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Are there any plans to make an OLPC compatible distribution targeting old desktop systems?
Refurbishing old computer systems could also be an interesting project for pupils in computer science courses in developed countries. The OLPC wiki could help to coordinate such efforts.
Rationale: Given the world population between 0-14 years (male 919,219,446/female 870,242,271) [World Factbook] the OLPC and similar efforts may be unable to meet the demand (notwithstanding ability to pay) for quite a while. The OLPC effort is, however, able to provide government contacts and local organizations in developing countries prepared to handle the distribution of computer equipment in very large quantities.
Distributions targeting non-XO machines
- OLPC Linux for ordinary PCs: Sugar on a USB stick
- Edupuppy for lower-spec'd machines; has some overlap with OLPC activities
- FUZOMA: FreeDOS-based educational distro will run from a floppy and only needs 8MB RAM. Pretty easy to de/reconstruct for CS classes.
Ideas for upgrading & adding computers
- x86 PC
- A good strategy may be to test components and to disassemble systems in developed countries and to deliver components in large quantities of identical components to developing countries. This would allow people to build the knowledge how to build PCs from components and how to repair them and it could allow a large number of small computer shops to come into existance in order to build PCs from used components. Pupils' coops [Schülerunternehmen] could gather old machines, test machines, categorize components and send them to distributing organizations (this is not quite as interesting as refurbishing the machines but may be better for the recipients). Pupils could recycle the packaging material of new computers from local businesses as packaging material for their own shipments and print their own labels and documentation as required. Circuit boards could be consistently dipped with one edge into paint to irreversibly mark them as refurbished, even when packaged in new packaging material. Documentation could be provided in the language of the recipients, if possible. As a learning aid english and native language documentation could be printed side by side.
- Pupils could update the BIOS of mainboards to the latest versions or exchange them with LinuxBIOS (after verifying if this was desired by the recipients). This would give the pupils something to do that required them to read up on some technical issues and to establish some form of communication with potential recipients. Both seems desirable, even if the actual update of a BIOS may not be that important. (The motivation for the pupils could be to provide professional service, not just untested computer parts)
- Recipients could either be schools prepared to build their own machines or local computer shops affiliated with a distributing organization. The latter would allow the schools to buy their machines from local computer shops much like schools in developed countries do, but at very low prices.
- Apple computers do not have the same variety as PCs and older generations have been made obsolete by MacOS X. These machines could be pooled and re-used as Linux machines.
- Computer leasing
- A way to promote scheduled refurbishing and following donation of computer hardware to developing countries could be certified leasing contracts where the computer vendor or a third party took back computer hardware after the end of the leasing contract (three to five years) and delivered the hardware to a volunteer organization in a developed country or in a developing country. Hardware vendors might be happy to participate in such a scheme because this would allow them to remind their customers to return old hardware and buy new one, if not for the benefit of the recipients.