Fwd: [Linux-aus] anyone for an open-source-beyond-the-black-stump miniconf?

Janet Hawtin lucychili at internode.on.net
Thu Jul 6 00:55:08 UTC 2006

Rohan M. wrote:

> Hope this isnt a stupid question - but how does one start somehing like this?

Not at all.

> Do you basically organise it yourself, source hardware, speak to the local
> community to meet needs etc?

Yes. It does help to have someone on site who can do some of the organising.
We were lucky with Marree in that Noven and Penny were able to organise 
students and provide access to a working community Telecentre.

> Is LA the only sponsor of these kinds of things, or do local
> councils/govts get involved too?

For the Marree trip we were covered by the PLI of the Marree Telecentre.
The costs for travel and accommodation were contributed by a South 
Australian State Government Community based training grant.
SA ACE Community Education Grants.
There should be something comparable in Darwin.

> I'm a member of the Rural Area Business Group (Darwin) and I'm sure I
> could rally up some support in either hardware donations or funding, and I
> can already think of a rural high school and a few (very) remote
> communities that would love this kind of thing.

Sounds great. OK:
- Take spare equipment.
- We used the INGOTs desktop training standards to get people familiar 
with the linux desktop. http://theingots.org/www/index.php
- We took a team up and had different trainers focusing on people with 
different starting skill levels. I think this is a good idea.
Colin worked with Karl to learn the beginnings of a commandline 
interface and networking. Penny and I worked on the silver INGOT program 
and Robyn covered the bronze INGOT material with the rest of the team.
- Allow time for flat tyres in your budget.
-  Allow time for setup while the students arent there if youre aiming 
to teach beginners, and allow time to put it together with the team if 
youre aiming for them to be able to maintain the network themselves.

> So how does one become an 'offical LA backed community FOSS rollout-er' so
> to speak?

I believe Pia has done an LA backed Foss rolly outy project.
Computerbank may also have done some of this kind of thing and is LA backed.

> I guess the biggest hurdle I can think of if one tried to tackle this by
> themselves would be internet connectivity - how does a community gain
> internet access when they dont even have fixed phones lines or town power
> yet? Satellite obviously but how do they pay for it, or who pays for it?

Excellent question
Some remote places have been provided with Satellite but the costs are 
quite high to keep them running. There is little financial support for 
keeping them running. It is fair I think to include some funding to 
cover bandwidth and room hire as a contribution towards these costs.
If you are hiring a car you might be able to recycle the bond for the 
car as a contribution.

In Marree it was satellite with an ISDN line. Karl or Colin could 
possibly tell you more about the actual configuration.

We did take a mirror box with everything we could think of on it and 
left cds and training notes there. We also took up forms for people to 
apply for ITShare boxes.

Marree is not a typical case. The telecentre was very nicely put 
together and we did not have any hardware with us which compared 
favourably =)).

There was a good talk about deploying networks in Africa at the Edu 
miniconf this year. NetDay South Africa Edward Holcroft.

Edward engaged the communities in the project to make a clean dry secure 
space for the networks as part of the process.

I would expect the equipment on site could vary dramatically as some 
groups are in the Aboriginal artists network. As I understand it these 
groups do have MS computer networks and are serviced by a roving team. 
People who dont fit on that circuit could be a different story.

I think the main thing to remember is that for all of the folk including 
yourselves it will be a new experience, this means it is interesting but 
it is also more challenging as it needs to fit into the context of what 
usually happens. It is easy to forget small things when you dont do 
these kinds of things everyday. Stick with it because it is very 
rewarding. =)

Hope that helps.


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