Over on the Haiku-OS.org blogs, Michael Crawford has made a very interesting post about an organization in San Jose, California, which recycles computer hardware that is “obsolete,” but is still usable. The head of the organization also happens to be one of Michael’s housemates – so he came up with a proposal to catalogue the hardware online and offer it to Open Source developers. From the post:

Matt was very excited about my proposal to offer salvaged AGP, PCI and even ISA cards to Open Source developers. They could supply whole working computers, but shipping wouldn’t be economical outside of Silicon Valley. But for motherboards with onboard video, sound or ethernet, it would be economical to ship just the motherboard, CPU and memory.

Sounds like a great deal, especially for Haiku developers – given that much BeOS / Haiku-compatible hardware is no longer available new, and many “obsolete” PCs are more-than capable of running small, efficient OSes like Haiku (I suspect a 1Ghz CPU is already overkill for most tasks).

As a personal aside, another source that I’ve found very useful for buying used-but-still-capable hardware (much of which is BeOS-compatible) is VFXweb.com. They’re a small company in western Canada who buy up old computer hardware, do some cleaning and testing, re-sell it. The prices are a bit higher than what you can often find on eBay, but I’ve found it much less hit-or-miss than dealing with random eBay sellers (I haven’t had a single dud yet from them).

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