The HeliOS Project is now.....

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

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Linux Community Strikes Back Against Thuggery

Many of you know the story...

Here's the recap for those that don't....

We gave a disadvantaged family an extremely nice computer through The HeliOS Project and in less than two weeks, their apartment was broken into and everything of value was stolen.

It wasn't just broken  into...the door was ripped from its frame.  You can see the frame repair here.

It happened in broad daylight with dozens of people in close proximity.

You cannot convince me this wasn't gang related.  I've seen the final police report.  19 people were interviewed because they were either neighbors or claimed to be outside in the courtyard when it happened.  I've spent a lot of time in this neighborhood and I know who runs it.

19 people refused to give any information.

19 frightened or criminally-involved people refused to give any information.

It's all irrelevant now.

Last Friday evening, three of us went back to Joe Singleterry's house.  We didn't go simply for moral support.  Skip Guenter, Ron West and myself had better reasons for doing so.

In a blog we wrote last week, we told you of what happened in the Singleterry household.  We told you that Joe didn't have enough money to buy another computer or pay for Internet service.  We also told you that Joe did not have enough money to afford an alarm service for his low income apartment.

He does now.

You saw to it.

We were able to collect enough money for Joe to take care of two year's internet service and a year's subscription for a good alarm system with police response.  His two adopted Nephews, Tommy (17) and Sergio (10) were thrilled.  Not just because they now have internet service.

We also took back the replacement computer we gave them and presented them with an extremely nice dual core Dell XPS model.  We included a 19 inch Samsung wide screen and a 2.1 sound system.  While we did fix it so the family can use their computer for watching TV and movies, the real use of this machine will be to further the boy's education.

Ron West, a close friend and volunteer for The HeliOS Project came 30 miles into town to do the tweaks and debugs to get the entertainment and printing functions working.  

We couldn't have done this without the help of the Linux and FOSS communities, and the money was presented to Joe and his family in your name, not ours.

You handed Joe Singleterry $1185.00 that Friday evening.

Many of you asked for your contributions to be anonymous and to be honest, the family is thankful either way.

People who do care stepped up and fixed a problem for them...a problem that they would not have been able to fix themselves.

I can't thank you enough for doing this.  It moved Joe to tears...the whole thing got a bit misty there for a a few minutes.

But then again, you'd have to be made of stone not to be moved by your accomplishment here.

I am glad you allowed us to be a part of it.

All-Righty Then...


PV said...

It's truly a testament to the abilities of the Linux community to get together when a call to action is sent out to better the community. Would this occur in a community of Microsoft Windows or Apple Mac OS X users? I think not. Even if it was to occur, (1) it would be an exception, not the rule as it is here, and (2) it would come with more strings attached than there are lines of code in the operating system.
a Linux Mint user since 2009 May 1

Anonymous said...

The pain of unemployment is that I can only be an observer, rather than a party to the immense charity. God bless you, Helios, and God bless their household as well.

comdotlinux said...

Yeee Haw!!! Way to go!! Really happy to see the family got a nice System :)

Anonymous said...

It might be possible to sent a registration service based on fedora's "smolt" to track a uuid number, cpu serial number and the ip address of the machine. If another machine is stolen it might show up on the internet after being taken. The information could then be passed to the police so the equipment could be recovered.

Unknown said...

I thought what the people did to restore what was lost is more of testament to right a wrong rather than a connection to whether or not it was the Linux community or any other "OS" community who fixed the problem. Its people that change things not what they are affiliated to that makes the difference. I am glad people stood up and fixed the problem which is the most important part.

Michelle Minkin said...

I think you miss the point.

This story appeared in the Austin American Statesman and many people belonging to many affiliations read about this. Did the Lion's club respond?


Did the local church?


Did the Brotherhood of the Immaculate Harley V-Twin respond?


It was the Linux and Foss Community.

And from what I understand, many of them asked to remain anonymous so going against their request.

I think if the "Windows" community or "Mac" community would have done something like this, it would have been just as newsworthy.

It's a rare thing however to ever hear about them taking care of their own.


PV said...

Also, this is not exactly related, but I remember you complained in a post from a few months ago about the scary wording of "Restricted Drivers". Well, I'm here to say that in Ubuntu 10.10 (I'm not sure how it is in the RC of Linux Mint 10, which I have reviewed on my blog) "Restricted Drivers" has been renamed to "Additional Drivers" (and inside the window, the word "restricted" has been replaced with either "additional" or "proprietary"). I hope this avoids any further issues in this particular regard.
a Linux Mint user since 2009 May 1

Unknown said...

"Restricted Drivers" has been renamed to "Additional Drivers" (and inside the window, the word "restricted" has been replaced....

We had some fairly substantial back-and-forth with the folks at Canonical about this and it became apparent early on that they agreed with our assessment of that particular situation...I am guessing that some of the FOSS "Purists" within the dev teams were resisting this specific change but I can't report that as fact...I simply gleaned it from their responses.

It is good to see that Canonical understands how this was perceived at the individual user level. They are paying attention.

It's a good move none the less and I'm glad to see the "restrictive" language removed.

Thanks for bringing this up.


PV said...

So it was you who initiated the change in the terminology? That's pretty awesome! (On a related note, I'm happy to report that this change has made it into Linux Mint 10 "Julia".)
a Linux Mint user since 2009 May 1

Unknown said...

@ PV

Oh no...I won't take credit for that...we just had a uhmmm...spirited back and forth about the issue.

I'm sure there were many others that were part of the equation. We were simply one voice of many.


Blogging around the Pacific Northwest said...

At Anonymous's comment, there is a set of "whereami" scripts that from debian (mint, ubuntu and other debian like cousins) that can be downloaded from Ubuntu and Debian repositories could modify these scripts to get an accurate picture of where the system is, who is on it, what they are doing AND what they are accessing.

And with a minor modifications (this is for personal use, there might be legal reasons WHY you can't do this for privacy reasons) this might be able to setup a system to call home, email private report to an email box or set it up to do so if the IP changes or it changes Wifi connections?

Many, many ways to do it. :) So go have some fun and look it over. The script do boot up when you turn on the computer.

Unknown said...


Email me when you get a chance.