wingolog

computers in africa

26 February 2003 10:45 AM (namibia | gnome)

Greetings from Africa!

There are many things to say about Namibia, but there's one thing in particular that might be of interest to the hacker community -- the prevalence of linux in this country. At least at the school level. I am typing on my laptop at the minute, but beside me (in my school's new library) is one server and three thin clients, all running SuSE 7.3 with KDE desktops. The server is a PII 266. 2 clients are 486/66's and one is a P133. The kids just love them. They like to write letters, even if they aren't going anywhere. They make paintings and they play games, well at least until today when I chmodded the games -x.

The computers are all old donated computers are are administered by a company called Schoolnet Namibia. Each school gets a domain for email, eg iihenda.schoolnet.na, powered by fetchmail/sendmail. We just now got some kind of wireless internet connection connecting us to a network in a larger town, so we can access the internet all the time for cheap. It's delightful, and the kids just can't get enough. The only problem with the computers is that we don't have enough for a class to use them -- squeeze as they might, you can only get about 6 people on a computer.

I'm writing for two things, one to say that we're getting a hell of a lot of use out of these 10 year old machines, and two to encourage donations to keep coming, wherever they go. There's some pretty anxious kids out there who would just love them.

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