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SEUL: Fwd: Computerbank contact

Somebody want to respond to this? I remember Bob and
Doug were talking about the computerbank project
earlier on seul-edu. I hope to have time to deal with things
in the next few days, but it would be nice to take some load
off my back..please cc me if you do.

Btw, I just rearranged the seul-edu pages:

also, check out http://www.eet.com/story/OEG19981125S0022
(it's press for gEDA and FreeHDL, which are seul subprojects)

In other news, the usereducation project has restarted at least
briefly; I'll be following along with them and trying to steer
them in the direction of actually getting something useful done
(eg updating howto's).


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Date: Fri, 27 Nov 1998 14:55:37 +1100
From: Kylie Davies <beckster@warehouse.net>
To: owner-seul-seg@seul.org
Subject: Making contact and interested in helping

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I have just been referred to you by one of your members..and i only wish
that this could have happened sooner. I have just had a quick trip
around your web site and would love to help out somehow. I also am
involved in the Australian computerbank project...which i note that you
have had trouble getting hold of...

I have only just put up a web site - and it is going to need some major
renovations pretty soon...as it is awkward and probably not too
friendly. Alas it was all i could do in such a quick time :(

I am a third year social work student (actually i am being credited with
the work i do for computerbank by my uni - so this is an added bonus)
and i also have a Bachelor of Science (major Psych and sub
geography/climatology). I would be happy to help out with any "social" /
user type research and development issues. You are probably well into
doing many things by now...so i may have missed the boat for your survey
design (I just completed a placement at the Aids council here in
Victoria and i was doing an evaluation of service users, we had to
design a survey.) I would like to join your mailing list (s) but am
unsure which one would be most suitable for me...could you please help
int this department...also are these low volume mailing lists or ?

I am attaching an informative type proposal that i had penned - this
will explain some of the reasoning behind computerbank...other states
are now doing similar and we have a mailing list just recently started.
I soon hope to archive it so others can read it.

The web site addy is http://www.melbourne.org/kylie/

I look forward to your reply


Kylie Davies
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Many people in Australian society can not afford suitable access to information 
(or anywhere else for that matter). The cost of information, or being able to 
access people that have information is expensive. People become powerless 
without access to information and knowledge. Those that can afford to access 
information are far better off in today's society. With the advent of the Internet 
and computer networking, information is all but a step away for some people. 

Communication with other people is paramount in today's society. People are a 
source of support, ideas and experiences. The ease with which one can 
communicate with others via computer networks is incredible. Never before have 
we been able to link up with so many people from around the globe. 

Hardware and software is not cheap, it is this that prevents many people being 
able to afford computers. Information technologies are such that advancements 
are always occurring. What was once zippy and fast last year became obsolete 
and slow this year. Those that can afford to stay on the advancing roller coaster 
keep on upgrading to the latest technologies, thus getting rid of outdated parts. 
Many of these parts are thrown away and discarded. Many of these parts can be 
recycled. Working computers, albeit limited in capacity, can be assembled with 
old parts. Further, people can use these recycled computers to gain access to 
information and to communicate with others. 


It is the intention of the 'Computer Bank' to assemble working computers that 
have networking capabilities. These computers will be assembled using parts and 
whole computer bodies that are donated to the computer bank from industry 
and organisations that may have undergone upgrades (hence, having left over 
computer bits and pieces). All computer hardware that shows functionality for 
the purpose of the end users would be sought after. These computers need to 
have Internet-connectivity; thus they need to be able to talk TCP/IP. It may be 
that Internet service technologies soon become affordable for everyone, in the 
meantime it may be necessary to facilitate a cheaper alternate solution for those 
that can not afford to pay the costs associated with connecting. The 'Computer 
Bank' may be in a good position to fulfil this need. This is certainly an area that 
would need to be considered carefully.

The problem of proprietary software is easily overcome with the use of the 
GNU/Linux operating system. GNU/Linux is scalable enough to meet the needs of 
the computer bank users, unlike Windows which require expanding computer 
resources to make it work effectively. Windows costs money, where in stark 
contrast GNU/Linux does not.


GNU/Linux is a freely distributable, independent Unix-like operating system for 
x86, and various other machines. It is an implementation of the POSIX 
specification with which all true versions of Unix comply. It is used for software 
development, networking, and as an end-user platform. GNU/Linux is a multi 
user, multitasking OS. The Linux kernel was developed originally by Linus 
Torvlalds and was distributed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). 
Today that development continues.

This together with major software achievements under the GNU General Public 
License has created an operating system that is a real cost-effective alternative 
for users to choose and rely upon for their computing needs.  The GNU project 
began in 1984 and was founded by Richard Stallman. It continues today and is 
intrinsically linked with the Free Software Foundation. The FSF aim to eliminate 
"restrictions on copying, redistribution, understanding, and modification of 
computer programs." They do this by "promoting the development and use of 
free software in all areas of computing---but most particularly, by helping to 
develop the GNU operating system."

(SEE: http://www.linux.org/ and http://www.gnu.org/)


Computer hardware

The computer bank will not accept anything faulty, and would prefer to receive 
computers that are EPA compliant. Thus equipment that emits 'radiation vibes' 
is considered not useful, however it may be that parts from those computers 
have functionality. With this in mind then:

- - Anything above and including 386's
- - Hardrives, floppy drives, memory, fans, power supplies (checked to ensure 
safety), mice, monitors, video graphics cards, sound cards.
- - Modems (greater then 9600 baud), cables, terminal servers, uplink (ISDN 
connection), routers, rotary line system, some powerful computer servers 
(XEON or DEC APLHA), phone service.
- - Computer peripherals such as printers, scanners, speakers, cables.


The 'Computer Bank' could not operate well without government funding and 
support, at least in the initial stages of its operation. It may be eventually 
possible that the 'Computer Bank' fund itself. It is also envisaged that people 
with 'Computer Bank' computers may become more resourceful or learn new 
skills that may be of monetary benefit (securing a job), which would see them 
eventually wanting to purchase a computer with greater capacities. 'Computer 
Bank' would be in the best position to facilitate this - both in knowing the 
requirements of the users and in being able to offer discounted packages. All 
profits from 'Computer Bank' would be redirected back into projects that 
emphasise community development, support, and communication. The 
'Computer Bank' could eventually offer Internet web services to paying clients. 
The 'Computer Bank' could raise revenue by means of offering web-advertising 
space to paying clients. The 'Computer Bank' would also like to be able to 
support Internet Development under GNU/Linux. 'Computer Bank' users would 
be encouraged to participate and contribute to the development of the 
'Computer Bank' and it's services. (This may include establishing support 
networks on Chat Servers and Email List servers.)

The 'Computer Bank' would also require Industry Support. Largely this would be 
through the commitment to donate old hardware to this purpose. Companies 
could also sponsor projects. Due acknowledgement would be given to those 
companies and organisations that do support the ethos of the 'Computer Bank'.


The 'Computer Bank' would require people. I don't think that it would be too 
hard to rustle up some people willing to give a hand to see this idea eventuate. 
Eventually I would envisage that as the 'Computer Bank' expands it would need 
more people to help it run effectively. In this case it would be great to be able to 
offer employment to 'Computer Bank' users. The 'Computer Bank' would also 
rely heavily on volunteers. Volunteers would be rewarded through training in 
GNU/Linux administration. This could also have positive implications in that they 
could gain future employment in the area. It is also an area where there has 
been and will continue to have marked employment growth. 


Office space and overheads would need to be provided by either a government 
body or an industry body. It would be feasible to say that a large area may be 
needed, as storage of parts would take up space. A work area would also be 
needed. This building would have to meet fire safety recommendations. Initially 
there would be only one 'Computer Bank' location in Victoria, however one 
would expect this to expand into regional country areas and other states; 
perhaps it could be a global initiative. It may be necessary for the 'Computer 
Bank' to have access to motor vehicles for the distribution and collection of 


Those people on low incomes would be encouraged to approach the 'Computer 
Bank' for computers. The unemployed, single parents, sick people, families with 
school-aged children, students, etc would be the target group for such a service. 
Community Groups would also be encouraged to apply for computers and small 
networks. If demand exceeds supply, we may need to be selective about who we 
give the computers to.


GNU/Linux is the most suitable choice for such a project because it is free and is 
able to be customized. This is particularly important given that our hardware is 
'under powered' old hardware. It is also important in that it assumes a neutral 
position : One that does not favor any particular company or individual. The 
GNU/Linux developments are ones that have taken place via collaborative efforts 
and in a sense embrace the spirit of a true community. It is exactly this point 
that the 'Computer Bank' would like to emphasise - A community sharing ideas, 
experience and giving support to each other in an open, accepting and free 


I firmly believe that 'Computer Bank' users would have no trouble operating a 
GNU/Linux computer. Initially though, all computer bank users would be given a 
tutorials (group training sessions). Every 'Computer Bank' computer would be 
shipped with a very easy to understand guide of how to use the technologies 
provided. The 'Computer Bank' could offer users phone, email, IRC and physical 
presence support.

About the proposal originator

I am a third year Bachelor of Social Work Student at Victoria University of 
Technology. I also have a Bachelor of Science Degree from Melbourne University. 
I have benefited from an Internet community support group for Lupus 
(an autoimmune disorder for which there is no cure) which I joined about three 
years ago. Without this support I would not be able to meet the challenges that 
lupus has thrown my way. This support should not be denied to anyone 
especially on the basis of cost. The 'Computer Bank' is dedicated to ensuring 
that people on low incomes can also get benefit from information technologies. I 
encourage you to support the purpose and the aims of the 'Computer Bank' so 
that it can begin to attempt to bridge the ever widening gap between those that 
have and those that do not.

This project would not exist if it were not for the GNU/Linux community and the 
Free Software Foundation. Thanks to everyone who has contributed, and who 
continues to contribute. Thanks also go to Daniel Morriss, Richard Stallman,  Sam 
Reid, Marty Grace and Pam Snowball for their support and help on 
this 'Computer Bank' project. Thank you for taking the time to read this 
proposal. If you have questions regarding this proposal feel free to make contact 
via email or telephone.

Kylie Davies


Kylie Davies
Project: 'Computer Bank'
Contact Phone: +613  03 98192023
Contact Email: beckster@warehouse.net

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