Freedom Toaster (Mark)

(This was a post I wrote up a while ago but never got around to posting — Mark )

In the US the amount of “things” you download from the internet don’t really matter. Everything is essentially unlimited. In Africa, while there are some unlimited plans, we are using pay as you go. So every byte we download costs us some money. We are currently paying around 55 dollars for 2gb of data. Which in most cases is fine for a month. One of the great things about Open Source is that it is very easy to get your hands on the software, which in most cases is free. So if I wanted to download a alternative to Microsoft Windows I could go onto the internet and download a dozen different operating systems. Well if you are on a pay as you go plan then you could quickly use up your bandwidth downloading these operating systems. That’s where the Freedom Toaster project comes in. It’s a project that aims at providing a location where you can come with a CDs or DVDs and burn copies of different Linux operating systems, for free (well the CDs and DVDs aren’t free). It’s funded by the Shuttleworth Foundation, a South African foundation funded by Mark Shuttleworth. Having a day with a car, we decided to go visit one of these Freedom Toasters for ourselves. Here’s a couple pictures of it:

Verdict? It wasn’t very user friendly. It took Sam and I a while to figure out how to actually use the thing and turned a few cd’s into coasters (aka unusable… insert joke about freedom coaster). It’s a interesting idea, in the right environment it might actually get used: university, technology groups that don’t have access to free bandwidth, but I don’t see it swaying masses of microsoft users to switch to linux.
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