by Bryan Lunduke
A review of the elementary distribution and an interview with its
In the spring of 2014 (nearly five years ago), I was preparing a regular
presentation I give most years—where I look at the bad side (and the good
side) of the greater Linux world. As I had done in years prior, I was
preparing a graph showing the market share of various Linux distributions
changing over time.
But, this year, something was different.
In the span of less than two years, a tiny little Linux distro came out of
nowhere to become one of the most watched and talked about systems available.
In the blink of an eye, it went from nothing to passing several
grand-daddies of Linux flavors that had been around for decades.
This was elementary. Needless to say, it caught my attention.
Figure 1. elementary 5 "Juno"
In the years that followed, I've interviewed elementary's founders on a few
occasions—for articles, videos or podcasts—and consistently found
their vision, dedication and attitudes rather intriguing.
Then in 2016, I was at a Linux conference—SCaLE (the Southern California
One bright, sunshiny morning, I found myself heading from my hotel room
down to the conference floor. On my way, I got it in my head that I really
could use some French toast. I had a hankering—a serious one. And when Lunduke
gets a hankering, no force in the cosmos can stop him (he says, switching to
talking about himself in the third person seemingly at random).
Somehow or another, I ended up convincing the elementary crew (four of them,
also at SCaLE, with a booth to promote their system) to join me on my
French toast quest.
After searching the streets of downtown Pasadena, we found ourselves in a
small, but packed, diner—solving French Toast Crisis 2016—and allowing
us to chat and get to know each other, in person, a bit better.
These were...kids—in their mid-20s, practically wee babies.
But, I tell you, they impressed me. Their vision for what elementary
was—and what it could be—was clear. Their passion was contagious. It was hard
to sit with them, in that cramped little diner, and not feel excited and
optimistic for what the future held.
And, what's more, they were simply nice people. They oozed goodness and
kindness. Their spirit had not yet been crushed by a string of IT managers
that make soul-crushing a hobby.
They were the future of desktop Linux (or at least a rather big part of it).
This was evident, even back then. And, that wasn't just the French toast
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