Often times it takes a while for society to realize the impact of one of its members before it chooses to honor them for their contributions. It’s easy to search for lists of artists who aren’t appreciated in their time. We will never know the name of the garbage man at Disneyland that essentially invented the Dorito. Thanks to the myriad of inexpensive devices and inexpensive communication tools we can talk about those otherwise underappreciated artists now while they are still making contributions.
Martin Wimpress is one of those individuals who deserves recognition. He is changing the world, but we might not see by how much for some time to come. Martin Wimpress is a programmer responsible for Ubuntu MATE and it’s perfectly ok if you don’t know what that is. Ubuntu MATE is an operating system project that uses very little resources while delivering a very quality experience. The cost is a recommended donation of $2.50. It makes fast computers faster and makes inexpensive computers usable. I’m not talking a $200 computer either. Try a $35 machine.
For $35 you can purchase a computer just about the size of a credit card that comes with an ethernet port, four usb ports and HDMI out. That might not be enough for your computing needs but the price point makes it just right for a slew of automated projects from christmas light synchronization to an automatic cat feeder. By having such a low price point hobbyists can take their ideas out of their head and make them a reality.
The Pi needs a low weight operating system and Ubuntu MATE is the perfect match for the little board. While some of the Ubuntu MATE powered Raspberry Pi projects are on youtube not all of them are there yet, nor should you expect them to be. Let me tease you with a man who built a smart mirror and then I’ll trust you to find more on your own.
The next generation of inventors are using this free operating system and this $35 computer to explore creating devices that will change the world. It could be another 5, 10, or 20 years before we see these results in the business space, but regardless of when it happens, it’s my opinion that it’s going to happen.
Martin, and the team he leads at Ubuntu MATE aren’t necessarily paid for their endless hours of coding. A lot of what they take in from donations goes to server costs and upstream development. This guy still has a family and a regular day job and one of the most popular linux distributions on the market.
There’s no corporate logo behind his effort. He won’t become the next tech billionaire for Ubuntu MATE and without a handful of the thousands of people who use his operating system stopping for a few minutes to tell you about him, you’d probably go on your merry way never knowing.
We generally give teachers a lot of credit for the work they put in with students in the classroom and we don’t thank the contractors that build it because they were paid a fair wage. Ubuntu MATE on the pi is a digital classroom for all kinds of projects and while Martin isn’t exactly a teacher, his team of unpaid contractors have built an amazing schoolhouse.