[plug] PLUG Library

Adrian Woodley Adrian at Diskworld.com.au
Wed Feb 25 02:08:37 WST 2009

>> The first is that we increase the actual stock the library carries - which
>> at the moment consists of some relatively out of date books and some
>> CDs/DVDs. The main problem I see with this is expenditure - since we're a
>> volunteer organisation with minimal income I don't see how we can purchase
>> materials on a regular basis so too keep 'up-to-date'. For example, I saw a
>> great book on Ubuntu 8.10 in Boffins the other day, but it was $75. Does
>> PLUG really have that the money to be buying copies of it? An alternative to
>> buying books is to perhaps organise some kind of sponsorship program where
>> books are materials are donated.
> Grants from people like Linux Australia are possible, or sponsorship
> from local business. It does become a problem if the books rapidly
> become out of date, though. I like having some form of physical
> library, but perhaps this could just be restricted to pressed copies
> of the latest Ubuntu release, and whatever books we have at the
> moment.

I definitely agree that paper copies are a pretty useless medium for 
computer books, in particular those about Linux. The technology moves so 
fast that anything currently in print is almost certainly out of date to 
some extent.

A much more valuable pool of resources could be hardware, both for 
members to borrow (take home) and to use online (servers, etc). The 
server side is (or has been) partly covered but I believe it could be 
heavily re-vamped and become much more useful, with a little effort and 
a modest cash injection. As far as take-home gear goes, this could 
include things such as switches and routers, video and sound equipment, 
fast/large computers and storage, even cheap robot platforms; anything 
which someone may need for research, study or just to mess around with 
an idea, but can't afford or otherwise doesn't have access to.

This would be a fairly challenging undertaking - some of the gear would 
be largely pointless unless kept relatively up to date (Moore's Law). 
Some of it could be quiet expensive and suitable tracking (and possibly 
recovery) would need to be put in place. Other stuff could be a bit more 
"commodity"; old cisco routers and switches are still good enough to 
study a CCNA/CCNP on, a couple of 500G SATA drives could be enough to 
store your RAID array while you rebuild it.

The most difficult part would be deciding what to obtain in the first place.


Adrian (the other one).

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