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11/19/2004
06:25 PM
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Letters To The Editor

Vote Still Out On Systems

The fact that the election went relatively smoothly doesn't rule out the possibility that there were widespread problems and even systematic tampering ("Results For E-Voting Systems: Mixed," Nov. 8). In the absence of an independent audit trail, we simply don't know, and that's unacceptable.

Techies need to remember that this isn't just a technological issue. When a significant portion of the electorate loses confidence in the electoral process, that is in itself a problem that must be addressed. Voting is the foundation of our democracy, and the process must be transparent and reliable, not an opaque monopoly of for-profit corporations.

Hugh Dunne
Phoenix


Too Soon To Tell

I can successfully log on to Windows XP, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the results of what I wanted to do were correct. Oftentimes, it kills programs or does other odd things. The assumption of success because it didn't have an outwardly obvious symptom is problematic. Microsoft has been trying to get Windows correct for eons, and the vendors of these voting machines haven't been doing it nearly as long, nor with the same amount of money.

Ralph Wells
Chief Operating Officer, rwSystemsNW
Monmouth, Ore.


Better Linux Support

One of the most interesting things about Linux is that, despite the fact that it's "open," support is actually better than for Windows at most companies ("Microsoft And Its Blind Spot: Linux," Nov. 1)! This is because, unless your company is big enough to hire a dedicated Microsoft interface person, you'll never be able to get through to talk to a useful technical-support person. With Linux, this isn't a problem: You have your choice of tech-support firms, and there are many genuinely useful Linux support Web sites.

David A. Land
President, LPI Information Systems
Overland Park, Kan.

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