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It has been suggested by one of our prominent community members that the use of negative votes should be confined to demoting spam. As the individual responsible for the introduction of negative voting on FSDaily, I feel I should explain my rationale for its inclusion and provide my tips on negative voting.
Microsoft has hailed the ISO's acceptance of the Microsoft Open Office XML despite controversy in standards communities about voting irregularities. The new vote reverses last year's rejection of OOXML. Norway's Standard Norge dismissed members and three staff members reversed a no vote. Other countries also reported OOXML voting problems.
In theory, open source programming of voting machines would remove their veils of secrecy. In practice, though, using open source may not be a viable option if code is not made available. However, a formal effort to work on open source code for voting machines could come at any time from anyone.
Sometimes, working on voting seems like running on a treadmill. Old disagreements need to be argued again and again. As long as I've been speaking in public about voting, I've discussed the need for voting systems' source code to be published, as in a book, to create transparency into how the systems operate. Or, put another way, trade secrecy is anathema to election transparency.
In the U.S. vote for Open XML this week, IBM strongly argued against approval of Open XML, and Oracle joined IBM in voting against it. Voting in favor of the Open XML format were Hewlett-Packard, EMC, Intel, Sony Electronics, Lexmark International, and Apple, as well as the Defense Department, Homeland Security, and NIST.
The day is fast approaching when the comment and voting period for ISO/IEC DIS 29500, the draft ISO specification based upon Microsoft's Office Open XML formats, will either be approved or not. As Sept. 2 comes closer, Microsoft appears to be stuffing the ballot boxes of some countries' ISO organizations while open-source and standard organizations are firing back with furious words.
As was just announced on the announcement mailing list*, the voting ballots for the Fedora 11 release name are now open. To vote, you just need to be a member of one non-CLA group in our Fedora Account System. Voting ends at 2359 UTC 2009-01-09, so get your vote in quickly! (There’s nothing wrong with campaigning for a name of your choice either, if you’re so inclined.)