A Look Back at 2021, Endless OS Foundation
Updated: Jan 18
CEO Rob McQueen reviews the past year at Endless, while looking forward to 2022.
As we start 2022 at the Endless OS Foundation, we are full of excitement about both the upcoming year and what we achieved in 2021. We have a lot to be proud of as we review the highlights from our major initiatives over the past year.
The Endless Key begins distribution in the United States.
The Endless Key is an offline learning and discovery resource provided as a 128 gigabyte USB key. The Key is designed to be accessed by offline students using Windows computers, and is initially focused on the United States.
For this program we started the year with the major decision to remove the Endless Operating System from the Key and focus just on Windows users. However, there are plans to explore other operating systems with the Key this year to expand our audience. Working in collaboration with Learning Equality and Common Sense, we turned our focus to curating the content and refining the UI, and our team has transformed the Key into a beautiful and engaging experience for students with a rich variety of content.
Feedback from users has been so good that they’d like it for their kids even if they already have the internet! We are now distributing our first physical Keys through 49ers EDU at Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco, while Techbridge Girls is distributing Keys through after-school programs in five different states in the US. Other distribution partners are in queue for 2022 and we are now getting feedback from students and educators who have received Keys. This valuable feedback will drive future Endless Key iterations.
We are now distributing our Endless Keys through 49ers EDU at Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco, while Techbridge Girls is distributing Keys through after-school programs in five different states in the US.
Endless OS continues to improve and evolve.
The Endless Operating System is designed for offline students and families. Once installed, no internet is required, and it comes preloaded with hundreds of useful resources. The Linux-based OS is based around apps like a smartphone, making it easy and familiar for anyone to use, and it's also free for anyone to download and use.
Our OS team landed two huge milestones in 2021. Early in the year we completed a significant investment on the user interface (UI) – supporting research, design and implementation of the widely-praised GNOME 40 release which we’re working on bringing into Endless OS right now.
We’ve also just released Endless OS 4.0 in November. This is our first “light touch” release which cuts down on changes we make to the open source projects we use to build Endless OS. This reduced scope allows us to focus our efforts on the value that the OS delivers to our partners. We’ve also opened our doors to share our development tools, so partners can customise their own image builds for the first time – something the Kramden Institute is already starting to use for their PC donations in North Carolina.
Endless OS is designed for offline students and families. Once installed, no internet is required, and it comes preloaded with hundreds of useful resources.
The Endless Laptop aims for scaled distribution in the United States.
The Endless Laptop program is designed to make laptops affordable for families in-need. In 2021 it was launched in the US, and we’ve come far as we begin 2022. After much planning and navigating supply chain shortages, our customised laptops have arrived in the States, complete with Endless OS and ready to distribute, thanks to our partnership with leading laptop manufacturer ASUS and technology nonprofit Human I-T.
We have launched an online direct sales channel to evaluate different ways of reaching the communities who we’re trying to assist. With working online payments and support processes, we have started to build our first community of test users. There’s lots of learning here as we take the unique position of trying a retail channel solution for solving this very real need at scale.
Laptops are also being deployed with the Cook Inlet Tribal Council to reach offline Indigenous communities in Alaska, and we have some very strong partnerships developing with mission-aligned nonprofits which we hope to talk about later in the year.
The Endless Laptop program, launched in 2021, is designed to make laptops affordable for families in-need.
Deployments and partnerships grow stronger.
On the Deployment side, we’ve continued as a strong partner to the Harp Helu Foundation in Oaxaca Mexico, and built a new and growing relationship with Moving Windmills in Malawi East Africa. We’ve engaged more deeply with World Possible around their deployment of Endless OS in juvenile corrections facilities, including regular meetings, a shared Slack channel and supporting them in hiring more staff to support their Endless OS programs across the US.
Events / Awards / Communications On the events and awards front, we recently won the OpenUK’s “Belonging” award for promoting digital inclusion, and hosted a collaborative event with Common Sense and Learning Equality at B.PHL 2021 to promote the Endless Key and awareness around the circumstances of offline students. We also launched our blog at the start of the year with some great posts from the team, and we’ll continue to search for relevant audiences, events and channels to amplify advocacy around our mission.
Looking forward, with thanks to you.
As we begin 2022, a year that will mark the 2nd anniversary of our nonprofit launch and our 10th year as Endless, I’d like to thank all of our partners whose missions are aligned with ours to bring digital equity to the World – these collaborations are key to our success. Finally, I’d like to extend a very special thank you to every amazing and passionate member of the Endless team for their part in bringing 2021 to life, and showing that we can reach further and impact more lives than ever before in 2022.
I’d like to thank all of our partners whose missions are aligned with ours to bring digital equity to the World – these collaborations are key to our success.
I hope you have a healthy and successful 2022 lined up. Please feel free to reach out to me this year on LinkedIn, or via email at email@example.com.
Rob McQueen is CEO at the Endless OS Foundation. Rob is an experienced engineering manager and company leader, and has been a user, developer and advocate for a Free and Open Source Linux desktop for nearly 20 years. Based in Cambridge, United Kingdom, Rob also currently serves as the President of the GNOME Foundation, a 501(c)(3) in the open source desktop space.