Meet the Keepod, a $7* self-contained, Linux-based operating system that lives on a USB flash drive that’s aiming to take the age of the personal computer into rural Kenya. The Mathare Project is the first effort from the Keepod Unite project to get the USB based PCs into impoverished communities to help existing projects already in place in the fields of education, HIV prevention, agriculture and human rights.
The Keepod is based on various versions of the open source Linux operating system and runs from any USB storage device with 8GB of space or more. Because the Keepod requires no local storage, like a hard drive, to run and only needs 1GB of RAM it allows the project team to gather up old notebooks and desktop PCs that have been discarded and use them to set up a ‘community hub’ where users can arrive with their Keepods and plug into a PC to use them.
A crowd funding campaign on Indiegogo has been set up to raise $38 000 (just over R410 000) to provide 1 500 Keepod Devices and 50 recycled computers for the initial phase of the project in the Mathare slums in Nairobi, Kenya. The project already has over $26 000 in funding at the time of writing and still has another 12 days to get to its goal.
The Keepod will almost certainly be the only PC that any of its users will have access to, so it’s designed to be fully self-contained and easily ‘jump’ between computers. All of the user’s files and data is kept on the Keepod itself and the OS comes pre-installed with a host of the most popular apps including Google Chrome, Thunderbird, Skype, LibreOffice, VLC, Facebook and Twitter.
*Note: while the Keepod website says that the cost is $7 the Indiegogo campaign requires $17 to finance one for the project and to get one of your own will cost $45 with another $15 for shipping outside the UK.[Source – The Techie Guy]