'Installfest' Brings Open Source Tools to Northern California Schools


Open-source developer Untangle and the Alameda County Computer Resource Center are holding an event called "Installfest" in the Northern California Bay Area March 1. The event will see donated hardware and open-source software distributed free to several schools in San Francisco, Berkeley, San Mateo, and Marin County.

For the event, Untangle and volunteers will install open-source solutions, such as Firefox, Open Office, and Ubuntu, on recycled computers donated by the ACCRC, then give out the computers to participating schools. (Schools that wish to participate can fill out an application using this form.)

The idea 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.

"132 million computers were bought in the year 2000 alone. They're all on the verge of being thrown out, and none of them can run Windows Vista," said Andrew Fife, marketing manager of Untangle, in a statement released Tuesday. "But older hardware works really well with Linux, so recycling is a great way to ensure that kids in all school districts have the same technology access as those in the rich districts."

Untangle, based in San Mateo, CA, is the developer of the Untangle Gateway Platform, an open-source (and free) filtering solution for spam, spyware, viruses, adware, and other unwanted content.

"Throwing away computers that could be used in schools is plain dumb," said James Burgett, founder and executive director of the ACCRC. "Untangle has recognized this and decided to help fight the waste. For this we can only applaud and hope that others learn from their example."

Some of the California schools participating in the March Installfest include Ascend School, Bella Vista Elementary, Casa Grande High School, KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy, Lockwood School, Mission High School, and Whittier Elementary School.

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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 [email protected].

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About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidrnagel/ .