OSET and AWS Partner to Support Open Source Elections Software

Open Source Election Technology (OSET) Foundation announced a collaboration with with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to promote the use of open source election software and OSET’s TrustTheVote project. OSET’s TrustTheVote Project includes software for voter registration services, ballot generation, and election results reporting. “The OSET Foundation is taking advantage of the cloud’s ability to help lower costs, while increasing innovation in voter registration services, creating ballots, and reporting election results.”  Gregory Miller, Chief Development Officer for the OSET Foundation explained, “There are several aspects of managing elections that can be innovated. There is enormous opportunity to innovate the many aspects of managing election processes.” AWS providing OSET with cloud computing credits, and making elections administration software available on AWS Marketplace. “Now on the AWS GovCloud (US), the TrustTheVote Project technology can be developed, demonstrated, and proven for any State or county looking to rapidly deploy election administration services, while gaining the agility, cost savings, compliance, and scalability offered by the AWS Cloud,” said John Sebes, Chief Technology Officer for the OSET Foundation.

Congratulations to OSET for this great news.  

Judge Makes Troubling Comments about Open Source

21st Capital Corp. v. Onodi Tooling & Engineering Co. was not about open source software licensing, just a garden-variety contract dispute.  It was not published (meaning it has no precedential value).  But it caused some hue and cry among open source advocates because of negative comments in the opinion about open source code.

The dispute concerned a software system that enabled the approval of invoices.  The facts surrounded an arrangement of assigning accounts receivable for painting of motor parts for the U.S. military.  The opinion is dry reading, and the facts are complicated.  If you want to be glad you are not in the factoring-invoices-for-painting–military-motor-parts business, by all means, enjoy.

The opinion said, “A problem [defendant’s engineer] saw was that 21st Capital used “open source code” and made changes, sometimes on a weekly basis, to its program code without testing or validating those changes. A large percentage of the open source code was “grabbed from several different sources on the internet” and only a small percentage of the code was custom. Open source code is problematic because anonymous people on the internet design it, and “holes” are not fixed by vendor updates. Notifications that there are issues with the code may not go out.”

The court quoted defendant’s witness as saying that open source code is “basically, a group of people on the internet, and they’re kind of anonymous people that work together to create, you know, a particular program or develop some software together through, you know, collaborating on the internet, and you have no idea who these people are.” 
In sum, the case was about the competency of software development, and by implication, the reliability and security of software.


QT Licensing Reinvented, Again

The QT product, which has changed both licensing and ownership several times in the past, has announced a new liensing policy.  New versions of Qt will be licensed under a commercial license, GPLv2, GPLv3, and LGPLv3, but no longer under LGPLv2.1. Ther will be a “start up license” — preferential commercial terms for small businesses with annual revenue less than $100,000.  QT has a long history of dual licensing, though the exact terms have changed several times.  It was originally developed by Trolltech, transferred to Nokia, and then Nokia transferred certain commercial rights to Digia.   QT is a cross-platform application framework that is widely used for developing application software that can be run on various software and hardware platforms with little or no change in the underlying codebase, while remaining a native application.