The Wise County Messenger (also picked up on Digg) is reporting that one Texas school district is providing outdated computers that would otherwise be surplussed to students without PCs in their homes. These computers will be loaded with a basic Linux distro including the usual office automation software, the GIMP (or something like it) and Linux games. The computers are about 5 years old and are being retired through the normal tech refresh process. While experience tells us that Linux, no matter how light the distro, will not turn an old computer into a modern screamer, this will certainly be a step up for students who would not have otherwise had access to a PC at home.
[District Superintendent] Rue said the five-year-old computers have become obsolete for the district’s purposes but will be valuable for students who don’t have a computer at home now.
“These computers may not have market value, but they have kid value,” she said.
As most of us know, surplussing machines such as these results in virtually no income and can even cost substantial amounts if we must resort to recycling. A program like this in the context of regular tech refreshes can ensure that every student has access to at least basic computing capabilities, regardless of income.
“The idea was to get computers in the houses of the kiddos who otherwise couldn’t get them,” said one administrator.