August 12, 2004 to the Utah Voting Equipment Selection Committee

Open Source Benefits Explained

"The basic idea behind open source is very simple: When programmers can read, redistribute, and modify the source code for software, the software evolves. People improve it, people adapt it, people fix bugs. This can happen at a speed that, if one is used to the slow pace of conventional software development, seems astonishing."

Open Source development is similar to the Democratic form of government. People have the opportunity to participate in government, and change/add/modify legislation. Everything is open to the public for better or worse, bad pieces of legislation are flushed out, and new better legislation takes its place.

Open Source uses that same model, the code is open for people to view and change. For a public project such as this is seems paramount that we would want a system that has been looked over by as many eyes as possible, and is open to change as needed.

IIS, which is Microsoft's Internet web server application is a closed source application developed by the worlds largest and most powerfully software company. The source code is closed.

Apache is a web server developed with the Open Source model by thousands of different developers with source code that is open for the world to see.

Ask any company developing from scratch which Web Server application, IIS or Apache, they would use. The answer would be Apache because Apache is more secure, reliable, configurable, and scalable. IIS is not very secure, reliable, or configurable. It has been the subject of countless viruses and attacks. In most instances for core applications, the open source module has produced superior software.

I have been a Database Administrator, Programmer, and Systems Admin over the last 7 years I've personally converted 4 companies from closed source applications such as IIS, Microsoft SQL server, ASP, etc to Open Source applications such as Postgres, MySQL, Apache, perl, PHP, etc. And in every case we saved money, decreased development time, had better security, and more flexibility. This is what the open source model brings.

Open source is the only logical way to go. To pay a company to create a closed source application is insane. The tax payers dollars would be better served creating a open source project that everybody can benefit and contribute too. Short and Long term this will give us the best value.

Keith Pettit,

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