discarded computers from
Governments, business and individuals then refurbish them, and make
them available to families,
the disabled and non-profits. Most of these computers are
commercial grade and have many years of service left in them - they
just are not fast enough to run Windows XP and the firms or governments
are being required by their software vendors to move to XP - so
suddenly these computers are available. Also many very good
monitors are available because firms are moving from CRT to flat panel
qualify the family must have at
least one child under age 18 living at home and have no other method
of obtaining a computer. Thats all that is required.
make these computers available
to Adults with provable disabilities and have no other method of
obtaining a computer, though at this time we do not have the means to
computers with special extensions for the disabled. However, the Linux
OS does have some very good software access aids included.
- You get a
computer with SuSE Linux OS and all
the software that we can put on the hard drive with in reason.
- You also
get a Monitor, keyboard and mouse at the very minimum.
- Most computers
come with a sound system built in, if not we do our best to include
- We include a printer if we have one.
Ink jet printers are always in short supply. Commercial grade
printer are not suitable for this project because it can often cost
over $100.00 for a toner cartridge.
- All systems come
with a "NIC card" for a high speed Internet connection and
you may request a dial up modem if you need one. Dial up modems are in
short supply so if you will be using either GCI Cable modem or ACS DSL
services we ask you not to request a dial up modem.
Schools both public and private
apply for the free computer
Program. The equipment will be the same as offered to
individuals. Non-profits and schools may request multiple computers at
We do not
accept donations for items that would not be useful to individuals.
We do not accept large printers, copiers or commercial grade
servers even though some companies offer to donate such items to
us. So if you are a non-profit you may place a request with
us for such items and when we run across the type of goods you
requested - we will place you in contact with the firm offering to
First --- You must be able to come to Anchorage (Highland Tech High School) to pick up your computer.
You may start the application process in one of two ways
If you are a individual...
You can send us an email at Computers@computers4all.org
and place in the subject line "Computer request" and in the body of the
email give is your contact information.
You may call Roger Pickles @ 258-5205 if you do not have email yet and
make the request.
Non-profits and Schools please send us an email at email@example.com
and place in the subject line "Non-profit request" or "School request".
In the body of the email please include the contact
information and a brief description of the help needed.
We check this email address every few days - and will get back to you
shortly there after.
Linux and not Windows?
answer - Cost!
We save a
great deal of time and money using Linux OS on our computers.
First is the dollars that it would cost to put Windows on all
these computers - Most of our computers come from business that are
"Site Licensed" for Windows and the other programs they use. This means
that the license to use the software can not leave the "Site" where it
is licensed for use. When they give us these computers they must remove
all the software from the drives so we do not get any software
or any rights to use it. Buying new licenses for Windows is well beyond
our budget, then we would have to buy more licenses or other
software just to get a basic usable system. It is not
uncommon for the hardware for a low end system to sell for as little as
$300.00 and then have $1000.00 of software loaded and still have only a
very basic system. So software is the core problem here - we
can get all the free and still working computers we can give away - but
without software they are worthless. This why companies fall all over
themselves to give us these computers. You cannot afford to
buy the software to make these computers useful nor can we. With Linux
we get not only a modern easy to us operating system but gobs and gobs
of very useful software and all for FREE. So those worthless
computers become usable again and we all win. You get a computer, we
can do what we set out to do and some company does not have to pay to
get rid of their computers and perfectly good equipment sees a few more
years of service before entering the trash stream.
Second is the time -
With Windows we would have to install the OS then we have to add the
software item by item (disk by disk) then we would need to configure
each sysem manually. Windows XP home edition (the least expensive) can
not be installed from an install server. Open SuSE installs from
a install server and can be preconfigured during the install from a
file stored on that server. No special requirements for the
server (We use the exact same version of Open Suse that we give away as
our server OS). Now ad the time required to search down all the
needed hardware drivers to get everything working. It takes hours to
install each copy of Windows XP
- even if the equipment could handle it and about 10 minutes per
computer to install.
benefits of Linux
The down side of Linux
- Linux is Virus and scumware free.
There are no known viruses or other scum that can infect Linux
based computers. So Our clients need not worry about getting infected
while surfing the Web.
- Linux comes with everything in software
the average person needs to use their computer.
- Linux works well with fewer resources
than Windows XP - We get most of our computers because they just do not
have the speed or power to run XP - yet the newest version of SuSE Linux has no problem working on
- Lots and Lots of other free software for
- Linux is a truly modern OS, and supports
most modern hardware right out of the box. You can update it
at will - SuSE updates are free also. For more information goto www.opensuse.org
- Linux comes with great community support
- Like Windows you can purchase support for Linux - but where the real
differences are is in the community based free support.
- Linux is easy to use and has many
features that cannot be found on Windows.
- Fully supported on line. You can find
more software and lots and lots of help on line most all of it for
- Linux does not do good job of running
Windows software. True there are both the Wine and Alky
that are getting may Windows programs to run under Linux - but lets be
honest here - you just can't stick a Windows software disk into your CD
drive and expect to run it without problem under Linux.
- Linux cannot use all Windows hardware.
Yes Linux supports far more hardware than Windows but in the
PC world companies have produced hardware and only written drivers for
some versions of Windows. Most of this Windows only hardware will not
even work with all versions of Windows. The solution here is
to make sure that the hardware you are buying is "Linux Compatible" before
you buy. There are many resources available to aid in this - always try
a web search as a starting point - check on the box - call the
manufacturer - post requests on web sites dealing with Linux hardware
- Hardware with the most problems -
Software modems - often older ISA will not even work with Windows
XP, The solution - we only use Hardware Modems - as they work
with all operating systems.
- "Win printers" Last year I tossed perfectly good Laser printer that I could not find any drivers for anything newer than Win 95.
- Wireless networking cards - some manufactures
of wireless cards feel that hiding specs and making all drivers
proprietary is the way to keep ahead of competitors - yet the firms
that practice openness do not seem to have any problems with
competitors getting ahead of them. The best fix here is make sure that
the card has Linux drivers available before purchasing it. If you
already have a non-compliant card then try the "NDIS" wrapper for your
- Graphics - Both ATI and Nvida the major
makers have refused to make specifications for their equipment
available. Both do make proprietary drivers for Linux for their cards
so you can at least use the cards and all their high end features.
One bright spot the new owners of ATI have said that they will be
releasing specifications and the drivers under open source
- The great vast majority of hardware out there
is well supported under Linux. In fact XP has a fairly long list
of unsupported hardware - and the new Windows Vista will have an
even longer list of unsupported hardware. So you must always
check compatability before buying.
- You can still find web sites that require
Internet Explorer and Windows Active X to work. These sites just will
not work for a Linux Computer. Luckily these sites are slowly
disappearing as time passes. Always report these sites to the
FireFox broken web sites list.