Free Geek

Free Geek is a collectively run non-profit organization started in Portland, Oregon in 2000. Free Geek has two central goals: to reuse or recycle used computer equipment that might otherwise become hazardous waste, [cite news|author= Peter Forsyth|title= Oregon non-profit attacks e-waste at its source |url=http://wiki.freegeek.org/index.php/Earth_First_article |work= Earth First! Journal |date = Second quarter 2006|accessdate=2006-12-26 ] and to make computer technology more accessible to those who lack financial means or technical knowledge. [ cite news |author=MacKinnon, Merry |title=Computer nerds, and proud of it |url=http://wiki.freegeek.org/index.php/Lifestyles_Northwest_article |work= Lifestyles Northwest |date=March, 2006 |accessdate=2006-12-26 ] [cite news |author= Peter Forsyth |title=Free software, older computers help group narrow digital divide |url=http://www.portlandtribune.com/news/story.php?story_id=3485 |work=The Portland Tribune |date=2001-05-04|accessdate=2006-12-26] Free Geek's refurbished computers are given to other non-profit organizations or to volunteers in Free Geek's adoption program, or sold in the organization's thrift Store.

Activities

Free Geek offers numerous classes to its volunteers and to the general public. Free Geek also offers phone and drop-in technical support for the computers it produces.

Programs

People who wish to volunteer at Free Geek's community technology center usually choose between two programs: the Build Program and the Adoption Program. The Adoption Program allows volunteers to get to work immediately on relatively simple tasks, such as keeping incoming equipment organized or sorting metals and plastics. In the Build Program, volunteers learn while they work, and are trained to build refurbished computers. Volunteers completing either program are given computers of their own.Free Geek has numerous other programs, which are generally run by longer-serving volunteers and staff members. A few examples: The Grants program reviews requests for computer equipment from other non-profit organizations. The Outreach committee/program oversees media contacts and events. The Reuse committee/program works to ensure that reuse is prioritized over recycling, and finds new ways to get equipment into the hands of people who will put it to use. The Administrators of Systems and Security oversee the network infrastructure of the organization.

Free software

Free Geek's refurbished computers run Ubuntu Linux and other free and open source software. The use of free software has several major benefits to the organization, and to the recipients of equipment: Free Geek operates without needing to devote resources to managing software licenses, and may install software where it is needed without regard to legal considerations; and computer recipients get a wide range of software, which they may easily expand without paying money or entering into restrictive contracts.

Locations

In addition to Portland, a number of other cities have started their own Free Geek organizations. [ [http://www.freegeek.org/family.php Free Geek: Family] ]

* Portland, OR ("the Mothership") - [http://www.freegeek.org/index.php freegeek.org]
* Fayetteville, Arkansas - http://freegeekarkansas.org
* Chicago, IL - http://freegeekchicago.org
* Columbus, OH - http://freegeekcolumbus.org
* Keokuk, IA - http://www.tristatesfreegeek.org
* South Bend, Indiana (Michiana) - http://freegeekmichiana.org
* Vancouver, BC - http://freegeekvancouver.org
* Murfreesboro, TN - http://bornagaintechnologies.org
* Minneapolis-Saint Paul - http://freegeektwincities.org
* Orlando, FL - http://www.freegeekcentralflorida.org/There also exist some organizations that refer to themselves as "Free Geek" but are not, however, officially recognized Free Geeks.

ee also

*Computer recycling
*Bworks

References

* [http://www.freegeek.org/media.php Free Geek: Media Coverage]

External links

* [http://www.freegeek.org/index.php Official Free Geek website]
* [http://wiki.freegeek.org/index.php/Main_Page Free Geek wiki]
* [http://wiki.freegeek.org/index.php/Free_Geek_Principles Free Geek Principles]
* [http://www.boingboing.net/2004/08/15/recycle_your_old_ele.html BoingBoing article]
* [http://www.boingboing.net/2006/11/20/portland_freegeek_ri.html another BoingBoing article]
* [http://youtube.com/watch?v=625LPUACix0 "Welcome to Free Geek" - short documentary video]


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