[sf-lug] Ubuntu project for the housing project - latest info

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Wed Jun 20 16:32:17 PDT 2007

Quoting Jeff Bragg (jackofnotrades at gmail.com):

> If they knew exactly what they needed and could communicate that
> clearly, I would disagree that one day is unrealistic (with the right
> resources, e.g. a KVM switch and several copies of installation discs,
> and a clear plan I could do that many in a single day all by myself).
> However, since neither of those seem to be the case, I agree that one
> day may not be realistic (especially if we're talking about multiple
> distros).

I think logically you'll want to start with:

1) a long, careful, and skeptical discussion with Tami Griffiths and
whoever is relevant management at the cited "computer learning room at a
housing project in the Lower Haight", to find out what they want to do,
for what users and with what needs, and what sort of mandate (if any)
exists to keep those installations going when you're done.

Kami is quoted as saying she wants to "start classes there for school
kids", featuring OpenOffice.org -- which is a start, but what does the
intended teaching environment look like.  Has it been prototyped and
tried out on a test learner?  If not, shouldn't that happen first?

Note the bit about ongoing mandate:  The history of volunteer Linux work
is festooned with intensively worked-on projects that got almost
immediately junked for lack of meaningful buy-in from sponsoring agencies.
Their attitude was:  "One of our staff wants to supervise you working
yourself to death over a couple of weekend, and it won't cost us a cent,
and it might result in free usable computers in a fashion we don't even
begin to understand?  Cool, go to it!"  But a month later, the Executive
Director's nephew blows away all the machines and reinstalls with his
old pirated W2k CD, because otherwise he can't run World of Warcraft on

Computer geeks tend to obsessively delve straight into technological
fine points when there are key discussions about the nature and scope of
the project that badly need to occur first.  That would be a grave
mistake, here.

2) a physical survey of the (unspecified number of) keyboardless,
monitorless, mouseless Dell Optiplex Gx150 boxen to verify their
condition and usefulness.  (They sound fine, but one should check.)

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