Make this an open source Christmas

Don't think of this as just a Christmas gift. Follow-up. Make certain this new account is serviced. See to it that workers there are trained, and that they train others. Toss in some old books on computer programming, either from your own library or from others.

Here is something I would like you to consider doing this holiday season. (Given that I live in Atlanta, this is the only image I would consider here. From The Cola-Cola Company, by Haddon Sundblom.)

We know that older PCs can run Linux, and Linux applications, long after they are unable to run the latest versions of Windows.

We also know that, despite the mass proliferation of PC technology, there are many corners of this country and world without access.

So here's the deal. Build a Linux box out of obsolete parts. Wipe the hard drive and install some simple open source components -- a LAMP stack, Open Office, Firefox.

Now find an institution that lacks computing power -- a soup kitchen, a church, a one-room school -- and get it in there. Work to add some form of Internet connectivity, an 802.11 system if it's available, or funding for a wired broadband connection (and 802.11 everywhere else). I'm sure your local United Way will know where you can find such places.

Don't think of this as just a Christmas gift. Follow-up. Make certain this new "account" is serviced. See to it that workers there are trained, and that they train others. Toss in some old books on computer programming, either from your own library or from others.

It will change your life.

Oh, and if you or someone you know has already done something like this, please feel free to add a comment, or contact me directly.