On 11/15/05, Mike Miller <mbmiller at taxa.epi.umn.edu> wrote:
> My wife is from Quito, Ecuador, and her (far from wealthy) parents,
> siblings and their kids still live there. We would like to buy computers
> for them and I'm trying to come up with a good way to do this such that:
> (1) The computers will be respectable, current machines,
> (2) they won't cost too much money, and
> (3) shipping costs will be kept to a minimum.
> I will be going to Ecuador one of these days and I think I'll bring parts
> with me and assemble the machines there (probably 4 or 5 of them). I'm
> hoping that I can buy main boards, drives and such here, but buy the cases
> and monitors in Quito. I think I can fit the parts into a carry-on bag
> and thereby avoid any S/H costs.
> Any thoughts on that plan?

Several years ago I did such a thing with a friend (a Ham, like me)in
Brazil. In the end, after paying duties and "fees" to expedite movement thru
customs, it would have been cheaper to buy the machines in downtown Rio.
Check with a local consular office before you pack your bags. Often it will
be easier and cheaper to bring in a completed machine ... a laptop, for
example, as part of your personal effect and "luggage". You may need an
"import license" for the component parts that costs as much as the
components themselves ... and you haven't paid the duties, yet! NAFTA be

The next issue is software. I would love for them to run Linux or a dual
> boot system. Everything has to be in Spanish. Do all Linux OSs allow for
> Spanish language installations? Same for Windows XP?

You'll do just fine with LINUX. Just make sure the the internationalization
files are intact ... the major distros have no problem with this.

If I could set them up with Linux only, they might not be happy. Any
> views on this? I think some of them would be fine -- email, web, word
> processing -- but the users who want to get into downloading photos from a
> digital camera or doing video editing might have some trouble. What do
> you think?

I set up a machine for my 84 year old mother ... a first time computer user.
She never knew she had anything other than a "Windows" machine until one of
her friends asked her "what that KDE dealie is" ... she'd been using it for
3 years at the time.
There is very little that Linux won't do these days. You may find that there
is more affordable local support in Quito for LINUX than for Windows.
Countries like Brazil now mandate the use of Linux in government and
schools. Ecuador may be the same

Thanks in advance for any thoughts you can share. I'm not sure when I'll
> actually do this, maybe this summer, but I wanted to start planning now.
> Best,
> Mike


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