Re: Minimum hardware requirements and a few odds and ends.

From: Nathan L. Adams <adamsn79_at_bellsouth_dot_net>
Date: Wed Apr 21 2004 - 23:20:11 CDT

On Wednesday 21 April 2004 11:44 pm, Ed Kennedy wrote:
> I know that it doesn't take much of a computer to run a cd only based
> Linux program like Knoppix or Slax. However, I note that there is also a
> proposal that 'images' of the computer generated ballot be burned to a CD
> at the same time if I understand this correctly. OK, that means 2 CD
> drives with one being capable of burning CD's.

Good point. The CD burner could be external, and thrifty districts could buy
one burner (or just a few burners) per polling place. Or perhaps we could
burn the votes back to the boot CD.

> Slax says that it doesn't
> run very well on 16mb of Ram. So that suggests that a minimum amount of
> Ram would be at least 32mb.

We could probably get the memory requirements down a bit, although 32MB is
pretty reasonable. Slax, Knoppix, and the like are intended to showcase the
bells and whistles of Linux and therefore contain a lot of apps that aren't
needed for our purposes. From a security standpoint, we want less on the
OVCmix (or were we calling something else?) CD, not more.

> By the way, I can't help but notice that both Knoppix and Slax seem a
> little cranky or unpredictable on the various machines I tried them on
> after downloading them today.

Bravo! You describe your computer skills as 'that of a somwhat informed
layman', and I am curious: How difficult was it to 'install' the CDs? What
were your impressions of Linux?

> I noticed that they weren't very happy with
> Samsung 21" CRT monitors although they worked after a fashion. On one of
> my machines, the keyboard quit and on another the sound wouldn't work. On
> yet another machine, the network card quit.

If you kept good notes, please forward this info along to the Knoppix, Slax,
and possibly Linux kernel teams:
http://www.knopper.net/kontakt/index-en.php3
http://slax.linux-live.org/contact.php
http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/docs/lkml/reporting-bugs.html

> So, I kind of wonder about the
> viability of them as a general solution to what to do with PC's that come
> with Windows installed. Of course, there is the possibility of operator
> error.

Most devices work in Linux; the less common the device, the more tinkering
that may be required. This is Linux's biggest problem in my opinion, but it
is getting better daily. As far as the OVC is concerned, it will probably be
up to the competing vendors to ensure that OVC software works on the hardware
they are selling/supporting/whatever to voting districts. It is a valid
concern though, and I think we should study it more carefully.

Nathan
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Received on Fri Apr 30 23:17:15 2004

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