Free Geek is a collectively run non-profit organization started in Portland, Oregon in 2000. Free Geek has two central goals: to reuse reuse or recycle used computer equipment that might otherwise become hazardous waste, and to make computer technology more accessible to those who lack financial means or technical knowledge.
Free Geek's refurbished computers are either granted to non-profit organizations, given to volunteers, or sold in Free Geek's thrift store.
Free Geek offers numerous classes to its volunteers and to the general public. Free Geek also offers phone and drop-in Wikipedia:technical support on specific days of the week for the computers it produces.
People who wish to Wikipedia:volunteer at Free Geek's Wikipedia:community technology center usually choose between two programs: the Build Program and the Adoption Program. The Adoption Program allows volunteers to get to work immediately on relatively simple tasks, such as keeping incoming equipment organized or sorting metals and plastics. In the Build Program, volunteers learn while they work, and are trained to build refurbished computers. Volunteers completing either program are given computers of their own.
Free Geek has numerous other programs, which are generally run by longer-serving volunteers and staff members. A few examples: The Grants program reviews requests for computer equipment from other non-profit organizations. The Outreach committee/program oversees media contacts and events. The Reuse committee/program works to ensure that reuse is prioritized over recycling, and finds new ways to get equipment into the hands of people who will put it to use. The Administrators of Systems and Security oversee the network infrastructure of the organization.
Free Geek's refurbished computers run Wikipedia:Ubuntu Linux and other Wikipedia:free and open-source software. The use of free software has several major benefits to the organization, and to the recipients of equipment: Free Geek operates without needing to devote resources to managing Wikipedia:software licenses, and may install software where it is needed with minimal complications from legal considerations; and computer recipients get a wide range of software, which they may easily expand without paying money or entering into restrictive contracts.
Free Geek was the joint winner of the first Chris Nicol FOSS Prize awarded by the Wikipedia:Association for Progressive Communications (APC) in 2007.
In addition to Portland, a number of other cities have started their own Free Geek organizations.
- Portland, OR ("the Mothership")
- Fayetteville, AR
- Central FL
- Chicago, IL
- Columbus, OH
- South Bend, IN (Michiana)
- Vancouver, BC (Canada)
- Seattle, WA
- Murfreesboro, TN (Born Again—no longer recycling)
- Minneapolis-Saint Paul, MN (Twin Cities)
- Toronto, ON (Canada)
- Providence, RI
- Ferndale, MI (Greater Detroit area)
- Wikipedia:Computer recycling
- Wikipedia:Electronic waste in the United States
- Wikipedia:Empower Up
- Wikipedia:Nonprofit Technology Resources
- ↑ Peter Forsyth (Second quarter 2006). "Oregon non-profit attacks e-waste at its source". Earth First! Journal. http://wiki.freegeek.org/index.php/Earth_First_article. Retrieved 2006-12-26.
- ↑ MacKinnon, Merry (March, 2006). "Computer nerds, and proud of it". Lifestyles Northwest. http://wiki.freegeek.org/index.php/Lifestyles_Northwest_article. Retrieved 2006-12-26.
- ↑ Peter Forsyth (2001-05-04). "Free software, older computers help group narrow digital divide". The Portland Tribune. http://www.portlandtribune.com/news/story.php?story_id=3485. Retrieved 2006-12-26.
- ↑ Free Geek has been keeping the needy nerdy for seven full years, APCNews http://www.apc.org/en/node/1862/
- ↑ Free Geek Intergalactic
- Free Geek Portland
- BoingBoing article
- another BoingBoing article
- Welcome to Free Geek - short documentary video