[EM] Re: touch screen voting machines

Dave Ketchum davek at clarityconnect.com
Sun Nov 16 18:55:05 PST 2003

On Mon, 17 Nov 2003 02:28:12 +0100 David GLAUDE wrote:

> Dave Ketchum wrote:
>> I was around when Ada (the language) was born and, unless it has 
>> improved A LOT, better if it had died YOUNG.  I would have more hope 
>> for Java or Linux.
> Ada did reborn in 93 when the X of ADA 9X became 3.

Could be, for this was after my time.

> Ada is typicaly a language where type checking is very strong.
> It mean many mistake commonly done in other language and only detected 
> (when it is detected) at runtime will be stop at compilation time.

Strong type checking is a great idea, WHEN done intelligently (if I 
remember right, used to be it could get in the way enough that you respond 
with conversions that effectively disable it.  Get in the habit of that 
and you disable it when it might have been useful).

Likewise doing checks at compile time is proper, and Ada WAS NOT the 
inventor of that idea.

> If you specify that the number of vote for a candidate must be a 
> positive value, any attempt to turn that number negative will fail! 
> (including 127+1=-127).
> Also Ada is a standardized language with many implementation including 
> free-software one. So you are not lock with the vendor of the compilator.

Agreed you do not want any private language for this purpose, but this 
does not restrict us to Ada.

> Ada is used for many DoD project, if it is good for controling 
> missile/train/airplane, it should be OK for election. The only risk is 
> that some company close to military develop the code. ;-)

My bad memories say it did not HAVE to be good to get used on DoD 
projects.  JOVIAL was a GOOD language, but could not survive the politics 
that said Ada must kill it.

> Anybody attempting to program in Ada must be serious about it (or 
> creasy). This make sure that startup writing in Visual Basic do not 
> attempt to write software for election.

Being that election requirements are relatively simple, not clear why this 
should push me to Ada.

> Java require a virtual machine that need to be inspected too. And Open 
> Source JVM are hard to find. The only nice thing about Java is that it 
> can run inside the chip of a credit card if you have any plan to use 
> that for election.

I have trouble visualizing a JVM that could fit in a credit card being a 
big deal for either doing an open source version or doing an inspection.

> Linux is just a kernel, at least it is Free Software.

So I did not get my words right.  Still, if I do not do Linux or a JVM, do 
I not have a BIG operating system to validate?

> David GLAUDE

  davek at clarityconnect.com    people.clarityconnect.com/webpages3/davek
  Dave Ketchum   108 Halstead Ave, Owego, NY  13827-1708   607-687-5026
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