Re: [OVC-demo-team] VoteHere has released their source - sort of

From: David Mertz <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
Date: Wed Apr 07 2004 - 21:26:51 CDT

I've moved this to the Voting-Project list, since it's not really about
the development, but rather the politics.

> On Wed, 2004-04-07 at 18:27, David Mertz wrote:
>> I think [VoteHere's "look under NDA" source code release] shows that
>> our somewhat painful hammering out of the license terms way back in
>> August actually had some good purpose. The give-with-one-hand
>> approach of VoteHere is another illustration of just how important a
>> truly Free Software license is to a project like OVC's.

On Apr 7, 2004, at 9:57 PM, Fred McLain wrote:
> We should take care, the reason we're a consortium is that we are
> working toward a group of involved companies that meet certain
> standards
> for accurate, reliable and trustworthy voting. If VoteHere is a
> success
> they will most likely be a partner in this with us.

I can't imagine VoteHere, with its current goals, being a member of
OVC. It's not because I'm dissing them--more like reasoned criticism.
But VoteHere's fundamental model--even more than the non-transparent
cryptographic protocol (i.e. like Chaum's, voters can't check it--i.e.
the protocol, not the votes)--is the idea of selling proprietary
software.

I don't think VoteHere are *bad people*. I just think they're working
in the wrong direction, and are ultimately causing more harm than good
(but only by a small increment). And a big part of the reason I think
that is because VoteHere's source code isn't under GPL/EVMPL or
similar.

The right of voters to inspect the source code--to my mind--is right up
there in the top five most important design principles of OVC (maybe
the top three). Certainly paper ballot is #1. And protection of
anonymity for all voters, even reading- or visually-impaired ones, is
probably #2. But a principled and full disclosure of the underlying
techniques (i.e. source code) is probably the next thing in my mind.
All the stuff about low relative cost, "trailing edge machines," and
even stuff like touchscreens and display factors, and so on are much
lower in my inventory of importance.

I don't think there's anything wrong with criticizing the "good guys,"
as long as it's done respectfully. I think Mercuri is wrong in not
recognizing the central importance of Free Software (but not opposing
it either, it should be noted). I think Chaum is wrong in proposing a
system that is too clever for voters to comprehend. I think Rubin is
wrong in wanting to build a proprietary system. They're all find human
beings, and brilliant computer scientists. And they're wrong on some
details.

Yours, David...

---
Keeping medicines from the bloodstreams of the sick; food
from the bellies of the hungry; books from the hands of the
uneducated; technology from the underdeveloped; and putting
advocates of freedom in prisons.  Intellectual property is to the
21st century what the slave trade was to the 16th.
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Received on Fri Apr 30 23:17:03 2004

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