The Vineyard is a Christian community centre in central Richmond. (Website here.)
It provides internet access using 4 laptop computers (pictured, right) which are now quite old and showing signs of wear.
The Vineyard is looking for a low-cost replacement for the laptop computers
We propose to offer one or more Raspberry Pi Linux computers, each with separate mouse, screen and keyboard. The cost for one complete replacement set will be in the region of £100, paid by the Vineyard.
If any of the accessories (mouse, keyboard) becomes damaged, it can be individually replaced at low cost, £10 or less, unlike a laptop where one faulty part affects the whole terminal.
Using the existing metal cabinet, the screen, keyboard and mouse will be fitted into the top section. The Raspberry Pi with its power supply will be in the bottom. The bottom section will be fitted with a lock to restrict access.
There will be provision for connection of headphones to a jack socket, and there will be a USB socket for plugging in a memory stick or other device.
An on-off switch in the top section of the cabinet will end the user's session on the computer and will blank the screen. When switched on again, the screen will start a new, clean session with nothing left over from the previous user.
A limited set of programmes will be offered on the computer:
- Chromium Web Browser
- PDF viewer
- Movie viewer
- Text writer (a simple notepad)
- Document writer (LibreOffice writer)
- Spreadsheet (or maybe not)
This will cover all the common requirements for a communal computer. There will not be an email programme, as users will be expected to use webmail to write and read personal messages. There can be provision for document printing across the network to an established Vineyard printer, if that is wanted.
We think this solution will stand up well to the environment where the computers are worked hard and sometimes used carelessly. Damage can occur, but with this system, damage can be easily put right. Privacy is improved by setting up a clean session for each new user.
Users may find the system a little unfamiliar at first. It's not exactly the same as Windows, only similar. Many computer users soon adapt to the slight differences. We will set up one system for free, to try it out and will be guided by responses from the users.