Hardware recycling in Richmond took a leap forward last weekend. A small group of Richmond volunteers toured Free Geek Columbus. We learned much from visit. One valuable detail I'll focus on today is that they run their organization on web-based, database-driven software system called "fgdb.rb". The software is available on their intranet, allowing several volunteers to use and access the system at the same time.
fgdb.rb tracks hardware donations, volunteer time, recycling trips, and hardware distribution. fgdb.rb work with a neat tool called "printme" that takes an automatic snapshot of the all of computer system's details, and uploads it to the database. This automates tedious data entry and creates a great reference.
I was pleased to find that "fgdb.rb" was available for free as open source software, and is designed to runon Linux. However, the documentation was lacking on details on how to get the system up and running on Ubuntu Hardy Linux, which is what we use on our server at our hardware co-op, and also on my laptop.
Free Geek Portland developed fgdb.rb for their own use and had tested installing the software primarily on Debian Lenny Linux. Now I have managed to install it on Ubuntu Hardy Linux, and have submitted a patch back to the authors to update the documentation to help others do this as well. You can see my current version of the installation instructions, but my changes should be merged into the main fgdb.rb git repository soon, and I recommend checking there for the current version.
I've also published a few photos from the Free Geek Columbus field trip.