Government

Electronic voting can be better than paper

The last few elections have seen more than their share of vote count scandals in the United States. The fix is probably easier than you think.

Beginning with hanging chads in the 2000 US Presidential election, the entire first decade of this century has been fraught with questionable voting practices. The highly publicized problems paper ballots had in Florida led to widespread moves to adopt electronic voting technologies across the country. Those attempts to step into the twenty-first century have met with mixed success, at best. In fact, that might be overstating the success quite a lot.

Diebold Election Systems, Inc. (DESI) was a subsidiary of Diebold, Inc. that became famous because of its major market share in the burgeoning electronic voting systems industry this century. It then became infamous because of its relentless secrecy about how its technology was designed and implemented, questions surrounding its procurement of major government contracts, and allegations that it was involved in skewing election results. Since then, the company has passed through a number of parent corporations, and became Premier Election Systems.

DESI's legacy is severe damage to the reputation of electronic voting as a concept. Millions of Americans, to varying degrees, distrust the whole idea of electronic voting now. Many simply believe it cannot possibly be as trustworthy as paper ballot voting, ever. They are wrong.

The majority of proposed solutions to the problems already seen in electronic voting involve printed receipts. The electronic voting machines used in previous elections have proved difficult to audit and to keep honest because, when a voter presses buttons or touches a touch screen, there is really no obvious indicator of what is going on inside the machine. For all the voter knows, it may discard the voter's selection and substitute something else for it. People reason that by having the machine print a tangible receipt, there is final, auditable proof that the vote cast was the vote registered.

This approach is trying to solve exactly the wrong problem. It is, in short, little more than security theater -- an attempt to provide the illusion and feeling of security, but with little substance to back it up. Unless the receipts themselves are actually the ballots, and must be inserted into a ballot box, all they prove is that the machine remembered the voter's selections. It does not prove those selections were what got registered for the final count. If a ballot is printed by the electronic voting machine, with no other alterations to the current system, all we have accomplished with the use of electronic voting machines rather than pens is the unnecessary payment of large sums of money to achieve the same result as paper ballots.

Electronic voting offers opportunities for improving the trustworthiness of the voting process far beyond the potential of paper ballot voting. Modern cryptography creates these opportunities. A video recording of a TED Talk by David Bismark, E-voting without fraud, offers the beginnings of an approach to verifiable voting procedures using cryptographic representations of votes on a receipt, allowing the voter to double-check the results later because the results can be published without having to link the voter's name to the vote in the publicly released data.

Some, like the audience in that video, will be surprised by the simple fact that a little cryptographic technology offers a system wherein votes can be verified by those who cast the votes, using their receipts, without violating the anonymity of the voting process. The only problem is that it is still a relatively cumbersome process wherein voters will most likely never verify their votes. What surprises me about it is not the effectiveness of this solution, but the fact that it does not go nearly far enough.

For about three years I have been pondering a system for voting that is more easily verified, more comprehensively verifiable, and less prone to violating the anonymity protections of the system by simply observing the correspondence of the time a vote is cast and who was in the voting center at the time -- a potential weakness of Bismark's system. Perhaps more surprising to most people, the vast majority of voters could easily cast a vote without the government having to purchase and deploy expensive voting machines, staff polling locations all over town, or print any paper receipts at all. More to the point, we can have a completely verifiable system that protects voters' anonymity wherein they can cast their votes from home, using their Web browsers.

The key -- pun intended -- lies in the use of public key cryptography. The larger key sizes needed for public key (that is, asymmetric) cryptography to approach the strength of symmetric key cryptography pose little difficulty for this usage, because unlike the case of digitally signing, encrypting, and decrypting email on a regular basis, casting votes in a given election only happens once (in theory, at least). The process would look something like this:

  1. Each voter, at the time of registration to vote, generates a key pair that is stored on a USB flash media storage device.
  2. The public key IDs and their associated public keys are tracked by a public keyserver, just as how OpenPGP keys are often stored by people who wish to use them for digital signatures in email. The difference in this case is that the keyserver in question would only contain keys for the current election.
  3. That key is used to encrypt and "sign" the vote when it is cast in the browser. For added anonymity protection, the connection used to cast the vote can pass through an anonymizing system such as The Onion Router network (also known as Tor).
  4. Digitally signed votes are checked against the associated public keys, tallied, and published online for anyone who wants to get the complete voting results database.
  5. Each voter can verify that the votes he or she signed carry the vote selection values he or she chose.

There are scads of fiddly details that need to be ironed out as part of the design, implementation, and deployment of this system, and while it should prove at least an order of magnitude cheaper than purchasing and deploying millions of electronic voting machines, it would certainly not be free. The basic premise is simple and straightforward to anyone who has a basic understanding of public key cryptography, though, and the benefits for relatively honest, transparent, verifiable elections are obvious and substantial.

Whether plurality voting within the current political system is the best approach or not -- and that is certainly open to debate -- the fact remains that it is difficult to honestly argue against the desirability of verifiably accurate vote counting without compromising anonymity protections. These are the goals for which people started trying to adopt electronic voting, and they could have been achieved by now if the task of pursuing those goals had been approached intelligently and honestly.

They are also the reasons that, after the failure of incredibly bad ideas for how to implement electronic voting, many people reject the whole concept of electronic voting. The irony of this is the fact that, in the end, electronic voting -- if implemented properly, using modern cryptographic technologies to ensure verifiability and protect anonymity -- is our only reasonable hope of restoring a little trustworthiness to the system right now.

About

Chad Perrin is an IT consultant, developer, and freelance professional writer. He holds both Microsoft and CompTIA certifications and is a graduate of two IT industry trade schools.

41 comments
Leslie Poster
Leslie Poster

Electronic voting is indeed better than paper.  Electronic voting would surely make a difference.  Electronic voting system is indeed great especially if the flaws can be avoided.  I think this is the most convenient and safe when it comes to exercising people's right to vote.  Thanks!

-<a href="SurveyAndBallotSystems.com">http://www.surveyandballotsystems.com/</a>

PecosinRat
PecosinRat

Mr. Perrin quietly makes several assumptions that make his arguments seem much more reasonable than they actually are. The assumptions that concern me include: 1. Punch card ballots and paper ballots are the same thing. "The highly publicized problems paper ballots had in Florida led to widespread moves to adopt electronic voting technologies across the country." Punched card ballots are not paper ballots. The problems with chad in Florida don't demonstrate problems with paper ballots. Also, with the perspective of time we can see that "hanging chad" was never the disaster it was projected to be in the media at the time. 2. All reasonable alternatives to the current system revolve around adding some kind of receipt to existing touchscreen-type voting systems. "The majority of proposed solutions to the problems already seen in electronic voting involve printed receipts." Other simpler approaches (like a true hand-marked paper ballot loaded into the counting system via optical scan equipment) are never considered. 3. Encryption will protect voters from errors of omission or commission by the manufacturers of the software and political insiders. "...an approach to verifiable voting procedures using cryptographic representations of votes on a receipt, allowing the voter to double-check the results later because the results can be published without having to link the voter???s name to the vote in the publicly released data." Public/private key voting has no software independent record of the voter's intent. Software can be changed in an instant and it is effectively impossible to see the software as it is being used. As long as all records of a voter's intent pass through software to be stored and all viewing of the records of the voter's intent pass through software to be viewed, the voting public could never be certain that the software is doing what it is supposed to be doing, especially when there is no software independent record to compare to electronic totals. 4. Verification of a voting system is as easy as providing voter anonymity and ease of use. "More to the point, we can have a completely verifiable system that protects voters??? anonymity wherein they can cast their votes from home, using their Web browsers." If public/private key voting doesn't provide any effective way to check voting totals independent of the software, then using this same approach over the Net would make any certainty about where the totals came from even more difficult to achieve. In addition to the use of a hand-marked paper ballot as the official record of the voter's intent (thus giving the public a software independent record that can be used to audit final totals) that is mentioned above, there are simpler and more effective ways to use existing technology that don't put software between the voter and the record of the voter's intent and have the potential to make the entire process much more transparent. For example, one use of technology that would readily improve election transparency is to put a randomized version of the entire electronic record of an election's ballots on the Net well before certifying vote totals. (N.B. Randomizing presentation of ballot records would prevent the order in which ballot records appear from being an effective substitute for time-of-balloting.) Posting voting detail on the Net well before any certification of the vote would give challengers and the public in general the time and the information needed to carefully analyze the vote to look for problems. The more complex a voting solution is the easier it is for insiders to manipulate the vote. Further, if all the records of the voters' intent are electronic, the easier it is to manipulate the record detail so that it matches the manipulated totals so that no audit can reveal problems.

K7Sinclair
K7Sinclair

The video is still talking about a process that requires voters to attend voting places. I would like a Municipal Voting system where I can vote on my computer at home (we just did this for our Liberal Party Leader election in Canada) and my son can vote from his iPhone.

sjdorst
sjdorst

I have a multitude of objections to Electronic Voting - in ANY form. NO electronic user interface works as well as markable paper ballots. For clarity, I've got no problem with machines that mark ballots, but then, all they do is PRINT the ballot for votor review before tablulation. For the scheme described, where's the ability to audit? It supposedly guarantees that individual ballots are recorded as directed by the voter, but is only verifiable for voters who take the time to verify them. And what about voters who aren't tech savvy? Finally, I believe that all steps in the voting process - including counting and tabulation - should be publicly OBSERVABLE by any and all interested parties. The ONLY part of the process that should be private/secret is the individual vote at the ballot box. The voter verifies herr own ballot and deposits it into the ballot box (where it becomes anonymous unless the precinct turnout is ridiculously low), The rest of the process: counting, tabulation and chain of custody to storage location (in case of the need to audit/recount) needs to be completely public. Anything else opens up the process to the possibility of tampering. Finally, NONE of this should be in any way privatized! If there is any essential governmental function, it's the operation of the process that selects the government!

Vedolin
Vedolin

We've been using electronic voting in Brazil since 1997, without any (known) fraud report. Often there are international observers. America has trusted electronic systems far early than Brazil, involving money transactions and confidential data... What is wrong with the Brazilian model? I'm not being ironic, I really mean it. Is there a problem, or your congressists wants to profit upon reinventing the wheel?

pgit
pgit

I recall some sci-fi movie where everyone sits at home with a box and votes all day. As would be the case in the real world, nothing productive gets done and self interest goes mass market, supplanting "public interest." How would you filter out the undesirables? How would the mayor of Chicago secure the cemetery and dog pound votes? I think people should only elect at the county level directly. Then you have one set of people to keep and eye on, and do your local interest's bidding at the state level. Then the states appoint the federal reps, the way it was (should be) under the Articles of Confederation. Top down governance is always a disaster, and giving the masses "pure" and direct control over the likes of the purse strings is a double gainer with a back flip disaster. Bring back the tuns. Believe it or not people would have far greater influence at every level under a 'bottom-up' system, for one thing there's no way a simple majority can "vote" themselves largess from the public coffers, the incentives to apply influence would result in far more appropriate and effective 'governance,' meaning in part a LOT less of it overall.

lshanahan
lshanahan

How do you verify - especially where people vote "from home" - that the person who generates the key pair doesn't get up from the keyboard and let someone else vote for them once the key pair is generated? Or how do we guarantee that someone doesn't generate one key pair from their home PC and then go to say a library, generate a second key pair and vote again? How about someone using an identity that is not theirs to vote once (or multiple times) and then their own to vote again?

emenau
emenau

And even IF voting would be corruption proof then the joker you voted for will NOT be corruption proof. Still paper is MORE corruption proof then digital since it can not be hacked, votes cannot be changed as easy, can be recounted etc... Just don't allow stuff that is hackable into a voting system. or am i wrong?

jkameleon
jkameleon

... there is one problem: Voter seems to be able to prove his vote to somebody else, which opens the way to extortion. The clasical papet ballots suffer from the same drawback. In southern Italy, where local mafia demanded voters to record their voting on mobile phone, and send them the recording as a proof. This lead to the mobile phone ban at the polling stations. The better solution would be two paper ballots per voter, one is thrown into the ballot box, the other into the shredder.

robo_dev
robo_dev

Don't forget the other product Diebold makes: ATMs. Casting a vote is not all that technically different than using an ATM. There are the issues of identifying who the user is, making an interface the user can understand, then providing a secure method to exchange the data with a secure host. As we have learned, the voting machines that DESI used to make were based on a security model slightly less robust than the lock on your sister's diary. Audit trail? Pffffttt......{coffee spew}....heck, no, it's a computer, and computers never make mistakes, mistakes, mistakes. I won't mention that the CEO of the company was one of the top campaign contributors for one political party. There have been 'memory integrity' issues with these machines that caused votes to be shifted from one candidate to another. Because, as we all know, when there are memory integrity issues with a database or computer system, it can cause the values stored in tables to migrate to another opposite table so that the sum total of the two tables remains the same. :) (Note, I have some prime beach-front property in Florida for sale if anyone is interested). Not to be a tinfoil-hat conspiracy theorist but, do you know what happened to the IT specialist the day before he was going to provide testimony about this? Well, he had a bit of an accident. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Connell At one time ALL voting machines used the SAME key and....wait for it....you could order these keys online. But wait, there's more, there was a photograph of that key online, and it was the actual key. So a security researcher printed out the photo and made a key, and it worked. http://boingboing.net/2007/01/25/diebold_voting_machi.html http://www.cs.uiowa.edu/~jones/voting/dieboldacm.html Can us voters see how any of the technology works, and find out what security controls are in place? Nope, those are all 'trade secrets' and it's all intellectual property that you're not allowed to see. An interesting nod to 'open source' in this case; open source voting machine software should not only be an option, it should be required by law. There was a last-minute software patch made to certain Diebold voting machines in Georgia in 2002. This software patch was not tested or approved by those who certified the machine. http://www.wired.com/politics/law/news/2003/10/60563 Voting activist Bev Harris acknowledged no proof exists that anyone rigged the election systems, but she said, "We'll never know exactly what happened in Georgia because there's no paper trail to verify the votes."

Jaqui
Jaqui

Do you think this web based approach would be accepted by the government for use? Would they still accept it if ANY of the code used was GPLed? [ I bet they buy into the security by obscurity concept ] What are the chances of it being implemented for the second presidential election from now in the US? [ cause I don't think it will be for the next one for sure ]

cgkomeshak
cgkomeshak

Just be sure to open source the code. The anonymity of the voting process is paramount, which is why 'Vote by Mail' schemes, operated by the party in power, are a very bad idea. A secure e-vote system can also allow a true participatory democracy, eliminating representatives, if not all of congress.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

You suggest paper balot or punch card voting with a scanner which then transmits that vote back to the central system. How is this any more reliable than pure software based voting? All you've done is pushed the software vulnerability a little further back in the chain and hidden it inside a proprietary barrier limiting it's trust and auditability. In terms of an audit; we still have either hundreds of bins of punch cards to manualy re-count or we have voters taking the punchcard home after as a reciept of the vote. In both cases, we haven't improved the audit trail at all; either we have the same age old vulnerabilities in human counters or we have a population that has no ability to get together and reconfirm each other's indavidual punch cards. Personally, I really like where the software voting with PKI encryption can lead. Imagine every voter being able to download the final database of votes and public keys. Any citizen with access to a computer can do the work to verify the federal level totals themselves. Don't believe Florida's outcome; fetch the database and check it for yourself. Through pki magic, you could even verify that your own vote was in fact counted right in the final totals database.

apotheon
apotheon

The main topic of this article is an easier, more verifiable system than even the system described in the video -- and it would allow voting from iPhones, Android smartphones, and voting from your laptop or desktop computer.

apotheon
apotheon

> For the scheme described, where's the ability to audit? That was the subject of the majority of the article. Are you not clear on what "verification" means, or how public key encryption allows digital signatures to be used to render data (in this case, votes) effectively unfalsifiable in audits? > It supposedly guarantees that individual ballots are recorded as directed by the voter, but is only verifiable for voters who take the time to verify them. Actually, digital signatures are verifiable for anyone who has the public key -- and since the whole point of a public key is to make it suitable for public sharing, that means anyone and everyone who wants it could have the public key. Only the private key needs to remain private (thus the name "private key"). > And what about voters who aren't tech savvy? At first, let them keep using paper ballots if they want to. It should not be difficult to finesse the process to make it at least as suitable for even the worst luddites as the current paper ballot schemes in this country (the US), though. > Finally, I believe that all steps in the voting process - including counting and tabulation - should be publicly OBSERVABLE by any and all interested parties. You seem unclear on the fact that all vote tabulation under the proposed system would be 100% verifiable -- the utopian dream of voting tabulation transparency.

robo_dev
robo_dev

Again, observable, validated and so forth. Keep in mind that this is really not a 'computer vs. paper' question. This is really about how you make sure that a process is working correctly and there is an audit trail. Note that the main maker of the electronic voting machines, Diebold, also makes ATMs. The controls and safeguards built into ATM-based banking are considered to be adequately secure, and it mystifies me as to why this same company could not 'get it right' for voting machines. The issues and risks that we see with online banking are the same ones we would see with online voting.

apotheon
apotheon

As the article said, there's no statement made about the advisability of allowing people to vote on things, in and of itself. The article is just about ensuring that the votes are more verifiable, and thus much harder to manipulate for election fraud.

apotheon
apotheon

1. Frankly, I'm not sure it matters if someone can let someone else use his/her ky to vote. Someone could just as easily cast whatever vote someone else asks him/her to cast, using the present system. 2. One-to-one correspondence between registered voter and generated keys is at least as easily accomplished as one-to-one correspondence between registered voter and voter registration card. Worst-case scenario: we use basically the same procedure for that as for current registrations. A more interesting idea would be addition of a government-associated digital signature that accompanies each keypair, providing verifiability that the keypair was created by a registered voter and that only one keypair was used by that voter.

apotheon
apotheon

> or am i wrong? Well, I don't know -- did you read the article? How does someone change your vote without getting caught if you verify the vote after the fact?

apotheon
apotheon

> Do you think this web based approach would be accepted by the government for use? I doubt it. As they say, if voting could change anything, it would be illegal. Government officials will probably do everything in their power to prevent the implementation of a system that actually provides transparent, verifiable voting while still protecting the anonymity of voters. > Would they still accept it if ANY of the code used was GPLed? Why GPL? Why not a good license? > I bet they buy into the security by obscurity concept They buy whatever their biggest campaign contributors tell them to buy, for the most part. > What are the chances of it being implemented for the second presidential election from now in the US? Slim. Very slim. I frankly doubt anyone in a position to do anything about it will even hear about the intelligent use of cryptographic technologies to ensure sane voting procedures long before the second Presidential election from now.

ScarF
ScarF

as long we can avoid the trap of majorities forcing their will on minorities. But, the representative democracy puts the power in too few hands. And, for anyone, is much easier to corrupt a few guys without scruples than the majority of the people. The "Inside job" documentary shows what is really wrong with the representative democracy, and why it is outdated. On the other hand, the direct democracy is a verified system working very well in Switzerland. With the help of EDD we can get rid of the mobsters leading our countries - such as the gangs in financial and oil industries -, being a real social revolution. I believe that Switzerland is a real pioneer in what the democracy should look like. Anyway Chad, nice article.

Vedolin
Vedolin

That's a marvelous point. All around the world, people think they "democratically" participate in decisions. Although the democracy, created 2000 years ago means representation, this is the best their technology could provide at that time. But it is clear, with just a little thinking, that democracy is presented today as a form of individual power over government. Have you ever tried to have a meeting with a governor or a senator?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

It really reaches further than just the presedental elections. An easy to use, safe and nearly real-time voting system could enable true citizen democracy. Why let bias polititions vote for you by proxy based on there party's interests over yours when a nation wide citizen level vote could easily be held for any decisions happening in the capital. Robert Steel actually gets down to the level of publishing the national budget and allowing citizen to vote on each entry. Another of his ideas is democratic taxes; you still have to pay taxes but you have a say in what your tax dollars go to. if you value health care then weight your taxes towards that instead of allowing Washington to dictate that your taxes go towards fighting questionable wars. It could bring about very intersting times and bring the country back to it's democratic roots.. right.. my bad.. it'll never happen.. it threatens the power polaticions have become accustommed to.. they'd never vote to approve such a groth threat to there egos.

Sterling chip Camden
Sterling chip Camden

... I don't think that having every government bill submitted to a popular vote would help things at all. Open source +1.

apotheon
apotheon

That (re: public key encryption) is the very core of the system described in the article, right there. Good job laying it out simply.

pgit
pgit

with the exception that doing away with popular democracy for a localized system of tuns, where discussion leads to agreement and a recommendation in the place of a ballot, would obviate the need for any increased security of the voting mechanism. My solution to the problem stated in the article is as valid as any other.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

We can assign our ballet to a third party for voting. I could technically assign my balot to my parents to vote for the local representative instead of voting for the local rep where I live now. Nationally, it doesn't change the votes but it can change a local outcome. Either way, that's really no different than starting the vote process then letting someone else take over under your ID and key pair.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I think the previous poster's concern about "hackable" software is misguided at best but you do hit an interesting point. what if the paper balot (read then disgarded) does not report what was sent digitally? Consider an existing vuln; rewiring the buttons and labels. In this setup, the voter pressed the botton beside candidate A and the light beside Candidate A marks the selection. The wires going to the vote mechanism have been re-wired into Candidate B. For all visibale indications, your vote for A was accepted as a vote for A. In actual fact, your vote A was accepted as a vote for B. What is to stop the machine from printing the voter selected option on the reciept while submitting the electronic vote differently. If the paper disposal box is later counted for auditing the electronic submissions you've simply added more work without removing the original workload; collecting and counting paper ballots. I'm guessing that this is where encryption does it's work in some future setup. If one uses the candidates public key, that vote isn't easily going to be redirected into candidate B's private key space ("vote count?"). Either way, I'm trusting something FOSS developed; it's a security issue and transparency tends to help that. closed solutions only leave the end user in the dark as the company and criminal sides already know the exploitable vulnerabilities (or criminals do at least).

Jaqui
Jaqui

well I agree with you on that. the only reason I picked the GPL is that most readily available open source solutions are under it. finding a viable alternative under a different open source license would take a lot longer, or require writing it from scratch. but then, that is assuming that the government reps will even allow any open source to be used for it.

apotheon
apotheon

I know of one state senator who likes to pop into the meetings of a local citizens' group of which I'm a member -- a citizens' group that is nominally affiliated with a political party other than his own, in fact. He's a specimen of that incredibly rare animal, the honest politician.

apotheon
apotheon

We should still work on solutions to the problems that arise in federal level voting, too.

apotheon
apotheon

All else being equal, reducing workload is a valid factor to consider. The key is just to ensure that no higher priority items are not compromised to reduce workload.

pgit
pgit

You assume reducing work load is a valid reason for determining what methods will be used to vote? I don't think something as important as this (for the rest of you, I think voting is not only a waste but criminal, in it's current apparition) should be rushed, or have any time or labor constraints.

apotheon
apotheon

If votes are made public (with no public connection drawn between the vote and the voter, naturally), and every voter can verify his or her own vote, any attempt to alter votes before they are counted are trivially uncovered by that verification process. Meanwhile, with paper ballots, you put your piece of paper in the slot and never see it again. Sure, they can recount all they like -- but if there are people there replacing legitimate ballots with rigged ballots, the supposedly "more corruption proof" paper does zero good for verifying election results at all.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I actually specify a fairly minimum amount of Xorg; just the xorg-base and correct xserver video driver. This specified completely seporate to my choice of desktop environment and it's minimum desired packages. I really don't see the difference between "aptitude install xorg kde" and "aptitude install xorg" then "aptitude install kde".. in the words of the magnificient Mr Jobs; "not a big deal".

apotheon
apotheon

I guess my needs are different from yours. 1. I'd be willing to issue one more command to install the X Window System to avoid dealing with the plethora of issues something like Debian forces on me. 2. I'd want hardware accelerated 3D if I had an nVidia graphics card, anyway.

Jaqui
Jaqui

one that doesn't include any support for dbd. last time I looked at freeBSD [ about a month ago ] someone screwed dependencies up, install a gui and there is no x server installed? should have been an automatic it gets installed. was wanting to check the hardware on a laptop for function [ nvidia chipsets abound on the thing, and the open source drivers in nouveau don't power the graphics card. I'm forced, for any gui work, to use the proprietary driver, even 6 months after sending the nouveau team the results of their test scripts. though that is only 1 of the nvidia chipsets on this laptop. ] edit to add: results of running lspci: lspci 00:00.0 RAM memory: nVidia Corporation MCP78S [GeForce 8200] Memory Controller (rev a2) 00:01.0 ISA bridge: nVidia Corporation Device 075e (rev a2) 00:01.1 SMBus: nVidia Corporation MCP78S [GeForce 8200] SMBus (rev a1) 00:01.3 Co-processor: nVidia Corporation MCP78S [GeForce 8200] Co-Processor (rev a2) 00:01.4 RAM memory: nVidia Corporation MCP78S [GeForce 8200] Memory Controller (rev a1) 00:02.0 USB Controller: nVidia Corporation MCP78S [GeForce 8200] OHCI USB 1.1 Controller (rev a1) 00:02.1 USB Controller: nVidia Corporation MCP78S [GeForce 8200] EHCI USB 2.0 Controller (rev a1) 00:04.0 USB Controller: nVidia Corporation MCP78S [GeForce 8200] OHCI USB 1.1 Controller (rev a1) 00:04.1 USB Controller: nVidia Corporation MCP78S [GeForce 8200] EHCI USB 2.0 Controller (rev a1) 00:07.0 Audio device: nVidia Corporation MCP72XE/MCP72P/MCP78U/MCP78S High Definition Audio (rev a1) 00:08.0 PCI bridge: nVidia Corporation MCP78S [GeForce 8200] PCI Bridge (rev a1) 00:09.0 SATA controller: nVidia Corporation Device 0ad5 (rev a2) 00:0b.0 PCI bridge: nVidia Corporation MCP78S [GeForce 8200] PCI Express Bridge (rev a1) 00:13.0 PCI bridge: nVidia Corporation MCP78S [GeForce 8200] PCI Bridge (rev a1) 00:14.0 PCI bridge: nVidia Corporation MCP78S [GeForce 8200] PCI Bridge (rev a1) 00:15.0 PCI bridge: nVidia Corporation MCP78S [GeForce 8200] PCI Bridge (rev a1) 00:18.0 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] Mobile K10 [Turion X2, Athlon X2, Sempron] HyperTransport Configuration (rev 40) 00:18.1 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] Family 11h [Turion X2, Athlon X2, Sempron] Address Map 00:18.2 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] Mobile K10 [Turion X2, Athlon X2, Sempron] DRAM Controller 00:18.3 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] Mobile K10 [Turion X2, Athlon X2, Sempron] Miscellaneous Control 00:18.4 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] Mobile K10 [Turion X2, Athlon X2, Sempron] Link Control 02:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation C77 [GeForce 9100M G] (rev a2) 08:00.0 Ethernet controller: Broadcom Corporation NetXtreme BCM5764M Gigabit Ethernet PCIe (rev 10) 0b:00.0 Network controller: RaLink RT2860

apotheon
apotheon

Try networking code next. Find one that doesn't use BSD Licensed code in its TCP/IP stack.

Jaqui
Jaqui

the distro that doesn't include openssh, openssl support. that would be the one that wouldn't have copyfree software. and there is no such beast :D both are used or available for all distros.

apotheon
apotheon

There's a lot of software available under copyfree licenses. It only looks like everything in the world is GPLed when you hang out in Linux bars. It's a bad part of town; you should move to a better neighborhood. Show me a Linux-based desktop system that gets by without copyfree software on it. The truth of the matter is that copyfree software is actually even more pervasive than copyleft software. People just don't notice, because nobody fights over whether it's a good idea to use that software.

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