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Interview: Bringing a community together with free software

Feb 22, 2009, 06:01 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ryan Cartwright)

[ Thanks to steve hill for this link. ]

"CK: I suggested at a tenants meeting on our estate that if anyone wanted to start an IT project, I would contribute 6hrs of my time a week. Over 50% of the estate had no web access at that time and the project could be a good way for tenants to come together. What I didn't expect was to find myself the only person from the estate working on the project! People at the meeting immediately started coming up with notions of running training schemes to get people into work etc.

"Having attended some of those type of courses I was very wary about this option. Providing good training is never as simple as most folks assume and neither was I trying to create a job for myself. I am partially disabled and was only prepared to make a lightweight commitment. This commitment level and the fact that I was moving towards GNU/Linux at home convinced me that it would be better to have a more adaptable software environment and certainly one that would be more "mischief proof". I had visions of spending all six hours just keeping a Windows network running. I thought that if I used GNU/Linux, I could run older and cheaper machines. I would have the ability to download free software if users wanted to get into other disciplines and most of all I could run it on a "suck it and see" basis. I could build it cheaply and if it bombed I didn't have to account for wedges of cash and write masses of reports.

"I have very much tried to put in place something that will be of most use to the most people on the estate."

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