The Social Network is rather like a fast paced documentary. The content, production value and background scores were great. I really enjoyed the bit around the Harvard boat race — a nice piece of whitespace in the movie :) But this post is not about these aspects; rather I wanted to make a few observations about the several tiny tid-bits of open source sprinkled throughout the movie.
- wget makes several appearances in a short segment of the movie where Mark is scraping the Harvard intranet for the seed data for various precursors to Facebook. To my relief, everything I saw seemed very real and plausible unlike, say, the hackery mumbo-jumbo in Matrix or (gasp) Swordfish. Nonetheless, I did not see (and have not seen) any evidence that Mark Zuckerberg is the programming genius that most reviews and synopsis claim. Of course, programming genius has no correlation with being successful (read: being the youngest billionaire)
- The usage of Emacs, Perl and curl were also faithful. The emphasis should be on Zuck’s intuition about the idea and his ability to prototype quickly. The technology itself was something any script kiddy could have come up with.
- Zuck is shown running KDE 3 on his workstation. Again, the attention to detail is impressive. KDE 3 was around the same time as the early years of Facebook development.
There were a few more things, but I saw the movie several weeks ago and the details are fuzzy in my head. Meanwhile, if you are interested in the veracity of the movie’s substance, I found this Gigaom post useful.