gdistribute is a (proposed) tool to facilitate the distribution of goods and parts without the need for money or exchange.
Unlike freecycle, or similar initiatives, this is not primarily about "recycling". Although recycling might be a secondary benefit, and may even be an important and large component of the process, the primary goal is to develop a sophisticated and industrial-strength gift economy. This does not encompass barter, credit, labour tokens, a "reputation-based" economy, alternative currencies, or any sort of paradigm which is based in exchange.
Transactions should not be based on "first come, first serve", but on an appraisal of each local and remote circumstances, availability of resources, etc..
The software should facilitate both parts with codes and those without. In many cases, the use of a specific part number to unambiguously identify an item can be extremely useful - or even indispensable. On the other hand, trying to attribute a number to everything is unrealistic, far too time-consuming, and probably completely unnecessary. Thus, the application should really accommodate both.
Complementary tools & applications
Obviously this would need a complementary app devoted to arranging transport. Or maybe that could be integrated in.
A possible course of development stages would be:
- proof of concept, probably a very crude implementation
- probably no part numbers at this stage
- centralised data store
- distributed rather than centralised datastore, peer-to-peer (or at least the option there of)
- reliable identification of individuals and groups, e.g. through use of public cryptography (GnuPG IDs, signing, etc.)
- introduction of part-numbers to unambiguously identify items
- code refactoring
It may be worth exploring the integration of the tool into skdb application (or vice versa) - or at least ensuring that they are compatible.
- http://gnusha.org/skdb/ - the SKDB project, specifications for open-source hardware