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

By Clive

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

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

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 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

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
  • 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 [email protected].

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
    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

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)
Fax: (416) 955-0796 [email protected]

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

Ron Smith, director, The Centre for Social Entrepreneurship
(416) 955-1551
[email protected]

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 [email protected].