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Free Software for Politics 554

Posted by michael
from the unintended-consequences dept.
kevin lyda writes "The Howard Dean campaign is releasing software for web-based communities under the GNU GPL. The project apparently is based on drupal. See here for more info, and here for the software. Regardless if you're for Dean, against Dean, or you're not an American, it's great to see an American politician on the national level using and promoting free software. I wonder if RMS thought he'd see a U.S. presidential candidate releasing stuff under the GPL when he founded GNU 20 years ago!"
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Free Software for Politics

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  • Well... (Score:3, Funny)

    by CGP314 (672613) <CGP@NosPAm.ColinGregoryPalmer.net> on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @02:50PM (#7096383) Homepage
    I wonder if RMS thought he'd see a US presidential candidate releasing stuff under the GPL when he founded GNU 20 years ago!

    That's a gnu-candidate thank you.
    • Wesley Clark is cuter and has a really nice uniform. Does Dean have a cool uniform? If Clark's parties are better, I'm voting for him.
      • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Zeinfeld (263942) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @04:11PM (#7097199) Homepage
        Wesley Clark is cuter and has a really nice uniform. Does Dean have a cool uniform? If Clark's parties are better, I'm voting for him

        Almost but not quite as irrelevant as the brand of Web server the candidate runs. I still think that Bush is going to really regret doing that stupid Top Gun stunt next November. It isn;t the uniform, its the way you wear it.

        I see one big issue for the Open Source Community in the next election and it is not promoting open source. The big issue is PATENTS and Dean is at least listening to the right people here - Larry Lessig.

        We don't want much here, we just want the USPTO to actually apply in practice the principles that it claims to apply.

        Novel should mean novel, do something on the Internet that has been done for 20 years is not novel.

        Prior review get rid of the secrecy in the process, all applications to be subject to a one year protest period, same as the Europeans do

        You have to invent it there are a ridiculous number of speculative patents filled where the inventor has actually invented nothing. Typical cases are in the genetics field where the first person to sequience a gene often files a patent that claims the use of the gene to solve every imaginable ailment before the 'inventor' knows anything about what the gene does

        Anyone care to claim a bigger priority? This is a platform that everyone can agree on from Redmond WA to Cambridge MA.

      • Re:Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by rifter (147452) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @04:40PM (#7097516) Homepage

        Meanwhile, it appears that Dean wisely changed from windows 2000 to freebsd [netcraft.com] whereas Clark is using Linux [netcraft.com]. Which will win? :)

        And of course the Evil One is running Windows. [netcraft.com] Surprise surprise!

        Let's hope the best free software candidate wins!

  • by deanj (519759) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @02:51PM (#7096390)
    More candidates should do this. Frankly, I'd be interesting in hearing more about General Clarke's ideas on time travel [wired.com]. (Follow the link... he actually talks about this. I kid you not).
    • "I still believe in e=mc, but I can't believe that in all of human history, we'll never ever be able to go beyond the speed of light to reach where we want to go," said Clark. "I happen to believe that mankind can do it."

      <Grin>

      • Re:Holy shit (Score:3, Insightful)

        by squiggleslash (241428)
        Call me a sap, but I think that's endearing.

        It's not (always) a bad thing for a politician to be a dreamer, and I don't read anything into that that Clark thinks FTL travel is easy, or will happen in our lifetimes.

      • Re:Holy shit (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Zeinfeld (263942) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @04:42PM (#7097543) Homepage
        "I still believe in e=mc, but I can't believe that in all of human history, we'll never ever be able to go beyond the speed of light to reach where we want to go," said Clark. "I happen to believe that mankind can do it."

        Actually this is not excluded by Einstein, just that we have no idea how to do it. The key is the concept of space which is actually mutuable. There are ways that we already know about that can warp space in absolutely infintesimal ways. Could there be a way to do it on a large scale? Possibly. There are serious scientists who consider such problems.

        Faster than light travel is certainly a much longer shot than fussion, we know that fussion is possible and the sun provides an existence proof. But faster than light is probably a much easier shot than building a missile defense system that can't be circumvented by the opposition. None of the proposals made so far work and none is capable even in theory of counteracting existing countermeasures such as the UK Chevalene warhead design that is so old it was recently withdrawn from service as obsolete.

        What we are seeing here is an example of a classical smear attack. I strongly suspect that the original question was asked for the sole purpose of being able to trash Clark as a loony with an out of context quote. Karl Rove and his smear-team did the exact same thing with Gore last time round, they took a bunch of out of context quotes from Gore's ecology book and used them to claim that Gore was some sort of nut. In fact the prediction Gore made about the possible rise of the hydrogen economy and the decline of the internal combustion engine is far from fruitcake, thats why the Whitehouse included $100 million for H2 power research in the last budget.

    • Hmmm..maybe some /. spelling technology would help me too. :-)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      he talks about faster than light travel
    • by Fnkmaster (89084) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @02:57PM (#7096451)
      And there's nothing wrong with a candidate with vision. I'm a bit disappointed in Professor Melnick's quote in that article. I spent enough time studying physics at Harvard to know never to spout off about what we know will never be impossible.


      We know that faster-than-light travel is contrary to our current best effort at producing a consistent body of laws to describe nature, but those laws are based on observations accurate within certain parameters and realms. But we certainly can't say what's really dictated by some magical immutable laws of physics.

      • Fnkmaster has it right.

        I spend 8+ hours a day on something that was 'scientifically impossible' less than a century ago, supersonic flight...

        I don't think faster than light travel is possible, but to say that you know it is impossible is a little short sighted.
        • When was supersonic flight scientifically impossible? People liked to believe that it was impossible, but there was not mathmatical basis for this belief. In fact a century ago we did have things travelling faster than the speed of sound (bullets come to mind). Saying that supersonic flight was scientifically impossible a century ago is like saying the sun being the center of the galaxy was scientifically impossible 400 years ago. They both may have been beliefs common at the time, but they were only bel
          • Well, if you are going to use that example then today we have things going faster then the speed of light. Of course, the thing thats going faster then the speed of light is light itself, but hey its still going faster too. Of course light doesnt have mass, but still.

            Also if nothing goes faster then light how do you explain quantum entanglement, instant communication between two enagled pairs of atoms.

            I am not sure that we can *ever* go faster then light, but if we don't try we will never know now will we
      • by The Matrix Has Me (687370) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @03:24PM (#7096693)
        And there's nothing wrong with a candidate with vision.

        How can he have vision about travelling faster than the speed of light? Isn't that a contradiction?

    • Especially John Sununu [senate.gov]. They could have the slogan If you GNU Sununu like I GNU Sununu...
    • The Root Author is a Republican who reads Drudge, but doesn't read the article.

      Clark is actually talking about Faster Than Light travel. And it's good we have a presidential candidate who is smart enough to understand the implications of said.

      Clark is a great man and will be a great President.

      • by NaugaHunter (639364) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @03:23PM (#7096685)
        Clark is a great man and will be a great President.

        Maybe I've watched too much Babylon 5, but I just can't get read the phrase 'President Clark' without looking around for Nightwatch.
      • Clark is a great man and will be a great President.

        President?! He won't be able to keep his foot out of his mouth long enough to win the Democratic nomination. Or the Republican nomination. Or whatever party he's a member of, I forget. Do you know?
      • it's good we have a presidential candidate who is smart enough to understand the implications

        It's too bad you don't understand the implications. Any method (wormholes, tachyons, "warp drive", etc) to reach a velocity higher than c is mathematically equivalent to a time machine. Unless you and Clark are secretly smarter than Einstein and Hawking, it can't be done.

        p.s. teleportation-type methods involving "hyperspace" might be a loophole, but so are angelic chariots and/or pixie dust.
  • by Eberlin (570874) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @02:51PM (#7096395) Homepage
    GNU/Howard Dean, then?

    Shhhh, don't tell Stallman or we'll never hear the end of it!
  • by stevesliva (648202) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @02:53PM (#7096408) Journal
    There was a call for this before... Slashdot and Dean staff, are you listening?
  • I am impressed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chilltowner (647305) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @02:53PM (#7096413) Homepage Journal
    Although I'm politically more with Kucinich, I really admire the way Dean has taken the lead with using novel forms of communications technology. Everything he's done, from meetups to blogging to soliciting individual donations on the internet shows a kind of grasp of the technology that really reflects well on him (or, at least, his staff). The latest news is pretty much in line with that behavior.

    It does beg the question--will a Dean presidency be geek friendly? Will it turn back the DMCA and scale back software patents? I'd like to know more, but I'm optimistic for the first time in a long time.
    • Re:I am impressed (Score:2, Insightful)

      by squarooticus (5092)
      It does beg the question--will a Dean presidency be geek friendly?

      Ignoring the misuse of the phrase "beg[ging] the question" for the moment...

      A related question is whether Dean will roll back the high tax rates that disproportionately confiscate the earnings of geeks, who have a median income significantly higher than the national average.

      Just because Dean's campaign promotes GPL'ed software doesn't mean he's going to fight for your interests: at most this is just pandering to the web-connected crowd, b
      • Ignoring the misuse of the phrase "beg[ging] the question" for the moment...

        No need to. [quinion.com]
      • Re:I am impressed (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Chilltowner (647305)
        The usage is actually evolving [quinion.com], much in the same way we say a point is moot when we don't mean that it is a matter for debate.

        Anyway, Dean's first responsibility viz. taxes would be to roll back the tax cuts that have failed to revive the economy and, likely, will wind up hurting it by keeping the budget in deficit and adversely influencing interest rates. A healthy economy helps all of us, including geeks.

        I would also beg to differ (heh) about the median income of geeks. It has been dropping over t
      • Just because Dean's campaign promotes GPL'ed software doesn't mean he's going to fight for your interests: at most this is just pandering to the web-connected crowd, but is more likely just someone's pet project that got blown out of proportion.

        maybe i'm not cynical enough. i thought that at best this was an attempt to use technology in a way it's not been used before - to organize grassroots political action. at *worst* it's pandering. the thing i like the most about dean is that he seems not to be pa
      • Re:I am impressed (Score:2, Interesting)

        by TheCarp (96830) *
        I dunno, as one of those geeks that has an income above the national median, I don't find my taxes are especially high. In fact, id be happy to have them take more if it would buy single payer health care to help alot of those non-geeks I know who struggle just to make a living and for whom carrying health insurance takes a signifigant portion of their meager wage.

        However I might be kind of pissed if those extra dollars instead went to funding another game of "Bomb the brown people" or draping cloth to cov
    • I'd like to know that too.

      I'm (mostly) conservative and will probably vote for Bush again, but I have to admit, there's something about Dean that makes me really want to like him. I disagree with him on many issues, but if he has a clue about technology issues, I'd seriously consider supporting him. He seems to have a relatively straight head on.
    • by HMV (44906)
      Was Dean just as "geek friendly" when the campaign spammed users [msnbc.com] back in August?

      Dean is going after low-hanging fruit. Go up to your average voter and mention that Dean released software under the GPL. Go ahead. After you get the brook-trout stare, consider the much-ballyhooed blogs of these candidates. High-tech tools to preach to the choir.

      Great for shoring up the base, maybe a little grass-roots organization. Then throw in Clark or someone who actually affects the campaign on more than window-dres
  • Dean Gets It (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @02:53PM (#7096414)
    The more significant story is Dean's Internet Principles

    http://www.deanforamerica.com/site/PageServer?pa ge name=InternetPrinciples

    and Net Advisory Net, including Lessig

    http://www.deanforamerica.com/site/PageServer?pa ge name=NAN

    I submitted this, but it wasn't posted, yet the story about the ridiculous spider case mod was posted. Hmm.
    • Re:Dean Gets It (Score:2, Informative)

      by ScottSpeaks! (707844)
      Maybe if you got the URLs correct:
      http://www.deanforamerica.com/site/PageServer?page name=InternetPrinciples [deanforamerica.com]
      http://www.deanforamerica.com/site/PageServer?page name=NAN [deanforamerica.com]

      Using the URLs as you posted them, you just get redirected to the site's main page.

    • I'll tell you why it didn't get posted.. First, your url was wrong.. we don't want to make a contribution to dean, we want to know what he really thinks about computers. Second, he's not saying anything on these pages, it's just polical jargon. We don't care what dean "feels" about the internet and computers, we want to know what he's (not) going to do.

      Like it came out back in the 2000 election with gore (groan), gore was running unix, and had a better website than bush. Some of us would have rather go
    • I definitely think Dean's use of the internet is more deft than that of previous candidates, but he has a ways to go.

      Hi blog page is a hyper exclamation mark festival which has compared him to a "rock star" of politics. I don't want to vote for a rock star, as that image does not connote accountability (or even talent, given todays RIAA-manufactured boy bands).

      To participate in his meetups, you have to click through an agreement that binds you into arbitration and robs you of your right to a jury tria

  • by Ricin (236107) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @02:55PM (#7096437)
    Al Gore invented the Internet but (kinda) lost the elections. Common knowledge.

    So 3 years or so from now it migth be common knowledge that Howard Dean invented GNU, the weblog, and Linux too but (kinda) lost the elections. That and his house (to Darl for stealing everything from SCO).

    Seriously though, nice initiative but it also smells a bit of, well, I'm sure you get the point.
    • Remember Gore's 'secret' HTML comment in the webpage?

      "This technique was used most famously by the Gore Presidential campaign, which included a hidden message in the campaign web site. The message began, "Thanks for checking out our source code! ... The fact that you are peeking behind the scenes at our site means you can make an important difference to this Internet effort." From there, the message asked web designers to submit ideas for improving the campaign web site "in the spirit of the open source mo
      • his entire web presence was built on closed-system technology developed by Microsoft.

        That's simply untrue, and everything2 needs to be corrected. Algore2000.com ran Apache+PHP on Linux [google.com] (1.3.9 in 1999, 1.3.12 in 2000).

        FWIW [disill.is]: Bush2000.com ran IIS/W2K, BuchananReform.org ran IIS/NT4, VoteNader.org ran Apache/BSD.

        • Not according to netcraft:

          Linux Apache/1.3.9 (Unix) secured_by_Raven/1.4.2 PHP/4.0b3 16-Jan-2000 216.35.210.246 Cable & Wireless

          NT4/Windows 98 Microsoft-IIS/4.0 10-Jul-1999 208.206.40.209

          So he did switch, but not until 2000. :)
    • by bombadillo (706765) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @03:10PM (#7096565)
      Al Gore did more for the internet than any other politician. Just look at the Internet Societies [isoc.org] page. You will notice that from a political stand point he did take the initiative to create the internet. With out his help the internet as we know it would have been delayed. Also, he never said he "Invented the Internet". Al Gore said that he took the initiative to create the internet. Meaning that he championed the technology.
  • by techsoldaten (309296) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @02:55PM (#7096438) Journal
    The great thing about this software is that it could ultimately cut down on the cost of campaigns, lessening the need for big political donors and their influence on politics.

    A former employer of mine was involved in developing Web communities for conservative clients, and the bill for his services is huge even by 1999 standards.

    • Sure, if everybody does all their campaigning online. But as long as most campaigning consists of buying TV and radio time, running for office will be expensive.

      Dean has done well so far by tapping online resources and communities. But remember that we haven't even started picking convention delegates yet. Once the primaries and caucuses start, Dean will have to find a way to get to all the voters and caucusers who aren't internet geeks. Maybe he can leverage his existing following into some kind of alter

      • Once the primaries and caucuses start, Dean will have to find a way to get to all the voters and caucusers who aren't internet geeks. He's got this right now. All those internet geeks are getting tapped for donations (check out his Q3 numbers tomorrow morning, they should be $14+ million) and are being organized into canvassing groups. Right now he's got a sizeable (informal, ad-hoc, mostly inexperienced, but very enthusiastic) campaign organization in every state. Most of it is being organized over the W
  • by Fedhax (513562) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @02:57PM (#7096455)

    If you go to the Drupal [drupal.org] website, you'll see that Brad posted some brief comments from his interaction with the Dean campaign (9/10/2003).

    (Taken from Drupal.org)

    I met with a Presidential campaign yesterday. They asked me to advise in general on their web site, but when we got into our discussion, I learned they were doing the static html thing. So, I demoed three CMS' to them - Drupal, Typo3, and a fork of Backend my company developed. They were blown away by all of them,. But I steered them to Drupal for speed of setup, flexibility and features. As a matter of fact, if you compare the features to what Howard Dean has on his site, you are basically setup with everything he has.

    Having managed campaigns for a living in a previous life, I realized that if a Presidential campaign is this far behind technologically, then there are likely hundreds of candidates running now and next year that will not have a system in place. Additionally, most do not have the budget of this campaign and are unable to hire developers, designers, and writers, but know it is necessary.

    Regardless, it is quite impressive to see an open project get this kind of press (Presidential campaigns?), and the modifications given back to the community?! Ye gods! w00t!

  • by GillBates0 (664202) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @02:57PM (#7096457) Homepage Journal
    Here's the Freshmeat page [freshmeat.net] for the project.
  • Wait a sec.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by deanj (519759) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @02:58PM (#7096459)
    You know, I like free software as much as the next geek, but as for him "promoting free software"... well, he's not. His campaign staff is...give credit where credit is due. I seriously don't think he knows about this promotion.

    It'll be interesting to see if any competing campaigns take it up and use it for their communities.
    • It'll be interesting to see if any competing campaigns take it up and use it for their communities.

      Now that would be ironic.
  • Impressive: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BWJones (18351) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @03:00PM (#7096472) Homepage Journal
    Said Joe Trippi, the Dean for America campaign manager: "It is extraordinary that our grassroots base is now building tools to support itself. This is grassroots squared." He added: "As far as we know, this is the first open source development project for a presidential campaign, and it's definitely the most ambitious."

    O.K., so Dean is smart. This is one of the most impressive grass roots campaigns I have ever seen and he has my vote. Assuming Dean is elected President, given his background, perhaps we could have some open source solutions to the health care crisis to enable physicians and hospitals to reduce costs associated with all of the electronic medical records problems that are cropping up.

    The ideal pair? Dean and Clark. A thinker and an individual who gets things done. What a concept!

    • I'd love that tickit. Clark is a good moderate candidate --- he gets things done, but he's also a very smart guy.
    • Re:Impressive: (Score:5, Informative)

      by wytcld (179112) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @03:13PM (#7096601) Homepage
      Dean and Clark. A thinker and an individual who gets things done.

      Dean got a lot done as Vermont governor - went from deficit to surplus in the one state whose constitution doesn't mandate a balanced budget; provided health insurance for everyone under 18; and generally took middle-of-the road stances on hot-button issues like road building and development that infuriated Democrats in the Legislature. The guy's actually very conservative on many issues - he just does conservative right, fairly (what's fair about disallowing gay unions?) and compassionately.

      Clark - degree in economics, Rhodes scholar and first in his West Point class ... he's the 'thinker,' right? Dean says he has called Clark frequently, mostly for foreign policy advice. It's a fair be that if either comes in first, the other's on the ticket. They may be a tag team.
    • I agree with you that Dean conveys a basic sense of competence, at least when it comes to presiding over people of the same class and sensibility as himself.

      I'm not so convinced that that's the sole criterion for choosing a president, as though he's going to be the Sysadmin in Chief.

    • It's important to realise that this is *not* an open source development effort for a presidential campaign.

      Deanspace have forked Drupal 4.2 and added their own custom modules. They don't actually talk much to the folk at drupal.org (certainly not on the developers list), which is a pity. We've yet to see any contributed code come back to our CVS server.
    • The ideal pair? Dean and Clark. A thinker and an individual who gets things done. What a concept!

      Yeah that does sound like a good ticket. Clark could help take away the perception that Democrats are weak on defense. Only problem is, Dean attacked Clark at the debate for being a new-comer to the Deomcratic party, hinting that he wasn't a true Democrat. (Al Sharpton came to Clark's defense with a funny line.)

      Dean is my tentative favorite candidate right now, but he seems like a hot-head who could burn

  • Nice and all... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by toupsie (88295) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @03:06PM (#7096518) Homepage
    But will he release his gubernatorial papers under GPL? Right now they are closed source. No one has the right to view them. I am more interested in his political history than some software someone else wrote that he is piggybacking on for publicity.
  • by jake_the_blue_spruce (64738) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @03:06PM (#7096523) Homepage Journal
    A group of computer scientist professors is creating . This is not the same as GNU's [gnosis.cx] Free Software Internet Voting [free-project.org]. Given the Diebold fiasco [salon.com] there's a greater need for these than for the software to discuss potential candidates.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @03:10PM (#7096568)
    ...until his genome is sequenced and released under the GNU GPL. Accept nothing less!
  • by guacamolefoo (577448) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @03:12PM (#7096584) Homepage Journal
    In other news, the Bush administration has decided to counter the Howard Dean campaign's effort to create a network of weblogs ("blogs") by giving Republican supporters access to the surplus WMD which were recently discovered at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland.

    "We hope that our supporters use the smallpox virus in a way that will support our common goals" stated White House insider Karl Rove. "We think that the time has come to deal with the infidel huns who are attempting to thwart our ultimate goal of establishing a reactionary, protestant theocracy with President Bush as Ayatollah. Using smallpox in areas where there are concentrations of liberal and Democratic voters will surely help us to win an outright majority in the next election. Jew York, here comes Itchy and Scratchy!" Rove went on to describe the plan to trade smallpox-infected blankets to residents of New York City in exchange for wampum.

    Democrats in Congress criticized the move, calling it cynical at best and mass murder at worst. In the Senate today, Ted Kennedy (D-MA) spoke to the issue, calling the use of biological weapons by Republican campaigners, "worse than anything than Daddy ever did, and that's saying a lot." Senator Kennedy was later found garroted in his chambers in what appears to be the work of a lone assassin. See our related story for information on the investigation, including the appointment of Chief Justice Rehnquist to a commission to investigate the assassination of Senator Kennedy.

    Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) chastized the President for the move as well, calling it "barbaric". Senator Clinton was last seen ushering her husband, former President Bill Clinton, into a limosine bound for his office in Harlem. "Bill needs to be in the right place to do the most good during this crisis." Commentators noted that Senator Clinton did not seem alarmed that her husband was going into one of the hardest-hit areas. Staffer John McClintock was quoted as saying that [Senator Clinton] seemed to be "strangely peaceful" as former President Clinton left for Harlem and that "she danced a jig similar to the one Hitler did when his troops defeated the French."

    GF.

    [just laugh people, just laugh]
  • Slashdot killed the Dean campaign website. He has lost my vote. How can run for President if you cant keep your blog runnning.
  • I served in a leading capacity on a university government (and I don't mean to compare the governing of a university to the governing of a state or country).

    Sometimes they were changes that were meant to protect everyone from new regulations. Sometimes they were changes to cut costs or eliminate incredible redundancy from systems that had evolved over decades.

    It was very difficult to get certain groups, people, and factions of the governed to change. Sometimes they were being asked to give up a privilege,
  • by almaw (444279) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @03:23PM (#7096681) Homepage
    It's entirely likely that Dean's site doesn't have the caching module enabled (which it isn't by default). With it, there's only one SQL hit per page. Without it, the entire page gets built for every page-view (slooooow).

    Drupal.org has caching enabled, and therefore hasn't fallen over (yet). But we don't have all that much bandwidth, so it's being *very* slow at the moment.

    I've been developing Drupal for a few months now. It has a very active developer community and continues to get more flexible and modular with each successive release. It's much more extensible and better architected than (for example) PostNuke.

    We're also coming up on a new release (4.3) which should go RC in the next few days. If you're thinking of trying it out, I'd recommend either waiting for that, or getting latest CVS tarball - things are much nicer than 4.2!
  • by BlackBolt (595616) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @03:23PM (#7096686) Homepage Journal
    Although the shouting in the title definitely makes it LOOK like a troll...

    Guys, I got a problem. This isn't related to this topic exclusively, but for ALL Gnu articles here... Okay, here it is. The icon for "Gnu is not Unix" here at Slashdot doesn't really look like a Gnu at all. It looks like a giant penis carrying a security blanket. Really. Take a close look at it. Are those two big red balls supposed to be feet? What does that logo MEAN?

    We need to change that logo to something that doesn't have hidden meanings. I suggest the typical Gnu head (no pun intended) that RMS uses on his website [gnu.org].
    • I completely agree, I've always wondered what the hell that icon was supposed to be, and now with your suggestion that's all I'll image from now on. The 'real' GNU looks to be the better and more consistant choice. MOD PARENT UP!

      (don't get me started on the fact that there's no Gentoo topic icon...)

      CB
  • by Phoenix666 (184391) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @03:23PM (#7096687)
    to directly communicate our views on technology policy to government. Most of our representatives couldn't even tell you what the DMCA is, much less give two shakes about why it's bad. They're in the pockets of special interests.

    But it occurs to me that the Dean campaign is the best shot we have to turn the fight for online freedoms around. They're an organization that's volunteer-run, so it's not beholden to special interests. They use OSS to run their site and various tools, and now they're open-sourcing their stuff, so they're going to understand why free software is so important. Finally, as a tech-driven campaign they're predisposed to sympathize with our take on issues like privacy, frivolous patents, etc.

    And as far as I know, they haven't yet expressed any kind of position on tech issues. So a /. interview would be the perfect opportunity to imprint their campaign and let them know we're out here.
  • by fm6 (162816)

    I wonder if RMS thought he'd see a US presidential candidate releasing stuff under the GPL when he founded GNU 20 years ago!

    RMS's goal was and is to get rid of "non-free" software, which he considers immoral. If he had any vision of 2002, it would have been of everybody using the GPL, or something similar.

    Petty of me to pick this nit, but: RMS did not "found" GNU. He founded FSF. GNU is not an organization, it's an operating system, intended as an alterntive Unix. And, like his other grand plan, it is s

    • RMS founded the GNU project, and the FSF was formed afterwards to handle organizational aspects of doing the GNU project.

  • To all the not-so-smart U.S. voters out there: For reasons no one understands, we aren't all intelligent. When it comes time to vote for a presidential candidate, however, if you aren't intelligent, please don't vote for someone like yourself! A presidential candidate needs to have powers of analysis, for example.
  • this means that republicans can use it is well. (and yes, there are republican free software advocates out there.) i hope they realize this. they obviously want to help dean with his campaign, but what if a republican, or even another democrat, was to use this software? would they complain? i wonder.
  • by almaw (444279) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @03:33PM (#7096780) Homepage
    The real link to the site for the community behind this is deanspace.org [deanspace.org]. The deanspace software is based on drupal 4.2. It'd be nice if the developers over there contributed back to the Drupal codebase - it's dangerously close to a fork, and needn't be. The upcoming Drupal 4.3 has some features 4.2 is lacking, and is much more user-friendly. It'd be a pity to lose these when a fork isn't necessary.
  • How about a new political party based around more open standards. We could call it the Open party. We could make one of it's key points to implement more things into the government that are based on open standards. Maybe even fund more open projects.
  • I would have expected him to release it after the conclusion of the primary or the general election.

    So, I suppose it's time for forking, to service the other candidates (and parties).

  • Hey... (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by TexVex (669445)
    "American" should be capitalized, you insensitive clod!
  • by tbase (666607) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @03:39PM (#7096867)
    Isn't the Bush campaign releasing software for both touch-screen and online voting? Ok, so they're not releasing it, just making sure the companies who are don't have any competition. Or have to bid. Or make it secure. Still, it's going to have a way bigger impact than anything Dean does. ;-P
  • by cowmix (10566) * <mmarchNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @04:25PM (#7097325) Homepage
    Joe Trippi, Dean's campaign manager, used to be an advisor to Progeny
    (a commercial version of Debian started by the Debian founders). Joe
    is very tech and Linux savvy. He has stated that the way he has been running
    the Dean campaign was inspired by how Open Source software works.
    I have been pretty active with the Dean folks for a few months and
    I think what he is saying is no BS, it really seems very open
    and two way like Open Source software.
  • by meatball_mulligan (633993) <r_mexico@comcast. n e t> on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @04:55PM (#7097661)
    From the Dean website...
    Principles for an Internet Policy

    This nation - and not just this nation - needs to have an honest conversation about what's real, possible and desirable when it comes to the gift of the Internet. Conversations need shared ground. Here are the beliefs we think should guide the development of a fact-based federal policy. We put these forward as part of a continuing Great American Conversation . . .

    1. No one owns the Internet

      The Internet does not exist for the unique benefit of any group or economic interest. It is ours as citizens of this country and as inhabitants of this planet.
    2. Everyone should be connected

      The social, economic, and educational advantages of being on the Internet are real. Universal Internet access regardless of economic or geographic position should be a federal goal.
    3. The Internet's value comes from its openness

      The Internet provides a new possibility of global access to an unprecedented sum of human knowledge. It is the responsibility of this generation to make sure that knowledge is available for innovation in business and culture.
    4. The Internet's openness should be promoted

      The Internet was initially designed as a way of moving bits without preferring some bits to others. Network architects call this principle "end-to-end" networking. That way, anyone with a good idea - or a bad one - can build it and see if it works. This openness is essential to the Internet's value as a marketplace of innovation and a public square for ideas.
    5. The Internet is a democracy of voices, not primarily a broadcast medium

      Although the Internet certainly can be used to broadcast messages and programs from one spot to hundreds of millions of others, its most important effect socially and economically is its transformation of the broadcast model. Rather than "freedom of the press belonging to those who own one," everyone now can reach everyone else. The Internet is encouraging people to speak up, in their own voice, about what matters to them. This empowerment of human voice and conversation is profoundly in line with the ideals of American democracy.
    6. The Internet is not perfectible

      The Internet is not perfect and it never will be. It is a global network providing possibility of connecting to geniuses and pickpockets and worse. We need to work to root out illegal and malicious uses of the Internet and the exploitation of children and other vulnerable members of our society.
    7. The Internet is just at the beginning

      Although the Internet has connected 700,000,000 people worldwide, it is just at its beginning. We need to recognize that no one yet knows the true potential of the Internet. And we need to support the political and technological policies that will help the Internet grow to its true capacity as a force for democracy world-wide.
  • by temojen (678985) on Tuesday September 30, 2003 @06:49PM (#7098831) Journal

    In 2002 I developed a voter contact management system (phone bank) for a municipal campaign in a medium sized Canadian city (pop 78,000). It was based on Linux/Apache/PHP/PostgreSQL, and was only accessible to volunteers within the campaign office LAN.

    Some things I learned from the Experience are:

    1. Many users do not understand the concept of logging out, so use timeouts
    2. Database connections are expensive, and there are a limited amount allowed, so use only one website user (in your DBMS) and persistant connections. Or use one DBMS user for each level of access allowed. Keep user access restrictions in the web application tier.
    3. There are sufficient interested volunteers with Cable or DSL to warrant allowing access from the Internet (with prudent precautions like rate limiting). 4 phone lines is not enough, and many volunteers do not want to come down to the campaign office. All the volunteers tend to want to work in the phone bank at the same time.
    4. (non-competing) Candidates from the opposite end of the (left-right) political spectrum will volunteer for your campaign and stick to the script if you agree on issues key to your community.
    5. The settings on your workstations will be tampered with (innocently or otherwise) if they are useing an operating system that allows this. Donated computers should recieve a new install of an OS thast supports access restrictions (ie Linux or Win2K/XP, if you care to pay the liscense fees). You should tell the person donating the computer that they will recieve it back with a wiped hard-drive.
    6. Someone who opposes you will email a copy of Sub7 installer (or worse) to everyone listed as a contact (candidate, campaign manager, official agent, etc) on your public website. Get server-side email virus scanning, or an ISP who has it (we did).
    7. Some of our opponents were not above vandalizing our signs. There were frequenly areas of the city where all of the signs belonging to any candidate on our side of the spectrum were vandalized.
    8. If you make a web based system, volunteers can be trained to use it very fast even if they've never used a computer before, so long as they're not afraid of computers.
    9. If you make a web based system, once the web browser is open it makes little difference from a usability standpoint whether the workstation is Linux, Windows, or Macintosh (we used all of these). Where it does matter is in preventing tampering or acccidental misconfiguration.
    10. Begin searching for donated hardware early.

    I'm hopeing to apply what I've learned and what I've learned since to building a system suitable for the next federal election.It'll probably be a combination of Servlets and domain model objects, PostgreSQL, and PL/pgSQL stored procedures.

"Someone's been mean to you! Tell me who it is, so I can punch him tastefully." -- Ralph Bakshi's Mighty Mouse

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