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Linux for the kids: LinuxWorld Install Fest

July 16th, 2008 · No Comments

Over the last few years, LinuxWorld has become the trade show for Linux, the business, rather than Linux, the community. This year, the show will include a blast from the past as it will include a massive install-fest.

Untangle, an open-source network gateway company, is sponsoring the 1,000 plus computer install-fest. This “Installfest for Schools of 2008” will take place in the exhibit hall of the LinuxWorld Conference August 4-7 at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. The even is also being sponsored by LinuxWorld and the ACCRC (Alameda County Computer Resource Center ) with additional support from Ubuntu, Canonical, and Mozilla.

You can help too. There’s no way Untangle and friends can install that many copies of Ubuntu by itself, so they’re hoping for hundreds of volunteers to refurbish those computers with Linux and basic open-source such as Firefox, and OpenOffice. The finished systems will then be given to local schools in need.

Have some old PCs yourself? Bring them on in. The minimum requirements for a PC for this install-fest is a Pentium III, 256MB Ram system with a 20GB drive. That was state of the art in 2001, but it’s near junk by 2008 standards. With Linux, though, a Pentium III PC still has lots of useful life left in it.

According to an Untangle statement, “Workstations will be setup on the show expo floor for LinuxWorld attendees to participate by recycling their unwanted computers, refurbishing older hardware and installing Linux operating systems and open source applications.” To get on the expo floor with a minimum of fuss you should pre-register for the show. A free exhibit hall pass, obtainable at the bottom of the registration page, is all you’ll need to get to the install-fest. This pass will also enable you to see the keynote and feature presentations and attend the birds of a feather meetings.

If you can’t make it to San Francisco for the show, but you like the idea of joining forces to get useful Linux PCs into the hands of needy school kids, several LUGs (Linux User Groups) are hosting their own local install-fests. These will be using the same scripts, ISO images, tips and online collateral materials to make the Linux installations to go as smoothly as possible. Local install-fests are also scheduled for Bellingham, WA and Portland, OR. For more information on how you can help visit Untangle’s install-fest site.

In a statement by Untangle, the company states that “One thousand improperly recycled computers can account for more than 50,000 lbs of toxic waste in landfills. At the same time, with ongoing budget cuts, schools face funding limitations for technology equipment that could enhance students’ classroom experiences. The August Installfest, the largest charitable activity ever taken on by LinuxWorld, aims to combat these problems.”

Tags: Applications · Desktop · Linux · Open Source · Operating System