Hello everyone! I hope all of you are doing great. Do you remember in an article on LinuxAndUbuntu, I covered Top Lightweight Linux Distributions To Try In 2017. In that article I also listed Linux Lite. There were several reasons that I mentioned it (ofcourse lightweight among them) but I also like how team behind the distro build what Linux users like. So today, I'm going to publish an email interview with Linux Lite project manager, Jerry Bezencon and ask him about the distro, its success and so on.
Q1. What made you start this project?
Linux Lite was started for 3 important reasons. One, I wanted to dispel myths that a Linux based operating system was hard to use. Two, there was a shortage of really simple, intuitive desktop experiences on Linux that offered long term support. Three, I had used Linux for over 10 years prior to starting Linux Lite. I felt I needed to give back to a community that had given so much to me. A community that taught me that by sharing code and knowledge, one could have a dramatically positive impact on people's computing experiences.
Q2. Do you think Linux Lite has achieved the original purpose or still has a long way to go?
To date, our feedback demonstrates that we are on the right track. Going right back to Series 1.x we have feedback from people saying that they've come from Windows and that Linux Lite was their first Linux based operating system and that they were able to make a simple transition to Linux Lite. You can always improve upon an existing project and we continue to rely on people's feedback to stare the future direction of Linux Lite.
Q3. How many people use Linux Lite?
There's is no way to accurately tell. That would require us to track people and that's not a line we will ever be willing to cross. Including third party websites, we've had over 2 million downloads to date.
Q4. What type of users find Linux Lite interesting?
That's a question you would have to put to the community. I can't answer that for them.
Q5. According to you who can benefit the most from LLite?
Our target audience is people that currently use proprietary operating systems, those who are looking for a simpler Linux desktop experience and those with older hardware. The benefit is clear and extremely important to point out. Being set free from code that you cannot audit, data transmissions you don't authorize and collaboration with government and corporate entities you do not have a say on. Free and open source software gives people the freedom to choose what information they share and is being shared on a software level.
Q6. Like most other Linux distributions, LLite is also based on Ubuntu? Why not others?
Ubuntu currently offers an LTS version. That best suits our approach to both Support and software development. It allows us to layout and deliver upon a release schedule that evolves over time in a sensible, unrushed manner.
Q7. How helpful is distrowatch for LLite?
Readers often raise questions on distrowatch ranking. They say the views that rank a distro don't depend on visitors' IP and that is why distros' authors hire people to keep hitting the page to make it come on top. What do you have to say? Do you have any suggestions for distrowatch?
I know there have been past incidents of Distros having their rank reviewed but to be honest, it's not something I pay much attention to. Distrowatch plays a vital role in proliferating free and open source software information. I can't imagine an Internet without Distrowatch.
Q8. Which one is the biggest release ever?
If you're talking about statistics, then Linux Lite 3.0 was our biggest release ever. We took all the good things from Series 2.x and merged together with them all the really great ideas from the community, and created Linux Lite 3.0.
Q9. Can you share some milestones that this nice project has achieved?
I don't really think in terms of milestones, I think in terms of how software and communities can evolve. For me personally, I like how Lite Tweaks has evolved over time from a simple cleaner (originally known as Lite Cleaner) to a well-rounded system tweaker and cleaner. You can do everything now from clear your package cache, web browser cache and archived system logs to removing and installing Kernels and configuring things like Preload and zRam. Our custom Kernels that go right back to Linux Kernel 3.13 give people more flexibility and choice with their hardware. I like how Lite Upgrade offers one of the simplest upgrade paths within a Series available in the Linux desktop world, the community loves our approach to upgrading. In terms of how the community has evolved, the biggest stand out for me is that no matter how big we've become, we've kept a reputation as a welcoming, helpful network of passionate Linux Lite users. I'm extremely proud of that and all credit goes to the people in our community for maintaining and building upon that reputation.
Q10. Where are you going next? What will be the base of the next version and the next big feature in LLite?
The next base version of Linux Lite will be Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. Linux Lite Diamond Series 4.x will see its first version released on 1st June, 2018. As far as the next big feature, we like to leave these as surprises for the community. We are always thinking big. Watch this space.
Q11. How many members you've got in your team?
We have a small dedicated team consisting of paid and voluntary Developers, Community Managers, Bloggers, Content Creators, and Volunteers.
Q12. Anything else that you want to share with us such as financial support or contribution by other communities.
I would work on Linux Lite whether it was financially supported or not. I didn't even include a Donation page until someone from the community suggested it. For me, it's a passion and some kind of a calling. There's an emotional, humanitarian reward for showing people that there are safe, privacy respecting alternatives to proprietary operating systems, and you can never put a price on that.
It's good to work for community and give people the knowledge that you received from the community. And thank you for this email interview. I know there are a lot questions left, but here we don't have a lot of space so can't. But I hope we someday do live interview for the remaining ones. From LinuxAndUbuntu, we all wish best of luck. Keep up the good work!