Community Linux project, recycled computers - ideas?

Questions about the project and the distribution - obviously no support questions here please
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lagagnon
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Re: More than 1 computer per person gathering dust - ideas?

Post by lagagnon »

seabreeze wrote:Does anyone have some ideas about capturing this hardware source before it becomes landfill, or links to sites that have such strategies in place? Any recycling and re-use where you are?
Yes. I volunteer for a small unregistered charity. We get donated 3-8 year old computers from government institutions, universities, businesses, individuals. We refurbish these machines: clean them, add larger hard drives, more RAM, make any necessary repairs, wipe the hard drives if required by the donor and then we install Linux on them. We then give these machines to "people who normally cannot afford their own computer". That includes: unemployed job seekers, students, single mothers, low income seniors, the disabled and the homebound. It is satisfying work and for the most part Linux is quite a big hit because 95% of what these people do is send emails and browse the Internet.
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lagagnon
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Re: Community Linux project, recycled computers - ideas?

Post by lagagnon »

You might want to check out the "Free Geek" concept, which is very similar to your ideas. See the Vancouver BC, Canada, Free Geek webpage here:

http://freegeekvancouver.org/
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Fred
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Re: Community Linux project, recycled computers - ideas?

Post by Fred »

seabreeze,

I can't speak to what your approach in the down-under might be but I'll tell you how I got most of the computers for my little pet projects. I set up a computer room for senior citizens in a local nursing home. I also put together a small, after school, computer lab at a local high and middle school. The total was about 40 machines.

The local hospital was the source of most of these machines. In this part of the world, and especially where very personal data is concerned, donating machines to worthy causes is difficult and costly. There are very strict rules about medical data called the federal HIPPA regulations.

Most organizations with 100's of machines to replace just don't have the staff and willingness to spend the money to wipe all these hard drives so they can be given away.

In my case I went to their IT department and made them a deal. I agreed to do a quad wipe of their old machines if I could have 20% of them. They could take the rest and auction them to the employees for almost nothing and give the rest of them away.

The trick was for me to renew my notary public license. And give them a notarized certificate for each machine certifying that the hard drives had been rendered clean and unreadable. A simple dd script and the help of a few interested high school students made it all work. Total cost for almost 50 machines? $25.00 renewal fee for my expired notary and maybe a half a tank of gas for my pickup truck to pick-up and deliver the machines. :-)

It was a win win situation for everybody. That is the secret to any successful negotiation or business deal. Everybody must win. When there is a winner and a looser, it's call a con. :-)

Fred
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Re: Community Linux project, recycled computers - ideas?

Post by jaqian »

There is a great organisation in Ireland called http://Camara.ie that recycle old computers, install Linux on them and give them to African schools. Check them out.
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