Walt Disney’s Real Commitment To Open Source


The Internet lights its torches

There has been a lot of buzz around the Internet lately regarding Disney’s view of Open Source software after a bizarrely scripted episode of Shake It Up, a run-of-the-mill, Saturday morning style sitcom for tweens.  The Internet at large reacted to the show’s small segment with a torrent of negativity, calling Disney “Brainwashers”.

We even reported on the segment here at The Powerbaseimplying that long-term harm may have been done to tarnish the image of Open Source in the minds of the youths that may have been watching the program.  For reference, here is the clip and a script:

Boy: “Did you use open source code to save time, and the virus was hidden in it?”

Girl: “Maybe…”

Boy: “Rookie mistake!”

For your consideration

Now, it’s easy to form a witch-hunt, especially when you get to spit on a multi-billion dollar corporation that doesn’t always act in the best interests of the consuming public.  It’s also a great excuse for a little yellow journalism, which we are also guilty of as a publication.  But sometimes it’s good to take a step back and get the truth.  That’s what we’ve learned thanks to reader joker159.

In his comment, he brought to light the actual contribution of Disney within the Open Source community and places the blame on those responsible for the production of the show.  I couldn’t agree with him more.

Walt Disney Studios claims ownership of 7 Open Source projects.  From that page:

Open Source Software has a special meaning for Walt Disney Animation Studios (WDAS). The Studio has a deep history of technological innovation, ranging from pioneering the use of digital methods for creating hand-drawn animation using the Academy Award® winning software, CAPS, to developing 3D painting and rendering techniques in Deep Canvas, also Academy Award® winning software. Through the years, the Studio has continued to innovate in all aspects of creating animated works. As the state of the industry has changed, allowing Open Source Software to become a common foundation for many technologies, WDAS has championed the use of and now contributes to such software. In short, we want to contribute back to the community; therefore, we have established this platform. We encourage you to investigate and use the technologies we are sharing. We also very much welcome your collaboration and contribution in these areas.

Read more about Ptex, BRDF Explorer, Se*Expr(), Reposado, Partio, Munki and Dynamica at the source link below.

Source | Disney Animation

About Dean Howell

Aside from being a huge Sega fan, Dean is an LPIC certified Linux professional with over a decade experience. In addition to spending his free time burning through the classics from Sega and evangelizing open source, he's also the editor-in-cheif of The Powerbase.
  • Mickey Mouse

    How does the handful of open source apps that the animation arm of Disney have released have ANYTHING to do with the company as a whole?

    Subdivisions of Microsoft occasionally release open source tools as well, some of them even use Ubuntu as their primary development platform. Are you going to make a post about Microsoft’s “real commitment” to open source next too?

    If the last post you guys did on this was “yellow journalism”, then this one is just “ass kissing journalism”. Not sure which one is worse, but leaning towards this one.

    • http://profiles.google.com/deanhowell2 Dean Howell

      Sub-standard software from Microsoft and Apple created the space the Linux lives in. We should all be thanking Microsoft

      • jabez

        Actually since the Linux kernel was made while working on a UNIX system. Your statement is false and misleading. Linus did not make Linux to compete against Windows so Microsoft wasn’t even a motivation. Linus made Linux in order to have an x86 unix-like operating system to use at home (see his original post from 1991). The GNU system/tools were also not made to fight Microsoft but because a printer manufacturer would not release the source code so he and others could fix a faulty print driver. So he than began to believe that Free Software (GPL’d, etc) should be developed and used by everyone to combat this. So, why do we need to thank Microsoft?

        • jabez

          The he in regards to GNU is Richard Stallman. Founder of the Free Software Foundation.

  • joker159

    hey,thx to mention me 😀


    • http://profiles.google.com/deanhowell2 Dean Howell

      My pleasure. And thank you for the tip!

  • Sassinak

    The virus, hidden, in open-source. Right.
    Did you drink a glass of water, and not notice the rock in it ?

  • http://blog.mpshouse.com/ Bill

    I do not like Disney anymore!

  • Walt

    You heard it here first, folks….
    Support SOPA? Put out ignorant TV programs that misrepresent open source?
    No problem, as long as one of the companies you own throws a few niche open source tools out there, you’ll be fine! That’s what I call comittment.
    I wonder how many 00s the check Mickey dropped off to our friend Mr Howell had? Or is he just sucking up for free?

  • BrentRBrian

    An “off handed” slap either way. Apple and Disney benefit from Open Source, but this “dig cloaked in innocence” still smells like a “pro-Apple” “anti-Linux” FUD.

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  • Anon-227

    If anyone thinks this was a company-coordinated “attack” on open source, I have the unfortunate task of telling you that mega-corporations are not nearly as coordinated as you think. This was a case of a single writer making a reference to something they knew nothing about, for the purposes of developing the plot in a children’s sitcom. It’s amazing how overblown this has become.

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  • cordeg

    wow. i fear for the next generation of software if the posters here are any indication of the way today’s crop of software geeks think. other than Anon-227, they’re all wound way too tight and are plagued by seriously feverish imaginations. watch out! the boogeyman is right around the corner — and he looks like a giant mouse!

    really, i think Anon-227 came closest to having a real grasp for how corporate behemoths actually work. i am certain no one in Disney corporate even watches this show, let alone plants plot points into it. they have lives completely unencumbered by software holy wars than you, and care not a whit what you or anyone else thinks of the Open Source universe. the Disney software geeks may well like it — which seems likely — but the “corporate” types don’t care, so long as the software geeks don’t go over budget on their projects. that’s as far as their concern reaches. anyone who imagines otherwise is simply unfamiliar with how business really works, and really needs to stop learning what they know about business from comic books and bad movies.

    meanwhile, i think the “virus in the Open Source” reflects a non-software person’s perspective on the part of the writer — which is only natural, given very few writers are software geeks. on the other hand, i’ve been an embedded design consultant for some 35 years now and likely have worked for one heck of a lot more corporations than any of the previous posters, and i can tell you that while the writer’s statement may be obviously fanciful, it is virtually certain that a great many corporations do use Open Source software in very sloppy ways that result in bad products. for example, they assume there is no reason to “code review” it because its been peer-reviewed by thousands of developers, so when something goes wrong in the larger project that replies on that code, they have little idea what’s going on “under the covers”. this is not the fault of the Open Source, but of its users, of course, on the other hand, i’ve had to FIX broken Open Source code a LOT over the years, including modules that i would think had been effectively beta-tested by a bunch of other company’s developers, but still managed to contain significant bugs. i think this is the result of individual developers fixing the bugs on their own and NOT passing the fixes back into the tree. this is a failure of the Open Source community.

    all in all, i use Open Source when its convenient, but i’m not so naive to think that “Open Source” means its really “free”.

    • Crystal

      What about this Apple/Samsung debacle? Have your thoughts changed at all now…I do take it as a threat to Open Source-when it comes down to the top guy making decisions that are good for profits, they (Apple) will use the biggest company they can get their hands on (Samsung) to set an example…and I realize the following is only one part of the lawsuit…but since when can you patent basic geometric shapes as well as ideas based solely on nature (pinching to shrink and zoom-c’mon Kids in the Hall should sue Apple—and while we’re at it, maybe Blackberry should sue Apple now too)

      • http://www.digifail.com/ Tom Nardi

        “pinching to shrink and zoom-c’mon Kids in the Hall should sue Apple”

        I support this wholeheartedly.

  • pinguss

    We should not watch such televison programmes for protection.