Foundation Elections (continued)
bolsh: as I said, many real elections make modifications to an idealised STV system to simplify vote counting. The counting for the .au senate elections sounds like it takes a random sample of votes when transfering preferences too.
Also, in my description a candidate needed to get more votes than the quota and the quota could be fractional. In contrast, the Australian senate elections say candidates must reach the Droop Quota, which is the smallest integer greater than the quota formula I used. If you are using random sampling for preference transfers so that each ballot has a weight of either 0 or 1, then this is equivalent. However, if you count fractional votes, then it does make a difference.
Since the votes are all collected electionically for the foundation elections, it shouldn’t be any more difficult to count the votes exactly (which the pSTV software you pointed out trivial).
I agree that it would be interesting to get people to list preferences on the ballot even if we don’t switch to STV for the election (I mentioned this in one of my foundation-list emails). The top 11 preferences could be used to perform the existing vote counting algorithm.
The preview release of Ubuntu will be coming out later today. While most of the work I’ve been doing is in some of the backend infrastructure rather than packaging, for the past half week I’ve been helping out with some of the Gnome modifications. I doubt all of the changes will be accepted up stream, but I think a number of them would be welcome changes for Gnome 2.10.
I also now realise how bad the battstat_applet code is, and can understand why Glynn started from scratch. It seems like a good thing to improve for 2.10. Davyd mentioned on IRC that it would be nice if it could work with UPSs as well as laptop batteries. NUT can easily provide all the info that the applet gets from the APM or ACPI code, so this shouldn’t be too difficult. I wonder how useful sysadmins would find such a feature?
The new version of thunderbird looks quite nice. As well as the usual incremental improvements, this release can also act as an RSS reader. It converts items from the feeds into email messages and puts them in the chosen folder. You can then manage them as you would your mail. It’s an interesting way of reading sites like planet gnome. If the feeds provide full content like the PG does, then you probably want to turn on the “Show the article summary instead of loading the web page” option. For feeds without much content you can leave that option off and it will load the linked web page instead.