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FairfaxIT: Strugglers to get free PCs

Mar 15, 1999, 19:00 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Nathan Cochrane)


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"A NATIONAL coalition of amateur computer enthusiasts aims to put PCs with Internet connections into financially disadvantaged communities for free."

"Computerbank is a charity addressing the high cost of computing resources, which has been cited as a reason why poorer households and community groups have been unable to access the IT boom. Despite recent reductions in the price of new PCs, they are still too expensive for a significant number of Australians, including students, the unemployed and pensioners"

"Part of what excited me is, when you give someone a Windows machine they won't learn anything; it's like giving someone a car with the hood welded shut,'' Eckersley said. ``But if we can set them up with a Linux system that challenges them, an unemployed person could get a well-paid job or contribute to the open-source community; that's really inspiring."

"(Linux) has been steadily eroding Windows' domination of the corporate and government market, and programmers with Linux skills are in demand,'' EE Times said."

"The pilot of about 30 people will each receive, at minimum, a 486 DX2/66 with 16MB RAM running Red Hat Linux 5.2 and a suite of applications, including WordPerfect 8, Netscape Communicator Web browser and e-mail client, and the PhotoShop-like GIMP. Organisers also hope to offer modems able to access the Web and free or subsidised Net accounts. Ongoing training and support would be handled by the open source community and participants themselves."

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