FairfaxIT: Strugglers to get free PCs

“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