employees?

    Dunno.. How many Elm Streets have a guy with very large razors on his fingers slashing people up? :-)

    How many real-life "genius" developers do you think could immediately take some random piece of undocumented source code (written on a different platform by totally unknown persons), look at it for a mere 10 seconds, and not only understand what it does but be able to comment on the extent of its elegance or cleverness?

    Two points.. :-)

    How many entry-level developers at Microsoft were recruited directly by Bill Gates, including a personal tour of his mansion?

    He wasn't an entry lvl guy man.. Shesh.. He was supposed to be a forking genius..

    Isn't it convenient how everyone in the world uses GNOME and unix-based OSes, and how easily portable all the code is among them?

    Err, I don;t follow you there. The basis of him being able to beam it down to everything was that the company had already gotten their software everywhere that could recieve it. Hence, basically.. Yes.. :-)

    There were so many completely unrealistic and unbelievable holes in this movie that all I could do was laugh and try not to miss my $7.50.

    Tell me.. Do you request a refund from Star Trek movies as well? Hrm.. Do you actually *WATCH* anything but documentaries? :-)
  • Warning: major spoilers ahead.

    We haven't had a movie that shows anything about the hacker mentality except a few horrible and misguided ones like Hackers, the Net, and the Matrix, so when I saw that Antitrust was coming out, I was very excited. Here was a chance to show the world just what we were made of, and I think it did an admirable job.
    1. When Milo stayed up all night on his project with a case of Mountain Dew and an eightball, I knew exactly how he felt. That's how we used to get by in the old days, too.
    2. The characters, while stereotyped, were accurate in my experience. You had the "Young Ambitious Geeks Who Just Want To Get Along" who got shafted in the end and the "Obsessive, Unscrupulous CEO" who never got the girl but who still managed to rule the world. I didn't think the shafting would have to include subterfuge and attacks on his pets, but otherwise, it was spot-on.
    3. Ryan Phillippe played the ultimate geek role, and while we can all agree he's more attractive than the average geek, he wasn't so attractive as to discredit the film. When he got acid thrown in his face in the penultimate scene, it was like a reaching out to our childhoods where we all got bullied around and shown who was boss. I'm surprised Katz with his Hellmouth series didn't pick up on this in his review.

    Remember: for all its foibles, Antitrust is still a good film by a good director. Ryan Philippe owned the screen last year in Varsity Blues. He's followed up that performance with a real gem in Antitrust.
  • The security manager... oh that's even more ludicrous... Whenever something happens he just takes off out of his monitoring station, leaving everything un-attended? I think in real life he would've dispatched security guards to check things out while he stayed put to watch what's going on.

    While what you say is how it SHOULD be, I know a security chief that is just like this guy. Their jobs are boring as hell and they tend to get into the power trips. If an event happens, there is no way they'd miss being right there in the middle of the action.

  • Well, if open/free source programmers learn anything from this movie, it should be to "commit early, commit often." If the murdered programmers did that, they'd still be walking around today! :)

    It was like watching a TV slasher movie where you're screaming "Don't open the damn door you stupid bitch." Instead, here it was, UPLOAD YOUR CHANGES YOU STUPID GEEK!

    btw, who keeps their backup server array 1 meter away from their primary storage (the day care scene)? Er, they need to contact EMC and set up mirrored storage up to several kilometers away, connected via fiber or fast IP link...

    ps: last post... :(

  • by anticlus ( 173042 ) on Thursday January 18, 2001 @09:52AM (#498630)
    i'm pretty sure that the cd burner featured in this god-forsaken movie must have a rating of nearly 900x. I think.
  • by SuperRob ( 31516 ) on Thursday January 18, 2001 @09:52AM (#498632) Homepage
    My wife, best friend, and I all went to see it last Friday night. We thought the movie was rather good, we liked the plot twists, we liked the not-so-subtle jabs at Microsoft, and we found the movie overall to be rather believeable, but not to the point of ruining the entertainment of it.

    Personally, I think anyone who came out not enjoying this movie was too busy analyzing it to let themselves enjoy it.

    While open-source zealots may have thought that the "open-source" movement may have sounded like a one-liner repeated over and over until the kid was beaten to death, I hate to say it but that's what you all sound like. I hear a lot about open-source, but it's mostly about how everything sucks if it's not. That was captured perfectly in the movie. Everything would be better if it were open-source, regardless of what that means.

    I liked the way Robbins portrayed the Winston character, just a bit over the top at times, but showed some of the manicness that Gates is known to display at times. Eloquence when "on camera," quiet wonderment when with other geniouses, and flashes of frustration and anger at any lack of creativity.

    And I definitely liked the idea that things were not quite where Milo expected them to be, and it kept me guessing as well.

    It was a good movie, not spectacular, but definitely one I'll see again (and probably own), and well worth the money. Loosen up a bit, don't go into it expecting too much, and you'll come away pleased.

  • Katz hated it? Must be good. Doesn't he hate horses and America too?
  • And the thing that is even more ironic than that is that a MPAA member in good standing made a film saying that "information wants to be free". I am ashamed of MadDog right now. And I *really* like him. I'll get over it, but I would love to ask him "Why, for the love of god, man did you do it?"
  • The First Wives Club featured Microsoft Office, so does that mean that it instantly lost karma in its Slashdot rating?
  • Why would anyone want the source code to Windows? We all know that Microsoft's true dominance in the workplace is because of Solitaire and Minesweeper.

    We must force Microsoft to release the source to these two programs to the world. Hacker's of the world unite!

    .....ok. I really need to lay off the junk food at lunch.
  • If Loki would port games that I am interested in, I would buy them. And NO, I will not buy any old game to show support for Linux games. If I buy the FPS, then they will make more of them. I don't want more of them. I want them to make RollerCoaster Tycoon, C&C, etc. Then I will buy those games.

    Until then, it's dual boot (well, actually, unplugging the monitor from the linux box and hooking it up to the Win box.)

  • And they didn't have to name the most prominent sub-villain Phil, either! Sure they did. That's Phil, the prince of insufficient light!
  • The way I've been describing it to my fellow geeks (no spoilers that the trailer wouldn't show you):

    "Bill Gates tries to tempt free software programmers to come work for him. When they refuse, he kills them."

    That's a gross exaggeration, but it puts it into the category of "Ok, that's so silly I have to see it."

    Besides, don't geeks always go see movies like this just to count geek references? I know I do. How long before the Antitrust FAQ shows up to tell us exactly what code they were looking at in all those shots?

  • Ryan Philippe owned the screen last year in Varsity Blues. He's followed up that performance with a real gem in Antitrust.

    Ryan Phillipe wasn't in "Varsity Blues." That guy from Dawson's Creek was. Ryan Phillipe was in "Studio 54" and "Cruel Intentions."

  • [Spoiler material. don't read me if you haven't seen the film]

    I thought this film was totally ridiculous. It looks as though someone with a great idea for a movie just slapped a whole much of sequences together with cheap glue.

    Seriously, if you were a multi-billionaire, would you really resort to murder? Do you know how much you risk? One mistake and you lose everything. And I mean everything! This movie would've been much better if they didn't resort to this low-level, Rambo-style plot. It would've been much more intellegient had NURF used other "non-murdering" ways to get what they wanted.

    And those evil henchmen... where'd they come up with these people? You mean to tell me some simple blackmail would get them to all work for you to commit more crimes? And isn't Tim Robin's character afraid that they might come and blackmail him back for the evil things he's doing?

    The security manager... oh that's even more ludicrous... Whenever something happens he just takes off out of his monitoring station, leaving everything un-attended? I think in real life he would've dispatched security guards to check things out while he stayed put to watch what's going on.

    Just when things couldn't get any better, the writer/director got stuck... What to do when the security manager catches Filipe's character? Well how about this? We just add a one-liner, something like... "wanna know what really goes on in this place?"... and magically, Mr. Security joins up with the "good" guys. Sigh...

    Those password screens... A few keystrokes and magical events take place. Just to break into an NT machine with a user password would take you hours our days, if you had some password cracker. No... all he needs is his 10 fingers and 50 keystrokes.

    Let me ramble on...

    After Filipe finds out about what might really be going on, who does he go to? Some co-worker (that black-haired girl) who works for Mr. Evil? Isn't that the stupidest thing to do? You trust no one, yet you spill your guts out to someone who works on the inside?

    Last but not least, in the beginning of the movie when they talked of open source, I just had to laugh... Yeah, we'll give the source out to the world for free, and get paid for "support"! After all why do we have capitalism instead of communism? Seems like in the movie, greed is evil (capitalism), and giving everything away for free is good (communism). Wake up already!

  • by Hard_Code ( 49548 ) on Thursday January 18, 2001 @10:04AM (#498669)
    Comments from other critics:

    Prof. John Frink: "Well, as any real geek can tell <glavin> this movie is highly overrated...what with the self-referential cliches <glavin> and the inaccurate depiction of programmers, and the clacking and clicking, and the spying, and the killing, oh the killing! <Glavin>!"

    Comic Book Guy: "I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, a DIVxed copy of which I downloaded a week before it was released to theaters, from alt dot nerd dot obsessive."

    Pedro: "esta película lastima mi cerebro!"

    Burns: "Exxxxcellent. Why, you know, in this day and age it is so rare to see the head of a giant corporation portrayed in such an honest and favorable manner."

    Lisa: "Obviously this is just more pop-culture tripe from Hollywood, and just another weak attempt to appeal to geeks."
  • Yeah, Gnome is Not and Operating system by Microsoft Employees
  • Compared to THe Net, this movie was great. The scene I enjoyed the most took place in the day care center(no, I wont go further). The music was perfect for when he makes the revelations.

    As for keeping all the incriminating evidence(avis, changed records, etc)? I'm assuming he's doing that so he can blackmail his employees. Dare to turn your back on me? I'll just give the cops all this evidence. Easy way to control your evil employees.

    I noticed there was quite a few open source jabs here and there, making me think that Slashdot's zealots had a hand in this movie.

    The work environment at NURV makes my place look like a dungeon.

    The computer screenshots and all that blabber was lot less inaccurate than any other movie I've seen. yes, I was trying to parse the HTML in the opening credits, seeing if I could find out what website it went to. It looked like a typical corporate index.html, where there was a link mentioning "download our latest beta!".

    I loved the source code detector they had rigged. If you saw the screenshots quickly it had labels for changed source code and new code.

    I'm assuming the source code that they were working with in the movie was all BS code. Anyone with quick eyes care to comment on it?

    I enjoyed it. It was fun. I wasn't looking for technical accuracy.
  • Apparently you don't recognize java when you see it.

    Look, the movie was not very good on story or plot. But is is PG-13, and made in America. Those two restrictions make pretty much any movie bad.

    There were a few funny lines.

    There were some cool screenshots.

    I thought the "Ted" character seemed a lot like most open source people I know. Emotional, gifted, etc.

    In a way, it was unfair to Microsoft. AFAIK, they have never directly killed anyone. Some people committed suicide when their companies were destroyed, homes and families lost, but that happens during economic downturns, etc. as well.

    I didn't expect much from this movie from the second I saw who the actors were. I figured it would have one-dimensional cutsie pie acting, and a story line that a drooling imbecile (IE, most Americans) could follow.

    Therefore, I wasn't disappointed. I reccommend all geeks see it, but fer chrissakes let the criticism go for awhile -- it's a silly movie for kids. just let it go.

  • writing code is the manual labour of tomorrow, and a task that will become automated

    Automated? How? By writing a program to do it presumably. And who will do that? The programmers of tommorow of course. And they will will be well paid to do so. Thus it is the programmers of the day after tommorow who will be unnecessary. The programmers of tommorow will do just fine.

    Care about freedom?

  • by Kagato ( 116051 ) on Thursday January 18, 2001 @10:23AM (#498680)
    "You know, for Kids."

    Alright, now if any of the five people on slashdot who got that have mod points hand em over!
  • If you consider that he displays the full source on screen at the end, then it can't be that much data. It is quite reasonable that he was just using CD-Rs when he didn't have all that much data. If he were burning a few MB that would have been completely reasonable.


  • The Windows source code [] was released a long time ago.


An elephant is a mouse with an operating system.