Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any conditions or requirements that must be met in order to receive a computer?

Anyone in need is eligible for a computer. We do require recipients to sign an agreement stating that they will bring the computer back to us if it breaks or they no longer need it. We will be happy to trade broken computers in for working ones, but we do not give multiple computers to one person.

What software is installed on the computers?

The “Open Source” in our name comes from the software that we use. Open source software is free of charge and allows its users to study, change, improve, and distribute it to others. It is created by volunteers all over the world for the good of society. The computers that we distribute run the Linux operating system, more specifically, our own customized version of Debian. There are many versions of Linux to choose from, but we use Debian because it is well supported and runs nicely on the older computers that are donated to us. Many of the programs you are likely to need are pre-installed so that you will be able to start using the computer as soon as you turn it on, but if you run into trouble, we encourage you to attend one of our Saturday night meetings or visit our forum.

Will my existing printer, scanner, etc.. work on this system?

Before you buy a printer or any other accessory to use with your Linux operating system, it is important to make sure that the proper drivers are available. Some manufacturers do not provide open source drivers for their printers. To avoid the frustration of an incompatible device, it is best to check this list to be sure that the printer you are considering will work properly with your system. If your printer is not listed, try entering the model number and the word Linux into a search engine.

Do you give away laptops?

We do occasionally have laptops to give away, but 90% of the computers that are donated to us are desktops. When laptops do become available, they are given to the next person who requests one. We do not maintain a separate waiting list for them.

Will you remove the viruses from my Windows computer?

No. If you have a Windows computer that isn’t working, you can trade it in for one of our computers running Linux. We will be happy to transfer the data from your Windows computer to your new one, but we don’t work on Windows installations as part of Open Source Recycling.