Simplicity - Linux desktop/OS for the elderly
What connects Italian vegans, Valerie Singleton, and Linux Mint? Well they're all involved in a firm whose business is bringing computing to older users.
Whether or not Simplicity Computing succeeds will be a big test of two things - the appetite of older people to get online and the attractiveness of open source software as a means of dealing with digital exclusion.
Yesterday we took 80-year-old Betty Parsons for her first encounter with a computer. She climbed the stairs at the home of Nigel Houghton, who's masterminding the Simplicity venture, and sat herself down in front of the machine. When it's switched on for the first time, up pops Valerie Singleton - co-founder of the business launching Simplicity - and starts explaining what to do next, much like Microsoft's talking paperclip.