Free Geek Chicago, putting Xubuntu to work

I went to the organizational meeting for Free Geek Chicago last Wednesday night, and got pretty inspired about what the group doing.

Free Geek Chicago is kind of like Habitat for Humanity, but for computers. Basically, people can work at the facility for 20 hours (over several weeks), and then earn a free computer. People can also buy computers from us, but for the most part it is kind of like a work-study program because your 20 hours of volunteering is spent learning about computers. You learn how to do an initial test of a computer, take a computer apart, test the individual components, put the computer back together, install an OS, and then do a final test of everything to make sure it works. We also test all RAM, and use a drive-wiping program to remove all data from the hard drives that people have donated.

Because we're working with computers that have been donated by people, the computers are usually at least a few years old, and aren't exactly super powerful. Still, we usually get decent PII's and PIII's, which certainly have enough horsepower to do most day-to-day tasks. Our distro of choice is currently Xubuntu, so it's nice to see Xubuntu being used to benefit others.

If anyone in the Chicago area has a computer that they'd like to donate, or would like to volunteer at Free Geek Chicago, please visit the Free Geek website via the link above. We'd be glad to have your help and support.