Frankenfest followup

We sorted a lot of stuff that day. A lot of people unloaded a lot of electronics.  About a third of it went to recycling (there is a recycling station near us that takes electronics).  We built three awesome systems, and the rest was divvied up among whoever wanted it.  Most of it ended up in my Mom’s garage.  She had been ecstatic as we hauled things out of her garage that morning.  We brought back about 2 to 3 times as much as we took.

She only said, “That’s going to be gone when the guests arrive (for Christmas)?”  We nodded solemnly.

The next day and over the next couple weekends, my Dad and I tested parts, sorted the box of RAM chips a friend donated to the cause, and put together another 6 working systems.  He got pretty good at installing Linux on them.  We used LinuxMint until we got down to the really low resource systems (Pentium II’s).  We put 20+GB hard drives on those, upped the RAM as much as we could (usually 256+MB), and put MacPup on them.  They were beautiful. 🙂

My brother arrived for Christmas, and during one of my days off, we put together another 4 systems, all with MacPup on them.  Unfortunately, my brother couldn’t get the case back on the last system, so it’s still waiting for me. 😉  After Christmas, my dad took them all to a local school, to eventually be given to students and families in need.  The teacher in charge of it had never heard of Linux and was eager to see it and learn more about it.  My dad, of course, was eager to tell her about it.  It sounds like another Linux fan has been born.

My mom is happier:  the garage only has as much computer parts in it now as it did before the Frankenfest. My dad collected a few more computers, waiting for the next call from the local school.  One of them is a laptop.  He installed Ubuntu on it and showed it off to me.  We decided to upgrade the RAM to 1GB and put Ubuntu 8.04 on it instead of the older version he had.  He spends as much time on it now, learning about Ubuntu, as he does on his Mac.  He is so happy with it he decided to put Ubuntu on another machine to give to a 90 year old friend in need of a computer.  So I helped him customize it to make it easier for his friend, and to strip out all the things that a novice is better off not messing around with.

I’m thinking Linux advocates should consider Frankenfests: get the cast off machines, put together working systems with Linux on them, and give them away!  If you have an idea of who it’s going to, you can customize it to be as full or as stripped as it needs to be.  I think most people will be like my dad, and become fans, too!


  1. Djan says:

    I have been google searching for “linux mint and macpup”. That is how I stumpled over your blog. The Frankenfest idea is quite inspiring. Since this is a follow-up I also went to the previous article of Frankenfest. In that article you mentionend Travelin’ Rob’s Linux Mint cheat sheet.

    I would be interested in that Mint cheat sheet. Would it be possible to pass it on?


  2. Carol says:

    From Travelin Rob:

    Here’s a link to the official Linux Mint Manual:

  3. Djan says:

    Thanks for the link.

  4. Jim says:

    Would dad give me an ubuntu install disk to install ubuntu on my failed arklinux install on a new 160 G ide drive I bought? I want to learn about linux but I can’t get through the iso burn process. I don’t understand the why’s involved and can’t get it right. I downloaded an iso overnight and it is on my harddisk but the recommnded infrareader won’t burn the iso. Maybe it’s still jzipped, there is no way to find out. I’m reminded of Jack Nicholson. “It’s Chinatown”, I’ll never find out, it is just a waste of time to try.

  5. clbean says:

    You can get Ubuntu install disks from

    Software Freedom Day is coming up soon (September 19, 2009). If one of the Linux or other computer groups near you is sponsoring this event, they will also have Ubuntu Install disks, and will likely be able to help you with problems or questions.

    The Ubuntu site also has excellent, responsive forums:

    Check to see if there is a Linux user group near you: (Sometimes the best path is face to face) 🙂