February 22, 2006

Open Source CD Burning Kiosks

this kiosk merely takes blank CDRs that you insert and spits 'em back out at ya filled with open-source software goodness. What you do with 'em from there is entirely up to you.

Welcome to the Freedom Toaster Website
Submitted by seanwhe on Thu, 2006-02-09 14:38.

What is the Freedom Toaster?

The Internet has been hailed as a "great equaliser" (Brynjolfsson and Smith 2000) of developing and developed nations. There are however, "great disparities in opportunity to access the Internet, the information and the educational/business opportunities tied to this" (wikipedia.org, 07.10.05).

Billions of people live with restrictive telecommunications environments that make it difficult and costly to access digital products such as free software and educational content. The Freedom Toaster project was started in 2004 by the Shuttleworth Foundation as a way to overcome these problems.

Freedom Toasters are conveniently located, self-contained, computer-based, 'Bring 'n Burn' facilities. Like vending machines, preloaded to dispense confectionery, Freedom Toasters are preloaded to dispense free digital products (e.g. Linux Operating Systems and the OpenOffice.org office suite Toaster Software).

But why do we need this?

The Freedom Toaster project began as a means of overcoming the difficulty in obtaining Linux and Open Source software due to the restrictive telecommunications environment in South Africa, where the easy downloading of large pieces of software is just not possible.



No need for Internet access




Screensaver cycles through content

Touch screen operation

Customisable interface options

Localizable interface texts

Capable of serving local and tailored content

Three CD/DVD writer devices

Freedom Toaster is a Free and Open Source project

And the name? What's up with that?

Initially the name came about directly as a result of the fact that Linux is a free Operating System and that you “toast” a CD with Linux. However, it later became apparent that, the name actually captured a meaning deeper than what was originally intended. It encapsulates the philosophy of Open Source Software, that we have the freedom to choose which software we use, that we have the freedom to change it if we like and that we have the freedom to share it with anyone, for free. Listen closely....and you'll hear violins playing in the background

Free for all!

In the past, most people have shied away from Open Source Software, more particularly Operating Systems. Because, unless you were already an expert on various "scary" details that accompanied them, it’s been notoriously difficult to get your hands on reliable and complete distributions that were easy to install and easy to upgrade. Not anymore, now it’s as easy as toast.

Freedom Toasters are suitable for use by any organisation in any venue, for any purpose. Businesses, educational institutions, government departments, libraries and NGOs can all accelerate their mandates. (Educational Resources)

Creating a list describing the purposes for which Freedom Toasters can be put to use, would stretch even the most fervent of imaginations, topical examples include the distribution of:


Information for major awareness campaigns such as HIV/AIDS, polio, tuberculosis, malaria and other diseases;

Information to satisfy governmental obligations for human rights compliance such as access to information;

Skills-based, self-help, multimedia training programs on topics such as such as improving maternal health, environmental sustainability and many more health and agricultural related topics;

Distribution of free software such as free computing environments, communications software and business packages;

Distribution of educational literature for personal growth such as information pertaining to the promotion of gender equality and womans empowerment or computer training courses that improve job prospects;

Curriculum aligned content disseminated directly from Departments of Education for teachers in rural schools.

Freedom Toasters transcend the gaps that cause the "digital divide" by acting as low-tech digital gateways between the "haves" and "have nots" of the world.

How do I use the Toaster?

Obviously the first thing to do is find out where the closest Freedom Toaster is (Toaster Locations) , and then get yourself there. The way to obtain a product from the Toaster is as simple as 1, 2, 3:


Bring writable CD or DVD media to the Freedom Toaster

Insert into the Freedom Toasters' CD/DVD drive

Select the product to duplicate

On-screen information tells you more about the software you have selected, including how many CDs you will need. The Freedom Toasters also contain a host of on-screen information to teach people a little more about the world of Free and Open software. Touch the screen, browse and explore!

Unlike the vending machine, where people pay to obtain perishable consumable products. Freedom Toasters dispense new information, communication technologies, software and content that act as a catalyst for increasing people’s choice and are directly translatable into knowledge, leading to greater freedom.

Whilst a chocolate bar is consumed by one person, Freedom Toaster wares carry no restrictions. In fact, people are encouraged to make further copies and to distribute them, enabling the whole community to benefit.


Posted by keefner at February 22, 2006 09:18 AM