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Open Source Democrats Software Politics

To Open Source Obama's Get-Out-the-Vote Code Or Not? 356

An anonymous reader writes "There's a battle brewing amongst Obama's election team. The political folks want to keep the get out the vote code closed source so republicans never get access to it, but the programmers want it open sourced so it can be improved upon. 'In this sense, the decision to mothball the tech would be a violation of the developers’ ethical principles. But the argument is about more than whether putting the tech back in the hands of the public is the right thing to do. "The biggest issue we saw with all of the commercial election software we used was that it’s only updated every four years," says Ryan. It was these outdated options that convinced team Obama to build all the campaign tech in-house. If the code OFA built was put on ice at the DNC until 2016, it would become effectively worthless. "None of that will be useful in four years, technology moves too fast," said Ryan. "But if our work was open and people were forking it and improving it all the time, then it keeps up with changes as we go."'"
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To Open Source Obama's Get-Out-the-Vote Code Or Not?

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  • by operagost ( 62405 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @04:18PM (#42660525) Homepage Journal
    You forgot to call them Nazis who want to tell women what to do with their bodies and shoot gay people with assault weapons.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @05:18PM (#42661291) Journal
    Look, the code is not all that valuable or secret or great or not-repeatable or anything. Republicans with their friendly corporations can hire better programmers and put together equal or better code.

    What made OFA better was that people were willing to let Obama For America get access to their friend's list, .mailrc, gmail contact list etc etc. I, for one, would be very terribly upset if OFA shares the contact graph created by me allowing OFA access to my private list of friends shared willy-nilly and every Tom-Dick-or-Harry politician starts calling my contact list pretending to have my approval or endorsement. I gave Obama access to my contact list. I don't want it shared with DNC without my explicit approval.

    I trust Congressional democrats less than I trust Obama. In fact I trust Congressional Republicans less only by a slim margin compared to congressional Democrats. Looks like Harry Reid is preparing to cry uncle and surrender everything in the filibuster reform.

  • by tweir ( 27510 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @05:29PM (#42661429)

    Post-election it was widely reported that the tech powering the Obama camp was a big factor in its success, whereas the Romney camp was handicapped by poorly tested & implemented systems.

    Why would they want to give that away that sort of advantage?

    My suggestion would be to make it easy to volunteer on the project, & hack on the code, but not go so far as to open source it. This enables participation from folks who are motivated, but doesn't give the competition a leg up.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982