[Ubuntu PA] Getting it done in Phila!

Kevin Valentine kevin.valentine at gmail.com
Sat Sep 1 17:53:30 BST 2007

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to take a moment to summarize some of the small events
that have been happening here in the Phila area.  Much of this has been
mentioned in scattered locations: irc, forum, mailing list, wiki. 
However, it's easy to leave details out while in a frenzy to get things

*** MALT CVG (last Wednesday of each month) ***
Jim, Randy, and I have been busy establishing a relationship with the
Mt. Airy Learning Tree's (MALT) Computer Volunteer Group (CVG).  After
several meetings, long phone discussions, and emails we finally have a
regular meeting date for Linux discussions at the CVG classroom.  It
happens the last Wednesday of every month from 7pm to 9pm.  Greg Jenkins
who runs the CVG, has given me a key to the classroom in case we have to
get in early to prepare or work on our own Linux specific projects.  We
don't intend to make this a meeting place for LoCo discussions.  Our
main objective is to expose the members of the CVG to Linux (Ubuntu) so
they can then push it into their own community projects.  We've already
sparked an interest.  Now we just have to plan for
talks/demonstrations/projects with be relevant to their present
community projects.  One example of their projects was the one with
Girls Inc.

*** NTR (3rd Monday of each month) ***
Jim and I provided a training session at the Nonprofit Technology
Resource (NTR) on Aug 22nd from 10am - 2pm.  I forget the head count, 6
or 8 people?  They each had their own Dell desktop and we walked them
through an Ubuntu installation.  Along the way answered whatever
questions that came up.  Our objective at NTR is to thoroughly expose
them (volunteers/employees) to Ubuntu.  This is not like the
install-fest where it was basically just a crash course in Ubuntu. 
There is a lot of hand holding here and for good reason.  NTR has a lot
of strong ties within the community and we want to tap into that.  We
also want them to start selling Ubuntu desktops/laptops in their thrift
store.  Here are few ideas:

 * They have a reuse/recycle process that could truly benefit from slim
Linux OSes.  For example, they have a lot of laptops that are considered
trash because they can't run Win2k or WinXP.  However, they run Puppy
and DSL just fine.  I know their new laptop employee and plan to
resurrect the laptop project I started several months back.

 * We are trying to come up with discussion topics for NTR.  We have
many but for now we need to stay focussed on some of their immediate
needs.  As a Mac guy, Stan Pokras (NTR director) uses FileMaker Pro for
all NTR's database needs.  We think we can demonstrate a better solution
using a portion of LAMP + OO Base.

 * Sometimes NTR gets projects with the school district that involve
imaging many duplicate PCs at once.  I believe they are presently using
Norton Ghost for networked imaging.  Can we get them an open source
solution that is better?  Perhaps a headless PXE-type boot?  Similar to
Linux on Tap but pushes a default image (Windows, Ubuntu, etc) from a

I'll be posting this to both the forum and mailing list.  Feel free to
discuss this further on whatever one you're more comfortable with.

btw, I'm buying a house in Norwood, PA.  If things go well, I should be
closing before the end of September.  I'll try to keep up with the
discussions and providing updates on our projects.  But don't be
surprised if you don't hear from me for up to a week at a time.

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