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The Computers For Kids Project is a project to "recondition" used donated computers and make them available to disadvantaged children at low or no cost.

Because of questions related to Windows licenses for these computers (do some of the donated computers have licenses?, will Microsoft donate licenses (a request has been made, at least for the first 300 computers -- but what happens after the first 300?), Linux is being considered for the operating system. Microsoft has donated 490 licenses due to the efforts of Charles Versaggi (sp?) of Air Products (IIUC). We will be emphasizing distribution of Linux boxes.

Assuming Linux is the operating system for some / all of the computers, the LVLUG is taking this on as a project. Or more accurately, some members of the LVLUG are volunteering on this project, including the two founders of the LVLUG -- Dann Washko and Linc Fessenden

The intent is not to supply computers only, but to provide education / guidance in the usage of those computers. A major challenge if Linux is the operating system is providing that education / guidance to children whose only exposure to computers so far has been to Windows.

We should gather a list of resources -- off the top of my head I know there is an organization / website named something like SEUL which advocates and facilitates the usage of Linux based computers in education.

Another major challenge is providing that education / guidance to a population that includes a significant number of people whose native language is Spanish, not English.

Contents

What I Think I Know

  • The project was initiated by Main.Randy Plessor and is currently in its early formative stages.
  • It is intended to be a NFP (Not For Profit) As of about 14 Feb 2003 it is a corporation, NFP status may take a year.
  • Allentown, Pa. (or the mayor of Allentown?) has donated a house to the project.
  • Vector Linux has been installed on at least one of these computers as a trial in the efforts to select a distro. Peanut Linux will also be tested. We are proceeding with Vector Linux, and Dann Washko is evolving it into Vector CFK Linux.
  • In the near future, 500 computers or so will be available to the project, ranging from 100 MHz 486s to 400 MHz Pentium IIs, and including some MacIntoshes and laptops. 700 computers already donated, IIUC
  • Over the next three years, there is the potential to get all the computers that the ASD (Allentown School District) is replacing, which amounts to about ??? thousand.

What I Don't Know

  • Has an NFP corporation been formed for CFK? No -- will take up to a year. Is there a page that lists its officers, contacts, etc. _I've seen it in email, I don't think it's on the TWiki or the "official" web site (http://lvcfk.org)_
  • What is the address of the house See FifthStreetHouse
  • Is there a lawyer working on the project? John Freund, the ASD's lawyer is doing some pro-bono work -- handled the incorporation, will work on the NFP.
  • How much RAM is available in a typical computer (or what is the range, how much should we assume in picking a distro?) A wide range -- we're juggling to get a minimum of 32 MB for a Vector install.

Things I Want to Discuss

  • Apparently a decision has been made to not supply / enable modems with the computers -- can that decision be revisited? Is there a way to avoid legal liability (like have the parents / guardians of a child sign a disclaimer, or (assuming a donated computer has a modem, leave it in the computer but (at least intially) not set it up?) -- I propose that we have that discussion on CanCfkSupplyModems. That decision has now been reversed -- apparently some of the legal advice was on the basis that we might be providing services like an ISP, which we are not.

Aside: We would like to send each machine out with a CD-Rom drive but they (CD-Rom drives) are in short supply.

No doubt there will be more, but I'll preview this page, then save it with the Release Edit Lock checkbox checked so someone else can edit it soon.


Randy, I hope it is okay to make a couple of observations:
  1. Hopefully, this effort is unduplicated. No other such efforts underway? There are some other similar projects -- some who have looked into them don't think they are as far along as we are (or are significantly different -- like the outfit in New York that crushes computers and, for example, recycles the 7 pounds of lead in the glass of a typical CRT. I think we are the only such effort in our geographic area -- eastern Pennsylvania and nearby surrounding areas. -- rhk
  2. Hopefully, it could have KidKollaboration. Getting the kids involved -- sure. Some of the VoTechs and high schools have started to participate, and, as you know -- anyone can contribute to a wiki, although I haven't really made an active pitch. Hmm, I bet some elementary and middle school spanish speaking children could make a good effort at making some translations into spanish (or vice versa), with possibly grading or correcting by their teachers. Could be a very fruitful approach. --rhk

And, looking at this page again today, it is worthy of an update (like too many other pages) -- we have distributed our first 20 or so computers -- see EventSchedule and PastEvents -- I've done some updating -- now should be refactored -- I guess I'll get back to this page sometime.

-- JonathanSmith - 20 Feb 2003 -- Main.RandyKramer - 21 Feb 2003 - rhk comments above

Contributors

  • () RandyKramer - 11 Dec 2002
  • () JonathanSmith - 20 Feb 2003
  • <If you edit this page: add your name here; move this to the next line; and include your comment marker (initials), if you have created one, in parenthesis before your WikiName.>

Topic revision: r1 - 2003-03-17 - RandyKramer
 
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