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Tag: open source

Free software in the Finger Lakes

This weekend was the Ubuntu release party in the Finger Lakes, held in Waterloo, NY. You can read about it here. All in all, a very professional session.

As an added bonus, here’s all 700 lbs. of me in a seersucker shirt showing off my Linux laptop from System76 to a soon-to-be Linux user:

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On open source software and our electoral system

vote

Dan Wallach wrote an interesting piece today titled Open Source vs. Disclosed Source Voting Systems, in which he discusses the need for open source software to be used in our voting machines if we’re to have any hope of electoral transparency. Here’s an excerpt:

Sometimes, working on voting seems like running on a treadmill. Old disagreements need to be argued again and again. As long as I’ve been speaking in public about voting, I’ve discussed the need for voting systems’ source code to be published, as in a book, to create transparency into how the systems operate. Or, put another way, trade secrecy is anathema to election transparency. We, the people, have an expectation that our election policies and procedures are open to scrutiny, and that critical scrutiny is essential to the exercise of our Democracy. (Cue the waving flags.)

And one more excerpt:

Voting systems, in this regard, are just like Microsoft Windows. We have to assume, since voting machines are widely dispersed around the country, that attackers will have the opportunity to tear them apart and extract the machine code. Therefore, it’s fair to argue that source disclosure, or the lack thereof, has no meaningful impact on the operational security of our electronic voting machines. They’re broken. They need to be repaired.

The entire article is worth your time.

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Evangelism (the open source kind)

Software journalist Bruce Byfield has an interesting post today about free software evangelism and why he keeps his mouth shut at parties.

I tend to feel — and act — this way regarding most evangelism. It’s usually not fun to have political discussions at parties because people have so few facts at their command. Maybe it’s my personality, but I find it very hard to have “discussions” between entrenched positions where there is no hope of movement.

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Linux = Freedom

As has been pointed out other places, this is not that good an ad for reaching people who know nothing about Linux or free software. It’s got a nice vibe and is worth watching. But it won’t do much of anything to bring more people to the idea of free and open source software.

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