[DC LoCo] Free Software Support Group @ CP Library
dc.loco at gmail.com
Mon Jul 21 15:29:32 BST 2008
On Mon, Jul 21, 2008 at 09:22, Perry Klein <pk at washcable.tv> wrote:
> Thanks, Gerald. We would be interested in comparing notes and sharing
> resources with the Cleveland Park group. Are they a member of TechSoup
> receive software at a discount? I think libraries are eligible. For
> example, Microsoft Windows XP and Office 2007 Pro licenses are about $20
> each. See www.techsoup.org
Thanks for getting in touch.
Something that continues to get lost in translation when trying to advertise
our little group: We're very committed to Open Source (a.k.a. "Free as in
freedom" Software). The software is unencumbered, non-proprietary software,
which from an educational standpoint should be a natural fit for libraries
and schools. And, since in the case of Ubuntu Linux, it's free as in "cost"
as well, there isn't much use for a discount from Microsoft. Linux is being
used in several schools in the area. It is also heavily used at the Takoma
Park Library, and all of the libraries in Howard County. (I don't keep
track of where else in the area it's being used.)
We see Linux (and other unencumbered, non-proprietary software) as both an
economical solution and as an environmental one, in that it can often rescue
machines destined for a landfill.
While more computers would be nice, a few things on my wish list would be:
- More volunteers!!!!! This is the big one. At the moment, it's largely
me solo on Saturday afternoon, and Sanjay at various times during the week.
Sanjay has also been responsible for actually getting the space, the
initial computers, and setting up the space, as well as advertising the
group. The two of us are getting spread a wee bit thin as the word about
the computers gets out. In fact, next Saturday is once again a conflict for
me, since I'll be hosting the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Learning Club of
DC at Gallaudet. (http://olpclearningclub.org/) (The XO laptop, produced
by the OLPC Foundation, is also a Linux-based computer. See
http://laptop.org/ for more info.)
We're not looking for experts. The idea is to create a "chain" of more
advanced users helping less advanced users.
- backlit keyboards: The lighting in the room is really poor, and the
eyesight of many people coming in is not 20/20. Electrical outlets up there
are at a premium (and frankly old). So, rather than more external lighting,
I'm thinking "if the keyboards themselves were lit..."
- trackballs or other replacements for mice. I'm not certain about this,
but some of the older visitors, having difficulty controlling the mouse, may
benefit from an alternative input device.
- brilliant ideas about how to increase the performance of the wireless
on second floor, since the librarians don't want us attacking the concrete
with power drills. ;-) Though honestly, it seems better now than when I
started volunteering there.
As for Tech Soup, I've been to their site a while back, and bookmarked it
for future reference but haven't checked in recently. I'll look again. A
few of us have expressed interest in trying to become a FreeGeek partner.
(See http://www.freegeek.org/ and http://www.freegeek.org/family.php for
The Ubuntu DC Local Community (a.k.a. the "DC LoCo") will have a table again
this year at the Takoma Park Folk Festival (http://tpff.org/) where we will
be distributing free Ubuntu Linux CD's and answering questions. There's
also been some discussion regarding a possible appearance at the Green
Festival (http://www.greenfestivals.org/content/view/625/280/) in November.
I hope that helps clarify things a bit.
Ubuntu Linux DC LoCo
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