[clug] giveaway - old PCs

Paul Wayper paul.wayper at anu.edu.au
Wed Jun 7 00:33:54 GMT 2006

Chris Smart wrote:
> [snip]
> Maybe Charity Computers at Charnwood could make some use of these if no-one
> else wants them, but I'm not sure.
I took my big pile of stuff there, and I'm not so keen on going there 
again to be perfectly honest.  In talking with the people there I 
believe they install Windows 95.  I don't know if they also install 
firewalls and antivirus protection but I'll put even money on nothing 
being installed.  A couple of the guys that I spoke to knew what Linux 
was and had played with it a couple of years ago but "the company's got 
this site license for Windows so that's what we're told to install" and 
"everyone uses Windows at work anyway and we're trying to give Aussie 
Battlers (tm) a chance at getting employed".  I believe there are 
several logical and factual errors in those statements, but I wasn't 
talking to the people with any power to change things so it was 
pointless.  I also got the impression that they didn't run any training 
or supplied any other software like word processors and so forth, so for 
people buying these computers it's most likely "pirate a copy off a friend".

I'm happy to be proved wrong.  But it really gave me the impression that 
the people running Charity Computers couldn't see the picture beyond 
just supplying someone with the hardware.  The fact that they've got 
pallets of perfectly good network switches, pentiums, 486s, and other 
hardware that small offices or CLUGgers could get good use out of - and 
that they refuse to sell you because you're not unemployed - makes me 
think they really don't know much about the state of play in the 
computer industry.

I believe Ubuntu or Fedora Core, with a single A4 page explaining 
equivalences between Windows and Ubuntu (e.g. the E icon <-> the Firefox 
icon), would go further toward giving these people a much more useful 
and secure computer.  Training in the differences between Linux and 
Windows, and training in (Microsoft / Open) Office software and so 
forth, would be the real key to these people getting a real chance at 
getting ahead.

A friend of mine has been struggling to get Linux working after finally 
throwing in the towel with Windows.  He's a signwriter made redundant 
and he's determined to get a fresh start in computers.  He's come along 
to one PSIG and one CLUG meeting, and he's persisting in learning how to 
get Linux working from howtos, man pages, books from the library and 
bits of my help.  To give him Windows 95 because he's a "charity case" 
and expect him to just pilot it from there would be to blight him.



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