Re: San Francisco debate heating up

From: Brian Behlendorf <brian_at_behlendorf_dot_com>
Date: Thu Mar 01 2007 - 17:02:51 CST

While it's easy to get rather worked up at this, is this process served well by
such a lengthy and flame-y reply? The fact seems to be, unless I'm mistaken,
that there is no other vendor willing to come in and answer SF's election RPF
and meet the requirement for publication of their code under an Open Source
license. I realize OVS's solution is still yet to be certified and when it is,
we will have that alternative option to promote (though it'd be better when
there are two, as then we can demonstrate that it's not rigged to favor one
vendor over everyone else). Until then, what else can Arntz do?

I think there's a risk of Arntz and others who read this being dismayed by the
tone and left facing the prospect of having to go with ES&S because Sequoia
couldn't meet a new obligation - one that ES&S will not have to meet with its
renewal. Is forcing SF to re-up the original ES&S contract better for our
cause? Is lecturing Arntz and others on what open source means and how open
source businesses might work going to draw them closer to your position? Is
using all those !'s likely to help?

I think it's worth correcting the factual mistakes, clarifying that COTS
software and firmware is not required to be disclosed, succinctly stating why
private disclosure is not enough, and acknowleging the limited options Arntz
has right now. It might also be worth suggesting to Sequoia that they consider
using one of the existing Open Source voting software, but only if you and
others here really feel that's a realistic suggestion.

To be honest, I really don't want to see Sequoia's current code released as
open source. Unlike the OVS codebase or other codebases, it was not written
with public disclosure in mind, and has no shot of attracting a development
community that would help fix bugs, a critical counterbalance to the claim that
releasing code will just make it easier to hack.

         Brian

On Mon, 26 Feb 2007, Alan Dechert wrote:
> FYI, my response to the Arntz memo.
>
> See attached letter.
>
> Also available on the web at:
>
> http://www.openvotingconsortium.org/ad/arntz0226.pdf
>
> Alan D.
>
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: David RR Webber (XML)
> To: Richard C. Johnson
> Cc: Open Voting Consortium discussion list
> Sent: Monday, February 26, 2007 10:21 AM
> Subject: Re: [OVC-discuss] San Francisco debate heating up
>
>
> Dick,
>
> I think you miss the other point [or maybe NOT! ; -) ] - notice their legal
> council is involved...
>
> The last thing Sequioa needs is their source code being poured over by saavy
> techno wonks who can uncover all kinds of bugs and horrors - that setup
> potential law suits.
>
> That is of course the other HUGE strength about a peer reviewed open
> standard and open source approach - that a closed source code system simply
> cannot compare to.
>
> Thanks, DW
>
> p.s. Notice that Mr Bush's own new ranch building complex is a model of
> green-ness and CO2 balance. "Pay no attention to the man behind the green
> curtain..."
>
> "The way to be is to do" - Confucius (551-472 B.C.)
>
>
>
>
> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: Re: [OVC-discuss] San Francisco debate heating up
> From: "Richard C. Johnson" <dick@iwwco.com>
> Date: Sun, February 25, 2007 8:31 pm
> To: Open Voting Consortium discussion list
> <ovc-discuss@listman.sonic.net>
>
> The focus on "disclosed source" relative to officials of the State of
> California is, of course, some distance from Open Source. The compromise
> position put forward is, like the voluntary carbon emission reductions
> favored by Mr. Bush, not much.
>
> It is, of course, true that Sequoia does not want to provide as Open
> Source the source code it counts among its proprietary assets at a time it is
> trying to sell itself for as much money as it can. The alternative is for
> Sequoia to use existing Open Source code instead of its own software for
> those of its customers that prefer Open Source. This would mean that Sequoia
> would benefit from providing services and from selling and supporting
> hardware to run that source code. It could also keep its own source code
> secret; it just would not sell that software to the City of San Francisco.
>
> There are many opportunities for Sequoia to compromise in a meaningful
> way. I am sure that Open Voting Solutions, Inc. would be happy to help
> Sequoia respond to the needs of its San Francisco customer. The other course
> is for Sequoia to stonewall and see if San Francisco is serious.
>
> Time is marching on, and ES&S would be happy to take money from SF.
> Perhaps another solution can be found if Sequoia refuses to make a genuine
> compromise.
>
> -- Dick
>
> Alan Dechert <dechert@gmail.com> wrote:
> I just found out about this memo issued last Tuesday by SF Director of
> Elections John Arntz.
>
> http://www.ci.sf.ca.us/site/uploadedfiles/election/Elections_Pages/20070220.pdf
>
> I plan to deliver a response by Monday or so.
>
> How many outrageous things can you spot in this memo?
>
> You know, this is a process. I'm glad Arntz is putting some thought into
> this.
>
> Alan D.
>
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>
>
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>
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Received on Sat Mar 31 23:17:03 2007

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