awareness raising / resources / technical info

Our operating system of choice

We use and prefer Lubuntu, a light-weight version of Ubuntu Linux.  Why?

OS News sums it up for us:

As per previous articles in this series at OS News, my interest in lightweight operating systems stems from my activity in refurbishing computers for charity. The best software for this purpose is:

  • Resource light —  charitable donations are between five and ten years old
  • Easy to use —  recipients use donations with little or no training
  • Easy to install and configure —  volunteer labor doesn’t like complexity or wasting time
  • Free —  charities don’t have money to buy software
  • Open source —  commercial licensing agreements unduely restrict install and distribution procedures
  • Good support — this is why I favor the LTS (Long Term Support) releases in the Ubuntu family

To us, Lubuntu represents a happy medium between current software advances and excellent compatibility with older hardware.  In other words, it hits the “bullseye” we are shooting for.  The rest of the article is great and highly recommended, as are the other articles about computer refurbishing.

Below is an example of our current workflow for setting up computers for individual, general-purpose use:

  1. Open up case and use air compressor to blow out all dust.  Allow to air dry for a few minutes before plugging into a power source.
  2. Offer data backup or recovery before destruction for $10
  3. Run a Linux LiveCD
    1. Use Disk Utility to check hard drive integrity
    2. Run the Shred command via terminal:  shred -vfzn 1 /dev/[hard drive name]
  4. Print out donation receipt and certificate of data destruction
  5. Follow steps below to install and test system
  6. For systems not in good working condition, remove working parts for use in other systems.

For P3-P4 or equivalent systems, 512mb – 1gb of RAM

  1. Install Lubuntu 12.04: Use computer model name (e.g., “inspiron” or “optiplex”) for username; password is gos32c
  2. Install ubuntu-restricted-extras, Firefox and LibreOffice
  3. Put Chromium, Firefox, File Manager and LibreOffice launchers on desktop and task bar
  4. Install Adblock Plus and HTTPS-Everywhere for Chromium and Firefox
  5. Create a text document on the desktop with the following computer specifications: processor type and speed, RAM amount, hard drive capacity; Operating System type and version; username and password.

All trainees should go through at least one manual install and setup process before using our automated tools.

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