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Giving Free Software CDs to Libraries

Now this is a really good idea. How about giving libraries CDs full of free software for them to loan out? This article goes into more and also some of the difficulties involved.

Obligatory excerpt:

The first reaction from the open source community is usually “Great, I’ll burn a whole set of CDs and donate them to my local library.” This is completely and utterly the wrong thing to do. It is wrong because you will not be taking into account the responsibilities libraries have for their patrons

How did I do it, then? I asked librarians, “Why can’t you accept them?” Then I listened to what they said.

Their first reason is, “They can’t trust the public.” I was insulted at first, but when someone at my local Linux User Group came up to me and said, “Wouldn’t it be funny if I made a CD with a virus on it and donated it to the library?” I realized the libraries were absolutely correct. This idiot in my local group proved the case for them.

Very interesting idea but lots of things to keep in mind. The most important is listening to what the libraries need and want not to what you think is cool. Good luck to all of you out there who try it.

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