Is Disney’s Anti Open Source Kid Inspired By Bill Gates?

A popular Disney sitcom Shake it Up, which is telecast around the globe, attacks open source as a ‘rookie mistake‘. In a recent episode one character who is dressed up like mini Bill Gates a nerd was asked to fix the laptop (MacBook Air) of another character and the conversation between the two went like this:

Nerd: “Did you use open source code to save time, and the virus was hidden in it?”
Girl: “Maybe…”
Nerd: “Rookie mistake!”

Bad Timing For Disney

The timing of the show is bad for Disney who recently announced the release of Pixar’s Open SubDiv under the Open Source Microsoft Public License and this episode implies that open source is dangerous. Given the size of company Disney is, I won’t believe that it was an organized propaganda, but it does show the writer or R&D team of the show is living on some remote island without any connection to the real words.

Clueless Writer Or Propaganda?

We don’t know how this ‘rookie mistake’ ended up on a popular show. I don’t know, and I don’t imply why those lines were written. There are several possibilities. One possibility is that the writer of the show is either clueless about open source and just threw some jargons to show how ‘tech savvy’ the kid is.

The second possibility could be that the writer himself is some sort of anti-open source fanboy and wanted to use the show to cleverly send out this message to kids.

The third possibility is that the writer was portraying the kid as mini Bill Gates (notice the hair style and big glasses) who believed open source creates a system where no one can innovate.

Bill Gates

In a Wired story, Bill Gates declared that open cripples innovation.

Open source, he said, creates a license “so that nobody can ever improve the software.”

Irreparable Damage To Open Source

The episode has caused an irreparable damage to the Open Source/Free Software world. Next time when the kids, who watched this show, hear the word open source they will immediately think: Open Source means virus and refrain from using anything open source.

No apology or press statement from Disney is going to repair the harm as those kids are neither going to read such press statement or apology. The only way of right this wrong is by clarifying this in the future episode where some kid takes time to explain how secure and valuable Open Source is for human society, especially to kids who learn everything from each other and share knowledge.

Will Disney take some pains and do this in the future episode or will we see more such secret messages from Hollywood to give open source a negative image?

Edited by Zachary Bittner

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About Swapnil Bhartiya

A free software fund-a-mental-ist and Charles Bukowski fan, Swapnil also writes fiction and tries to find cracks in the paper armours of proprietary companies. Swapnil has been covering Linux and Free Software/Open Source since 2005.

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