When he first opened his Conectar Igualdad netbook in 2014, the 10-inch black screen reflected Mateo Palacios Corazzina’s face back at him: a 12-year-old-boy from La Boca, one of Buenos Aires’ historic slums, about to turn on his first computer. What neither he — nor those who had handed out the device — knew, was that a new era of Argentine music was about to be launched by that 1GB RAM machine. Using his netbook as a makeshift studio, Mateo became the star that millions today know as Trueno, one of the fastest rising stars in Latin American rap.
In the mid-2010s, dozens of kids discovered that by getting these very basic devices, they were suddenly able to harness the power of the internet, music, and their own freestyle skills. Present-day stars like Neo Pistea (Sebastián Chinellato) and L-Gante (Elian Valenzuela) also had their netbooks to thank as their key to the door out of marginalization and into Latin American stardom.
Looking at the specs of the Classmate PC on their Wikipedia page the 1 GB RAM model was specced only for Mandriva Linux. In Argentina, they developed their own local Linux distro called Rxart. But it goes to show what can be done with really affordable hardware, open source software and the ingenuity and creativity of the youth. It's an effective way of spreading limited government funding as widely as possible to tackle the digital divide and give the youth a leg up on launching careers and giving them better access to free education.
Working-class teens turned junked machines into musical instruments.