Nigeria Uses GNU/Linux to Manage Elections

Nigeria which has struggled over decades to give diverse groups of people a place in their democracy, has found GNU/Linux works for them to keep track of millions of voters. 120K PCs in a huge network manage the database. The roll-out was poorly implemented as they switched from local procurement to Lenovo and back to local procurement from M$’s “partners” who spared no opportunity to slag GNU/Linux:
“To make matters worse, the operating system that has been recommended by this Odero is the Linux Operating System, in a country where 99.999 per cent of computers run on the Windows Operating System. “This is bizarre” said one ICT expert, “the Linux OPS is hardly used in this country. The version being recommended is one even made in Brazil. There will be the big problem of compatibility with Windows which is used almost everywhere in the country.”

Industry professionals have termed INEC’s decision to contract a Kenyan in place of hundreds of ICT and software experts in the country as difficult to comprehend. They also questioned Mr. Odero’s track record in the industry, disclosing that before taking up his present appointment with Google, he had worked for Alteq/TSC and Socket Works, two Nigerian software solutions providers that were not pre-qualified by INEC to bid for the software side of the DDC contract.”

So, hecklers complain there is not expertise with GNU/Linux so they should be the ones hired to work on the system after GNU/Linux was selected? They have no argument so they put up irrelevancies.

see Twists and Turns

“Software, he said, remained the main driver of the hardware, and that once the specification of the software is wrong, it would affect the performance of the hardware itself. Linux, which is Open Source Software, does not have high security features needed for a nation’s voter’s registration exercise, he said.”

This was from a so-called expert, President of NCS, Prof Charles Uwadia.

see Nigeria: Imperatives of National Database

Local suppliers of PCs received more than $100 million for 132k PC, about $1000 apiece, yet they still complain. Lenovo could have delivered stuff on time and on budget. Instead, the hecklers have caused development of a mission-critical system to be rushed and without time for testing and training. The slagging of GNU/Linux for not being that other OS is stupid. This is a special-purpose system meant to be the front-end of a database. It does not need to interoperate with any system running that other OS. This system is to register voters. Training is required in any event because voting rules change over time. Some of the local suppliers did not deliver on time complicating the roll-out.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.

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8 Responses to Nigeria Uses GNU/Linux to Manage Elections

  1. I disagree. Red Hat is very solid and well supported. I like Debian for its flexibility. Ubuntu is still having “growing pains”. I am sure it is quite useful and newbie-friendly but for serious work I like something else. For the next release or two, I expect there will be a lot of bugs in Ubuntu while they are tweaking the entire user-interface.

  2. Sagitarius says:

    Ubuntu is the only Linux OS for any serious job.

  3. Debian 6! Or Maverick Meerkat! Or Natty Narwahl…

  4. All kinds of embedded systems benefit from GNU/Linux because it is an ideal developer’s platform, small and inexpensive.

  5. Adejumo Adetola says:

    Linux is known to be very secure and stable, and if Elections will be a serious deal, then deploying Linux is just the best idea

  6. The adoption of a GNU/Linux based operating systems is a noble idea considering that it is cost-friendly, stable and secure if well implemented.

    Imagine having your 120,000 M$ voting system going down during the voting process.

  7. Ray says:

    Can’t go wrong with Linux on databases 😀

  8. nightgoblin says:

    No, no, no. We can’t allow 120.000+ PCs running some unproven Brazilian hobby OS. This is clearly the job for rigged Diebold Windows machines.

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