London-based Charity gives 40, 000 PCs a fresh start .... (an Ubuntu opportunity?)

Matt Zimmerman mdz at
Sun Feb 6 17:35:48 CST 2005

On Sun, Feb 06, 2005 at 11:14:18PM +0000, John Levin wrote:

> I'm familiar with Computer Aid - did a little work there some time back. I
> believe their policy is to send computers without any operating system, or
> possibly something very basic like FreeDOS. There are good reasons for
> this - they don't know what the recipients will be using the computer for,
> they don't know precisely what hardware will be linked together, and the
> time involved in installing an OS.

We could work with them to resolve these issues; certainly having Ubuntu
pre-installed is no worse than having no operating system at all.  Perhaps
local Ubuntu volunteers could be mobilized to help with the installations
(in cooperation with the development of the Kickstart automated installation
infrastructure for Hoary?).

> Also, the boxes CA ship are very low spec, many with CPUs of around
> 100mhz, which Ubuntu would unduly tax

Yes, certainly this would need to be limited to systems with enough disk,
memory and CPU power to run a modern OS like Ubuntu.  Surely there are some?

> The way forward for Ubuntu is really to contact the people actually using
> the computers - the many and varied projects in Africa, Asia and Eastern
> Europe.

Installation is the single highest barrier to entry for Ubuntu and other
alternative operating systems.  Having Ubuntu preinstalled is a great way to
eliminate that barrier, and I think we should pursue such opportunities.

> I would like to see if there is some way Ubuntu and recycling projects
> could work together; on our part, I think there has to be further
> development of 'Ubuntu-lite' for lowend systems (which is being discussed
> on the user list).

I agree.  In many parts of the US, 686-class systems (quite capable of
running Ubuntu) are candidates for recycling.  Are there any centralized
organizations which manage operations like these?  How do we get in touch
with them?

 - mdz

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