Letter: Losing the spark

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Although I agree with the sentiment of A J Williams's letter (7 January), I can shed some light on why old computers are generally not redistributed to schools.

In most companies new computers are given to the most demanding users, and their old computers are passed down to users with lesser needs. This continues until the machine is no longer fit for purpose, generally at least three years. By this time the machine will be very dated, and its hard disk will contain potentially sensitive data. This will need to be to be securely wiped before the machine leaves the company's possession; destruction can be cheaper. If the disk is wiped the computer is left with no operating system or other software.

Since many businesses use corporate or site licences for software, it is generally not possible to legally pass on any software with the machine.

Thus the beneficiary receives an out-of-date machine, for which software must be purchased.

School equipment doesn't have to be at the leading edge of technology, but it must be in sight of it to it to be of real benefit. A "budget" new model may well work out cheaper.

DUNCAN G REED

Tunbridge Wells,

Kent

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