This is a conversation I have at least once at nearly every conference:
Me: “That's a classic laptop. It's great that you've kept it in great shape…. reducing e-waste.”
Person using old laptop: (quizzical look) “Don't you sell new computers?”
Me: “Ew. No. Well, not really. I build computers. Then there's an exchange [transaction] so my company can build more.”
Person: “Oh, ok, cool.” (continued discussion of laptop specs)
I often ask, especially when giving presentations, “How many of you have built your own computer?” When those hands go up, it is a faith-in-humanity moment. Warranty laws make it so hard to take full ownership of your computer.
I love opening a machine. But only when I have the time. If your life isn't too cram-packed, then you have probably looked under the hood of your machine too.
It is this mindset that made me go into overdrive last week when a friend asked me to “make my computer connect to the Internet.”
Since I had not touched the insides of any electronics in over two weeks, I ran upstairs to his office to check it out. I literally ran, but not fast since this is a 400 old stone house in a remote village in France. The house is in good shape but it has a few bizarre twists between downstairs and upstairs.
After 60 seconds: Well, dear friend… it is running XP… This is what I did not say.
Instead I said “Sure!” and I began courting which distro will be best for this monster tower that has spider webs on every cable in the back.
So far I've looked at:
Mint? It'd give my friend that feeling of familiarity because the UI is vaguely similar to his old OS. I'd have to upgrade memory, but that's a given. I want this to cost as close to $0 as possible.
PuppyLinux? Maybe, but that's just because I remember Larry Cafiero talking about PuppyLinux and I couldn't hear a word he said because I was caught up in “Aw, how cute!” each time Larry said the word “Puppy.” Stereotypically blond reaction, but at least I'm owning it.
Lubuntu? Suggested by a cool French dude. It might be the right one.