Re: confused about COTS vs open hardware

From: Richard C. Johnson <dick_at_iwwco_dot_com>
Date: Wed Feb 07 2007 - 14:26:42 CST


The goal is to have a completely open hardware and software system with the hardware manufactured to Open Specification of parts which themselves are in the public domain. No IP anywhere, except under GNU license.

That said, we still need to have Open hardware actually assembled. A combination of PC/Linux with a scanner would do it. However, at this point, both the scanner and the PC remain to be collected, designed, integrated, and tested.

Meanwhile, back at the home front, we have election problems that need to be solved in order of priority. Bad, corrupt, buggy, and proprietary software is a known problem, largely (not 100%) curable with Open Source software. To me, as many others, it makes sense to try to fix this known and curable problem now, on the way to the ultimate goal of a completely open hardware and software system.

Would you have us just wait through two or three more national elections until the hardware solution is open and complete? I appreciate purity and absolute openness; I am also an engineer and would like to build as strong and secure an election structure as we can today with today's materials and techniques and then incrementally improve it.

That means an Open Source voting application with as much as possible of the firmware done in Open Source. That means paying heed to the need for WORM media to transfer both indelible images of ballots and data scanned from the ballots. It means using today's technology to build in as much security as we can. So, the answer to your question is no, we don't weaken anything by using Open Source voting applications. We strengthen it. Is it at maximum security and strength? Of course not. More remains to be done.

The above is my personal opinion and is a direct answer to the proposition that only absolute purity will make any difference at all.

-- Dick

Ben Adida <> wrote: Alan Dechert wrote:
> Yes. I think that's a fair statement.

Okay, so what I'm wondering then is: doesn't that significantly weaken
the advantages of an open-source voting system? If part of the platform
is not open, the openness of what's left becomes almost moot.

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Received on Wed Feb 28 23:17:10 2007

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