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      Donate a Linux PC. / open-source-software · Saturday, 13 February, 2021 - 12:18 · 2 minutes

    Linux, or should I say GNU/Linux, comes in a variety of flavors called distros. We know that but people on a proprietary OS don't. Those people in general think that Linux, like their own OS, is a monolithic operating system but that contrary to their own OS is difficult, user unfriendly and something where you need to type into a terminal all the time.

    On top of that I discovered that the concept of distros is very hard to grasp for non-Linux users while I find this one of the strongest benefits of Linux. I currently use MX Linux on my Desktop PC and had Ubuntu MATE installed before that. On my (low-end) laptop I use either Antix or Puppy Linux. One of my sons uses Ubuntu on his desktop and my father uses Linux Mint on his laptop. All these flavors have their strengths that benefit the specific needs of a user and the hardware that they use.

    It's a pity that being able to choose a distro and tailor it to specific needs is so unknown to the non-Linux user. At the same time this is very understandable. Some people here will hate this but from a marketing perspective this variety of flavors is a weakness. It dilutes the Linux 'brand' and the complexity that comes with choosing a distro is too overwhelming for most users. This on top of the perception that Linux is 'difficult' and that most PC's come with a proprietary OS installed makes the case for Linux on the desktop almost impossible.

    The only way to increase market share is to exploit the biggest weakness of the Windows operating system. At some point in time almost every single user of Windows I know starts complaining how slow the PC has become. Solutions work only temporary and I'm afraid that most users ditch their PC and buy a new one. In fact a major reseller where I live uses this in commercials on national television to sell new PC's (with Windows of course). Think about all these laptops and desktop PC's that end as e-waste just because Windows made them slow. And this while the solution is simple and free, just install Linux.

    My proposal may be somewhat naif. Buy a second hand PC from a thrift shop (you'll be surprised how cheap these are) install Linux on it and donate it to someone that needs a PC. In my experience, once people start working with a modern Linux on a PC they hardly need any help. Hell, a lot of people don't use anything beyond the web browser so no worries about becoming a permanent help desk.


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