Archive | June 3, 2007

Phil Windley’s Technometria: Saying Yes to Paper Ballots

From Phil Windley’s Technometria | Saying Yes to Paper Ballots:

The standards are still evolving and experience is showing that the electronic machines do have problems accurately recording votes. (Emphasis in the original)

Paper ballots. Paper ballots. Paper ballots. Tell your congress(wo)man. Tell your senator. Tell your reps. Paper ballots. Let’s stop paying private firms huge amounts of money to ship badly-designed, poorly-engineered, easily-tricked voting machines. Voting is a lot more important than getting the results on the TV that night. Let’s do it right. Paper ballots. Audit trails. Open standards. Open code review.

Fedora 7 available for download – get yours now!

Fedora 7, code-named “moonshine” is complete and now ready for download. Check out the BitTorrent feeds at for the fastest downloads and to pitch in a little of your upload bandwidth to spread the good words.

Lots of neat stuff in this version of Fedora. First, the “Core” is gone from the name. The “Core” and “Extras” designations have been removed and the distribution united into one package. This isn’t just a repackaging issue, but a huge change in the governance of the Fedora project, one that’s taken a couple of releases to iron out. The entire distro was selected, built and distributed on public servers by the community, and not behind the walls of Red Hat nor any other private company. This openness, I’ve been told, extends to every aspect of the project. Openness and transparency is good. That doesn’t mean the project has been abandoned, though: I understand a number of Red Hat employees work on Fedora as a major part of their job. Yet another great example of how Free software can support people’s livelihoods.

A lot of work was devoted to the Pungi build process to assemble the distro itself. It’s now possible for mere mortals to create their own custom builds (“spins” as in spinning CDs, in the terms of the builders) to create their own specialized, targetted, rebranded, mini-, maxi- or personal distro. Examples of this already available from Fedora include a LiveCD and a KDE LiveCD. While it’s not running F7 yet, Pungi-built MythDora 4.0 (recently Slashdotted) is a great example of what we can create with the Pungi tool.

Lots and lots of other features are in the release notes and we all have our favorite to look for, so I encourage you to go there for the definitive list. For me, I’ll also mention better hardware support, Network Manager (rocks!), PPC support (time to dual boot the iMac!), boot-from-USB-live-distro!, better, faster, more capable, more compatible. Compare and contrast this with new distributions of other operating systems which are offering a pretty desktop and less ability to work with your stuff. It’s all about choice. This one’s an easy choice.

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.