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Historic First for Linux: Toronto CLUE Linux Centre to Open Saturday

Sep 16, 1999, 08:16 (10 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Clive Apps)

By Clive Apps

On September 18th, 1999, from 11 AM to 4 PM, Linux proponents in Toronto will take part in a historic event in the Linux community: the open house of the world's first permanent facility devoted exclusively to the promotion, demonstration, and teaching, of the Linux operating system. The Centre is open to the public and all are invited to visit the facility and see what Linux is all about.

Although the official opening of the Canadian Linux User's Exchange (CLUE) Linux Centre is officially scheduled for mid-October, on the 18th of September as a Linux Demo Day promotion, the CLUE Linux Centre is having an open house to promote Linux to the community and demonstrate some of the planned programmes the CLC will offer.

The CLUE Linux Centre (CLC), located on the outskirts of downtown Toronto at 169 Eastern Avenue near the intersection of Eastern Avenue and Cherry Street, will serve as the permanent head office of CLUE. The centre, primarily staffed by volunteers, will be open for the public to visit and satisfy their curiosity about Linux. CLC also provides a central hub of activity in Toronto for skilled Linux users and consultants to meet and share ideas and techniques. Plans for the CLC include: in house meeting and training rooms, reference library, research lab, and demonstration facilities.

The centre's location is readily accessible, a five minute walk from public transit access (leave the King streetcar at Sackville, walk south to Eastern Ave. and go east to number 169). Vehicle access is also available with adequate parking in the immediate area and freeway access less than a five minute drive away. To see a location map, enter 169 and Eastern in the appropriate fields on this form.

"This is a great milestone for the Canadian Linux community," said CLUE chair Matthew Rice. "Having a permanent centre allows us to provide services and conduct projects that we simply couldn't do without it. This centre has been a long time in the planning and has needed the help of many volunteers, but it's all worth the effort."

The CLC is offering some ambitious programmes and resources that will push forward the acceptance and implementation of the Linux operating system in Canada:

  • A research lab, using "recycled" computers, will be available to anyone wanting to advance the development of Linux through experimentation. The CLC provides resources to foster a Linux based computer education. The centre will provide a permanent learning base for corporations interested in learning how the use of Linux can benefit their businesses.
  • A state-of-the-art Linux demonstration area will be available with the latest in hardware, software and methods. Technical experts will be available to answer any questions.
  • An awards program, will recognize significant contributions to the Linux community by companies, groups, or individuals.
  • A bursary program will support worthwhile Linux application or research initiatives.
  • A reference library will be stocked with a definitive collection of Linux books and online resources.
  • A series of no-cost monthly seminars will offer introductions to Linux

The planned activities at this Saturday's event include;

Product giveaways:

  • copies of Red Hat(1), SuSE(1), Caldera Open Linux(10+) and Mandrake(1)
  • proceedings on CD-ROM from LinuxWorld Aug'99(1)
  • a full copy of ApplixWare 4.4.2(1)
  • copies of SHELF with Applixware demo (25+)
  • Xi Graphics' Accelerated X server (1)
  • Xi Graphics' Accelerated X server for laptops (1)


  • Evan Leibovitch (Starnix) - Introduction to Linux
  • Alex Kruglyak (Applix) - Introduction to Applix and SHELF
  • Jason Straw (VA Linux Systems) - Linux Clustering

Evan Leibovitch, head of the CLC's training activities, said he looks forward to personally delivering the first of the CLC's free "Introduction to Linux" seminars. "Many people have felt intimidated by Linux because they may think it was just made by developers for developers. The CLUE Linux Centre will do its best to disspell myths and increase awareness of just how valuable and easy to use Linux can be."

Learnux Project:

With a mission to put a computer in the hands of any student who wants one. In co-operation with the Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, CLC volunteer staff will recycle obsolete computers unwanted by companies, load them with Linux and a variety of educational and Internet software, and offer the refurbished systems to any student for $25. Many of these students would have no hope of obtaining access to computer technology without this program. At this event the 1st shipment of 40 Linux enabled computers will be delivered to their recipients. This program is already in demand, and orders are bring placed for many more computers to be prepared as soon as possible.

Typical configurations include 486 systems with 16 MB of RAM and 200 MB HDs. The machines are preconfigured with Linux, X-Windows, and basic Internet and educational applications. If you wish to participate in the Learnux Project through the donation equipment, products, expertise, or services, contact Matthew Rice at matt@starnix.com.

According to Ron Smith of the Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, the Learnux project is a necessary step towards increasing computer literacy. "Thousands of families in Canada lack the means necessary to obtain a computer for their children. New computer hardware is very expensive and current, mainstream software often requires the "latest and greatest" computer hardware that's out of the financial reach of many people. What the Learnux project plans to do is to breathe new life into older computers using Linux and put them in the hands of as many people as we can. Linux is the perfect software for this project because of its low cost, stability and easy adaptability to older systems."

The CLC facility is the result of a joint effort between several Toronto groups:

  • The Canadian Linux User's Exchange is a federally incorporated non-profit corporation formed to promote the use of Linux in Canada. Its goal is to foster communications and cooperation between users, developers, the media, the general public, and the private and public sectors.
  • The Centre for Social Entrepreneurship encompasses two charitable organizations:
    • The Learning Support Council of Canada
    • The Greater Toronto Community Clearinghouse.

    For over seven years these organizations have supplied over 23,000 computers to schools and community agencies, helped find jobs for people on welfare and out of work, supplied the homeless of Toronto with over 150,000 sleeping bags and blankets (Project: Warmth) and acted in emergency relief situations by utilizing a 60,000 sq. ft. facility in downtown Toronto.

  • Starnix is a Toronto-area Linux integration, support and training company.
  • Many of the volunteers are provided by the Toronto Linux User's Group. TLUG holds meetings on the 2nd Tuesday of every month, at varying locations on the University of Toronto campus. Directions to the meetings are listed at their Web site.

Additional support is provided by a number of Linux vendors including:

What does this mean for Linux?

This is a landmark for Linux in the world. Linux supporters in Canada now have a permanent location to use as a base of operations. The centre will develop into a model that other user groups, cities, and countries will use to develop their own plans to promote Linux in their local communities. It is also a step towards achieving more cooperation between businesses, non-profit groups, volunteers, and the community, for the purposes of promoting linux, and increasing the quality of life in the community. It promotes linux as a viable operating system for people who cannot afford a newer computer system running other operating systems and software. It introduces computer technology to a group of people that otherwise would have no chance of owning their own computer systems. It even helps the environment by reusing older computer systems that would otherwise become landfill. This is truly one of those rare occasions where everyone involved wins; and that is the way it should be.

Canadian Linux Users' Exchange (CLUE) Linux Centre
169 Eastern Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M5A 1H7 Phone: (416) 955-1551
Fax: (416) 955-0796 clc@starnix.com

For more information contact:
Bill Duncan, director, CLUE Linux Centre
(905) 452-0926

Ron Smith, director, The Centre for Social Entrepreneurship
(416) 955-1551

Copyright Clive Apps 1999. All rights reserved.

Clive Apps is the project manager of Techno-Logicals in Toronto. Techno-Logicals specializes in high performance, high reliability, reasonably priced computer system for business and home users.

Clive can be reached by email to clive@problem.org.