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Security Politics

Bug In DOS-Based Voting Machines Disrupts Belgian Election 193

Posted by samzenpus
from the slowing-things-down dept.
jfruh (300774) writes "In 20 cantons in Belgium's Flanders region, voting machines are x86 PCs from the DOS era, with two serial ports, a parallel port, a paltry 1 megabyte of RAM and a 3.5-inch disk drive used to load the voting software from a bootable DOS disk. A software bug in those machines is slowing the release of the results from yesterday's election, in which voters chose members of the regional, national, and European parliaments. The remaining voting machines, which are Linux-based, are unaffected, as were voters in the French-speaking Wallonia region of the country, most of whom use paper ballots."
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Bug In DOS-Based Voting Machines Disrupts Belgian Election

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  • by sillybilly (668960) on Monday May 26, 2014 @11:26PM (#47096869)
    Your sig says "It is now safe to switch off your computer."

    With DOS, in the old days, you could just cut the power to the computer without any warning, and it would be fine, so shutdown time was 0 seconds, also boot time was super fast, like 1-10 seconds, unless you had a long autoexec.bat and config sys. And that was on 486 CPU's, pre-Pentium's.

    DOS came with no bullshit, you can't really blame DOS for the programming error in the voting software, DOS is a reliable, secure(has no network layer unless you add one, and you can add non-tcp-ip stuff), real time, direct hardware access, and it is reliable and secure because it's so small, it fits on a floppy with plenty of room to spare unlike these 5 GB bloatloads of crap with daily patches they are releasing at microshaft these days. I don't remember a single service pack for DOS. Well, there were incremental versions, like 6.0, 6.2, 6.21, 6.22. By the way windows 95 comes with DOS 7,0, a very good version, and you can find most of the missing stuff in the oldmsdos folder on the win95 cdrom. Plus you get a neat version of windows for free,with a very small registry, and relatively low bs, but it doesn't run much modern stuff either, but it runs VB6 classic, and Office 97 just fine. They have yet to make an office version better than Office 97sp2 (service packs mostly fix vba crashes, but you can almost live with those crashes/hangs), Office 2000 is on par without needing bugfix service packs, while office 2002 is already too bloated(plus may require the activation bullshit), shit started going downhill by then, really accelerating by 2003, and pretty much turning into annoying piece of crap by office 2007, plus activation. Activation means you can't run it 50 years from now if Microsoft is out of business by then, or they simply refuse to activate it, and instead tell you to upgrade, which may happen even these days, to all versions starting with office xp=office 2002. Same goes for the OS, if you're packing up reserves for the future, and archiving stuff in case you have to go back to it, go for win95 full version that includes dos 7, and windows 2000, the very last windows without activation, also office 97 with sp1+sp2, and VB6 sp5 (don't use sp6, it introduces bugs on purpose, to usher along for upgrading.) Also Firebase database might come in handy, or ADO with SQL Server 7 or 2000, but SQL Server is expensive, and on a network it requires NT/2k server with client access licenses and such, so it's better to run off a common file on a network drive, or off of PostgreSQL 6-8 on Linux 2.4/2.6. The DOA database with office 97 access kinda sucks, but the access 2000 one is ADO, and the two are not compatible, ADO being much simpler than DOA, but it started to get bloated a bit, not enough to not make it better than DOA. Also from what I read delphi 5 and 7 are golden, but there is Lazarus now, I don't know how that would work on win95. Absolutely nobody is selling delphi 5 or 7, or it's like 300 bux. Delphi was a secret of coding houses cutting development time by like 5x compared to all the alternatives. I never programmed in it, but I've seen a lot of quality software by very smart people written in it, so it must be something really good if they chose it. VB6/VBA still kicks ass for basic stuff, but it's not very fast, and for heavy duty large projects, in development speed and code execution speed and codesize kept in balance, nothing beats delphi 5 or 7. The later dotnet versions of delphi are absolute pure raw crap, from what I read, just like anything touched by dotnet.

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