Groups Refurbish Hundreds of Computers for Underprivileged Schools


This month at the 2008 LinuxWorld Conference & Expo, two groups--Untangle and the Alameda County Computer Resource Center--pulled together volunteers to refurbish computers that will be given to underprivileged schools. The effort--the second such green/open source event, dubbed "Installfest for Schools"--resulted in hundreds of refurbished units loaded up with free and open source software.

The idea of Installfest is to take advantage of the low overhead of open-source tools and operating systems, such as the Linux-based Ubuntu, so that computers that would otherwise have been discarded can be put to use for educational institutions and other groups, including low-income individuals and non-profits. Organizers and volunteers installed open-source solutions, such as Firefox, Open Office, and Ubuntu, on recycled computers donated by the ACCRC, which will then be given out to participating schools.

In total at this latest event, some 750 machines were refurbished and made ready for installation in schools, more than double the number of machines refurbished in the first such event held earlier this year.

According to organizers, this was the largest charitable event held at a LinuxWorld conference to date.

"This Installfest showcases the drive, passion, and commitment of the open source community at large," said Andrew Fife, product marketing manager at Untangle, in a statement released this week. "We were able to refurbish a record number of computers because of all the GNU/Linux users at the LinuxWorld Expo who were willing to lend both their time and expertise to the effort."

Groups involved in the drive included Untangle, the Alameda County Computer Resource Center, No Starch Press, Mozilla, Ubuntu/Canonical, Creative Commons, and exposition service provider GES.

You can read more in depth about this open source/green initiative for schools in our earlier coverage here.

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About the author:David Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's online education technology publications, including THE Journal and Campus Technology. He can be reached at

Proposals for articles and tips for news stories, as well as questions and comments about this publication, should be submitted to David Nagel, executive editor, at

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at He can now be followed on Twitter at (K-12) or (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at

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