Free Software is not just software or a philosophical attitude to freely available software. Free Software is a catalyst for change in a constantly evolving world that is becoming more and more dependent on technology. Unfortunately while many of us are getting faster and faster computers on our desktops and in our pockets, for many the digital divide is ever wide as it has always been.
I have always had a soft spot for those organizations who selflessly bring Free Software to those for whom technology is a missing link in their lives. I spent two years doing this with OpenAdvantage before I joined Canonical, bringing technology to a region where many manual labourers were out of work and needing access to technology and training to upskill and get new jobs to support their families. Likewise groups like A2RT, FreeGeek, Partimus and more doing similar great work.
When I was speaking at Ohio Linux Fest earlier this year I met the Project Community Computers. Emma from System76 told me they wanted to talk to me about their project (they use Ubuntu extensively across their projects) so I had a meeting with them. The project essentially takes Ubuntu and puts it on recycled computers and they have set up over 20 educational labs around the world.
All out of their own pocket. All on their own time.
I was blown away by their accomplishments.
The guys are smart, selfless, motivated, and harnessing the truest power of Free Software…to break down the digital divide. They are not just talking a big game…they are playing a big game with so many accomplishments so far. It is projects like this why I got involved in Free Software and Ubuntu in the first place.
The team were looking for opportunities for funding their continued work and I suggested they crowd-fund it, an idea that they had already thought about, so I am delighted to see they have kicked their campaign off at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/project-community-computers.
See their campaign video below:
Can’t see it? See it here!
Please go and invest in this tremendous team and project; I have no doubt that every penny will be put to good use.