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Re: Can a machine test itself? + other issues
- To: SAVIOCvs@aol.com
- Subject: Re: Can a machine test itself? + other issues
- From: "Stanley A. Klein" <email@example.com>
- Date: 07 Dec 2004 22:14:15 -0500
- Cc: hdeutsch@ESSvote.com, mking@KENNESAW.EDU, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, ren@EFF.ORG, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, s.morganstein@Populex.com, stds-1583-TG1@ieee.org
- In-reply-to: <email@example.com>
- References: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A colleague used to define "software release" as the point beyond which
all further bugs will be discovered in production use of the system.
I also once used a system that would deteriorate under use until nothing
worked. It was then reloaded and the process of deterioration would
start over again. This happened about monthly.
On Mon, 2004-12-06 at 22:11, SAVIOCvs@aol.com wrote:
> In a message dated 12/2/2004 8:35:38 PM Eastern Standard Time,
> sklein@CPCUG.ORG writes:
> On Tue, 2004-11-30 at 15:34, Deutsch, Herb wrote:
> > If this is on central count equipment or any central site
> software or
> > equipment, it is not covered in our scope. It would have to
> be part
> > of the polling place unit to be considered. In that case,
> since I
> > believe you take an image of the entire system including the
> OS, how
> > would you treat that today?
> That comment about "an image of the entire system including the OS"
> intrigues me. Since the machine itself must be used (I presume) to
> generate an image of the entire system, couldn't malicious software in
> the OS or BIOS present a false image of what is there? (I have been
> inquiring about a foolproof way to verify a BIOS. I'm not sure that
> one exists.)
> In the reliability discussions, shouldn't there be a distinction
> between (1) failures that lose votes or generate erroneous totals, and
> (2) failures that merely stop a machine's operation? The latter
> failure is particularly mild if the machine is easily restarted or
> replaced without loss of data.
> Regarding software bugs: software doesn't "wear out"; new bugs appear
> only under some combination of circumstances not previously tested.
> The more complex the software, the more possible combinations of
> circumstances exist. It is no great feat to make software pass some
> well-defined, repeatable test. A realistic test is to have many
> ordinary people use the system. The amount of testing required should
> be in some way proportional to the possible combinations of
> Malicious software is entirely different from buggy software. To my
> mind, there are two steps required to block malicious software:
> (1) make the software completely public, so anyone can check it, and
> (2) have a mechanism to assure that that very software is what is in
> the machine on election day. My SAVIOC system can meet both those
> criteria (except for the BIOS); as far as I know, no other system can.