Anti-open source propaganda in Disney kids' TV show


52 Responses to “Anti-open source propaganda in Disney kids' TV show”

  1. Dave X says:

    You call it “propaganda,” I call it “throwing random technology words together like every other time kids’ programming mentions a computer.” 

    • Claire Burville says:

      This^  Children aren’t going to know or care what ‘Open Source’ is.  It’s supposed to be interpreted as a line of techno-babble.  

      • Dan Huby says:

        I agree, that’s where the humour is meant to come from.
        Doesn’t it seem an odd coincidence that what they came up with exactly matches the open source FUD put out by Microsoft et al? Maybe the script writer searched the web for “reasons software might fail” and came across some FUD.

      • A lot of kids don’t know what a lot of things mean.  Doesn’t mean we should feed them lies.

      • jacobian says:

        Unless ‘children’ means ‘some children’ this simply is not true.  And since it’s ‘some children’ what about the ones that do?   I have two kids that do know what ‘open source’ is, and they also care.  They’re not alone either, many of their peers do too.

    • retepslluerb says:

      Or shows for adults.   Watched “The Big Bang Theory”  yesterday, where they develop an app.  The code on the whiteboard is clearly Objective-C and the wireframe looks reasonably, but apparently they compile their stuff on Wintel.

    • archanoid says:

      You are correct. As Hanlon says, “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”

      I have seen this show (not this episode) and offer first-hand testimony that “stupidity” adequately explains it.

    • Petzl says:

      Strongly concur.  In the rough draft from the script, I’m sure it was something like:

      Nerd: Did you use [TECH PHRASE] to save time, and the virus was hidden in it?

      Stupid: Maybe?

      Nerd: Rookie mistake.

  2. CSBD says:

    I agree with Dave X… the dialog is almost as bad as the Ghost Writer Hacker episode posted here a few months ago (with Julia Styles)

    “Surfing the net like a keyboard commando”

    p.s. Was that the girl who plays Tink on The Guild?

  3. thequickbrownfox says:

    Some kinda throwback to the leet hacker stereotype of basement dwelling  malcontents

    Meanwhile, at Disney,

    • MatthewKrohn says:

      Great link!  I am particularly surprised that they appear to be maintainers for reposado.  I imagine they have a LOT of Macs that need regular software updates, and it saves them a lot of bandwidth to only download it once and then redistribute with that tool.  I love Open Source and Macs, they’ve got some great stuff there.

    • howaboutthisdangit says:

      There’s some neat stuff there.  Thanks.

      I find it hard to believe that is the same Disney which lobbied so hard to give us the Copyright Term Extension Act, aka the Mickey Mouse Protection Act.

  4. IOOIIIOIIO says:

    I call it “trademark infringement”.

    If someone broadcast defamatory comments about Disney, I would guess that their lawyers would be right onto it.

    Guidelines for use of the trademark are at “disparaging” use of the term requires prior written permission.

    • coderlion says:

      Yes.  Let’s take them to court.  That’s a brilliant way to support free speech.

      That said, viruses CAN hide in plain sight in open source code, and if you’re talking about someone who is basically cheating/not reading code… and the commit is new enough… and the project isn’t monitored by a gatekeeper and is just your typical one of thousands of projects on github.. well, that can happen.

      Remember, people with commit access to the linux kernel secondary branch snuck in a rootkit once.   And that’s with a bunch of professional oversight.  This is a show about kids who, apparently, used open source to get around doing work. :P

    • Jesse K. says:

      yeah, take them to court, brilliant way to promote the free speech that open source advocates.

      • koanhead says:

         Open Source isn’t about “free speech”. It’s about keeping the code open. Licensure is a tool used to enforce the openness of the code. If you don’t enforce your license terms then they are meaningless.
        Free Software is about freedom, but still depends on licensure to ensure that freedom- and the freedom in question isn’t necessarily freedom of speech.
        Besides, from Disney’s point of view surely a violation of the license is infringing on the rights-holder’s freedom of speech, yes?

    • C W says:

      The link you posted indicates that they do not have a trademark for “open source”.

  5. Getefix says:

    This is just another beautiful moment like NCIS’ double-hacking:
    I once ran into an Irish tile-layer who could go on long and loud about the idiotic mistakes in the bathroom tile in major motion pictures.  Infected me with his unfortunate meme.

  6. Cowmix says:

    For as much as I like to bash “The Mouse”, I say lazy writing and not corporate propaganda. 

    Disney actually supports many, many good Open Source projects.

  7. Michael Curran says:

    Is it just me, or does the keyboard cowboy look like a miniature Bill Gates?

    • Trey Roady says:

       A bit of an obvious ploy. Writer says that they need a geek. What do geeks look like?  They go with their only mental picture of one.

  8. autark says:


    somebody doesn’t understand what “Open Source” is.

  9. nesjumpman says:

    Do the kids still download ‘shareware’ ?

    That would have been a much better term and still sounds ‘techy’.

  10. Jesse K. says:

    This isn’t propaganda so much as it’s lazy writers for a crappy show that’s targeted at 10 year olds doing buzzword bingo with a googled (or more likely binged) list of “high tech” sounding terms. 

    I don’t think that CSI:NY’s laughable “set up a GUI in Visual Basic to track an IP address” was pro-MS propaganda either. It’s just a combination of non-tech savvy writers + talking down to the audience + needing a convenient high tech sounding mcguffin to advance the plot.

  11. Thad Boyd says:

    Weird, given that Tron Legacy seemed pretty positive on the whole open-source thing.

    Not that anyone saw it.

    • Brainspore says:

      Disney has also been sending pretty mixed messages about piracy lately. (Oh, sure, it’s OK when Johnny Depp does it… but rip one DVD and they bring down the wrath of God!)

  12. gadgetphile says:

    From the quote, it sounds like the rookie mistake was forgetting to verify the checksum.

  13. Michael Langford says:

    That clip amusingly also has Amy Okuda (who plays “TinkerBalla” on The Guild, and has also been on Californiacation)

  14. Andy Carloff says:

    Propaganda is most effective when it’s not recognized as propaganda.  It’s called mass media.

  15. dolo54 says:

    I’ve worked on a couple of their movie websites. Disney doesn’t allow any open source code in their sites. They check all the code and if they find any publicly available libraries in use they will make you take them out and reinvent the wheel even if that means days of extra dev time. In my case I was using Grant Skinner’s tween lib in a Flash site. This was one of the most commonly used libs at the time, pretty much everybody used it. That had to be removed and all tweens refactored. Fortunately it didn’t turn into too much extra work, but I was pretty dumbfounded that something so ubiquitous in development would be called out. Entertainment companies generally have a very long, obtuse list of requirements you have to fulfill when developing sites for them, but Disney was by far the worst in that regard and the only one that doesn’t allow open source at all (as far as I know). If I hear any dev telling me they are up for a job with them I always tell them to take their worst case estimate and double it. 

  16. koanhead says:

    Nerd: Did you use closed-source code to save time, and the virus was hidden in it?

    Stupid: Well, I don’t have any way to know, do I?

  17. is running on Apache webservers.  They appear to have used open source code to save time.

  18. Oroka says:

    lol, also on Fox 5 news at 5…

    kids show techno babble offends open source community, possible hate crime being alleged


    Open source community watches Disney tween garbage, credibility of man hood questioned

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