LoCo stories: the Ubuntu New Mexico team helps the Endorphine Power Company

We’re kicking off the regular series of LoCo stories with a great one which truly encompasses the spirit of Ubuntu.

It all began in October 2007, and the players are the New Mexico Loco Team and the Endorphine Power Company. Let’s introduce them:

The Endorphin Power Company, or EPC in short, is a non-profit organization “dedicated to improving the lives of people, with special focus on the substance-dependent and homeless, thus alleviating many of the challenges faced by current emergency medical systems. Additional purposes are the promotion of mental and physical health through exercise, energy consciousness and volunteerism.

The New Mexico LoCo team is a group of Ubuntu and Linux enthusiasts active in a state in the US in which they live and breathe computing history (Altair and Microsoft were founded there). As such, one of their main goals is to live up to and continue that tradition by actively cultivating and spreading the ideals behind Ubuntu, Linux and Open Source.

Not being known for sitting on their thumbs, one fine day some of their members, with Dave Thomas and Eric Krieger in the front, started thinking what they could do as a community to bring “Humanity to others”. It was only an idea, but they thought the natural step would be to use their computing expertise to help their equals.

Said and done, Eric spoke to his boss at Charter Bank of Albuquerque asking him if the company would be interested in donating some used computing equipment to a local non-profit organization. The New Mexico LoCo would then take care of administrating this material and helping with the installation.

Charter Bank agreed and generously donated 25 computers, a server and several network switches for the project. With the equipment sorted out, discussion started taking place in the LoCo’s mailing list to determine which organization would receive the donation, in which it was agreed that the EPC would be the worthy candidate.

Working as a true team, the New Mexico folks set up a page for the project in the Ubuntu wiki, defining milestones and getting organized through their mailing list. The first big milestone in the culmination of this amazing effort came in February 2008, where they met to install and set up some of the workstations in the EPC computer lab. Of course, with the operating system we all know and love. That installation was a success, and provided a solid foundation to base the subsequent efforts on.

Fast forward 2009: a functional Ubuntu network at EPC, wi-fi, a wealth of side-projects, ideas for other initiatives, regular updates on the project, negotiation of a support and training agreement, and the satisfaction of doing a good job while having fun and helping others.

This really is an example of what we are and what we can do as a community sharing the Ubuntu spirit. It is more than the operating system we use, promote and support. It is the ethos we share, what moves us to get involved and help other people in real-world projects to make the world a better place.

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Do you have an interesting LoCo story to tell? If you have organized an event, performed some work/advocacy in your local community, have built some resources, performed meetings or installfests, please email David (david.planella AT ubuntu DOT com). Do remember to send a picture to accompany the story!
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