David Hewson in the Times suggests that people dig out their old hardware and use it to run Linux, especially if said hardware is too slow or old to run XP.
I bet that, somewhere in your house, there is an old computer lurking, one that is too creaky to run Windows XP properly and quietly gathers dust while you wonder what to do with it.
Schools usually turn up their noses at these things — and quite right. Why should the next generation learn on technology the previous generation has rejected? The Third World can’t afford to be so fussy. If you own an unwanted computer, visit Computers for Charities (www.computersforcharities.co.uk), which is happy to find new homes for old PCs, notebooks and mobile phones — and bikes, too.
What, though, if you could breathe new life into that beast and turn it into a network-ready machine, with a decent browser, a word-processor, e-mail and an easy interface — for, if not nothing, very little money indeed? Enter Linux, the complex operating system that is adored by geeks and runs much of the net. Desktop Linux installations — the code behind a pretty face — are readily available these days. With them, you could have a revived computer with office software, the excellent Firefox, proven reliability and a decent turn of performance.
Rick Maybury suggested something similar in the Telegraph a couple of weeks back.