Reglue: Bringing FOSS to Central Texas Families

Speaker

Level: 
Beginner
Slides: 

Reglue is a non-profit organization well-known in the FOSS community. Its mission is to provide computers loaded with open-source software to low-income Central Texas families with school-age children, thus ensuring that those K-12 students have the tools they need to complete assignments and compete academically with their peers.

Reglue was invited to operate in Taylor, and generously given the use of a city-owned building from which to work, free of rent, upkeep, and repair costs. In early 2016 the organization was asked by the Taylor Housing Authority to help provide technology to families living in a government housing tract. Prior to the THA project, Reglue had been kept fairly busy with leads from people in Taylor as to who might qualify for a Reglue computer, but the added housing authority project kicked Reglue into hyperdrive. Utilizing every asset at hand, Reglue will install 81 more computers in the coming summer months. To this date, they have installed 25 computers in the housing project; each boots up to a customized Linux Mint Cinnamon system, thus beginning another young person's exposure to the benefits of Free Open Source Software.

As with most of Reglue’s projects, this relatively large-scale install has involved a series of unexpected roadblocks, surprise changes in requirements, and astonishing twists of generosity from the community. The story of this project and others that Reglue has undertaken in the past several years is relevant to anyone with an interest in how open source software and the supporting community can facilitate social change, further educational opportunities, and make a difference at both an individual and a civic level.