The Slovak Republic’s Bureau of Statistics has used PCs running Ubuntu Linux for recording votes in the country’s municipal election on 29 November. Using open source saves money, says Štefan Tóth, Director Geneŕal of Informatics Section at the agency. For the bureau’s IT system administrators, Ubuntu proves easier to maintain and configure, and the software also withstands malware attacks better than the proprietary alternative, director Tóth confirms.
It is not the first time that the Bureau of Statistics uses open source, Tóth told the Open Source Observatory and Repository (OSOR). “We use Linux to run our application servers, and our good experiences here convinced us to also use this operating system for the election PCs.”
The use of Ubuntu Linux for the municipal election PCs was reported by the Slovak IT news site DSL.
The Bureau of Statistics booted Ubuntu Linux from a USB key. The agency created its own customised version, specifying hardware drivers, configuration scripts and security settings. The selection includes a few desktop applications, including a web browser (Chrome) and the LibreOffice suite of office productivity tools. The PCs only used the USB key: hard drives and other storage media in the PC were physically disconnected, Tóth explaines.
The voting system is a centralised web-application, DG Tóth says. “We simply turned PCs into thin clients.”
As in the Slovak Republic, Belgium is also using Linux for its machines used for voting. However, unlike in Belgium, the Bureau of Statistics is not making its code available for others to audit the software, Tóth says.