disclosure; no OS? [Re: OVC-discuss Digest, Vol 36, Issue 10]

From: Hamilton Richards <hrichrds_at_swbell_dot_net>
Date: Thu Nov 01 2007 - 14:52:49 CDT

At 7:00 PM -0700 2007/10/30, ovc-discuss-request@listman.sonic.net wrote:
>[...]
>Message: 3
>Date: Tue, 30 Oct 2007 18:57:55 -0700
>From: Fred McLain <mclain@zipcon.net>
>Subject: Re: [OVC-discuss] Representative Holt's OWN WORDS [Re:
> OVC-discuss Digest, Vol 36, Issue 9]
>To: Open Voting Consortium discussion list
> <ovc-discuss@listman.sonic.net>
>Message-ID: <8BCA668B-417D-4C7D-94D0-4EAA103D7C7B@zipcon.net>
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII; format=flowed; delsp=yes
>
>Aha, now I see why there is such strong opposition to HR-811 as
>currently worded. By forcing those that would inspect the code to
>somehow prove that they are qualified to do so and forcing an "oath of
>secrecy" upon them the vast majority of those that would inspect the
>code, the OSS community, to exclude themselves from the inspection
>process. That is completely unacceptable.

I don't like it either, but I can see why the owners of proprietary
software regard its unrestricted disclosure as unacceptable. And
since the main issue is election security, and disclosure yields very
little in the way of security improvements, I don't see why it's a
battle worth fighting.

>I write complex software for a living and have lead open voting
>software development projects. I my experience there is no need for
>closed source, secrecy or anything of the sort.

Agreed. And as open-source election systems become available, and as
election officials begin to see open source's advantages, they will
become open-market winners.

>I would also assert based on my 25+ years of active software
>development and my 4 years in voting software development that there
>is *no need for an operating system* in voting equipment. In fact, it
>would be best to write this without an OS since the inspection becomes
>far simpler and more reliable.

On the other hand, the API is kind of brutal. :)

If the election software were decently modularized, you'd end up with
modules that are OS in everything but name. True, it would be an
open-source OS, but so is Linux, so why not take advantage of all
that development that's already done, has many years of field testing
behind it, and costs nothing?

Regards,

--Ham

-- 
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Hamilton Richards, PhD           Department of Computer Sciences
Senior Lecturer (retired)        The University of Texas at Austin
ham@cs.utexas.edu                hrichrds@swbell.net
http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/ham/richards
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Received on Fri Nov 30 23:17:03 2007

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