My own thoughts on why trashware's time has passed

Trashware started losing relevance WAY before COVID.

My own thoughts on why trashware's time has passed /img/lab-trashware-cesena.jpg

Two months ago I posted here the thoughts of a Linux user on why, and how, the practice of trashware, that is saving “old” computers from the trash bin, and successfully reusing them, thanks to Free Software like Linux, has passed its time.

As completion of that post, here is a summary of my own contributions to the same discussions from which those thoughts came.

I too am afraid that the days of trashware have passed.

During the COVID lockdowns, I managed to find a donated laptop for a poor family whose children needed to follow school lessons online.

When I got it, I immediately discovered that it was useless for remote lessons because, while I could install the latest version of Debian without problems, that laptop was so old to not have a webcam.

Therefore, that laptop is still used two years later, and with great satisfaction… by my family, every time we have to use LibreOffice or Firefox simultaneously.

During the lockdown, instead, eventually we helped that poor family by finding someone who could give them a smartphone that could bear video calls. Because, besides not having money for ADSL or even mobile plans with enough data to do remote lessons, the phones they had could not process anything more demanding than WhatsApp text messages.

, on theirs (apart from the fact that they didn’t have enough money to pay for ADSL or mobile gigabytes enough…) they barely ran whatsapp (only text, not video.. .)

Trashware had little use even before lockdowns

Way, way before lockdowns if you ask me. This is partly because so many trashware tips and “success stories” have (without fault of course) little or no practical application, in reality, for those who really need it.

We may proudly install one of the many Linux distributions with minimal hardware requirements on an old desktop or laptop computer. But if the resulting system cannot handle, as is too often the case, home banking or similar services, it will be completely useless for 95% of Italians.

Even before that, and more frequently, there are the general logistic and “cultural” problems already mentioned in the previous post, that have very little to do with trashware or operating systems.

On one hand, less and less families have the sheer PHYSICAL space (or the willingness to make it) for desktop computers. On the other hand, the imbecile mentality that equates “internet” with “mobile” and “touchscreen” (for which we are all guilty to some extent) makes almost everyone’s brain shuts down if you tell them to use a physical keyboard and mouse. I really miss the days when the problem was that “Linux doesn’t have the same buttons as Windows”.

The sad truth is that real productivity and IT culture are missing everywhere, starting from the notorious “digital natives” who went haywire in droves when, during the lockdown, they were asked to follow school lessons from home, through interfaces that require more than because for the DAD they had to use interfaces that required more than the few taps that make one look cool on Instagram.

Continues next week…