The title of this post makes a very simple yet clear statement about how we feel at Peppermint HQ when it comes down to the community that we are building around the operating systems that we provide. From the very beginning of the development process Kendall and I realized that having the voice, the ideas, and the collective experience of Linux users, young and old, right along side of us would be critical to 1) the initial OS we would release and 2) the ongoing success of the OS at every level. To some it may seem that this is putting the cart before the horse but we strongly believe that it is the opposite. Peppermint was dreamed and devised with Community in mind, to be the engine in front, to jump start us out of the gate, and to propel us forward. This was the *Intent* from the beginning and I can stand here today and tell you that this philosophy we adopted works and is working beautifully.
This is the beauty of Linux in general that we collectively recognize here in Peppermintville. You have a vision of how you might do things differently. You set out with a plan, a schematic, or a hat full of random notes and make your best attempt at putting together an operating system that you are proud of and one that you can offer the world. But, it doesn’t stop there. It shouldn’t stop there. In fact, I’m not so sure that it should Begin there at all. In the very first conversations about Peppermint OS, at the Black Rose Public House, we identified Community as one of the key elements to it success. I remember Kendall and I jokingly reflecting, over a tall pint, some Linux distributions that we had tested over the years that we really enjoyed, and then fizzled away into obscurity, never to be seen again. Why did these OS’s cut off like a blown out bulb? We asked this question amongst ourselves several times through that initial discussion.
Did these Linux operating systems that fell by the wayside have any community support set into place? Perhaps they did but they were not, in our best estimation, directly active within their own community, if they had one at all. And, just because you install Forum software on a web server, dress it up, and make it open to the public does not make it a *Community*. There is no magic wand that you can wave over the source code and a neighborhood of helpful, responsive and idea oriented people spring up around it. Community starts off with people gathering with something in Common. A common interest and goals as the foundation perhaps. But, just the fact that you gather a few like minded people in the same room is still not good enough. Community takes commitment on many levels, the willingness to interact, and most importantly to open your doors, mind, and heart to all that want to be a part. Open to Everyone…
What is the purpose of a Linux Distribution Forum? From the Peppermint side of things we see three main functions 1) Linux Education 2) Peppermint Education and 3) a feedback mechanism for the operating system with direct, intentional contact with its user base. We feel that without these three main objectives in place and operating continually, as a living organism, the operating system itself will fail. Period. Funny thing, when you bump ‘Money’ from the main slot in your business plan and concentrate on the quality of the software and the quality of interaction with your user base, you are bound to have good things happen. At Peppermint we refuse the idea of money mongering. Let’s face it: If the product is good and you do what you love, the “means to live” will be there. Unlike other operating systems, we are free, we work out-of-the-box, we are stable and virus free, we don’t charge for new versions that are worse than the last and we won’t make you buy into a cult to get a copy. You want to join a revolution? Bring your laptop to the coffee house and we’ll equip anyone in under 15 minutes.
We believe strongly here that Linux should be, and could be, the dominant operating system of choice, world wide. Yesterday in China, and other places outside of the USA, virtual seas of people stood in line to snag up the eagerly awaited Meizu M9 powered by Andoid 2.2. When I look at the pictures from around world of excited young people standing in lines that eclipse anything I’ve seen before, even in comparison to some iPhone releases, I see and recognize millions of others who are eager for the freedom that Linux powered products can offer. I would have given anything to stand beside those lines all day with a laptop, giving demo’s, making new friends and pulling some more like minded people, regardless of age, race, gender or skill level into the Peppermint Community and into the exciting world of Linux.
Welcome to 2011. The time for Linux is now. Join our community or join another. Listen to those beside you in the community forum of your choice. Pitch in. Be a *Doer*. Open your minds to those new to Linux and want to learn and you will see Linux flourish like a weed out of control.
Special thanks to Silent1, a Peppermint community member who saw the importance of this topic and pointed it out to me. I have to say, one of the most gratifying aspect of of this project is that we have deliberately made ourselves open and in constant contact with our user base. Without Community as the engine, Peppermint would just be another flavor of herbal tea…..
Cheers and a Happy New Year to All….