Thursday, September 30, 2010

FOSS peeps, we need to build artists a bridge

Boosh! That's the free software community I know and love!

A giant thank you to our zillion new backers, and a giant thank you to OMG! Ubuntu! for the great article that led our zillion new backers here. And Akshat, thank you for your rockin' efforts to get this project covered on the right tech sites.

I'll admit that I cried when I saw the OMG! Ubuntu! article because it showed me that this project is resonating loud and clear with the free software community, which means the Novacut team is on exactly the track we should be. Free software peeps know what the future looks like for creative works that you ship around as bits on the Internet because free software peeps have been living in that future for years.

Unfortunately, our close creative allies who enrich our lives with TV and movies are all stuck in the dreary past (save for a few notable exceptions). This is partly because they just left their mainframe era (they just got cheap cameras), an essential first step on their journey into the future. This is also partly because the entertainment industry sold them a lie: "If you give it away, you won't make any money".

As free software peeps we can certainly sympathize because we went through that stage at one point too, constantly worried about that "but how will I make money?" question. Of course, from our comfortable vantage point in el futuro, we know how that all shakes out. What's the difference between proprietary software developers and free software developers? Everyone knows the answer to that: free software developers make more money, are in higher demand, get more interesting jobs, and have expansive creative freedom.

The outstanding response from you free software peeps has made me realize that the Novacut team focused too much on selling our Kickstarter project to artists. We can't just tell artists, "Trust us, the future is awesome." Artists are justifiably skeptical. No, we need to build artists a bridge into the future so they can go experience it themselves. It will just take a few visionary artists (looking at you, Bernard) coming back with tales of a future that is shiny, magical, and full of money, and artists will be stampeding across the bridge to see for themselves.

So my free software peeps, we have the opportunity, and I would say responsibility, to build artists this bridge into the future. We know that the success of free software is much more than just licenses, it's also a set of pragmatic tools that have enabled us to write software faster, better, cheaper. It took the free software community decades to develop these tools, to perfect the workflow. And we can now bring our current state of the art to the world of video, the most important story telling medium of the age.

And I think we should do it in a big way, as a heartfelt gesture from creative people who write software to creative people who tell stories with video. Let's get this on Slashdot, on Wired. Let's shoot this Novacut project through the roof!

Pee my pants excited,


  1. I went for ars technica and Torrent Freak too.and if by any chance you kickstarter project fails you can apply for Fellowship at the Shuttleworth Foundation.

  2. Akshat, again, wow, thanks! Are you on Twitter or

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Now,where is my novacut T-Shirt and my name written in golden letters in the novacut hall of fame?


  5. Yes, I'm skeptical.

    Although I left behind proprietary software nearly two years ago, the biggest benefit to me of using the software was that it actually works.

    "Unfortunately, our close creative allies who enrich our lives with TV and movies are all stuck in the dreary past"

    Sure, they're "stuck in the past" with their ancient workflow and proprietary software, but that they are still using them to this day to me suggests it's because they work for them.

    This isn't to say that I'm not excited by the prospect of working in a different way, but amongst the artists I know the one thing we care about with regards to software is having something that works, and I don't (just) mean something that never crashes. Do this and you'll be onto something