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Government reveals specs for £100 PCs with a dollop of open source

The government has revealed the specs of its £100 computers, with a healthy dollop of open source.

The government has revealed the specs of its £100 computers for less tech-savvy Britons. The Race Online 2012 campaign headed by digital inclusion champion Martha Lane Fox will offer Linux-powered computers refurbished by Remploy, an employment service for people with complex barriers to finding work.

The machines available are based around 2.0GHz Pentium 4 processors. Hard drives range between 20 and 40GB and they come with keyboard, mouse and flat-screen monitor. Eyes down for the options...

  • 2.26GHz P4, 15-inch monitor, £98
  • 2.26GHz P4, 15-inch monitor, £101
  • 2.4GHz P4, 17-inch monitor, £131
  • 2.6GHz P4, 17-inch monitor, £135
  • 2.8GHz P4, 17-inch monitor, £140

The machines run Ubuntu 10.10 rather than Windows. Using a version of open source operating system Linux will keep the cost down, but could be a barrier to those who are used to using Windows -- which is, let's face it, anyone who's ever sat in front of a computer.

Computers also come with software including Openoffice, Firefox and VLC. Shotwell photo management and Rhythm Box music software is also included, whatever they are.

Each package includes a 30-day warranty and 30 days of software support, available 9-5 Monday to Saturday. Further support can be bought separately. Remploy told us the happy-go-lucky boffins at the end of the telephone support line will answer any software question, however basic. If users are new to computers, we're sure there'll be plenty of questions.

3 Mobile is providing dongles for Internet connection. Users can plump for 1GB, 3GB and 12GB of Web juice, starting from £12.

Seeing as you're reading this, you probably won't be in the target demographic -- although if you fancy a discount open source PC, there are no prerequisites for buying. The government is planning to get around the difficulty of selling online to people who aren't online by reaching out through charities and 60 computer training centres.