I found that the binaries of the OpenSTV program for Windows and Mac are available on the election page. Thanks for allowing us to check the result from the available data. However, on their website, OpenSTV developers sell these files and ask others not to post them online or share them with others. I do not know the license terms of this program, but I doubt that it is ethical to allow others to download these files.

(I do not know whether the files available on the election page are really the binaries of OpenSTV. I have checked only their file names and have not looked at the content.)

Update: I noticed that these files are available only when a user is logged in. I am not sure what this means. As Suresh wrote in his answer, SE may have made some agreement with the developers of OpenSTV, which allows limited distribution to logged-in users.

  • $\begingroup$ it is a binary. I downloaded it and ran it. $\endgroup$ – Suresh Venkat Feb 5 '11 at 21:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Suresh: Thanks for the information. $\endgroup$ – Tsuyoshi Ito Feb 5 '11 at 21:49

We made a large donation to the OpenSTV project to bring those with enough rep (> 150) a free download. http://www.openstv.org/ Look on the right sidebar.

Those with < 150 rep will be directed to OpenSTV.org where they may purchase a download.

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the answer! $\endgroup$ – Tsuyoshi Ito Feb 5 '11 at 23:03

Also answered at the network level:

Is it legal for Stack Overflow to redistribute OpenSTV binaries?

  • $\begingroup$ I was about to commend about how GPLv2 doesn't bind you to this. The link however explains my point. Since GPLv2 doesn't serve their purpose, I wonder why people in openSTV don't use a more appropriate license, e.g. Apache. $\endgroup$ – chazisop Feb 6 '11 at 10:18
  • $\begingroup$ That question on Meta Stack Overflow focuses on legality, whereas this question focused on ethics. Anyway your answer there along with Geoff’s answer here resolves my concern perfectly. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – Tsuyoshi Ito Feb 6 '11 at 16:50
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    $\begingroup$ @chazisop: It is maybe because they use a code distributed under GPL as part of their program. Or maybe because they do not want to legally prohibit the users from sharing the software. I can understand the desire of asking rather than legally forcing. $\endgroup$ – Tsuyoshi Ito Feb 7 '11 at 16:27

You do seem to have a point, based on the statements at the OpenSTV site. I wonder if SE made some agreement with them or not. From their home page:

Although OpenSTV is open-source software, downloads are being sold for $5 to pay for expenses, such as the operation of this web site. The downloads are licensed under the GPL, but to ensure that OpenSTV continues to be open source, please do not post these files online or share with others.


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