HP issued, on June 18, a
proclaiming that Disney had chosen HP's Linux-based
systems "as components in its next-generation digital animation production
pipeline." It looks like another big win for Linux, and the press has
generally portrayed it that way. And it is true: Linux continues to grow
in popularity as people and companies come to understand its advantages.
LWN has generally applauded Linux's commercial successes - more users will,
in the end, mean more developers and more and better free software. And that
could prove to be true in this case as well. But we should not lose track
of another, important point: Disney is one of the prime movers behind the
CBDTPA - a law which would make Linux illegal.
Disney thinks that free operating systems (or free computers in general)
are a threat to its business, and thus something to be outlawed. Free DVD
players are not to be allowed. Oppressive digital rights management
systems will put an end to any sort of fair use of copyrighted materials.
The people can not be trusted with control over their own systems.
Meanwhile, back at Disney: "Walt Disney Feature Animation will employ HP's Linux
infrastructure to give artists more powerful tools to translate their
artistry into animation while achieving significant cost
Supplying Linux to Disney thus looks like aiding the enemy - how much of
those "significant cost reductions" will be applied to maintaining the
company's private Senators in Washington? But consider this scenario: by
the time a new, son-of-CBDTPA starts to look like it might pass, much of
Disney's operation could be based on, and dependent on, free software.
What fun it would be to attend the meeting where CEO Michael Eisner is made
aware of what capabilities would be lost - and how much it would cost - if
the company's free software had to be replaced with proprietary code
carrying the Big Brother Stamp of Approval.
So Linux's infiltration into Disney could well be something to be encouraged.
With luck, freedom slipping in from below could end up subverting the
repressive plans of the leadership. One can always hope...
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