Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Courageous sixth-grade teacher built a 70 computer lab for children equipped with Ubuntu, costed $0

While I wouldn't really call this as Ubuntu in the wild, I guess in some cases it is. Most computer labs in the United States run one thing or the other, and this case they either run Windows or they ran MacOS. You hardly see computer labs in the US running Linux, and those that do most likely run Ubuntu, like in this instance.

Do you think you could pull off building a whole computer lab off of donated machines? Well if you thought you can't, you thought wrong. Someone did, and it turned out to be a very successful mission.

The story of Robert Litt is both simple and interesting; Robert is a sixth-grade teacher "faced" with problems common for low-financed/specials schools, that lack proper/normal school-specific equipment, vital for children seeking to mainly learn basics about computers (resizing pictures, modifying simplistic websites, creating spreadsheets, etc). Hit by this problem, triggered in Robert a serious "adventure" focused on gathering computers for a classroom.

First piece of the adventure was finding the actual computers, thus, in 2007, Robert acquired 18 computers via donations, action followed by installing an operating system on them, in order to make the computers usable.

The proprietary OS's on the machines were terrible. They were infected with viruses, slow speed, etc. This all adds up to a unproductive environment. Robert can not afford to buy new licenses for these machines do to the no dollar budget, so the stuck gold when heard about Linux, and the Ubuntu project.

Installing Ubuntu on these machines showed instant improvements. The computers were working, they were fast, and they were usable again.

Robert didn't stop for a moment, continuing his adventure to bring and equip computers with Linux for (smaller) human beings, accepting and putting to use low-spec machines (featuring less than 1GB RAM) via his personal exciting discovery, "many computers people say are broken are actually experiencing software problems", issues resolved with the help of various Linux communities, ubuntu.com and the open communities across the web.

You can see Robert talking about his experiences in the video below.