Freedom To Create

Sometimes we think software freedom just applies to programmers, but its creative impact can be much broader. This animated video is pretty clever:


While it’s called “Stop-Motion Excel”, if you look closely at the screen you’ll see it’s actually made with open source software:

Yes, the spreadsheet they used isn’t Excel at all – it’s, the predecessor to LibreOffice (and of course Apache OpenOffice and other branches of the OOo tree), running on a Mac. They actually namecheck the software they used in the making-of video.

Why would they want to avoid Microsoft Excel? One possible reason is because using anything proprietary in a video production requires clearance and approval from the owner of the proprietary product. On the other hand, open source projects come complete with an OSI-approved license that gives everyone the right to use the software for any purpose. Open source unlocks creativity and innovation everywhere.

2 Responses

  1. I feel like this statement of:
    “One possible reason is because using anything proprietary in a video production requires clearance and approval from the owner of the proprietary product.”
    is a tad hyperbole.

    I remember seeing this 3D wireframe animated cube done in Excel, that didn’t really draw any attention from microsoft.

    That said, it is safer to use OpenSource software cause of stuff

    • I get your point, but I don’t think the statement is hyperbolic. It doesn’t refer to Microsoft’s actions; it refers to the reality in corporate environments that their rules require the closest possible thing to absolute certainty that no third party will have any claim against them. This video is indeed made by a productions company:

      In the case of creative industries, there’s a paranoia that someone might claim ownership and control of their work as a result of something included in it. The result is extreme “rights clearance” requirements that are beyond the means of any but the richest companies and which create a spiral of threat, cost and compliance measures.

      This is analogous to the unseen cost of proprietary software. It forces constant compliance behaviour on the part of its users out of fear they will be caught out by the ever-more-draconian “anti-piracy” measures their suppliers attempt. “Anti-piracy” is not about the so-called “pirates” – they don’t care. It’s a measure to keep the paying customers from straying off the reservation. See my essay on the subject for more:

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