Computers without internet are no fun

You probably heard “Computers without internet are no fun” or “Linux/Ubuntu without internet is no fun” before and your might have had the same feeling the last time your DSL provider hat an outage.

Fact is that a lot of areas around the world don’t have a chearp, reliable or fast internet or no internet at all. Ubuntu is used in those areas.

The Ubuntu NGO team is trying to make life with Ubuntu easier for organisations working in those areas. Some of you will know how to set up an offline mirror of the Ubuntu archive, how to set up squid, how to use rsync and so on. Many people don’t. If you have good  ideas, know of good documentation, are knowledgable in that area, please consider joining the team and mailing list. We want to build good documentation and share best-practices, work on small tools to help overcome common problems.

Another area we’re trying to look into is offline content. Schools in areas with little or no connectivity would benefit from an offline Wikipedia or other free content and small scripts to assemble that data, update it and use it with or without a small server would be fantastic. If you know a bit about solutions there or would like to help out. please consider joining the team and mailing list.

We’re looking forward to seeing you on our mailing list and fixing those problems together. Ubuntu without internet still IS fun after all. 🙂

  • Tom
    • It would probably be a good enough start to have a good offline copy (read-only) of Wikipedia, where you can specify your language, with or without pictures, update it or get the initial copy, etc.

  • foo

    What about merging into the debian-nonprofit group?

    • It seems the team is a bit inactive:

    • But we’re already working together with Debian:

      • foo

        That page doesn’t contain the word Debian. It would be great if you could revive the Debian-NP effort, it went dormant after mako stopped working on Debian and started with Ubuntu.

        • Right, it contains ITPs and RFPs, because of the packaging process and stuff.

          You’re right. It’d be great to have two teams that are working together, at the moment the Ubuntu NGO team are just finding their feet and getting organised, it’d be a bit much for me to (re-)bootstrap two teams.

          foo: Are you involved with the Debian Non-Profit group? Can you liaise with the people there?

  • ethana2

    Mint without the Internet can still play your mp3s and give you 3d acceleration. Patents don’t apply to domestic users.

  • Two words: mesh network.

    If Ubuntu was configured to set up automatic, ad-hoc mesh networking by default—as I think OLPC/Sugar managed to implement—then everyone in the world could have unlimited internet access for free.

    • Do you have experience there? Could you help us out with docs or packaging or anything?

    • Ubuntu has OLSR in the repo.

      “The OLSR daemon is an implementation of the Optimized Link State Routing protocol. As such it allows mesh routing for any network equipment.
      It runs on any wifi card that supports ad-hoc mode and of course on any ethernet device.”

  • ssam

    aarddict is an offline wikipedia app designed for nokia internet tablets, but also works well on laptops/desktops. it has a custom data format (aar) to allow fast lookups on slow low memory systems. aar files can be made from the wikipedia xml dumps, or can be downloaded from the aarddict site. all GPL writen in python. packages for ubuntu (but not in repos).

  • I just wanted to mention after reading the OfflineUpdating wiki article that you have “Also the suggestion was made that there might need to be an OS-independent way of getting updates (perhaps in a web-based way), so that you could get Ubuntu updates in a Windows-based internet cafe.”

    I’ve been working on a project like this with future plans of a web based version. The project’s name is Keryx and already has a couple of versions out and a growing community. You can check out our homepage here:

    It’s cross platform and we are building a library for it customizable enough to eventually work with multiple types of package systems, APT, RPM, etc. For now with the amount of contributors we have, APT is our main goal and to provide a full suite of features cross-platform for apt systems. I think that it truly might be something you guys would be interested in contributing to as it’s geared to newbies as well as advanced users since we have both a CLI and GUI together cross platform.

    No worries if you don’t like it or feel that it’s what you’re looking for, but I figured I’d suggest as it certainly seems in the same aspect as what you guys might be looking for and we could definitely use some more code contributors.