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Obama campaign dashboardThere is a dispute between the developers who worked on the Obama campaign and the political pros at the DNC over what to do with the tools developed for the Obama campaign. Essentially, the developers want to make the code open-source while the DNC wants to keep it proprietary. "Open-source" means anyone can use the code and develop their own changes to it. My first thought was that this essentially means giving it away to the Republicans, and my reaction was, "Are you kidding!?!?" After giving it some thought though, looking at both sides ... are you kidding?!?! (reversing the order of the question marks and exclamation points makes it technically a different thought).

Just to make sure all readers have the rough idea of what code they're disputing about, you probably heard by now about the technological edge the Obama campaign had over the Romney campaign. Probably many of you used Dashboard for organizing neighborhood teams, setting up events, etc. More behind the scenes were technologies allowing such things as testing and analysis of e-mail fundraising messages, predictive analytics of voters, and analysis of TV audiences to efficiently buy ads. As that sentence implies, a bunch of people high up in the campaign couldn't help blabbing about what they built. The Republicans figured out that the Obama campaign did some things Romney didn't do that gave Obama an edge, but they didn't know what until the election was over, when it was handed to them. Not how to do what Obama did, but Republicans hadn't even known what Obama did. Now they do. They still don't know how to build it, but now they know what to build.

Anyway, that seems like enough advantage to giveaway. Presumably the Republicans will figure out how to build similar tools and perform similar analysis themselves. They certainly now know to spend much more heavily on developers and statisticians. Do we have to give them everything by releasing the code to whoever wants it?

I'm actually not indifferent to the concerns of the developers. They're concerned that the software will be "mothballed" until 2016, meaning left to sit until the next presidential campaign. I hope they're concerns are unfounded. If anyone at the DNC really does think they can put the code in some virtual bottom drawer and dig it out again to run the same campaign in 2016, that person needs to be put on stuffing envelopes or window cleaning, but they sure shouldn't be making decisions. You'd think it would be obvious to anyone living in the digital era that the marvelous 2012 tech will be obsolete in four years, and it should be obvious to anyone working in politics that the other party will try to catch up, and maybe above all, my concern as a grassroots activist, the tools need to be used for state and local parties and campaigns NOW. Get the developers back on payroll, and have them adapt the Obama tools to a local level. Imagine if every Senate campaign, even state senate campaigns, every local party, could have a Dashboard for organizing.

The developers also have an ethical concern, namely that some open-source software was use to develop the Obama campaign tools, so what they built should be released. That's a reasonable concern. One developer interviewed for The Verge article said they're thinking the software could do a lot of good the next for years if used by progressive groups, which would also further it's development. The developers also suggest that failure to make the Obama code open-source will make it much harder to recruit developers for the next campaign.

However, they seem not to be considering the other side, judging from this quote,

Members of the tech team suspect that the real rationale for keeping the code private is much less high-minded. "The gist of it is, they're concerned that with the superior funding of the Republicans, if they had our software, they'd be unstoppable,"
High-minded? It's about being able to compete with an opposing that often seems to see the Democrats as an enemy to be destroyed. Think the Republicans will share anything they develop that actually works? That the Republicans will refrain from using their advantage in corporate and billionaire money just because the Democrats don't have it? Yes, the Democrats have a technical edge, and I'm mystified the developers have trouble seeing the utter necessity of maintaining it.

Maybe, to satisfy ethical concerns, some of the code can be released. Maybe some doesn't give away anything to the Republicans that they don't already have. Obviously I'm not privy to enough information to speculate knowledgeably on just what. Providing the code to progressive groups could do a lot of good, provided there are controls to stop the code from getting loose, and provided such help doesn't violate campaign finance laws. Maybe the tools could be given out, but not the code. When the tools reach the local level, few people would have the ability to develop, but they could learn to use them.

So we're looking at three separate problems: preventing the code from getting loose and letting the GOP quickly catch up; getting it out to Democratic-friendly organizations, especially state and local parties and candidates; keeping development going so the tools remain current and better than what the GOP has. My impression is the developers and campaign pros are talking past each other like Republicans and facts. It would be a disaster to either give up the technical advantage, or to let the code gather moss until 2016.

A bunch of volunteers and local campaign staff learned how to use the tools to elect Obama. Imagine if we could keep doing that for congressional and state legislative candidates in 2014.

Cross-posted at MN Progressive Project

Originally posted to ericf on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 10:31 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Screw ethics. With this plan to cheat in the (14+ / 0-)

    elections, we need this for both 2014 and 2016 to absolutely crush Republicans in as many red districts as possible.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 11:02:27 PM PST

  •  "but now they know what to build." (14+ / 0-)

    The same was said of Stalin and the atom bomb.  The biggest secret was that it could be done at all.

    I did rec this diary for the value of the discussion but I definitely come down on the other side.  The what is a much bigger deal than the how.

    Leaving the Republicans to develop a "Microsoft" version would be small compensation for the loss of creative energies from progressive forces in enhancing (or even transforming) it during the next four years.

    In addition, there is a real price to pay long-term in violating the obligation to release code that is built on all the previous work creating open-source software.

    •  Microsoft (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirtandiron

      What's a 'Microsoft Version'?

      •  Analogous to MS's bloated clunky software to (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        La Gitane, memiller

        quickly produce a poorly written unmaintainable program to do an imitation of the functionality of other programs that are already out there.

        •  Unmaintainable (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kyril

          How do you know it's unmaintainable? Have you seen the code. Since it's close source, it's pretty difficult to figure out how you can comment on the maintainability of software you haven't seen. I would think it's pretty maintainable. Since they have been maintaining backward compatibility much better than Apple and also many open source software?

    •  The small secrets still matter (5+ / 0-)

      Just look at how crappy redstate has been over the years.  And honestly it has gotten worse over time.

      To me though the main argument in favor is that the Republican and the Democratic bases are very very different.

      The 70 year old senior voter simply wont benefit as much from Obama's software.

      So I think that the data entry tools should be released, but the analysis tools should not.  

      Tools which 20 and 30 somethings use should be released and the rest should not.  You don't have to open source an entire codebase to get a good benefit.

      •  The new cold war (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dirtandiron, Ninepatch

        Democrats vs Republicans instead of the US vs Russia.

        With Republicans threatening to steal the 2016 election by eliminating winner take all in their gerrymandered states, and their Senate use of the filibuster, they're showing themselves to be undemocratic usurpers, not believing at all in majority rule -- enemies of the state.  It's the Democratic Party's obligation to defeat this threat to democracy to the point where it can be drowned in Grover Norquist's bath tub.

        And unlike 2008, this time Democrats should actually do it.

        So -- plan for espionage and spies, covert operations, and a software race much like the US's arms race with the Soviet Union.  In this case, our intellectual forces vs their brute money.

        Even Democrats can be asses. Look at Rahm Emanuel.

        by Helpless on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 10:27:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The open source community has utopian ideals (7+ / 0-)

    that don't necessarily mesh with practical, let alone political reality.  They provide an important option, but the belief that it's always the best option is pure ideology.  These tools should not merely remain proprietary, but secret (i.e., no patents that could be stolen from some office laptop - just hide the shit out of it).

    Pour yourself into the future.

    by Troubadour on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 11:48:35 PM PST

    •  According to the article (12+ / 0-)

      The developers' primary concern is that OFA doesn't want these tools to be used to help other Dems get elected in the midterms.

      That's a big red flag.  We have a real problem here when OFA is working at cross purposes with the DNC.  That should never be allowed to happen. Ever.  It doesn't help anyone.

      There's also this issue

       

      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."
      Why not let them continue to improve if by allowing them to use it for the 2014 races?

      Lesson to developers - work with DNC, not OFA.  OFA is a private brand.

      Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

      by Betty Pinson on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 08:20:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Although I couldn't find a specific statement (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Helpless, sawgrass727, kyril, psnyder

        that "OFA doesn't want these tools to be used to help other Democrats get elected in the midterms", I realize that it would amount to the same thing if these tools aren't in fact used. And I strongly agree that they  should be used for 2014. (I may have missed something in both the article and the links.)

      •  Smells like reincarnation of the damned DLC (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ninepatch, psnyder

        same shit, different label.

        Otherwise, why all the secrecy and working at cross-purposes with the DNC?  That dog's not hunting.

        "Washington, DC: Where Corruption is Rewarded, and Ethical Merit is DESPISED.

        by The Truth on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 03:21:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Huh? (0+ / 0-)

          It's an extension of Obama for America.  And working in OFA on healthcare reform in 2009-2010, we had Democratic members of Congress such as Chet Edwards, a moderate Democrat in Waco, complain to the DNC about OFA calling supporters in his district to urge Chet to support health care reform.  As a result, we were told to stop.

          So please stop with the DLC BS.  If we are part of the DNC, it is the moderates and blue dogs who will try to get in our way.  That is what happened before.

          Barack Obama for President '12

          by v2aggie2 on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 05:33:47 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Open source covers a wide spectrum (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      psnyder, keirdubois

      Not all who work in open source are idealists. Many open source projects exist for practical reasons. In the other sciences, it is generally recognized that peer review leads to higher quality science. In computer science, for some reason, some people think that secrecy will produce better results. That is more akin to alchemy than science.

      The idea that any sorts of information tools can possibly remain secret for any extended period is a bit naive. "Information wants to be free" is not an ideological statement, it is merely an observation couched in anthropomorphic terms.

  •  There is no requirement (13+ / 0-)

    ethically or legally to even mention which open-source code they have used.

    That code is their for the RNC to go and find. Why should we tell them where to look?

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    Who is twigg?

    by twigg on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 12:18:00 AM PST

    •  Depends on what they used and how it was licensed. (4+ / 0-)
      •  that's the whole point of open source, though (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sophie Amrain, twigg, wbr

        it's there to be played with.  no registrations, licenses and what not required.

        Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothin' new to say - Grateful Dead

        by Cedwyn on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 06:11:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Open Source (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          quill, worldlotus, kyril

          I don't think you understand what open source means.
          Open Source is not the same as public domain. You can start by reading this - http://en.wikipedia.org/...

        •  No (5+ / 0-)

          As others have noted, it depends upon the license used in what they started with.

          If what they used is licensed under the BSD or MIT licenses, or something equivalent, then indeed there is no obligation to release any derivative work.  If it's licensed under the GPL or similar (often referred to as "copyleft", however, they do have a legal obligation to release it if they distribute it at all.

          Free software/open source (FOSS) licensing may not be as complex as commercial licensing, but it's far from trivial.  And there are licensing incompatibilities which make it impossible to combine certain things.

          •  Yes, that is my understanding (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kyril, Ninepatch

            that if any software is developed using open source tools, the source code is only required to be released if the software is distributed.  Otherwise it can remain proprietary.  And the distinction between BSD/MIT and GPL licensing complicates it all.

            The question here is whether use of the software by related entities such as the DNC constitutes distribution.

            I believe it to be unwise to allow the GOP to get even a whiff of the source.

            It seems to me the expense of keeping a small development team in place to maintain and update the code is small compared to a large scale crash program near the election.

            Real plastic here; none of that new synthetic stuff made from chicken feathers. By the morning of 9/12/2001 the people of NYC had won the War on Terror.

            by triplepoint on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 01:16:29 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Nope (0+ / 0-)
              that if any software is developed using open source tools, the source code is only required to be released if the software is distributed.  Otherwise it can remain proprietary.  And the distinction between BSD/MIT and GPL licensing complicates it all.
              First caution: IANAL.  This isn't legal advice.  Talk to a lawyer if you really want to know what you can or can't do in a given situation.  This is my understanding of the situation.  But I've been involved with FOSS for the better part of 30 years now...

              "Developed using open source tools" has nothing to do with it.  There's plenty of proprietary software written using GNU Emacs as a text editor or gcc as the compiler, and it's perfectly legal.  The issue is just like any other copyright: if a work containing elements from multiple sources are combined, all copyright holders must agree to its distribution.

              If parts of the work are licensed under the GPL -- which can include directly embedded source code, or libraries licensed under the GPL (many libraries are licensed under the LGPL, which has different rules), then the entire work can only be distributed in a way that satisfies the GPL.  Otherwise, the holder of the copyright of the GPL-licensed work hasn't given permission for the distribution.  And there might actually be multiple holders of said copyright.

              I believe Richard Stallman has said that he does not consider distribution within a company or similar to be "distribution" for the purposes of the GPL, but that only applies to works where he has a say in the copyright distribution (I don't remember whether the GPL itself speaks to this, in which case anything using the GPL would be so covered).  But copyright in general does hold even for copying within a company (look at how many companies get in trouble for not having the right number of licenses for their proprietary software).

              If this software package does not include any outside copyleft or proprietary licensed software, then yes, the owner can make a unilateral decision.

    •  yes, there may be a requirement (4+ / 0-)

      Depending on the OSS license of the software they used, it maybe illegal for them NOT to share the code for the tools they created. If so, and they refuse to share, then they deserve to be taken to court over this, regardless of the tactical considerations.

      "I don't cry over milk spilled under bridges. I go make lemonade" - Bucky Katt

      by quill on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 08:28:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Usually that requirement only kicks in (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        quill, kyril, Miggles, Ninepatch, A Citizen

        if the software is sold or distributed.  Stuff developed in-house and not distributed does not fall under the GPL's requirement to distribute the source.

        Economic Left/Right: -7.38
        Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -8.00
        Two steps to the right of Trotsky.

        by jvance on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 01:18:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  No (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Miggles

        If I (as an individual or an organization) use GPL-licensed code to write software for my own use, I am not obligated to release the source code for my software.

        For instance, I could use GPL-licensed libraries to build a program to solve a problem for a class, as I actually happen to be doing right now (or, rather, procrastinating). As long as I never distribute the compiled program, I am under absolutely no obligation to release the source (and, in fact, doing so would itself be ethically problematic because it would conflict with my department's plagiarism policy).

        That's still true even if I'm an organization - if we build it in-house and use it in-house, we don't have to release the source. We can even run it on a server that supports everyone in the organization.

        It might become slightly murky if (a) we run it on a server where the public can use it or (b) we let everyone in the organization run a copy on their work machine. It would be particularly questionable if we let them have it on their personal machines. That's something actual lawyers would have to weigh in on.

        But the only time, under copy-left licenses like GPL, that you must release the source is when you distribute the software. That means giving it to people who didn't build it.

        Which, by the way, might be one of the reasons OFA is concerned about letting the DNC use the tools: that's distribution, and that's where the GPL kicks in.

        "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

        by kyril on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 04:05:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Republicans have been using directed advertising (6+ / 0-)

    for decades. It grew out of their direct mail efforts. It accounts for all the lists being compiled and sold by the likes of Worldnet News. If they didn't use it to organize the electorate, it's because they disdain the electorate and count on electronic propaganda to persuade them. They could develop local person to person organizations, just as DFA did and then dropped, if they wanted to. But, that would require two-way communication, which authoritarians aren't into. They are into milking the electorate, not tending to their needs.
    But, the real problem is that the American electorate is mobile. Americans relocate residence on average, every two years. Which is why there have to be constant enrollment efforts. That means work. Authoritarians are allergic to work.
    The allergy to work cannot be corrected with a pill or a code.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 12:30:52 AM PST

  •  They shouldn't need the code, once they know (9+ / 0-)

    or have a sense of the unprecedented levels of data mining / predictive modeling that the Obama campaign was doing.  

    I work in a similar field - fundraising for a large not for profit.  So, OK.  Imagine if we lose our "code" tomorrow, lose all the Crystal reports and pivot tables and export macros, etc.  Lose all of that.  Remaining, we have only the raw data of the database itself: names, addresses, phone/email, and donation dates and amounts.

    We could and would hire some programmers and get back up and running tout de suite.  Because "crunching some code" is the relatively easy part if you have money; the recession has left many talented programmers still looking for work or for better-paid work.  They'd jump at the offer.  And that includes pro consultants who can supply the imagining/knowing what you want to measure and can measure, imagining that to the fullest and then mapping out plans to execute that vision.

    I understand the idealism of "open source" and the calls to "free the code!" but in my opinion it over-glorifies the role of code-crunching, and minimizes the more essential role of knowing what you want the crunchers to crunch.  With that in hand, code crunching is an easily hireable skill.

    •  I (9+ / 0-)

      remember being the annoying DBA around here saying how great the Obama DBA were during the election.

      But the heart really is quality DBAs.  They know what know.  They have the time and resources to pay for tons of miners.

      But that does not mean on any level we have to share our actual code or marketing tools resulting from analysis.  That makes no sense.  You want to pay to keep the people who already know it and bring in fresh talent that will bring more to the table.

      But all that won't mean shit if you don't have a ground game to make contact with your actual message.  

      Even then I think we win on a National level because our message just makes fucking sense.

    •  This is a good reason to open source the code (4+ / 0-)

      But you probably underestimate the value of coders.

      For example Mitt Romney did build a system and it did fail.

      Fact is there are be talented programmers out there.  That doesn't mean you know how to hire them and the peoeple you hired might assure you that everything is going great right up until the day they accidentally delete all of your data and corrupted the backups.

      •  The Romney campaign was a management failure (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril

        from A to Z.

        That doesn't mean you know how to hire them and the peoeple you hired might assure you that everything is going great right up until the day they accidentally delete all of your data and corrupted the backups.
      •  Romney's Orca was just a computerized (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Torta, radical simplicity, kyril

        strike list. Pfft!

        The Obama campaign tried a similar thing in 2008 and had problems with theirs, too. They decided it wasn't really worth the trouble, and only used a small scale spot check type program called "Gordon" on election day this time around.

        The Narwhal software and the Dreamcatcher software were far more complex and sophisticated than just a computerized strike list.

    •  FWIW - in business method patents (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Torta, kyril

      My understanding for computer programs - what matters is the structure of the functions and how they interact, not the lines of code.

      It's assumed that once a programmer knows what a computer method does, any programmer skilled in the art, can write code.

      It's not necessary to have the lines of actual code donated to the public.

  •  Does this really matter? (6+ / 0-)

    Based on names dropped, I get the impression that they're only talking about open sourcing a bunch of user experience stuff.  Unless the data crunching engine is built into whatever they built using Rails, Flask, Jekyll and Django (doubtful), who cares if they release it?

  •  The software doesn't belong to the DNC (4+ / 0-)

    it belongs to the Obama campaign. The DNC is on the outside and needs to ask for access itself!

  •  That's more than an 'ethical concern'. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quill, TheOpinionGuy
    The developers also have an ethical concern, namely that some open-source software was use to develop the Obama campaign tools, so what they built should be released. That's a reasonable concern.
    That's part of the legally binding contract you enter into when you use many (most?) pieces of 'open source' code.  It depends upon just what they used, and what licenses those pieces were under, and how they used it, but there might well be a successful lawsuit in the wings if they meet the licensing criteria under which such code might be used.  It may end up hinging, for instance, on the definition of 'commercial gain' or some other clause buried in the licensing of whatever base code they used.
    •  Which is one practical reason why they CAN'T (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      radical simplicity, kyril

      sell licenses for it, or rent portions of it's output.

      There are strong arguments to be made that an election campaign is not a for profit venture.

      It may end up hinging, for instance, on the definition of 'commercial gain' or some other clause buried in the licensing of whatever base code they used.
  •  Are you talking about the OFA VAN program? (6+ / 0-)

    A clone of VAN titled R-Vote was offered for sale to the Repigs in June 2011. They declined and went for that last-minute jive "program" that was for use on Election Day and it let them lose. How could they have expected a win if they had to cram a year's work into one day? The mind boggles at the stupidity and cupidity.
    What was Organizing for America, then Obama for America, is now Organizing for Action, using the database to fund raise and urge support for Obama's agenda. That's a whole shit-ton of instant contacts of indies and Dems to ask to take action on an item.
    There are two sites up that appear t be selling R-Vote-syle programs. One is rVotes.com

    Everything you need to win votes, Integrated Into One, Proven System.

    The Original Game Changer.

    The Core, "Ground Game"
    Technology of the Democrats'.

    From the original architect of The 'Most Winningest' political software in history.

    Manage and oversee one or every
    political campaign within your state.
    All Integrated, All Powerful, All Yours.

    that won't let you back out of visiting it, which I hate;
    the other is RVote.net, which is "under maintenance."

    I ♥ President Obama and have his back.
    Hands off SocSec, Medicare and Medicaid. NO subsidies to rich Corps.
    Rich pay more, bloated DoD steal less. End war on Afghanistan 01/01/14.

    by OleHippieChick on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 05:53:57 AM PST

    •  VAN is proprietary software (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      v2aggie2, OleHippieChick

      Written by NGP Software, and is not owned by the Obama campaign. By the same token, a bunch of other software used in the Obama campaign is proprietary software, written by other vendors, and not owned by the campaign. The people doing the clamoring for release sound like they understand very little of the software involved in the OFA machine this election.

      As for down-ticket races, I don't know about other states, but VAN is made available, for free, to the candidates for in-state offices, and to county and town parties in VT. The VT Democratic party pays for a license for state-wide use among its candidates. I've done more than a little updating of the voter lists in the VAN.... It's a great tool, and if there are states where the democratic party isn't using it, they're cheating themselves out of a great tool, but that's not the fault of the Obama administration.

      •  Ah, I did not know this, thanks. (0+ / 0-)

        I also did data entry using VAN the 6-8 months before the election. While I see that it was obviously for sale as R-Vote, I guessed it wouldn't be the O campaign or OFA offering it for sale. That would have been crazy. What was really crazy was that the RomRy campaign didn't buy it and use it.

        I ♥ President Obama and have his back.
        Hands off SocSec, Medicare and Medicaid. NO subsidies to rich Corps.
        Rich pay more, bloated DoD steal less. End war on Afghanistan 01/01/14.

        by OleHippieChick on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 04:06:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Software and organization helped Obama win, (11+ / 0-)

    but the key thing was that the Republicans had a crappy message and a crappy candidate.

    They also have a greed problem. In general, Democratic activists aren't in it to get rich. There aren't sugar daddies pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into left-wing think tanks, so it is a bad career choice if you are looking at the money. The big political money story this fall was the enormous amounts that were squandered by the right. They hire campaign staff for six-figure salaries who then porceed to spend like drunken sailors. Meanwhile the Democrats make do with volunteers, interns, and people crashing on living room floors. Those sorts will pinch a penny until it screams.

    I doubt that the Republicans would use open-source software. They are going to prefer an expensive clone with a slick interface sold by someone in a $2000 suit. The open source coders are all going to be working on Democratic campaigns.

    •  Especially since they would wish to keep their (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Andrew F Cockburn, Dirtandiron

      code private. So they can't really use open source.

      He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

      by Sophie Amrain on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 08:05:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What color is the sky in your world? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Andrew F Cockburn
      There aren't sugar daddies pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into left-wing think tanks

      Intolerance betrays want of faith in one's cause. - Gandhi

      by SpamNunn on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 08:31:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  and it's incompatible with Repub methods anyway (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Andrew F Cockburn, annan, worldlotus

      This is all true. The Rs are only going to be interested in the methods, not the software itself, and that's mostly already been revealed by now. But even then, due to differences in their voting and funding bases the Repubs have a very different mechanism for running campaigns that is probably not going to be compatible with most of this software, including the much vaunted analytics.

      The way I see it, this software we're talking about is probably only going to be useful for Dems and their allies and it should be released ASAP so that it can be adapted for use in 2014.

      The same goes for the voter database that OFA seems to be keeping to itself. That is clearly proprietary info, but it really needs to be shared at least with the party so that GOTV efforts are as effective as possible in 2014.

      "I don't cry over milk spilled under bridges. I go make lemonade" - Bucky Katt

      by quill on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 08:56:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "They also have a greed problem." (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Andrew F Cockburn

      Which is part and parcel of their management failure, and they did fail on management from A to Z. Any campaign that is as determined as they were to NOT LEARN from their early errors is destined to fail.

      •  Easier to steal elections. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LilithGardener

        Than to run one ethically and democratically. The ReThugs already see that their way turns off American voters, so they're going to steal the elections and induce fascism in America while continuing to call it democracy.

        I swear, George Orwell's "1984" must be required reading for these pigs.  They're following it to the letter.

        "Washington, DC: Where Corruption is Rewarded, and Ethical Merit is DESPISED.

        by The Truth on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 03:26:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Who wants to mothball it and why? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheOpinionGuy, The Truth

    That seems to be the most compelling question.  Has the DNC become so hopelessly tied up by the WH that they can no longer utilize the assets they have to help Dems get elected in the midterms?  That's in their mission statement.

    Does this have anything to do with Obama's creation of an outside 501 c 4 to use grassroots activity to "promote his agenda"?   Are they planning to target incumbent Dems in Congress to pressure them to support controversial Third Way legislation like cutting SS & Medicare benefits?  Is this software part of that plan and is Obama resisting efforts to make it available to non-Third Way/Blue Dog/DLC/Boll Weevil incumbents and candidates and incumbents?

    I've always been extremely uncomfortable with OFA as a separate entity from DNC.  It seems they are working at cross purposes here and some of our Dem leaders in DC need to step up to the plate and get the DNC back on track.  Corporate money and agendas are ruining our national party.

    Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

    by Betty Pinson on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 08:10:27 AM PST

    •  I am very happy that OFA is not part of the DNC (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LilithGardener

      because we won't have to worry about certain Democratic members of Congress complaining to the DNC that we were calling into their districts urging people to call their congressmen and senators to support issues like health care reform.

      Barack Obama for President '12

      by v2aggie2 on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 09:49:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  OFA brand will be pushing SS & Medicare cuts (0+ / 0-)

        Health care reform is history.

        So, yes, we'll have to watch out for calls from outside, nominally Dem, organizations that pressure voters about cutting SS and engaging in deficit panic demagoguery.

        Those robo calls come from all sorts of shadowy organizations.  Voters place little stock in them, especially after the last campaign.  They're much more likely to listen to their Dem elected officials and candidates who are out in the community on a regular basis.  

        Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

        by Betty Pinson on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 11:47:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  How do you know that? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LilithGardener, elmo

          I have been active with OFA since 2008 as a volunteer leader and still am today.  And I have heard nothing of the sort.

          You are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.

          Barack Obama for President '12

          by v2aggie2 on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 11:53:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  ty (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            v2aggie2
            •  My pleasure (0+ / 0-)

              Barack Obama for President '12

              by v2aggie2 on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 12:13:40 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Also, keep in mind (0+ / 0-)

                Many of you folks are young, and new to Dem political work.  You may not be aware of how your work is being used by others.  

                You may have more loyalty to Obama than you do to the party as a whole.  The Democratic Party works on behalf of all Dems, not just one elected official.

                Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

                by Betty Pinson on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 12:25:26 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I've been working in politics since 2004 (0+ / 0-)

                  and have worked for multiple Democratic candidates, so I don't need the condescending "lesson" that you feel is necessary.

                  Barack Obama for President '12

                  by v2aggie2 on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 01:25:41 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  So you'd be fine with Blue Dog Dems (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  v2aggie2

                  getting their hands on these sophisticated tools to turn back primary challenges from more progressive Democrats?

                  That's obviously a rhetorical question. It's not quite as simple as "turn over all of it to the DNC!"

                  •  That's exactly where they'll be used (0+ / 0-)

                    Obama wants more Blue Dog Dems in Congress, he's still unhappy with the losses Rahm's candidates incurred in the 2010 midterms.

                    Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

                    by Betty Pinson on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 07:52:45 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  Past history (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Miggles

            OFA sat on their hands for most of the 2010 midterms.  They hoarded funds and assets that could have been used more effectively by the DNC and local Dem party organizations to mobilize voters.

            It appears this time around, they want to mobilize on their own, outside the confines of the real Democratic Party apparatus.  They may be working to defeat Republicans, but they may also be seeking revenge for the Blue Dog purge of 2010 by focusing efforts against progressive incumbent Dems and progressive Dem candidates.

            That's fine if they want to do that, but they don't need to be doing it with assets of the Dem Party.  

            Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

            by Betty Pinson on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 12:23:26 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I worked on the 2010 campaign for OFA (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              elmo

              with a focus on targeting first-time voters from 2008.

              So please get your facts straight -- OFA worked on the 2010 election.

              OFA moving forward is an issue-focused organization dedicated to supporting President Obama's agenda.  I am proud of being part of this and am unapologetic about it.

              Barack Obama for President '12

              by v2aggie2 on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 01:29:30 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  In my state, it was too little, too late (0+ / 0-)

                OFA didn't get involved until the final few weeks before the election.  The new voters they recruited in 2008 didn't turn out.

                We lost our Dem governor and now have had to suffer gerrymandering by the GoP, making it impossible to elect Dems to Congress until 2020.

                Dems need to keep and support their own organization, not some privately managed campaign group that reports to only one person.

                Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

                by Betty Pinson on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 07:57:33 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Didn't see OFA in 2010 here (0+ / 0-)

                We didn't see OFA in 2010 in WA and lost the 3rd CD in a close election.  Now it's re-district-ed R and will remain red for years.  (The districts in WA are drawn each 10 years to favor the party holding them.)  Not happy.  

                A bad idea isn't responsible for those who believe it. ---Stephen Cannell

                by YellerDog on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 07:58:46 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  OFA worked in some places, maybe. In Central (0+ / 0-)

                Florida? Crickets. I'm talking the I-4 corridor.

                Don't hand me this shit that OFA was around in 2010. Your specific group or campaign effort may have been, but the actual boots-on-the-ground game was non-existent from where I sat (and I was working fairly closely with candidates and executive committees at the time).

    •  Smells to me like a plan to get rid of true Dems (0+ / 0-)

      and reincarnate the DLC Blue Dogs, while placing another label on their asses.  If Obama wants his agenda advanced, Harry Reid just delivered him the biggest kick in the nuts he'll ever get, with that filibuster fiasco which essentially hands over the running of the Senate to McConnell and his gang.  OFA should be working hand in hand with the DNC, and the fact they are separate should have everyone on red alert as to what the hell is going on.

      "Washington, DC: Where Corruption is Rewarded, and Ethical Merit is DESPISED.

      by The Truth on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 03:29:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Huh? (0+ / 0-)

        It's an extension of Obama for America.  And working in OFA on healthcare reform in 2009-2010, we had Democratic members of Congress such as Chet Edwards, a moderate Democrat in Waco, complain to the DNC about OFA calling supporters in his district to urge Chet to support health care reform.  As a result, we were told to stop.

        So please stop with the DLC BS.  If we are part of the DNC, it is the moderates and blue dogs who will try to get in our way.  That is what happened before.

        Barack Obama for President '12

        by v2aggie2 on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 05:36:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Only the DNC and the local party organizations (0+ / 0-)

          are loyal to Dems.  That's the way it needs to remain.  OFA needs to be mothballed.

          Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

          by Betty Pinson on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 07:59:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I absolutely agree. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Helpless, grover

    The Obama campaign was wise to invest a lot of the money we collectively donated in the development of this software. To open up the source code so that the Republicans could use it would be a terrible choice.

    If I had my druthers, it would be the most closely-guarded asset the Democratic Party kept, with the code base accessible only to developers under strict ironclad NDAs and non-competes. Even other Democratic campaigns would only be allowed to use the finished product, not access the code base.

    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

    by JamesGG on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 08:17:25 AM PST

  •  I would keep tabs on these developers (0+ / 0-)

    There is no reason to think that one of those guys won't go ahead and sell it to the highest bidder.

    Developers are not purists. They like money just as much as anyone else.

  •  What makes you think it's that great? I am sure (0+ / 0-)

    that there are plenty of programmers out there who have made something just as good, if not better.  The Republicans just failed to use them on their own campaign.  
    Besides, anything that has been in use for two campaign cycles is probably about as useful as an old Motorola flip phone.   It will still work, just not as good as current technology.  

    Move along.  No story here.  

    Intolerance betrays want of faith in one's cause. - Gandhi

    by SpamNunn on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 08:29:25 AM PST

  •  Depending on what they built with, it might have (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annan

    to be open.

    I'm thinking they should use the WETA Studios model.  WETA was built in New Zealand to render "Lord Of The Rings" and it was impressive.  Once the movie was complete, there sat everything and it made the best sense to continue and sell services and time.

    This could work exactly the same way.  With a little bit of seed money, they could continue to keep the software relevant, and use it for causes they believe in.

    When the software runs as a service, an organization isn't generally required to open the software.  This happens all the time.  Google, for example, has built up massive software that they simply do not release beyond Google, instead offering key bits that make sense, and that they can continue to build on.

    And what is Organize For Action doing now?  Shouldn't that software power it at a minimum, allowing for ongoing development and maintenance?

    ***Be Excellent To One Another***
    IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT.

    by potatohead on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 08:38:21 AM PST

  •  open software can have counter-intuitive benefits. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Samulayo, RUNDOWN, annan, wasatch, worldlotus

    It creates a larger community, more people involved, a better spirit of cooperation - exactly the values that need to be employed to strengthen and build progressive movements that go beyond turning out votes for a presidential election.  By releasing the source you're growing your community, and the open nature of it reflects well on the Democrat-leaning ideals that attract other (mainly young) people to those movements. Opening the code will get more talent, and be a great advertisement for who the 'good guys' really are.

    Sure some republicans may benefit somewhat from the open source, but the real value is not the software.  It's the people who put their energy into it,  who know what to do with it, and who know how to guide and evolve it to greatest use. We want those people to join up with the 'good guys'. More proprietary motives may seem common sense, but there's good chance it actually works out in the opposite manner. It's not the software, it the people!

  •  Open! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Samulayo

    Open source the whole thing.  And do so under the GPL (v3) if possible; that way if someone else makes changes and wants to distribute it, they have to then make their changes available.  The GPL is a "copyleft" license; it uses the copyright mechanism to achieve the goal that nobody can then use it restrictively.

    I've been involved in free software ("free as in speech, not free as in beer") since the mid 1980's.  There has been plenty of free and open source software released; that hasn't necessarily helped Microsoft build better products.

    I understand the concern about not wanting to hand the Republicans something on a silver platter.  But simply doing a big code dump like this only makes the code available; it doesn't help them actually use it effectively.  The developers are under no obligation to actually help anyone else use it; they could assist Democrats, but not lift a finger to help Republicans.  I'm sure the code base is very complex, and actually using it is even worse.

    •  It's all about the developers anyway (0+ / 0-)

      Without them, the codebase is just a pile of bit-rot.  Besides which, the whole FSF thing is completely foreign to the Republican mindset anyway.  They won't trust the code, and if they use it they won't understand the license and will wind up sued.

      So release the code to keep the developers happy and motivated.

      Economic Left/Right: -7.38
      Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -8.00
      Two steps to the right of Trotsky.

      by jvance on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 01:22:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We should give it to them... (0+ / 0-)

    ...Sorta. Either we wait til we have something utterly superior or...
    ...Well lets just say, we give a version of it to them in return for their voting machine loveliness. Dont want to let us check the code to see if its cheating? Fine, fine... Enjoy our election software that we would be insane to give to you...

    ...Im not saying it would be ethical. And hoenstly we shouldnt give them anything...But I've never been happy about the voting machines.

    The only Bug-type Pokemon that can learn the move Fly - Volcarona and Genesect - Are not Flying types.

    by kamrom on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 09:21:30 AM PST

  •  Software don't win or lose elections (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    v2aggie2, rasfrome, wasatch

    candidates do.

    Let them "have" it, they probably already do. But that's not the point, -community organization helped the Dems as much as the GOP's hapless escapades, and unpopular ideas, if not more so.

    Software can improve by leaps and bounds over short times - by the time they figure out "Arse whuppn' 1.0" ... version 2.8 will be ready for 2015.

    If not us ... who? If not here ... where? If not now ... when?

    by RUNDOWN on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 09:49:28 AM PST

  •  There should be no angst over open code. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sawgrass727

    Many software tools have been built over open source code. Right niow there is a pretty spectacular open code base (joomla)  that allows a web developer with no knowledge of HTML or PHP to customize it and give someone a very interactive site that collects and spews data.

    People make livings making the websites, developing what  are called extensions and plugs ins ( also used in Adobe Photoshop) . One extension can give a site full e-commerce capabilities. Many consist of blogging tools to fold into the site and social media tools.

    People charge money for the extensions. They don't enclose the open code base with the extensions or plug-ins. The engine has a install procedure that coders adhere to so their inventions can be integrated into the site.

    Drupal  was or is also like this.  Developer who have expertise in PHP, HTML, JS and CSS can go right into the engine and make modifications to give the site a super identity all of it's own.

    The tools that were developed on top of the open source code , and there are many of them, could be sold or held. It really depends on who developed it and what they want to do with . There are copyright and work-for-hire considerations also. There is a 1989 supreme court case that clarified the 1976 copyright laws  more clarify in that it gives a test to define if a person has done work-for-hire (The work has to be spelled out. There are no verbal agreements. The developer has to have signed off along with the people that paid him or her) .

    You would be surprised at how many attorneys don't know that the 1976 law was tested and found wanting so these features apparently were amended into the 1976 Copyright act. I've had attorneys tell me that I had made a verbal agreement on development. But then again they weren't copyright and trademark specialists.

    Too many ifs here to make a determination of what should be done. Presumably many of these developers were well paid for their efforts maybe some could afford to volunteer.  I would first see if copyright agreements were signed .  If they acted as contractors along with work-for-hire.  Note all of the above  is dependant on 1099 work or employee status. Once a developer signs up to be an  employee, then the employer owns all the work except for the open source code.

    Many employers are not tech savvy enough to separate the open source code with the new tools . If no clear interface was written to add the tools and they were hard coded into the open source code base, it can be pretty dicey.

  •  not agile. they won't know what to do with it and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wasatch

    their voters don't do social networking.

    open and agile.  the dnc fear is losing their 'platform' to gate crashers

    what lincoln said http://cleantechnica.com/2012/10/10/abraham-lincoln-was-on-to-wind-power-long-before-the-rest/

    by rasfrome on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 10:30:21 AM PST

  •  I formerly worked in IT and was and remain (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, LilithGardener

    an Open Source advocate.

    There is no reason to release anything related to the OFA software, other than to blow an advantage.  That it operates on an Open Source software stack is immaterial except that it means that the OFA software has a lower barrier to use.

  •  Code versus intelligent use of code (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wasatch, LilithGardener

    I've been writing commercial software since the early 1980s, so my first reaction is to protect the code base.

    But I also know some other things:

    1. Given a list of functional requirements, most applications can be duplicated from scratch.   I did that in my early days for my employers when licensing IBM accounting software was too expensive for them, so I created home-grown versions.  Unless there is really some ingenious code involved, having the code base simply helps you to get there faster.   As the OFA work was based on open source, I expect the methods are pretty widely known.

    2. The best software in the world is useless unless it is understood and used correctly.  No, worse than useless--it will hurt you.    Republicans and conservatives in general have been a big Fail with technology in the past 10 years.  Remember the RNC web site fiasco under Michael Steele?  And of course the Romney campaign's Orca fiasco?   Not that these were great code bases to begin with, but there seems to be something in the water they drink that leads to bad results.  (Actually, I think it's the centralized control mindset that they have. Agile they ain't.)

    3. Technology use in elections has been changing exponentially every four years.  There are mapping and database techniques that I created with voter registration that were very advanced in 2002 but became common in 2006, and became routine for most volunteers in 2008 and for nearly any volunteer in 2012.  

    If we are going to remain competitive, we have to constantly improve.  

    I weigh in with sharing the changes per license requirements, and letting the progressive base continue to improve with each election cycle.  

    •  The threshold in patenting a business method (0+ / 0-)

      is the list of the functions and the structure of how they depend on each other. It's assumed that any ordinary programmer skilled in the art can write effective code.

      1. Given a list of functional requirements, most applications can be duplicated from scratch.
  •  OFA needs to turn it over to DNC (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener

    so it can be used in the midterm elections.

    I think what we're seeing here is an internecine battle between DNC and OFA on the use of this software.  It's quite possible DNC helped pay for its development.

    It's time for OFA to retire and disband.  Obama is not up for re-election and it serves no useful purpose.   Turn the assets over to DNC, where they belong.  DNC manages midterm elections, it works on behalf of the entire party and all its candidates, not just those affiliated with one politician.

    Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

    by Betty Pinson on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 12:17:16 PM PST

    •  This is utterly ridiculous - and is a fast track (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      v2aggie2, elmo

      to building a corrupt political machine.

      I certainly don't want the DNC stamp of approval to give any Dem primary candidate an advantage over any other Dem primary candidate.

      Each Congressional district is unique. And each candidate has to engage their voters, engage their donors, and craft and test their own message. HOW they each do that is part of how we get an early peak at their judgment and character.

      We don't need another John Edwards with charisma to spare and critical connections to national party "leaders."

      •  50 State Strategy (0+ / 0-)

        DNC has been managing the party and its races pretty well for a long time.

        There has never been a need for a private organization run by the POTUS to control Dem races in the US.  That should never happen.  

        A private organization like OFA is accountable to no one. DNC is accountable to its delegates from the state and local level.

        Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

        by Betty Pinson on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 01:06:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Do you mean, except for 2010? (0+ / 0-)
          DNC has been managing the party and its races pretty well for a long time.
          •  When Obama took over the DNC and kicked Dean out (0+ / 0-)

            along with the 50 state strategy that was so successful?

            Our party apparatus has been hijacked, time to take it back.

            Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

            by Betty Pinson on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 07:42:14 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  I might be somewhat in agreement, except for (0+ / 0-)

          the general right-ward drift in national politics.

          That can not be counted as political success over the long term.

          If there had been a decades long leftward drift, I'd concede.

        •  Ah, the delegates (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LilithGardener

          some accountability...

          Barack Obama for President '12

          by v2aggie2 on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 01:38:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Who is my delegate to OFA? (0+ / 0-)

            What is the process for electing that delegate and interacting with them?

            They may not be perfect, but the process exists.  There is some level of accountability and, through the party apparatus, they can be replaced.

            There is no accountability for OFA, its just a privately run campaign organization.

            Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

            by Betty Pinson on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 07:36:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Who built this software? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          v2aggie2, LilithGardener

          Not the DNC. I wonder why.

          •  They probably helped pay for it (0+ / 0-)

            and were not allowed to control how its used.  If the party helped pay for it, they own it.

            The whole idea that Dems have to fight amongst each other for a computer program that everyone in the party helped pay for is patently ridiculous.

            I can't recall any time in Dem Party history when a rogue organization, partially funded and controlled by corporate donors has been allowed to drain so many assets from the party with no accountability.  I hope our state and local Dems are learning a lesson from this.

            Perhaps it would be best for the DNC to spend the money to build a better program than OFA's then tell them to take a walk.

            OFA is not part of the Democratic Party and the sooner we learn that lesson, the better for the Party.

            Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

            by Betty Pinson on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 07:40:45 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Who are you to tell OFA what to do? (0+ / 0-)

      we have a lot volunteers who want to move forward with OFA and support President Obama's agenda.

      And we aren't going to take orders from you.

      Barack Obama for President '12

      by v2aggie2 on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 01:37:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Remember, though (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      v2aggie2

      that this would give incumbent Dems (even the most conservative ones) an edge over more progressive primary challengers.

      Are you sure you really want that to happen?

  •  As the VAN was cloned, so can OFA's software... (0+ / 0-)

    Couple years back a candidate in MN primaried the DFL endorsed candidate. Denied access to the VAN, the campaign quickly built work-alike software that functioned just as well.

  •  Could the GOP even use the code? (0+ / 0-)

    I don't know that the GOP could use the code and/or the data, even if we gift-wrapped it for them.  As a former DCCC employee, I spent a lot of effort using similar software to contact unlikely voters to boost turnout, and I don't think that the GOP has the same pool of voters to seek out.  Their voters already get to the polls on their own pretty well.  If there were more lean-R unlikely voters out there, the GOP would have found a way to get them to the polls.  Rove and Dubya found their voters well enough without our code.

    http://co2now.org/

    by mr Z on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 01:09:28 PM PST

  •  I really want to thank the commenters (0+ / 0-)

    In every diary I've ever posted, at least so it seems, there is always a comment or two or three that makes me wonder if the person read the diary or is deliberately refusing to understand it, or just came to pick a flame-war. Thank you all for the flame-free discussion.

    I've learned more about open-source licensing than I knew before, and I've become surer about my inference that the developers and campaign pros are talking past each other and have no idea of the other's concerns.

    Obviously none of us on the inside know the details of the specific licenses. Though I'm clearly on the side of keeping it away from the Republicans, if the licenses require releasing any new code developed, that's it then. Out it goes, regardless of consequences.

    The many comments on the cultural differences between the two parties do make me doubt the Republicans would ever be able to do more than just catch up a bit, but not all the way and never be able to add much. However, that's just doubt, and given the stakes, we have to consider risk. By that I mean that this isn't the same as one Linux vendor competing with another over who added the best feature or offers the best tech support. The parties aren't competing over who has the best analytics tool. The DNC is competing with an opponent that not only has a big financial advantage and a demonstrated willingness to cheat to win, but when they win, they immediately act to suppress the right to organize a union, the right to hold a protest, the right to vote. It would be as if the winning Linux vendor didn't merely win a few more sales, but could pass a law forbidding its losing opponent to continue development.

    In other words, maybe the Republicans culturally can't use the tools or catch up, but the consequences of taking that risk and being wrong are just massive.

    The practical reality is that while some organizations could continue their own development once they have the source, most of us can't. I'm the chair of my local Democratic Party, and I don't have the time or knowledge to work on the code, and everyone else is a volunteer working for the party after work and after the kids are taken care of. We couldn't do development, but we sure could use the tools if they were in a ready-made package. So as long as all licenses of the underlying software are complied with, I want the DNC to keep the developers on, and have them adapt the Obama tools to something that can be used at a state and local level. Give tools and even code to allied organizations to the extent campaign finance laws allow.

  •  Big thumbs down (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    v2aggie2

    They want what we have? Well, then they can do what we did. Tell them to get off their asses and put some of their people to work on a system of their own.

    North Korea knows how to make a nuclear bomb, they just haven't gotten it to where it's functional. No one's giving them that information. There's a reason for that.

    Sorry, we've got the Republicans on the run and I for one want it that way.

    Let's not be stupid. We've already had enough stupid this month served up by Harry Reid and some other lily livered Dems who need to be primaried.

    F**k the GOP and anyone who feels they must give them techno welfare.

    Nothing like a bunch of "high minded" Democrats to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Dammit!

    Peace.

  •  If the DNC paid for it, they own it (0+ / 0-)

    Unless they were fucking stupid.

    You don't give our best missile technology to North Korea.

    -9.00, -5.85
    Quite an experience to live in fear, isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave.

    by Wintermute on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 05:37:11 PM PST

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