Re: GPL + revision log license

From: Alan Dechert <adechert_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Mon Aug 18 2003 - 17:05:46 CDT

----- Original Message -----
From: "Arthur Keller" <arthur_at_kellers_dot_org>
To: <voting-project@lists.sonic.net>
Sent: Monday, August 18, 2003 11:19 AM
Subject: Re: GPL + revision log license

> At 1:53 PM -0400 8/18/03, David Mertz wrote:
> >|But being able to write "GPL-compatible" or "OSI-approved" is a
> >|convenient shorthand that all open source developers will understand.
> >
> >Btw. If list members would like me to, I would be happy to approach the
> >FSF with Doug's proposed additional clause, and find out if they think
> >such a revision is GPL-compatible. Obviously, I'd explain the purpose
> >of the project, and why we felt the clause was relevant.
> >
> >Quite possibly, FSF attorneys have dealt with similar issues in the
> >past. They may have boilerplate language they would recommend and/or
> >raise legal questions we have not considered. Then again... they may
> >also just be too busy to get back with answers. I dunno.
>
> That would be fine with me. But wait a day in case anyone else has
> any suggestions on alternative ways to handle this. We don't want to
> go to the FSF attorneys multiple times if we don't need to.
>
For one thing, I think this freeness of the GPL (or other scheme) software
is a bit illusory when it comes to voting software. When I researched the
certification process a couple of years ago, state and federal certification
amounted to taking the system to PSINet and Wyle Labs. As I recall, they
each estimated it would cost something like $35,000 - $45,000 (and about 6
moths) to get the software certified. So, certification might cost in the
neighborhood of 100 grand. So while GPL would allow modification of the
code, it could not be used in elections. If someone modifies it, they have
to go back and get it re-certified.

In practice, this means that counties will never want to modify the code. I
they have issues with the software, they will want to send their reports to
the maintainers of the code and have them resolve the issue(s).

Alan J. Dechert
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Received on Sun Aug 31 23:17:12 2003

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