View Full Version : help with ideas for using spare computers

March 8th, 2009, 05:13 PM
I'm sitting on a couple laptops & pc's (2 of each) and have time for new projects. I would love to hear some ideas on what I can do with them. I know I'd like to set up a TOR node on one but not sure about the others. Thanks for your suggestions.

March 8th, 2009, 05:22 PM
I would give them away.

March 8th, 2009, 05:37 PM
I would give them away.

I've done that a few times, sometimes I find an older, in good condition notebook computer at a thriftstore, so I get it, check it over then figure out which Linux distro to install in it. Depending on the age of the notebook, I will usually install KUBUNTU, but sometimes the older notebooks need a smaller size, so I will install Damn Small Linux on them, I usually get them up and running even if I have to find a way to jury-rig the installation process!
Once I get it up and running I take it down to my Church and ask them to find a needy family that might benefit from having it.

(just because a computer is old, does not mean it is worthless!)

March 8th, 2009, 05:50 PM
I've given away over 40 computers to rural families in the past year so I'm going to have some fun with these extras. None of them are older than 2 years with good hardware for running Linux.

March 8th, 2009, 06:24 PM
Well...personally I wouldn't sit on them...they might get damaged...[/really bad humour]

I like the ideas presented by the first couple of repliers...install and configure a Gnu/Linux distro of your choice and donate them to economically disadvantaged families, with the caveat that you are willing to provide some sort of basic instruction (written or in-person) so they can successfully use their "new" computer.

However, you mention that you have done this before, so...maybe make one into a media centre (MythTV), another into a file/print server/internet gateway.

March 8th, 2009, 06:36 PM
I've given ....computers to rural families in the past year....

Your conscience is functioning well.

Mine requires fullscale adjustments.

......maybe make one into a media centre (MythTV), another into a file/print server/internet gateway.

That's what I would have said. But the replies in this thread, to this point, are much better. However, this may still be an option since the OP has already given away 40.

March 8th, 2009, 06:44 PM
Apparently, you can't delete posts.

March 8th, 2009, 09:31 PM
I apologise for not including more info. I can give these away but chose not to due to several dozen are being giving to me in April that are even newer. These will go to poor families in my rural area and all run Ubuntu. I was inspired by Helios so I jumped in.

I built a new tower this past fall as a media center so I do not need another one. It works as a file server as well for all of our computers.

I think I will go ahead and use one as a full time TOR node and one for a game server. I want to set up a weather center for use with my outdoor system but not sure yet if it can be done on Linux. Plan on researching it this coming week.

If I have no use for them I will give them away as well.

Thanks everyone for you input.

March 8th, 2009, 09:42 PM
Use them as hardware firewall.

March 8th, 2009, 11:21 PM
(Switch them on in winter for heated footrests)

March 9th, 2009, 01:55 AM
I use the firewall/router/proxy/+, called IPCop (http://www.ipcop.org/) in an old PIII 650Mhz, 256Mb RAM & 8Gb HDD, Dell Optiplex G150. A PII would be better as they use even less electricity, but I haven't found a good one yet at the local rubbish dump. ;)

It runs quietly 24/7, & offers a lot of services between it's native tiny Linux install & the Copfilter (http://www.copfilter.org/) addon I use. My internet is not slowed down, even though I'm using Privoxy (http://www.privoxy.org/) & ClamAV via Copfilter . I wouldn't use the ClamAV anti-virus as we have no windows machines on our LAN except that running via IPCop/Copfilter there is no slowdown or maintenance, as ClamAV updates it's brain every morning at an ungodly hour.

The other thing I use on an old box is FreeNAS (http://www.freenas.org/) which as per IPCop/Copfilter is incredibly easy to install & setup.

Both IPCop & FreeNAS are tiny installations, & IPCop in particular will even run on a 386 box! I found them both to be a lot of fun to set up & they both run headless & can be monitored & configured via browser based GUI's that are both very well thought out & presented.

Highly recommended. :KS