The HeliOS Project is now.....

The HeliOS Project is now.....
Same mission, same folks...just a different name

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Monday, June 09, 2008

Standing On The Edge


I know the frustration...

Being so, so close to success...only the smallest of obstacles in front of you. It would seem just a simple maneuver would complete the mission.

One simple thing to be accomplished and the whole thing falls together.

And then it stalls...and stalls.

Until the opportunity passes. Days, months and in this case, years of effort and sweat pass, only to go straight into the crapper.

No, I'm not talking about anything we've done. This isn't going to be about anything I or HeliOS Solutions has done. This isn't about us. And as given to hyperbole as I can be...I am serving you notice now, It stands in the best interest of the entire Linux Effort to pay attention here.

His name is Chrisian Einfeldt and he, along with others from a San Fransisco LUG have done a remarkable thing. A thing you and I need to get behind.

4 years ago, yes...4 years ago; Christian made friends with some people in a post-secondary school and within those friendships was able to begin advocating the use of Linux in that school. Now Lobby4Linux has had its successes with schools. Most of those degraded into running gun battles with school SysAdmins and MSIE's, but through it all, we were able to plant the seeds of freedom in a few of them.

Success is relative...at least in our case. We lost many more than we won and most of those victories were small administrative offices and inconsequential divisions of the district.

What Christian has done so outweighs anything we've accomplished, I have to stop what I am doing and tell you about it. Everything aside from LINdependence 2008 comes to a screeching halt here until we see this through.

Everything.

First off, I have been asked by Christian not to name the school. Microsoft is terribly sensitive to the loss of any school in California, as they have to pay for millions in replacement equipment and software due to a court order. Christian is a professional film maker and has documented the effort digitally. You can get the full story of what he is doing and what he needs to do by clicking this link.

Slashdot's report on how Microsoft has to pay for much of this can be found here.

Thank You Iowa.

Here is the long and the short of it...and thusly the title...Standing On The Edge.

The school is at a crossroads. While he has the interest and even the sympathy of many decision-makers in the school, he needs to show results and potential. Currently, he has set up a lab with a couple dozen thin clients. These thin clients are fine for research and surfing...they've even built pre-P4 computers for the under-privileged to take home. At the same time, Apple has supplied 15 MacBooks for the student use and when the kids and teachers/administrators compare the abilities of the MacBooks to these rather old and under-performing Linux thin clients...well the opinions aren't favorable to us.

Linux looks like a second-rate poor-man's answer to the desktop computer in comparison to what Apple has provided.

Now this can be fixed. Remember, the school has money that Microsoft is providing via the decision posted above. These computers ARE going to be purchased/built. Christian has gained the aid of a San Fransisco LUG in order to pull this off but they need our help.

Folks, they need P4 computers with hard drives of 40 gigs and a minimum of 512 RAM.

They are truly standing on the edge of success....and failure.

Now, I have a few computers and a bunch of ram but it belongs to The HeliOS Project...things YOU have paid for in order for our local kids to use. I can't use that stuff but what I can do is this.

I have three P4 computers that are being used for HS business and as file servers. In the next 10 minutes, I am pulling them down and out of service and I am going to box them and get them ready for shipment.

Those machines are going to Christian. I don't expect you to cannibalize your computers but I am asking you to help these guys out with machines or donations so they can get these machines in place. Fry's is selling 500 Gig external drives for under 100 dollars right now...They can use the hard drives to fill in the machines they already have around...and they can always use 512 sticks of RAM.

It's just a matter of giving a crap about more than our personal cpu needs. Sure some of us are struggling to get by and for those of us who are, that pass is fully given. However there are many of us who have some black ink on the right side of the ledger. More than enough to aid this effort.

They stand on the edge. 4 years of cultivating this school towards Linux Migration stands in a harsh, unforgiving wind.

Who is going to let the winds of apathy topple this effort?

You can contact Christian personally at einfeldt@gmail.com

All Righty Then












Edit - I had originally reported that Christian needed just hard drives and RAM but I had mis-read his email to me. No matter...most people would not send parts anyway but donations. for those who do send the hard drives and RAM, I will personally see to it that a P4 computer gets built around those parts given out of the goodness of your hearts. You have my personal word on it. Here is a comment by Christian that I've culled from the bunch and posted below so as to clarify any misunderstandings:

hi

Thanks tons for everyone who is offering parts! We can use the parts, because it very well might be that we will be cobbling together machines that we get from a wide variety of sources!

Today was the last day of school for our 6 - 7th graders. 8th graders' last day of school was Friday, and tomorrow will be the last day of school for 5th graders, so any parts should please be shipped to my law office (yes, I'm a lawyer, and supporting this public middle school is my way of giving back to the community). The school will be closed or on a skeleton staff, as most of the staff heads out for the summer. Parts should therefore please be shipped to

Christian Einfeldt
580 California Street, Suite 1600
San Francisco, CA 94104

I do appreciate the kindness of everyone who has replied!

If you would like to get more information about our middle school project, you can either email Christian Einfeldt at einfeldt@gmail.com, or you can go here to the SF-LUG list to read the archives, as we discuss it a lot there:

http://linuxmafia.com/pipermail/sf-lug/

or you can read my twitter blog, where I talk a lot about the school:

http://twitter.com/einfeldt

Thanks again for your show of support!

13 comments:

ejraka32 said...

Hi Ken;
I'm in.
ACNT.com has 160Gig IDE's for $50.00 ea. I can do at least four. what are the spects on the ram they need?

ejraka32

IGnatius T Foobar said...

Schools are run by school administrators. School administrators are, without exception, stupid people. Stupid people run Windows.

WE ARE *NIXED! said...

http://www.thenixedreport.com/mainsite/news.php?item.22.4

Posted on the front page!

Blog of helios said...

IGnatius T Foobar

While I agree with your sentiment, I can't see where it is helpful to those that need help. Are you saying that because the students are administrated by stupid people then they have to suffer the sins reserved for the stupid?

Not sure I follow...we will get this done regardless of mystical comments in lieu of assistance.

@ Nixed - thank you sir...this deserves the attention.

h

Blog of helios said...

ejraka,

I am thinking either ddr 3200 or sdram will work. if I remember correctly, SDRAM is backwards compatable at bus 100/133 for quite a distance backwards. In the machines we build, mostly P4's with a chip of 2 gig-a-hurts, we've never had it fail...mostly old soyo and GenIntel boards. You might watch for Christians comments here or email him at einfeldt@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

If MS is paying for the machines, why don't they get new ones instead of putz'n around with used machines and drives?

Bob said...

Hi,

I have a laptop stick left from my old Windows machine which netted me a huge payoff on eBay. I also sold a lot of old Windows software I no longer needed.

Just a thought on a good way to raise $.

Anyway, the memory I have is Trump DDR 1GB 333Mhz So Dimm.

I know it's older, but if you or Christian can use it, it is yours for the asking.

Amenditman

Christian said...

hi,

First of all, thanks tons to Helios for another really well-written and interesting blog entry.

I am particularly grateful because this time, he chose to blog about the public middle school that I am supporting as a volunteer here in San Francisco, California.

We actually need the whole P4 computer, not just the RAM and the hard drives. Currently, we have an Edubuntu thin client lab with 23 seats. We are hoping to upgrade those 23 thin clients to 23 hybrid clients, sometimes called fat clients. In other words, we now need to be able to run Edubuntu on the clients themselves, and just have the server serve up data files, as opposed to X sessions, which is what a thin client system does.

So please let me repeat: we need about 50 Pentium 4 machines. 23 of those will be the hybrid (fat) clients. At least 10 will be back up machines in case the 23 machines go down. The remaining 17 machines will be given out to students to take home.

The good news is that the teachers like the Edubuntu lab, and they use it a lot. The bad news is that they want to be able to run audio and video across the network, which we currently can NOT do with our Feisty Edubuntu thin client network.

Also, an anonymous poster asked why Microsoft is not paying for full boxes. Answer: the school has already spent its share of the California Microsoft Anti-trust Settlement Agreement (CMASA) on the current server, two media-ready video machines, and a file server, all running Edubuntu. That amounted to about $8,700.00 or so, including tax, etc. The remaining amount was spent on ...yes, it's sad to say... Microsoft machines, which I had nothing to do with, and was opposed to.

The best way to help is to ping friends of yours in the San Francisco Bay Area and ask them if they know someone who knows someone who works in a big corporation that is getting rid of its XP machines to make way for (cough) Vista. We could then go and get those machines from those businesses and install Edubuntu on them.

If you have any more questions, please feel free to email me at einfeldt@gmail.com. Thanks a lot for your interest, and thanks tons to Helios for this blog!

Christian Einfeldt,
Producer, The Digital Tipping Point

DOUGman said...

Christian:

http://computers.listings.ebay.com/Wholesale-Lots_Desktop-PCs_W0QQfromZR4QQsacatZ40176QQsocmdZListingItemList

Here is a thought, pool monies together and purchase an entire lot of desktops from eBay. I have done this sort of thing before, careful with the Dell mobo's consider replacing the caps.

D.

Christian said...

@dougman:

Thanks for the idea, dougman! Unfortunately, there is a long, long process for fundraising on behalf of this school, but we need to have our lab in place by July 27, 2008, which is coming right up. So we really need in-kind donations of P4 machines with 512 MB of RAM.

That is why the best way that Helios' readers can help is by trying to find someone who knows someone who knows someone in the San Francisco Bay Area who is sitting on top of lots of P4 computers that they need to ditch to make way for (cough) Vista, proving yet again that Vista is the best thing that ever happened to Linux.

Thx!

Christian Einfeldt,
Producer, The Digital Tipping Point

Christian said...

hi

Thanks tons for everyone who is offering parts! We can use the parts, because it very well might be that we will be cobbling together machines that we get from a wide variety of sources!

Today was the last day of school for our 6 - 7th graders. 8th graders' last day of school was Friday, and tomorrow will be the last day of school for 5th graders, so any parts should please be shipped to my law office (yes, I'm a lawyer, and supporting this public middle school is my way of giving back to the community). The school will be closed or on a skeleton staff, as most of the staff heads out for the summer. Parts should therefore please be shipped to

Christian Einfeldt
580 California Street, Suite 1600
San Francisco, CA 94104

I do appreciate the kindness of everyone who has replied!

If you would like to get more information about our middle school project, you can either email Christian Einfeldt at einfeldt@gmail.com, or you can go here to the SF-LUG list to read the archives, as we discuss it a lot there:

http://linuxmafia.com/pipermail/sf-lug/

or you can read my twitter blog, where I talk a lot about the school:

http://twitter.com/einfeldt

Thanks again for your show of support!

Christian Einfeldt,
Producer, The Digital Tipping Point

Blog of helios said...

@ Bob

I know it's older, but if you or Christian can use it, it is yours for the asking.

Being it's a LT, I don't know that Christian can use it but I sure could...I have two dell LT's I am repairing/building, both P4 1.3 celeron chip machines that ought to make some kid extremely happy. If you want, you could send that my way. I will email you with my business card as my html sig and you can get our mailing address there.

thanks Bob...You've been a good friend and I want you to know how much I personally appreciate it.

h

WE ARE *NIXED! said...

Helios,

Those e-mails from an "e-bay member" are from me. I spotted some good bargains, and figured I'd send them to you. A few of them are even in your home state. ;)

I'll keep an eye on them and see if they can't be sniped.