Re: Fw: Meet the $499 Mac.

From: Alan Dechert <dechert_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Fri Aug 26 2005 - 11:50:41 CDT

Nathan,

> Apple is one of the most proprietary platforms on the market. While
> OS X is built off of the F/OSS Darwin, OS X itself is hard-core
> proprietary stuff (the BSD license at work).
>
I think it's written in stone that any voting system specific software
will need to be open source in order to qualify as "OVC compliant."
Maybe at some point in the future (likely quite a few years from now)
we'll have systems that are completely open source -- firmware, cpu
microcode, drivers ... everything. Clearly, for the first versions of
OVC compliant voting systems we will need to incorporate non open source
COTS software components such as firmware and drivers. The trick will
be to ensure that COTS components are authentic and unmodified.

BTW, of the four applications we demoed on APR 1, 2004, two ran on Linux
(one Fedora the other SUSE), one was on a Mac, and the other was, um,
Windows 98.

> If you just want something small,
> simple, and cheap go with VIA's Mini-ITX line:
>
> http://www.via.com.tw/en/initiatives/spearhead/mini-itx/
>
> The mini-ITX line is completely x86 compatible, so Linux has no
> problems
> running on top of it. The older, less featured mobo's (Keep It Simple,
> Sir) are dropping in price, and if a OVC manufacturer were to buy
> large
> quanitities I'm sure VIA would cut a deal.
>
> Afterwords the machines could be used in school, re-sold as
> Internet/Multimedia desktops, etc.
>
When you say, "used in school," that could turn out to be a reason to
consider the Mac. They are widely used in schools. There may be
business reasons for doing it that way in some circumstances. I vote at
a school. The same school has a computer room with a bunch of Macs.
If, say, a half dozen of those school computers were in secure
enclosures, I don't see any reason they couldn't simply be reconfigured
for Election Day (disable harddrive and network, boot from CD/DVD). If
Apple and the schools were on board with it, then it could be quite
cheap -- no more than a couple hundred dollars per year.

Alan D.

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Received on Wed Aug 31 23:17:31 2005

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