LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — The Windows XP operating system might be headed for extinction, but it could also mean free working computers for possibly thousands of Angelenos.

KNX 1070’s Ed Mertz reports a City Council panel is considering a motion to donate used computers from city departments to low-income families, non-profits or groups which serve disadvantaged communities.

Councilman Bob Blumenfield, who chairs the Innovation, Technology and General Services Committee, introduced the motion on Feb. 28 (PDF) ahead of a city deadline to upgrade thousands of its computers from the Windows XP operating system to Windows 7.

Microsoft Corp. announced earlier this year it would end its support of Windows XP after April 8, a move that experts say will result in increased vulnerability to hackers for users of the 12-year-old operating system.

As part of the city’s ‘Zero Waste’ campaign to reduce waste creation, Blumenfield is calling for a “Digital Inclusion” program to bridge L.A.’s “well-chronicled digital divide” by providing free computers to low-income families as well as non-profit and community organizations serving disadvantaged communities.

According to Blumenfield, the Digital Inclusion program would reduce the city’s e-waste footprint, bridge the technology gap in disadvantage communities, and provide localized workforce development.

In order to be eligible for the program, residents would be required to complete no-cost mandatory training courses in basic computer literacy skills, according to the motion.

Patrick Thomas, a security consultant at the San Jose-based firm Neohapsis, told the Associated Press users can continue to use the system despite the lack of technical support.

“Computers will continue to work as they have before April 8, except at that point users’ security is essentially entirely in their own hands because Microsoft, the vendor, is no longer stepping in to release security updates, to release patches,” Thomas said.

The Windows XP system is estimated to still be in use on 1 in 3 computers worldwide, according to the Associated Press.

A report on Blumenfield’s proposal is expected later this month.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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