Justin Garrison
May 23, 2009

Software Recycler

Posted on May 23, 2009  •  3 minutes  • 461 words

I had an idea a while ago for a website that I know I will never be able to act on so I thought I would just post it here and maybe someday someone will find it and have the time and know-how to complete it.

The basic idea for the website is to be a software recycler. The site allows you to donate your old/unused software either digitally or by mailing in the CD/DVD, and it also allows you to download software you are looking for completely free (donations accepted). With so many software companies just allowing you to download installers and emailing you a key this would be fairly easy to implement.

The site’s main goal would be to support free and open source replacements like Linux, Open Office, and Gimp for common applications, but there would also be the opportunity to get a license key for Windows XP, Microsoft Office, and Photoshop. Most of the funding for this site would come from donations of people downloading software and ads for the open source counterparts. I would imagine this site would mainly be non-profit though simply because of the amount of server storage and bandwidth needed to host this.

Large companies often buy software only to phase it out in two or three years. The software works just fine and for third world countries, non-profit companies, and individuals this could save a lot of money and stop the needless purchase of software if someone is no longer using the key for software they just upgraded. Similar cases would be when companies like Microsoft stop supporting Windows XP. There are going to be countless unused keys for legal versions of XP that I am sure a lot of people would love to have and countries can take advantage of.

The idea of donating your unused license I am sure would have a lot of legal implications, but I think once the software has been purchased it is able to be sold/given to anyone once the initial purchaser is done with it. There would also need to be a verification process when the software is donated. The way I think of it would be to have some sort of VM running a installer to verify its authenticity, but for volume licenses a phone call would probably need to be made to the developer of the software.

I think a website that could allow this service could not only help open source projects but it would also help the world by saving money and getting the word out about free alternatives. Let me know what you do with your old software and what website you think the world could benefit from in the comments.

Originally published at 1n73r.net  on May 23, 2009.

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