Stepping Stones Farm
Stepping Stones is a community based City Farm and Rural Crafts Centre in the heart of Stepney, in London’s East End. The pilot saved over £1,500 in software costs.
Stepping Stones had also been donated two PCs which had no operating system at all and could not boot. The Farm's management committee were mostly Mac users and did not want to switch to MS Windows but had heard of Ubuntu. They asked Fossbox if we would install the two donated PCs with Ubuntu.
This second pilot went much more smoothly than the first. Stepping Stones staff are used to running a non-mainstream operating system (Mac OS) and Ubuntu is more similar to Macs than it is to Windows systems. The transition seemed effortless and we have received almost no support calls after some minimal deskside training and giving them some tutorial handouts. The only problem we had was with a very old Ricoh multifunction printer which couldn't be coaxed into working properly (there is a driver but it's still buggy). We were able to give them a re-used Epson printer to tide them over whilst they fundraise for new equipment.
Stepping Stones has expanded from an entirely volunteer-run organisation to 3 staff and is fundraising to set up an EdUbuntu LTSP educational suite for children which will re-use another batch of donated PCs. They now have a Linux volunteer who worked with Fossbox to upgrade the system to Ubuntu Lucid LTS and set up a print-and-file server. The volunteer will now take over looking after the system.