Monday, May 13, 2013

What is the Gigastrand OS?

The elevator pitchGigastrand OS is a self-supporting PC operating system designed with superior cross-platform compatibility but is safer and less expensive to operate than other systems.

That is great and all, but there is so much more to the story. The conversation I have with most people often goes like this:

Me: Gigastrand is creating it's own operating system!
Person: That's great! What is an operating system?
Me: Do you know Microsoft Windows or Android?
Person: Yeah.
Me: Those are operating systems.
Person: Oh. What does it do?
Me: An operating system is software that allows other programs to run on a device.
Person: Ahh...That's cool.

Now, not everyone is quite so oblivious as my example would have you believe. The people who get it, you see their eyes get REALLY big and usually say something like "Are you serious?" or "Wow, that is quite an undertaking!"

Now, conversations aside, even people who get it really don't understand why the world needs another OS. We have Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Linux, Linux, Linux, and so on. The Gigastrand OS is (after all) another Linux distribution, however, if it came down to JUST making another distro, we simply wouldn't do it.

Origin That was part of the issue back in 2007 when the idea of the Gigastrand OS first came to light. We had a concept of what we wanted to do and how we wanted to go about doing it, but the task was monumental and we put the idea on a shelf.

In September 2012, We dusted off the idea and took another look at it. After many years of working with people transitioning to Linux, I sat down and made a list of what were the biggest obstacles people faced when transitioning to ANY new operating system. I will forgo the agony of itemizing that list here.

All told, it really doesn't matter what OS you move to or from, the biggest issue is compatibility. Some software just will not work with the system you are moving to.

Kickstarter So, we started the Gigastrand OS on Kickstarter touting the OS as a "transitional Linux". That is, a Linux distro specifically designed to assist users in the transition from other OSes to Linux.

While this was all true, we found that those most interested in Linux had the least to gain from it. While Linux users wanted more people to run Linux, they themselves were not the target audience. By the time we realized this, there wasn't enough time or money left to target a new audience on Kickstarter effectively.

During the month the Gigastrand OS was on Kickstarter, the idea had evolved. In the land of multiple OSes and Ubuntu Phones, a "transitional Linux" was a good, yet incomplete idea.

The current incarnation of the Gigastrand OS is deeply embedded into our business plan. The Gigastrand OS will be at the center of everything we sell. We plan to load the OS on every device that can handle it and provide the best support possible with the latest technology available.

The Gigastrand OS is different in the fact that many programs are already pre-loaded on installation. Rather than giving the user just the basics and letting them figure it out by themselves, we load many programs that users may want or want to try. 

The Self-Supporting OS Concept The other thing that makes Gigastrand OS unique is the support system being developed. The aim is to utilize various support technologies to make the Gigastrand OS completely self-supporting. That is, all of the support will come from systems and services contained within the operating system itself rather than outside sources. 

That means you, your users, or your help-desk staff do not need to be fluent in Linux to get help when they need it.

The Vision
For me, building an operating system is about accessibility and education - in that order. I want to make an OS that puts all of what Linux has to offer at the user's fingertips and then to stand by, ready to assist and educate where necessary.

In Conclusion
There are many thing that building an OS is not about. Things like dumbing down technology, exploiting its users, or protecting corporate profits. Nor are we trying to make the prettiest, fanciest, or slickest OS. We are simply building an OS based on proven technology that is easy to use, easy to transition into, and easy to get help when you need it.


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