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Re: Proposals and information

I have attached a proposal that Ken and Grahame had written for an
organisation in Sydney...and i have attached a proposal type document
that i have written for people that request information and as a sort of

We may perhaps recycle some of the stuff into a bigger / more
descriptive / financially costed type document ???



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keep on upgrading to the latest technologies, thus getting rid of outdated parts.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

The name of the original organisation
has been replaced by ...

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< Proposal Follows >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The operation is run as a non-profit organisation or under the auspices
of one, for example ...

We use the term Reverse Computing to differentiate this proposal
from other operational identities. 

Goals: { Identified as either Short Term (S) or Long Term (L) }

* Train young people in the setup, repair and maintenance of computer
  hardware. (S) 

* Train them in the support of end-user software. (S)

* Recycle computer hardware, which due to obselescence or being surplus
  to requirements, would be discarded by business and personal users. (S)

* Provide refurbished computer hardware to needy aid organisations,
  both in Australia and in third-world countries. (S)

* Identifies a central point for hardware donations.
  Provides a central depositary for other charitable or service
  organisations (eg. Apex) to donate. (S)

* Provides an opportunity to acknowledge donations via local and
  state newspapers. Such acknowledgement will inform the greater
  community, and will hopefully encourage further donations. 
  ... could align such donation acknowledgement's
  with a ATO approved tax deduction system (assuming such a system
  exists). (S)

* Promote the use of open-source software, thereby using the technical
  skills of locally available expertise while minimising total and
  ongoing end-user costs. (S)

* Provide an accredited training path that supplements formal training
  (ie: at TAFE, or self study), targetting customer and technical
  experience which will assist trainee's in obtaining industry 
  work. (S)

* Make available to community aid organisations, low cost support
  services. (S)

  Hardware and end user software support from in-house trainee's
  can provide on-site and remote resource services if allocated
  resources are made available. (L)

* Provide community aid organisations with a central point for ongoing
  assistance by making themselves know to ... (S)

Reverse Computing Operations

* A designated lockable office area (possibly within ...) that
  houses a desk, telephone and computer system used to :

  1> Identify end user location, contact and status database.
  2> Identify end user system requirements, and support information.
  3> Identifies available inventories.
  4> Provides a mechanism to select the configuration for the next
     end user system(s) shipment.
  5> Provides a mechanism to consolidate donation information.
  6> Provides ... designated officer with information to 
     select the next shipment recepiant.
  7> Provides a database for the scheduling of expertise and
     work efforts.
  8> Provides remote access to approved offices to allow out-of-hours
     access to carry out necessary tasks (from home).
  9> Provides a mechanism to recognise necessary consummables needed
     to be purchased to complete equipment builds.
  This system will need to be either located with the workshop area
  or connected to workshop systems.

* A designated lockable workshop area of approx 150 sq meters.
  Provided with electrical power points, work benches, shelving,
  rubber carpeting for electrical isolation at work benches.
  Power requirments need to be accessed by a electrican when work
  shop requires concurrent power usage. ie: Ensure we do not overload
  available power circuits, and provision is made for short and long
  term needs.
  * A incoming reciept area. 
  Computers and peripherals are itemised, inspected, cleaned and
  disassembled (where necessary), tested and shelved.
  Adaptor boards and disk drives are taken out, unless they are 
  peculiar to the computer system. 

  * A inventory area for the shelving of goods.
  A quantity of shelving will be needed to store relative heavy objects.
  Approx 10kg / cubic meter support should be adequate.

  * A outside waste skip for un-recoverable waste.

  * A rec area for relaxing. Toilets and washing facilities.
  Just the necessary bear minimum will suffice because of the part time
  nature of our initial proposal.

  * A reassembly area.
  Standard computer configurations are assembled depending on the 
  requirements of the end-user and available stock. Appropriate
  software is loaded onto these computers. Complete networks of
  machines are tested before shippment.

  Software would be alternatively installed from CDROM(s), 
  which would contain a compilation of open-source and free software
  required to (re)create a end-user setup.
  We would provide a copy of this CDROM with every shipment.

  * A Shipping area.
  Systems are packaged up together with required cabling and 
  documentation. Boxed equipment that is not local is made available
  to the designated end-users carrier.

  * A Sever area. 
  Server system is used to up-load software and diagnostic tools.
  Short term expansion would be the training of end-user software
  developments, and trainee's access to touch-n-learn sessions.
  Long term use can be the development of a website and dynamic
  tools that allow web surfers to "see" our efforts and maybe
  take donation information.

* A class room area for the formal instruction (long term).

* A Repair area.
  If there is sufficient skill available and a suitably qualified 
  instructor, repairs can be done for those items that are repairable.
  This will necessiate the need for a small inventory of components and
  the availablity of "petty cash" or an account with component stores.
  Such products as monitors, keyborads, modems, cables and printers
  would be repairable most of the time. Of course, first component
  requirements would be forefilled by "ratting" another dud unit.

Operations Management

There should always be a supervisor in the workshop at all times during
operating hours. These would be volunteers. Technical experts would work
in the background or offline, providing expertise in the initial setup.
Trainees would be assigned to various tasks depending on their experience.
A curriculum would be devised that would take a trainee through the
various stages of the operation. The curriculum would have definite
objectives which the trainees must attain by the end of the course.

Ancillary Requirements

We also need some hookups with transport companies, to get them to donate
their services for charity.

Other items to consider: liability insurance, auditing, course monitoring,
equipment raising drives (get charities to help?). Maybe some concerns
are for later when we get big enough.


Our standard offering is based on a central Linux server providing
all sorts of network services. Around these we cluster machines each
belonging to a category of capability. The category also determines
more or less what sort of hardware we put on it.

Pentiums/486s: Servers and high-end diskless workstations.

386s: Diskless Linux terminal login workstations, maybe X if
enough memory and is a high-end 386. VGA or better display.

286s: OpenDos, with freebie WP and other programs, dunno which ones. We
can set up these to netboot also. The initial HD loading can be via the
net also. If programs on HD get trashed, reload the whole HD off the net.
VGA, EGA or mono displays.

Applixware would only run well on machines with enough memory.

We can jumper the floppies on diskless stations to B: and prevent people
booting off the floppy that way and reduce the problem of viruses.

Servers have large disks, CDROM and printers attached. Maybe modems too.

Software updates are distributed via CDROMs.

Need GUI admin programs for workers to load up workstations.

Floppy media can be recycled too. They come in, get reformatted and put 
in piles to go out. Ones with bad sectors get trashed and place into the
waste hopper.

Network cabling and connectors, will probably need to buy with donations.
Maybe we can get donations of old RG58 cable, especially from sites that
have converted to TP.