Free (Linux) Mint Experiment

Linux Mint on a former Windows laptop
Sidebar Note

While this technically resides outside of .NET OSS per se, it's a valuable signal on the viability of Linux desktop as a general-purpose operating system for PCs.

Mythbusting without the budget

There's a common myth out there that "Linux is only for software developers" (and by implication, is inherently difficult to operate). While I think that's manifestly not true, it's sometimes difficult to shift the conversation without a clear independent signal that affirms that stance.

Enter Mike Kelly

Mike Kelly is the CTO of MemberVault, a platform that provides a variety of member services offerings, including courseware, membership, workshop and coaching management. He posted a thread on X about a personal project - his experience with re-imaging and donating discarded/donated laptops.

The posts that follow in that thread revealed some genuinely encouraging findings:

  1. Once you got the computer, was it easy to start using right away?

    100% said yes

  2. Did you have to install any new apps? Did that work easily for you too?

    80% didn't need anything else installed (Mike only added chrome, zoom and supertuxkart)

    20% did add apps and found it easy via the app center

  3. Are you still using the laptop? And if not, how long did you use it?

    92% said they were still using it to this day.

    The remaining 8% reported having it stolen or physically breaking it.

This is gratifying to see, not only because of the "proof" it provides for what I presume to be a relatively novice user group (i.e. not computer or software engineers) but also because of the continued value that it brings to long-lived hardware. ๐Ÿง โค๏ธ ๐Ÿ’ป

As you can see above he also provides a quick walk-through navigating the desktop and introduces users to Flathub as an app delivery resource. This is a brilliant example of how local, ground-up community engagement can make a meaningful difference in the lives of people who would be skipped over by the trillion-dollar valued corporations.

This is not only smart, it's also good.

Thank you, Mike!