Olympic Softworks is a not for profit organization being set up in Olympia in Washington state for the purpose of advancing the use of Free and Open Source Software(FOSS). In following our purpose we serve the public need in several ways simultaneously.

  • Our absolute commitment is to making the pacific northwest a major hub in the GNU/Linux landscape. In order for this to become a reality we need to increase the general public's knowledge of, and access to, computer technology.
  • To this end we will provide free public forums where your questions can be answered about using GNU/Linux as an operating system for home computers, about what exactly is GNU/Linux and the FOSS culture, what it can do for you, and how it is different from proprietary software such as Microsoft Windows and Apple's OS.
  • We will accept donations of computers and hardware and recycle them by wiping their hard drives and installing GNU/Linux onto them. Making sure they have the following functions: Network, Video, Sound, and for those who require it, a Modem. We believe that the Ubuntu distribution of GNU/Linux is the best choice for these machines and proudly use it exclusively. We will provide these computers to people and organizations that need them for little or no cost.
  • We will solicit donations from private individuals and commercial institutions equally. Once we achieve non-profit status we can offer a receipt to businesses that can be used to write off a portion of the donation's value for tax purposes. Obviously the more hardware we are gifted with, the less we have to buy and the less we need to charge for these machines. This is also a good way to be 'Green', a machine donated to us does not go into a landfill. It goes into the home of someone that needs it, or into a local small business and continues to work.
  • Olympic Softworks will provide training from experienced professionals to aid in transitioning to GNU/Linux from Windows, and in how to use/maintain these machines and their software.
  • We offer Information Technology services focused on Desktop Workstations and Networking, to individuals, businesses, and other not-for-profits. These efforts will largely revolve around FOSS technologies, but this should not in any way turn away those who require the use of Windows-only software. Machines running Microsoft Windows can be used side by side on a network with GNU/Linux machines and still share data and internet connectivity. This in no way compromises the security of these legacy machines, nor does it infringe upon their Windows License.
  • These services will range from simply setting a machine up on a desk and connecting it to a network and other needed devices such as printers and fax machines, to working out the needs of a business and coming up with a comprehensive plan to start off with and a vision of how to scale up with growth.

These are grand plans. It will take determination and the help people locally to make this all work. The benefits to all of us in the pacific northwest are simply too great for this to not succeed.

Olympic Softworks email address is inbox @ olympicsoftworks.org Our web address is: www.olympicsoftworks.org

Currently, the weekly GNU/Linux class is held at the Olympia Free School site in down town Olympia. Every friday from 7-9pm. The school is located at 610 Columbia St SW in Olympia, Wa. 98501. Google Map link Check the olympicsoftworks.org site for planned covered subjects and any change of times/venues.

The class is given by Dave Thompson, founder of Olympic Softworks with over 25yrs of experience in IT.

The following few paragraphs are taken directly from http://www.gnu.org. Due to the importance of these 4 concepts, I copied this verbatim. I wanted to keep the wording, and therefore the meaning exact. In true hacker fashion the numbering begins at element number 0, the first element in any array.

Free software is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of free as in free speech, not as in free beer.

Free software is a matter of the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it refers to four kinds of freedom, for the users of the software:

  • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
  • The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

A program is free software if users have all of these freedoms. Thus, you should be free to redistribute copies, either with or without modifications, either gratis or charging a fee for distribution, to anyone anywhere. Being free to do these things means (among other things) that you do not have to ask or pay for permission.

These are some of the best, and best known applications from the Free and Open Source Software community.

From the good folks over at Groklaw, a very well documented guide for those that may be curious about switching to GNU/Linux: Grokdoc

The Open Office productivity suite Open Office

FOSS image authoring application, The GIMP GNU Image Manipulation Program

Arguably the best music playing client available, Amarok. Currently it is only available for GNU/Linux, but work is ongoing for cross platform availability...both on OSX and Windows.

The most stable, available, and complete browser, Firefox

Some good videos from You Tube by featuring 3d Desktops, a great Richard Stallman video on FOSS software, the IBM 'Linux Child' videos, and the 3 Red Hat ones

And a good hour long documentary about Free Software called: The Code, Linux This is a Norwegian documentary, but the vast majority of it is in english. It opens with the classic 2 minute long Software as Recipe comparison given by Richard Stallman.

The Code, Linux

OlympicSoftworks (last edited 2008-08-06 16:27:08 by localhost)