[Fsfe-ie] ideas for fs promotion for world domination or was that the social good of humanity

Joseph Kiniry kiniry at acm.org
Tue Jun 13 00:45:54 CEST 2006

On 29 May, 2006, at 11:30, David O'Callaghan wrote:

> Hi,
> On 28.05.06 17:21, Paul O'Malley wrote:
>> It occurs to me that the evoting machines were a and continue to be a
>> waste of resources. This should be rectified.
>> They could be used for public good, or reassigned roles where they  
>> could
>> run free software, the task may not be as hard as it seems.
> I think the voting stations themselves are fairly low-end machines  
> with a Motorola 68000-series processor, so roughly comparable to an  
> original Palm Pilot.

This is correct.  They are actually pretty nifty pieces of hardware.   
Very simple, custom embedded OS, very little layering and complexity,  

> There are a some so-called "hardened" PCs for doing the counting.  
> One per  constituency, I suppose. These would be more powerful and  
> there must be around a hundred of these. In theory, these would be  
> installed in some standard configuration with a reliable supply of  
> spare parts, and maintained for some well-defined period into the  
> future, but I suspect that they might get chucked out or replaced  
> with other PCs or repurposed in local county council offices...

Actually, from what I recall of my brief direct and lengthy indirect  
involvement in electronic voting in Ireland (having been invited to  
two panels then "uninvited" when they find out what level of access  
is necessary to perform the security and correctness reviews that  
they were asking me to do), I do not recall any hardening guidelines  
for the vote setup and tally machines.  They were just PCs with a  
minimal config.  The big problem here is not so much the PC, but the  
fact that the associated software is tens of thousands of lines of  
semi-undocumented Delphi code....

> ...
>> 2) Attach them to the national grid of computing resources for
>> scientific research.
> <plug> http://grid.ie/ </plug> :)

Joseph Kiniry
School of Computer Science and Informatics
UCD Dublin

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