The Origin of System 76 Computers
Since it began operation, the company has been involved in the supply of servers, desktops, notebooks and netbooks and employing a modest 21 employees, it is rightly considered as a rather small fish in a rather big pond. What System 76 is most notable for is their support of software deemed as ‘open source’, offering as they do, their proprietary Pop! Operating system or Ubuntu (another open source OS) pre installed on machines they supply.
The founders settled on the name System 76, which sounds like a file you might find somewhere in the bowels of your control panel, but the source is a little more interesting than that. Using the year 1776, the year of the American Revolution against the British, the pair decided that was it was appropriate, as they were trying to instigate something of a revolution themselves. This revolution being that by encouraging the use of open source platforms, the consumer dependence on proprietary software would come to an end.
Despite registering System 76 in 2003, it took nearly two years for Fetzer and Richell to formally begin operations, which was focussed on Linux based computer systems. The most pressing issue the pair had to address when they set out was which particular Linux distribution to employ, as the path to their goal (bringing Linux to the masses) had to be by using the most efficient platform in order to succeed.
Amongst the Linux options considered, were OpenSUSE, Red Hat Enterprise and Yoper, all of which were eschewed in favour of Ubuntu. Their goal was to offer commercially supported, free software and it was realised when the company launched its first computer with Unbuntu 5.10 (aka Breezy Badger) pre installed.
In recent years, Ubuntu has changed its approach, preferring to adopt GNU Network Object Model Environment (GNOME), which wasn’t conducive to what System 76 were trying to achieve. This led to the company launching its own OS, based on Ubuntu, called Pop!
Whether Richell and Fetzer’s vision will come to be realised and Linux becomes used on much more widespread basis remains to be seen, but given the giants they are up against, it could be said that they’ll have their work cut out to break to the current domination by the likes of iOS and Windows.