more work to do in NY

From: Alan Dechert <dechert_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Wed Nov 07 2007 - 15:30:56 CST

>From today's NYS Board of Elections meeting today

**********

>> DOUGLAS KELLNER: Any questions?
All right.
Then we will turn to old business, which is the proposed resolution on
setting of the board policy for fees regarding open source software.
I have additional copies here.
>> Mr. Chairman, I had some qualms about this at our last meeting.
Since then I've had a lot of -- I must say that David Cooper man has been a
great person to explain all of this to me. I was under the misconception
that the whole fee was asked to be waived.
It isn't the whole fee.
It's merely the fee to develop the source codes.
And I think that makes a big difference to me.
We need to have other -- other ways to look at how we're going to solve
this, you know, the source code problems.
And be able to move forward.
And I think this is one of those issues that can help us.
And I support it.
>> DOUGLAS KELLNER: Thank you, Evelyn.
       I'd like to just speak briefly on it again, which is that the purpose
here is to establish a policy that is an objective policy that can be
applied to any vendor who will meet the criteria that we set forth.
And as Evelyn mentioned, the purpose here is to cover the cost of testing
for certification purposes.
Source code for which the vendor has no proprietary rights, because the
vendor is using open source.
So that whatever the vendor uses can be copied by any other vendor.
And it seems that as a matter of public policy, it doesn't make sense that a
vendor who is not going to be able to retain proprietary right in the source
code would have to still nonetheless pay the cost of testing that source
code.
That it defeats the whole purpose of promoting the use of open source code
rather than proprietary source code.
       The policy that is drafted here is written in a way that any vendor
could use it and would then set the state with a very modest encouragement
for vendors to use open source rather than proprietary source.
It was also written carefully to be consistent with the language of the
appropriation that the legislature made last year, that allowed the board to
pick up some of the cost of certification testing.
       So, so for all of these reason, I think that it's a positive step
forward and that I would hope that we are prepared to vote on this today.

       Oh, I should add that we did post it three weeks ago, and there have
been no negative comments, and we've received a modest amount of support
from legislators in both political parties and from good government groups.
>> I guess if this is open.
I had a comment myself.
I guess we were looking for comments from the public and I think that was,
you know, an appropriate way to go.
I guess my only issue is we didn't get a lot of substantive comments.
I mean, the comments largely were supporting it, which is fine.
But I think the issue that we are facing is not just, you know, the benefits
of open source, which I think have a lot of benefits.
The question is whether the state should fund that particular aspect of our
program, which would be a, you know, a break from what we have ever done
before as far as the state actually underwriting the testing of a particular
type of software.
So I guess it's just a matter of whether we feel we have enough information
to do this.
       We have talked in the meantime to Nicetek about our, you know, our
consultant on these issues about, you know, the technical issues and also
the, you know, benefits to the state.
And I guess for my own purpose, it would be helpful to know better
substantively what the benefits to the state are as far as, you know, the
state actually underwriting the testing of this, so that we aren't starting
a precedent that we're going to have to follow in a way that maybe we don't
anticipate that might end up, you know, impacting things we don't
anticipates.
That's all.
>> Has Nicetek responded?
>> Well, we haven't gotten anything formally from them yet.
But I think it would be helpful if we could, just to get a better impact on
the impact of the entire proposal.
>> DOUGLAS KELLNER: There is no question that it would be better to
do this on a national basis, that this is really something that the Federal
Government ought to do to encourage, as a matter of national policy.
       But in the meantime, we do have a very expensive certification
process that becomes a barrier for entry, and I believe that this proposal
is a step forward in trying to promote the use of open source software and
is a reasonable approach.
       I'm glad to hear that we now have commission Aquila's support for the
motion.
But I'm optimistic that if we don't have three votes yet, that it's not
ready.
>> Are you asking for us to lay it over?
>> DOUGLAS KELLNER: I'm turning to to commissioner Donohue --
>> At this point you don't have my vote.
>> DOUGLAS KELLNER: Well then we will lay it over.
All right.
Thank you.
We will keep trying.

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Received on Fri Nov 30 23:17:11 2007

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