Re: Open Source licensing, Take 2

From: Alan Dechert <dechert_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Mon May 09 2005 - 16:47:46 CDT

On 5/9/05, Marty Schrader <> wrote:
> Doesn't that conflict with OVC Bylaws Article II Section 2.9,
> about the tech that the OVC plans to hold on to?
Good question (and a tough one too), Marty. The FAQ is out-of-date.
This is one of many things that needs serious work. However, we don't
yet have a complete answer for this either.

We probably will not use "extended GPL" for the production software.
It will be "Public Software," which has a definition TBD. For several
reasons, none of the open source licenses fits voting software very
well. For example, provisions about how modifications are done are
different for voting software since and modified software has to go
through certification.

Some months ago, I worked with Troy Davis to get some language
drafted. Troy posted it on hoping to get some open source
gurus to jump on it. We didn't really get that far although I think
Troy came up with some good stuff. I've attached a copy of the dialog
-- as far as it went.

Now, Joe Hall says he will try to get a law professor friend that
specializes in licenses to take this up. We may know in about a week
it will happen this way.

In any case, we need the Public Software definition asap... quite a
few people have asked for it in several different states. They want
to introduce legislation that says that software for use in election
shall be public. There is some legislation in IL in the works but
from what I understand the legislation just says "open source" or
something like that. It doesn't really touch the licensing issue. I
don't think it's worth passing legislation on "open source" voting
software without a clear understanding of the licensing agreement.

Alan D.

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Received on Tue May 31 23:17:27 2005

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