Software Wars

A movie about how free software will save you thousands of dollars and lead to a better world.
Keith Curtis
311 Facebook Friends
Seattle, Washington
United States
1 Team Member

Software Wars is sponsored by which supports projects that help people share.

The campaign is over!

27,000 people watched the trailer, and thanks to all 424 of you for donating.

Even though the campaign is officially over, you can still sign up for any perk via PayPal. The only difference is the status doesn't update, and we make an extra 9%. Please tell us which perk you prefer:

Help us crowdfund to finish!

The best way to learn about the movie is to watch the teaser trailer that is the culmination of months of work by 25 people. Go ahead, we'll wait.

Note: We will eventually enable Internet distribution and sell a Blu-Ray, but those who help us here will get it first!

Campaign status:

27,000 have watched the trailer, with 424 funders. 1.5% of people who view the trailer donate. If it were about 30% or 500K views, the campaign would have achieved its goal. This movie will be finished somehow, but crowdfunding can save months of time. Many movies spent years trying to finish. Thank you!
There will be a free Creative Commons version released, so a donation of any amount does help and you will get something in return.


The average computer user is unaware there is a war for freedom going on that will determine the path of modern society. Software Wars is a movie about the battle for our right to share technology and ideas. Your phone is perfectly happy to add zero + zero billions of times per second, all day long. The shiny hardware gets the love, but software is the magic behind it all.

The software we need will not be “owned” by corporations like Microsoft, Apple, and Google, who are mostly impeding technological progress. (Google supports efforts such as Linux via Android, but their AI code in Google Now, language translation and driverless cars are not built in an open way.)

This software will be built by a global community, taking on problems too big for any one company or team to even understand. We should have been working together all along, but it is necessary now for the few big problems that remain.

Greater use of free software and the ideas in this movie will lead to faster progress on the Linux desktop, improve the way children learn math, finally build computers that think, decode DNA, and more. The movie's experts explain what is possible, and the audience decides what happens.


The current status of Software Wars is this: We've got hours of great video from many smart people, the skeleton of a thought-provoking story. 

However, we need to interview about 7 more people to fill in several areas, and do the b-roll, graphics, music, narration, and everything else in a quality way. If we raise enough money, we can finish the 90-minute feature in 4-5 months.

The story will not have too much history and tutorial to keep the geeks from getting bored, nor jargon to keep everyone else from getting confused. The people we interviewed knew how to talk to The Others about their life's work. Making a movie interesting to technical people and enjoyable to their family has been a goal since Day 0, and it's on its way to achieving that. Everyone had things to say that are not widely known. How many Linux hackers have the opportunity to talk to professors of mathematics or NASA software engineers? The trailer is "dramatic", but the movie will not be propaganda. Google refused to be interviewed, but we'll try more to get people to defend the proprietary side. There are many problems with free software today, but the biggest is a lack of people who understand it.

Space or a few of the other of the more far-out topics might get cut because many people are afraid of technology, and you don't want to overload their circuits in a "mainstream" movie. On the other hand, important and related words we try not to discard because while we may still live in the dark ages of technology, it is near the end.

Budget and distribution

We'd like to raise $150K to finish, recognizing that amount ends up being smaller as chunks of money go towards middlemen, promotional materials, and other expenses. Most of the money will go towards people in southern California. 

Here is an estimated budget:

Expense Amount
Shooting 15000
Editing 20000
B-Roll 10000
Visual Effects 35000
Narration 5000
Music 23500
Color & audio fixes 5000
Theatrical trailer 4000
Promotion, misc 10000

If we raise less, we can still make progress, so this is setup as a flexible-funding campaign. If we raise more, we can be sure to get all the interviews, have a bigger budget for graphics, recruit someone like William Shatner to do the narration, etc. Once the fundraiser is finalized, we will make and announce the plan.

Getting a release into theaters is possible, but nothing is arranged.

Other Ways You Can Help

While we work to make a movie enjoyable to both sides, we need those who are already passionate about software and futurism to help here. Your mother who runs Android doesn't count. Posting a link on social media or to your favorite tech blogger is helpful.
We don't have a lot of things to offer which hopefully won't be a problem. This project is more about entertaining you for 90 minutes. If there is something that would entice you to donate, let us know.
We are looking for people in California who would like to be interviewed. If you'd like to contribute, especially around health sciences or nanotubes, send Keith an email.

Trailer credits (in order of appearance)

William Stein (
Jono Bacon (
Evan Henshaw "Rabble" (
Karen Sandler (
Greg Kroah-Hartman (
Guy Martin (
Laura Thomson (
Arthur Richards (
music by Chloe Harris "Raica" ( soundtrack)

Links around the web: (Thanks for words of support!)



1. Why do you offer a movie in Blu-Ray with its DRM?
Blu-Ray is pretty but the DRM is a bad thing for artists and consumers. The Blu-Ray DRM is even worse than what they did for DVD: there are multiple versions, only some of which are supported by all players, it adds more costs and complexity to those making movies, and they are even trying to outlaw analog cables! It is possible to make a Blu-Ray without DRM (BD-R), but the disks are burned rather than manufactured and so get damaged and degrade, are more expensive to produce, and not all players support it. In fact, we are so mad at the complicated mess we are going to put a 1-5 minute warning video at the beginning of every Blu-Ray explaining all the ways its DRM is bad. But, we lost this round, again, we need to do more than boycott, we need to fight back by explaining to people the issues and the stakes. The DRM in iTunes or your cable box are even worse. We won't offer DVD because it is obsolete, there are phones with 5x higher resolution.

2. Why is Richard Stallman not in the movie?
We tried to get his support, but it is not possible. There are two issues:
a. We offer a Blu-Ray. Offering it in free licenses and free formats is not good enough. He was in the "We are Legion" documentary which offers Blu-Ray, but he has a different position for this movie.
b. He requires that the movie endorse the term "GNU/Linux" and to say that those who call it Linux are "mistreating" GNU. Treating the naming issue in a neutral way and interviewing him to get his side was not good enough, he insists we say that his opinion is correct. He doesn't understand that a journalist is not supposed to endorse positions about things that are in dispute.

3. Why is there a potential delay for the Creative Commons (CC-BY-SA) version?
The movie is about free software, free art is an entirely different topic, one that we are not experienced with. Companies like Red Hat and IBM find it profitable to invest billions in free software, but there is no equivalent for art today. Software needs to be free to make sure it is reliable and secure. There is no such thing as proprietary art. We love the idea of a free remix culture, but we think the arguments that all art be free are different and weaker than for software. (Many of the successful CC projects on Kickstarter raised their money on t-shirts, notebooks, posters and other swag.) So, we are trying to encourage people to help us now by giving them a copy of the movie early that they can't get otherwise. There seem to be more people who preach about free art than actually donate. Those who care about it are encouraged to support the CC version, or can donate any amount. We don't know if there will be a delay, or how long it will even be. How the fundraising goes will play a factor. The book is available for free, the extended interviews will be given away, it is only the main feature that remains to be determined. We are trying to finish the movie, the details of distribution will be figured out when we have more information.

Find This Campaign On
raised by 424 people in 1 month
7% funded
No time left
$150,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on January 17, 2013
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