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Ask Slashdot: How To Donate Older Computers to Charity? 260

Posted by timothy
from the curbside-charity-pickup dept.
yanom writes "My school gave me several circa-2006 computers with no operating system. I fixed them up, and now they run Lubuntu fairly well, making them great internet/LibreOffice/general Linux workstations. I've been wanting to donate them to local nonprofits where they'll go to good use — for example, I've already given several to a local church for them to use in their afterschool care/tutoring program. However, I'm having trouble finding other places where these machines could go to good use. How should I best conduct this search? How can I find nonprofits that could benefit from these workstations?"
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Ask Slashdot: How To Donate Older Computers to Charity?

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  • 2006? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @11:42AM (#43171645) Journal

    Are they P4 or Core processors? If they are P4, just recycle them.

  • Install Windows XP (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 14, 2013 @11:43AM (#43171653)

    I don't care if this looks like a troll. I am a professional Linux developer, but I'm under no delusion that the general public is comfortable using Linux for general purpose stuff. The kind of people using computers at non-profits will just lost interest in a state of WTF if you put them in front of a Lubuntu machine. They'll just want Windows or Apple.

  • Re:2006? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Splat (9175) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @11:44AM (#43171665)

    Your kind of thought process is exactly the problem. A P4 system is perfectly usable given the correct software configuration, and as timothy already stated they're working well enough running Lubuntu to be a basic word processing/information device. Just because it's not the newest technology doesn't mean it's trash. There are plenty of people out there who would be perfectly well served by a basic computer that can run a web browser to look up information, and type up emails on it.

  • Re:2006? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @11:49AM (#43171733) Journal

    An IBM 5150 is perfectly usable given the correct software configuration. Usable for what, is the question. A 3ghz P4 isn't even fast enough to play flash video smoothly these days.

  • Goodwill (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cod3r_ (2031620) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @11:51AM (#43171757)
    just take them to goodwill and let them figure it out.
  • by Bearhouse (1034238) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @11:52AM (#43171785)

    I applaud your altruism; but I've done the same kind of thing in the past, and regretted it.

    Not to be too paranoid, but please make sure you've got all your paperwork in order, (you have to right to pass on the PCs etc.), and explicitly state 'no warranty' etc. What if one of the PCs catches fire, and burns down the old folks home you donated it to? Yeah, I know I sound nuts, be we live in a crazy world.

    Oh yes, and regarding support. They'll drive you nuts. Really.

    Junk the things and just give some cash to a worthy cause.

  • by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @12:01PM (#43171903) Homepage
    You are right that the general public isn't comfortable using Linux. Unfortunately, you falsely imply that they are comfortable using Windows. The vast majority of people who would be in a position to go to a library or Non-Profit don't know the difference. Point them to the little icon that launches firefox and/or chromium and not only is it true that they couldn't care less if it is Linux or Windows, it is also true that they have no idea that it isn't Windows.
  • by 1u3hr (530656) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @12:04PM (#43171949)

    You are right that the general public isn't comfortable using Linux.

    Just tell them it's "Android for PCs".

  • Re:2006? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 14, 2013 @12:06PM (#43171979)

    P4's cost a lot to run. I measured a basic P4 machine the other day and it was drawing around 140 watts at idle. My core i5 Macbook Pro was only drawing around 11 watts. For some it would be cheaper to just buy a lower powered machine than to pay the electricity bill on a P4.

  • Re:2006? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Belial6 (794905) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @12:09PM (#43172029)
    Giving a P4 to the poor is evil. The cost of running it can easily cost more than a brand new computer.
  • Re:2006? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hedwards (940851) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @12:33PM (#43172359)

    Not really, there's subsidies for power in many places and rarely if ever is there a subsidy for a new computer.

    What's more, cash flow is an issue, it might cost more in the long run, but some people only have a few bucks a month and need the computer now. Getting a free or cheap computer that costs a couple bucks more a month in the long run might just be what they have to put up with.

    The people who are getting these computers are frequently in a position where they can't save money either way because they have none. Yes, it would be better for them to not spend the extra money, but they don't necessarily have the luxury of money sitting around to buy a new computer when their current one breaks either.

  • Re:2006? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hedwards (940851) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @12:36PM (#43172409)

    You're spoiled then. The non-profits around here gladly take any computers that they're given. Some get recycled and others get refurbished, but they aren't in the position of refusing to take a computer just because it's 5 years old.

    The thing they won't take for free though is CRTs. Those things are expensive to recylcle because of all the toxic chemicals and it's getting to the point where those old 14" LCDs are flooding the gap that cheap CRTs vacated.

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