Re: Bev Harris Trashed OVC at theHouston ElectionHearing

From: Alan Dechert <dechert_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Sat Jul 02 2005 - 20:37:09 CDT

Jim and all,

Sorry, I may have accidentally sent an uncommented copy to the list. This
time I'll try to type something up before hitting send.

> Alan Dechert wrote:
>>> <Kathy>:.... and I forgot to mention that Bev also thrashed U.S.
>>> computer scientists in general for not helping to study and uncover
>>> Diebold's flaws, and she neglected to mention that they would not be
>>> able to study Diebold's flaws without risking legal suits or without
>>> ending their own careers as voting system experts.
>> This is a very important point. In order to engage a large number of
>> scientists and engineers to beat on voting software, we need to have
>> non-proprietary software for them to work with The open source
>> community will never be interested in getting involved with proprietary
>> disclosed source.
> Ummm...this is ONE point I side with Bev on rather strongly.
> Some of the "computer scientist activist" knew of big trouble and didn't
> report on them. Others specifically didn't want to mention Bev or
> exchange data with her YET were eager enough to latch onto her work and
> research while "distancing" themselves from "radical Bev".
> I could name names and discuss cases but to avoid bickering on this OVC
> list (and avoid bickering in general) I'll go no further. But Bev has one
> hell of a lot to complain about that she holds back on.
Three things:

1) You wrote this in response to me, but your comment has nothing to do with
what I wrote. To restate, I simply pointed out that in order for the
elections community to take full advantage of the scientific and engineering
talent in the open source community, voting software must be
non-proprietary. If source is disclosed but proprietary, very few are going
to be willing to even look at it much less invest time and effort in
testing, evaluating, suggesting improvements, etc. This is not a moral
judgement about right/wrong or good/bad, just a plain simple fact of life.

2) I don't know if what Kathy says is correct -- that Bev "thrashed U.S.
computer scientists in general." For the moment, I'll assume it's Kathy's
interpretation and wait to see what exactly Bev said. In general, it's
widely understood to be a bad idea to generalize about a whole group of
people based on the actions of a few. I think historical examples should be
unnecessary at this point. And when OVC is under discussion, while Bev may
not see eye-to-eye with everyone associated with the OVC project, it would
not be good to generalize about the whole organization based on her
interactions with a very few of us. We haved 8 board members, twenty five
or so founding members, and hundreds of other contributors. Certainly, she
may have a list of things she doesn't like about the OVC president/CEO, but
she can't claim I'm computer scientist that didn't help (I'm not really a
computer scientist, for one thing). Of the OVC board members, I don't think
she's had much if any interaction except for two or three of us. Lara has
talked with her a little in person and on the phone -- all upbeat as far as
I know. In my first phone conversation with her from more than two years
ago, she said Doug Jones was one of her heroes -- okay maybe that's changed
since then.

3) Bev is an heroric figure sticking her neck out, taking risks, pushing
buttons, and, in general, pissing off a lot of people. Such is the life of
the messiah. Few people are willing to stand with a messiah. Can you blame
them? Taking shots comes with the territory. There is an odd risk/reward
equation going on here. It doesn't compute for non-messiahs.

Alan D.

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Received on Sun Jul 31 23:17:12 2005

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