Re: More on voting stations

From: David Mertz <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
Date: Tue May 11 2004 - 23:19:37 CDT

On May 11, 2004, at 10:01 PM, Ed Kennedy wrote:
> PC with monitor for under $500. Software is a question as it hasn't
> been written yet except as a demonstration version so let's pluck a
> number out of the air.  I'll say $300/license for lack of anything
> better. 

I can be quite definitive on the marginal software cost: $0.

OVC is committed to using Free Software. So the whole software chain:
Linux/X11/Python/Qt/whatever will be reproducible on EVMix CDs at no
unit licensing cost. And we don't need, nor want, anything outside our
approved tool chain.

Obviously, the initial development costs will be substantial. If us
developers had been paid for making even the demo, that would amount to
a chunk of change; and many times more so for the production tools.
But there's no unit cost once the software exists.

Btw. The folks at contacted me because I wrote an
article about Linux/PPC. That company makes PowerPC computers, and is
hoping to expand their production and sales (like most companies).
They were mostly trying to schmooze me as a "mover and shaker" of the
software community (e.g. tried to give me a free machine, that I told
them to wait on, for lack of desk space at my home office). But I
raised the idea of OVC voting machines in a custom form-factor.

PPC chips have an advantage over those from Chipzilla in using a
fraction of the power that Intel P4-ish chips do (and AMD Athlons use
still more power than Pentiums). It seems like the power issue is
perhaps of some significance for voting stations, since power=heat
(Pegasos says they can make a system without a CPU fan, for example).
And getting something with unusual physical dimensions (e.g. CPU built
into back of same cabinet as 17" LCD) has some advantages for OVC.
FWIW, G3-based systems are slightly "trailing edge" performance-wise,
but more than adequate for us; the cost might reflect that adequately.

I have a hunch that Pegasos would go farther out of their way to work
with us than Dell would, simply because they are relatively small, and
trying to get a foothold. A niche area like ours might be good for
them. Then again, they are also less established than the big PC
makers (but more than a flash-in-the-pan).

How do other OVC members feel about this possibility? I'm not trying to
sell it--I don't really care--but I thought I'd check whether this
generates interest. I can pursue contacts if it seems like a
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Received on Mon May 31 23:17:36 2004

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