portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reporting oregon & cascadia

community building | sustainability | technology

Free Geek Grand Opening in Olympia!!

To contact Free Geek Olympia, call (360) 352-4165.
Free Geek Olympia had a benefit last night in Oly, with many there from Portland Free Geek speaking at the event at Traditions Cafe Sunday March 6th. It was a fun event, with some local performers, and then a salmon dinner with steelhead and greens and yummy BEETS and yams and carrots to add color and the wild rice mix rounded out the meal and made us all happy to hear the speakers talk about the amazing directions that Portland Free Geek has gone in, how many tons a month are being diverted from the land-fills, and other great ideas for Olympia to consider.

The Portland Freeks were happy to share their experiences, and repeatedly offered to support Oly in every possible way, including taking on parts that Oly can't currently recycle; It seems that Oly is only able to get rid of steel at this point. So if anyone is in Oly & driving down to Portland, it would be really helpful to give Oly Free Geek a call and offer to bring down equipment that has been donated to Portland Free Geek located at SE 10th Ave just south of Hawthorne.

Among the ways that Portland Free Geek contributes and serves the community: Giving equipment grants to non-profits and underdeveloped countries, right now computers to Bolivia and Venezuela are in the works; training people to build and maintain the computers we can earn by volunteering at Free Geek for 24 hours; Operating in a consensus - based collectivist way, including having open meetings once a month, (although in order to "block" at these meetings, one has to attend 3 meetings in a row) and having the paid staff also meet weekly, (they voted to all take a pay cut this year, based on where the group is at financially); providing a discount store for the public to buy stuff like printers that are not part of their free work-exchange program, giving trainings regularly for free to the public, providing tech support for those that take home machines, and lots of other useful things they do that I can't even begin to remember... More info about Portland Free Geek is on their website at  http://freegeek.org/

The humour and excitement about this new Free Geek opening was enhanced by the film shorts of a fundraiser that had been held (and reportedly is still a possibility for this coming saturday I think) at the Portland Free Geek awhile back, where the public was invited to come in a smash printers for donation, with their tool of choice, (including but not limited to a baseball bat, sledge hammer, golf club, and other implements of destruction- very entertaining if a little disturbing at how much the parents were getting into it, but awesome to watch the kids and adults enjoying smashing technology) One of the film shorts featured a Green Party candidate who was running against Ron Wyden at the time, and that short started the evening off with a sense that this is a really fun crew that loves getting silly and that this is a really fun project to get involved with!

The closing film was fascinating. I can't remember the title but it outlined the historical beginnings of how Linux came into being. I was pretty tired, after driving from Seattle and volunteering at the Oly Books to Prisoners right before this event, so I don't remember all the details... I'll do my best to relate what I learned though.

Okay, apparently this guy (Richard?) Stallman was working at M.I.T. in the early '80's... And he was working on project using (and sometimes improving) Unix-based programs. Apparently Unix is/was proprietary software. And the hackers at M.I.T. had designed the system for the establishment without using passwords. So there were no passwords... and as far as I undersand it, they were using whatever software (Microsoft, Unix, or improved versions of these) that made sense for whatever application was needed by the university and students for research, development, design, whatever... And one day they got a letter from Bill Gates complaining that Microsoft was the only company that had invested serious money and time into developing the software that was being pirated and shared by people that mostly weren't paying for the software... and so did these hackers expect these development people to work for FREE?? And that if people were going to use the Microsoft software (not sure where Unix fits into this, but as I understand it, that was proprietary as well) they should be PAYING for it, dammit!! (okay, that's the gist of it, but not exactly what billy-boy actually said in the scathing letter that was sent...)

That letter apparently pissed off the hackers at M.I.T. and Stallman began devoting his life to developing free software & designing Linux systems, by starting the GNU software company with a bunch of other hackers in Berkeley California. FSF, the Free Software Foundation was also one of the projects (I believe) that this group founded. After this, I started falling asleep, not because the content wasn't fascinating, but because I was exhausted and going into food coma after the wonderful meal. So the stuff about Red Hat and how it came about I missed... and everything after that I also didn't catch. Anyone who was there, please feel free to add on what you know about the history of Linux technology...

I'd like to see this film again, so if anyone can tell me what the name of if was, (could it have maybe been called "OS Revolution"??) I'd love to see it again when I'm more coherent. I wish the Olympia Free Geek folks the best of luck and hope that the Oly community supports this program and helps it grow and flourish!! This is such an important service to be providing and it is essential that it be supported by all who are committed to keeping computers out of landfills and getting recycled computers to groups and individuals that need them, and encouraging the transition into open source programs and software.

To contact FreeGeek Olympia, call (360) 352-4165.
title of documentary 07.Mar.2005 17:27

jaboo

very close. the title of the documentary was "Revolution OS". maybe ill catch a bus down to oly to volunteer. (from seattle).

its fun, its spectacular, its... 09.Mar.2005 19:48

revphil

i think you will have better results using  http://fgoly.org

FG-oly is only open on tuesday (and kinda on sunday) for now. but they need help. FREE GEEK in Portland never would have made it though the past 5 years if is wasnt for lots of great volunteer help from the community.

Thanks for the compliment about the video shorts you saw. The next printer smashing event is right around the corrner:

SMASHTACULAR!

Portland, Oregon - Did you ever want to kick the living crap out of a
printer like those guys in the movie "Office Space"? Well now here's
your chance! Free Geek presents: Smash-tacular! a techno-thropic
fundraiser - Free Geek provides the old printers, the tools of
destruction and the angry soundtrack - you provide the bottled-up rage
and a $2 donation per printer. We start smashing at 1pm and go until 4pm
(or until we run out of printers).

All proceeds go to help keeping the "free" in Free Geek. We keep
computers and other electronic waste out of the land fills, while
getting refurbished computers into the hands of those who need them.

All smashed printers will be recycled responsibly, if somewhat
violently. So come on down and destroy some annoying technology. It
likes the pain and destruction is nice.

For more information, send an email to sfurst at gmail dot com.


and also... 11.Mar.2005 16:40

jar jar binx

also 'round 'bout the same time a guy in finland, one Linus Torvalds, also was working on an os. he started by changing some proprietary code that was similar to unix and made it open source. he called it linux. the rest, as they say, is history.

p.s. that was the VERY short version story. :)