Anyone who has known me knows I have a hard time accepting authority. My High School years were typified by clashes between myself and teachers, the principal, parents and eventually the law. I just could not accept that in a free country, there were so many things I was not to do. Now as an adult I realize many if my battles were misplaced. However, when it comes to certain things I still bring the same level of defiance, energy and intensity into the mix. At Computers for Charity we've manged to assemble a whole crew of life's rebels and miscreants together for a good cause.
When someone says "You can't do that", we have to disagree. We've found through trial and error that many things people say you can't are simply limitations of their own mind. That old PC may not be suitable for Windows 7 but our techs are not deterred by that. We prefer not to pollute the world with another Windows operating system destined for obsolescence. We prefer to install something less prone to viruses and more secure and stable anyhow. We prefer to use Linux.
This too is frowned upon by the world. Why not give people something that really works? For one Windows doses not always work. For instance on a Dell laptop that we had the installation disks for, we installed Windows XP. After the install the tech was attempting to install drivers for the computer form Dells website. The computer had no sound, no networking and only basic video drivers. At this point we could see why the user had discarded this computer. Instead of hassling with the drivers we booted to an Ubuntu Live USB to test the hardware. Under Ubuntu the computer worked flawlessly.
It's outside the box thinking to work with an alternative OS like Linux. If we only stuck with the status quo we would be out of luck in a lot of cases. That's why I have become a huge fan of Linux since we started this whole endeavor. It fits my personality. It breaks the rules by offering something for free (a great desktop operating system), that others are paying hundreds of dollars for. And they are not enjoying as good of an experience with the whole Windows 7 upgrade thing either. What kind of person does it take to work with an OS that has only about 1% of the desktop market? It takes a rebel.
The whole Idea of fixing computers that are slated for disposal makes no sense to a lot of people, and for obvious reasons. We acquire a lot of junk along the way. Sometimes computers are discarded for good reasons. It would be nice if every computer we received was the result of an upgrade. Unfortunately we see a lot of bad hardware that takes a lot of troubleshooting and perseverance to pinpoint exactly whats wrong with it. Once we identify a faulty component it can be replaced. In many cases its multiple components. Computer techs are well compensated for this reason. Who would take on this kind of work just to give it away for free? Only a rebel.
Thank God for the rebels.