Digital Inclusion, Volunteering and Linux!

Two laptops showing Linux Ubuntu installing.

With artificial intelligence (AI) dominating the media this week, and the media’s comparisons between it and other technologies that changed the world (e.g. the printing press) it isn’t hard to miss that we are firmly in a revolution.

The digital revolution began in the late 20th century and has seen the move from analog to digital, including the move of information and services to being presented online. Although this move can improve availability, generally making it available 24/7 to anything with an internet connection, it can also present a problem for those that don’t have access to internet enabled technology.

To help make digital access available to everyone, Salford City Council runs a Digital Inclusion programme. The full details of this can be seen at Part of the Digital Inclusion is to provide technology such as laptops, and on Saturday 1st April 2023 the Council’s Digital Data and Technology (DDaT) team held an event to recycle some of the organisations old laptops.

Members of the team volunteered on their weekend to repair, clean and prepare laptops to be given out via the Digital Inclusion programme. Over stories of memories of different laptop models (most people have a favourite) and discussion of the technology the team worked with a variety of laptops models from over a period of years. As some no longer meet the hardware requirements of certain operating systems, an opportunity came up to introduce more people to a Linux operating system, and if it’s good enough for some of the laptops then why not all of them?

Each working laptop finished the day with Ubuntu installed including an office suite (LibreOffice), email client (Thunderbird) and web browser (Firefox) – the tools needed to help anyone become digitally enabled.

How do I fit into this? I was one of the volunteers on the day and, as a Linux fan, the person asking that a Linux operating system would be used on the devices. Volunteering, utilising technology and sharing Linux has meant time well spent.

Two laptops showing Linux Ubuntu installing.
Ubuntu Installing!