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View Full Version : Dont laugh, but I have a dream ;)



StueyB
February 16th, 2006, 07:59 PM
Hi peeps,

Ok so I am quite a newbie to Ubuntu but i've been fixing (and breaking ;) ) computers for as long as I can remember.

Now in my part of the UK, some of the places are classed as the second and third poorest and poverty stricken areas in the uk.

Now I love the idea of helping these people (if they want to be helped) by creating a similar gig to freegeek.org. not only would it provide me with somewhere to donate my energy and help the community but it would allow them what is fast becoming an issue of the right to access the internet. Also cutting way down on waste and increasing recycling.

Now I have had this dream for a while. I even wrote a letter to my member of parliment but his reply was basically that there are commercial companies doing it already and they are cheap enough.

What he failed to grasp is the community angle, in as much as it gets the kids of the streets, teaches them about computers and also gives them a sense of worth and responsability ( I do mean that )

I dont have thousands of , just the drive and the longing to see this turned into reality. Has anyone any ideas on achieving this?

Also as a plus, if 20 pcs a week even where fixed and ubuntu'ized ;) thats just under 1000 linux users a year :)

Why do I want to do this? Well over the years I have been like a lot of you and been addicted to Windows in its guises, but I now realise how "complicit" they can be in restricting your rights. Not only that but I really do think everyone should have the right to access to a computer, irrespective of wether they are rich or poor. Also the amount of landfill and waste computers generate is truly staggering. Its an enviromental crisis that is happening now.

Anything we can do to reduce this is worth doing.

Having experienced first hand how easy Ubuntu can be, and how quick it can be on relatively inferior hardware makes it an ideal candidate for the OS. Its also a way to potentially get OSS to a wider audience :)

Any thoughts, comments, welcome

Stu

nalmeth
February 16th, 2006, 09:22 PM
how quick it can be on relatively inferior hardware

This is key!

All the old computers that are being tossed away for shiny new XP PC's by the bug-eyed consumer are still viable useful devices! I have a really old 486 (that has been upgraded obviously!) with 64-megs of ram, and I have it setup in the house as a public computer, and its great for surfing the net and watching / listening to media. You're right about environmental damage, because lots of computers (as far as the regular computer user goes) are effectively welded shut (just like the OS that came with it), so lots of computers are just junked when they can't run the new windows.

I know a lot of people will say that your money is better spent on charities for drug-rehab, soup-kitchens, shelters etc, but these charities treat symptoms of poverty, wheras a computer can open a gateway, and literally change the mindset of a person who feels hopeless and stuck. We need organizations to feed empty stomachs, but equally if not more, we need initiatives that feed the empty mind.

Unfortunately creating a type of public computer library for the poverty-stricken of your community would take a lot of policy decisions, supervision, maintanance, and money of course. Keep pressuring your MOP, get other people to pressure their MOP's, or maybe find the companies that are already doing this and start there.

I wish you the best of luck!

majikstreet
February 16th, 2006, 10:03 PM
wonderful! I want to do something like this in my area (which is around DC), but haven't looked into it that much..

I wish you luck...

Lord Illidan
February 16th, 2006, 10:24 PM
I don't live in the UK, but I certainly know what you are talking about. I know people who don't afford a computer.

First, I think your dream is admirable, and I would tell you to go ahead, if only for one thing. Internet access. If these people don't have internet access, (maybe they have, maybe they don't, feel free to correct me), how can they really use Linux, or indeed any other OS without an expert to help them?

Now, I don't think there is a legion of experts out there. However, it is certainly a good way to re-use old computers (I have a plan to get my secondary computer, a celeron 333 Mhz to use Linux once my sisters grow out of it).

Derek Djons
February 16th, 2006, 10:33 PM
Though I'm totally think you should do this you'll have to think about the cons. It's not just installing Ubuntu on those computers. A lot of people maybe don't know jack about Ubuntu or Linux in general. You won't be able to just reference everybody to forums and groups. So you'll also have to be able to provide assistence, especially if people have to deal with hardware / software related issues. USB ports suddenly not working, Xserver not working and etc.

Lord Illidan
February 16th, 2006, 10:44 PM
Though I'm totally think you should do this you'll have to think about the cons. It's not just installing Ubuntu on those computers. A lot of people maybe don't know jack about Ubuntu or Linux in general. You won't be able to just reference everybody to forums and groups. So you'll also have to be able to provide assistence, especially if people have to deal with hardware / software related issues. USB ports suddenly not working, Xserver not working and etc.

Which is why these people need internet... If I hadn't internet, I wouldn't be able to use Linux, because I wouldn't know anything about it. If I managed to overcome that hurdle, there still remains the issue of installing things through apt-get. When applications seem to use a thousand different libraries, each of which depends on hundreds more, and there is no apt-get, you get frustrated.

Xellon
February 16th, 2006, 11:20 PM
This kind of idea (along with the freegeek.org style of things) is needed in a lot of places. For many years, I've been living and working in South America (between Brasil and Peru), and Linux down here is nothing short of a god-send.

With the average wages here, a fresh retail copy of XP can cost an entire family it's monthly income, let along buying the computer. Here in Peru, we have things like the goverment program PCPeru, where low end, Linux loaded PCs get sold below cost. But for many, it's still not low enough.

I've seen a few groups (very small) in Brasil that do this, but on a case by case basis. Getting the hardware is the hard part. I think back to all the old machines I've trashed, and what a clean Ubuntu load could do for them now.

If you can get it going, go for it. I've seen first hand how access to a system (low end refurb with Linux at one of the "Lighthouse of Knowledge" mini-libraries in Curitiba) can do for a person.

Best of luck to you on your dream.

zmatt
February 17th, 2006, 12:21 AM
I agree, my school's STLP has just started doing this luckily for me im the team leader, we have staff bring in their old machines and we dust them off and install an apropate OS more often than not its Linux, due to the protocal we cannot use school hardware and spftware and alot has come out of my and other's pockets to get these machines going, hardware is a pain to find. And the really sad part is that we ahve a systme that relies on the "warehouse" policy where old hardware goes to the warehouse in the name of protecting sensitive data! since when can old RAM or video cards hold sensitive data? we used to use Macs but in '98 the district decidied to use pcs and all ther macs are locked away in the warehouse never to be seen for about 20 years before they decide to throw it all away. We have started petitions and have complained about this grose ineffecient use of recources, these machines (many were tossed cause they couldnt run XP) are perfectly good and we can do nothing, there are enough complete or partially complete machines that could supply almost all of the households in my city. this sucks.

StueyB
February 17th, 2006, 11:08 AM
Hi peeps,

Im glad to see everyone thinks its a good idea. However there were some concerns raised regarding a) support and b) what use it is potentially without internet.

Well firstly on the support issue, Id hope that people would be understanding and bring in the machine to us if it needed fixing. But if you get together a decent group, as in eager willing and keen to learn, im sure it could be boxed off. Ok dont shoot me when I say this but im "hoping" that support would be less because with Ubuntu, most of the things that plague Windows pcs dont happen. For example theres no virii for Ubuntu, a lot less spyware and no malware that I know of, and these constitute the bulk of support that most people need, having a fresh stream of XP boxes land on my desk every week, trojaned and exploited, full of spyware! Im not saying things wont happen, but happen less.

As to the point about the internet, well no internet access means it wont get rooted (Joke !) But the thought I had is that maybe one of the supermarkets that are fighting for dial up and broadband dominance would perhaps cut a special deal for the project (If it was proved ligit, and a positive spin for them and the local community)

As an example, Tesco ( a uk supermarket ) does a very basic Broadband package for 10 and they also do dialup. Im sure they would be interested as it helps build their market share and brand loyalty. Im only using Tescos as an example though!

StueyB
February 17th, 2006, 11:17 AM
As for the hardware, well in my area, there are some huge employers, call centres, huge Shell petrol refinaries etc so hopefully if the project flies, they will be able to donate hardware.

mstlyevil
February 17th, 2006, 04:58 PM
This is key!

All the old computers that are being tossed away for shiny new XP PC's by the bug-eyed consumer are still viable useful devices! I have a really old 486 (that has been upgraded obviously!) with 64-megs of ram, and I have it setup in the house as a public computer, and its great for surfing the net and watching / listening to media. You're right about environmental damage, because lots of computers (as far as the regular computer user goes) are effectively welded shut (just like the OS that came with it), so lots of computers are just junked when they can't run the new windows.

I know a lot of people will say that your money is better spent on charities for drug-rehab, soup-kitchens, shelters etc, but these charities treat symptoms of poverty, wheras a computer can open a gateway, and literally change the mindset of a person who feels hopeless and stuck. We need organizations to feed empty stomachs, but equally if not more, we need initiatives that feed the empty mind.

Unfortunately creating a type of public computer library for the poverty-stricken of your community would take a lot of policy decisions, supervision, maintanance, and money of course. Keep pressuring your MOP, get other people to pressure their MOP's, or maybe find the companies that are already doing this and start there.

I wish you the best of luck!

This is a great post. I personally believe where social programs and welfare is failing is it is giving a hand out and not a hand up. People need to be educated and taught skills that will empower them to become more self sufficient. Donating old computers to the poor and training them how to use them is a step in that direction. This not only teaches them a valuable skill but gives them the information they need through the net to aquire other skills and become more self sufficient. This will benefit everyone because there will be less people depending on the system and more people contributing.

If you catch a man a fish you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish you feed him for a life time.

equal
February 17th, 2006, 06:33 PM
That's a very cool idea. I know a lot of people are saying "yeah but what about internet connection, but the fact of the matter is, you can't do everything. Just getting people a computer is a huge step. For the person who can't possibly afford $700 for a basic Dell computer, something like this could get them where they need to be.