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China Banning Win2k 407

Several people have submitted links to several stories about China banning the use of Win2k in government to encourage indigenous software. Here is a story from The San Jose Mercury, and one from South China Ministry. They will instead be required to use Red Flag Linux, which is being developed by Chinese Researchers.
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China Banning Win2k

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm a Chinese Dutchman (groetjes aan iedereen die dit leest) and I think it's a better idea if YOU think before you give a comment. My nephew is a Chinese programmer (graduated from Beijing University) and your post seems nothing more than another stereotype view of China. What do you actually *know* about *today's* China and today's Chinese economy? Nothing? Just as I thought. China has a very open market and is already doing billions in investments with Western countries. The government encourages technology and invests billions in the Chinese education and research. Yes, there's still a political barrier, but that has nothing to do with studying technology. Technically it's impossible to prohibit a country of a billion people to get access to source-code. Chinese programmers are very open-minded people, as well as a lot of American programmers (I have relatives living in New York). It's not really clever to give information about something you don't know enough about...and even less clever to tell other people to think before they write if you don't think yourself. I can imagine it's not a comfortable feeling for the nice Americans to be given a bad name by posts such as yours.

    Cheers everyone :)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ....I always said MS was a threat to US national security....China was able to grab secrets from US systems running NT....Russian hackers owned DoD networks for the past year...makes sense that China learned from us that MS is NOT the way to go if you want to make a secure network environment. They'll be perfectly happy to have ths USG run MS systems, makes their intelligence collection efforts that much easier.....ciao!
  • Dude,

    China has 1.1-1.2 billion people!
    That's 1/6 of the world's 6 billion people!

    BTW A very small fraction of people in China will
    use computers. Most of their infrastructure is still based on paper for government agencies.

    China is a very poor country were over 80% makes
    $200 US per month, hardly enough to live on,
    forget about buying a computer, etc...

    Most of the Chinese market is in cities like
    Beijing, Shangai, and Guangzhu. Total population
    50 million. Less than 40% of these city citizens can afford computers.

    The chinese market is not 3 billion, not a billion
    but a mere 50 million (at most).

    Remember things are not always as they seem.

    Don't let the cool skyscrapers in big chinese cities fool you, they were designed, financed, and owned by foreigners, for their use, and the use of communist officials, not for the use of the people. Just like with those 5* hotels in Cuba where Cubans are not allowed to enter.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'll admit that I was originally thinking "woohoo! stick it MS!" when I read the article.

    But the more I think about it, the less happy I am.

    First, I have doubts that the Chinese gov't will actually pay attention to the GPL. Which would be a problem, since it would tend to weaken the GPL (and thus Linux) more generally. After all, if China gets away with it, other people will be thinking that they can get away with it too.

    Second, having the gov't impose their choice on everybody undermines the concept of Open Source. It's one thing for the Chinese gov't to support Linux in the hope of supporting indigenous software development -- it's quite another thing to have them requiring that Linux be used.

    Of course, this could all turn out to be a misunderstanding. Nothing in China is actually True until some major official gets quoted -- minor officials and "ministry sources" seem to spout off regularly and nothing happens . . .

  • at least in the minds of the money people in software. all of these reports could simply be engineered to an effect, or they could just be happinging on thier own, either case is really bad news for MS if thats what chinas media is really doing and/or the people believe it.

    i think using free software encourages self reliance and some form of independance (you can come up with your own solution, you can fix it, you dont have to wait for someone else) for some, even a responsibility to report bugs or not complain. this is something MS dont like since they want china to give them lots of money and dependence, thus leading to more money. alot like a drug pusher. is this close to the perception of MS in china?

  • Security may be a factor, but maybe not the way you think. The NSA's record in human rights, believe it or not, is much better than that of the Communist Party in China, or the Army there. If the NSA announced that it was creating its own version of Linux to be mandated for people in the US to use, we'd all go crazy looking for the back door, which may be hard if their version doesn't have source available. (I guess we'll have to wait and see about that).

    Granted, they probably wouldn't be interested in eavesdropping on the average US college student, but they are targeting this distribution at people whose rights they respect a lot less than the US government agencies, with all their faults, respect ours.

  • When you get right down to it, this argument sounds like you're saying that the persecution the American Indians received in the old days justifies what China is doing today, or that we shouldn't criticize it. I wonder, have you actually gone out and started asking any American Indians how they felt about that argument?

  • Hold on a second; didn't Bruce Schneier look at the alleged NSA_Key stuff and conclude that it wasn't a back door, but merely a way to substitute your own system for windows if one wanted to?

    Wouldn't that make Windows slightly more secure than it was, too?

    The faults of Windows are many; there's no need to invent phony ones, and it makes us look bad.

  • I think you're confusing the 40 bit key length with a back door; a short key length does not constitute a "back door" in and of itself. And AFAIK Microsoft does not rely on export subsidies to sell Windows. Finally, the NSA can't stop compliant-with-regulations software from being exported just because it doesn't have a secret back door. The regulations are a lot more specific than that.

  • You are right. But more people speak Chinese as their native language than any other in the world.

    Chinese is not as hard to learn as most non-Chinese seem to think. I'm learning it. It rocks.

    And for those Chinese who are obviously reading this (I've seen your comments) please don't get offended too much at the ignorant Americans who want to blast your country for kicks. It's a compliment to get criticized by idiots.
  • Red Flag Linux reminds me of socialist realist art.

    Raise the Red Banner, and let a thousand open source projects bloom!
  • Ted Stevens Release:

    contains closed source kernel modules:
    cryptography (with backdoor), web censorship.

    Displays anti-drug mesage on login.
  • The private sector is free to continue pirating^H^H^H^H^H^H purchasing Windows for its use.

    Your use of the word pirate in this context is confusing. Consider alternatives such as "making unauthorized copies of" or "sharing". See phy/words-to-avoid.html#Piracy [] for details.

  • The word "pirating" has a colorful folkloric flavor to it that blurs the real truth. The word 'theft' or 'stealing' is more accurate.

    Copying information or art is very different from stealing physical goods. If I steal your bong, you can't use it to smoke anymore. But if I make a photocopy of few pages in a book you own a copy of - or a MP3 of a song you own a copy of, you can still read that book and listen to that song. Using the words theft and steal is almost as confusing as using the word piracy to talk about copyright infringement. If you mean copyright infringement, say copyright infringement. See ds-to-avoid.html []

    Read some damn psuedo-intellectual website run by tenured do-nothings for the counter arguement to mine.

    Pseudo-intellectuals don't get MacArthur fellowships. Richard M. Stallman does.

  • If REALLY you think that GPL or the BSDL holds any water in China then you must be smokin some good shit. If copyrights have no power at all in China why should the GPL? You can walk in to a store there and pick up the newest bootleg copy of MS's new OS and some bootleg DVD's wile your at it for $5. And the government does not care! Just look what happened to MS when they tryed to get China to do something about it.
  • While this is basically _good_ news for the linux people we should not forget that China is still totalitarian regime. Users being forced to use Linux will be no good at all for the community. BTW, it's mentioned that they use their own Linux modified by chinese researchers. I am just wondering what these changes are... *sigh*
  • now _that's_ frightening. I thought microsoft
    was the worst imaginable entity to trust to
    write my operating system, but you proved me
    wrong. If the U.S. gov't made an OS, you KNOW
    they'd find a way to make it closed source.

    For national security reasons, of course.
  • my goodness. China's population is closer to 1.2 billion, not 1.5 billion or 3 billion (50% of world's population as stated in parent post)

    0.1 billion is a big number of people to estimate wrongly.

    in any case, don't underestimate the buying power of the Chinese. They own a BIG HEAP of US T-bonds. Also, while most of them still can't afford the proverbial piss pot, at the rate that their economy is growing, give them 20 years and extrapolate the shrinking cost of computers and a sizeable proportion of them *will* have computers.

  • Looks like the high and mighty United States has a Linux competitor....but seriously, I can't say I blame China's government for dumping Windows. They're showing a lot more sense than most Western governments.....=)
  • Besides, it'd probably be hard to keep straight all the various C keywords without speaking english, I bet.

    Nope, there are only 30 or so keywords in C. Of course, the libraries have more functions, but how much does a knowledge of English really help you remember what malloc or ioctl means?

    Oh yes, and does anyone know whether gcc is capable of handling chinese variable names and function names, regardless of which encoding scheme used?

    I doubt it, but Perl supports this.

  • If China was banning GPG, what would your opinion be? A government ban on a software product is _wrong_. Doesn't matter if it's a ban on Windows, Back Orifice, GNU/Linux or PGP. This will do no one any good. But what do you expect out of a communist regime that has killed many millions?

  • I did read the news. I hate it when companies/governments agencies ban things like GNU/Linux and SSH, so I hate it when they ban things like Windows 2000.

  • If I recall correctly some members of the European Union are trying to get software declared a "service" rather than a good because there are no restrictions on the tariffs that can be imposed on a service. They are doing this so they can impose high tariffs on US software so they can try to foster the software industry in Europe which is still far inferior to that in the United States in many areas.

    Of course this doesn't apply to just Windows, rather all software. It would be important to note that these tariffs would probably impact copies of Linux sold in boxes.
  • Yeah, right. And it was not German engineers who designed all US ballistic missles.

    Stole nuclear weapons? In my physics lab right now among all graduate and post-doctoral RAs there are two Russians, on Brasilian, one Dutch, one Spaniard, one Chinese, one Japanese and ONE (ONE) American student. It's a government lab. And that's rather typical.

    Who stole what? My brains have been bought, that's for sure (not that I complain), but cut the arrogant shit about stealing...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    No, it's not a joke. And it's not really an attack on W2K, either.

    In order to understand this announcement, you have to understand that the PRC is a very corrupt society with an economy run by a set of closely interlocked companies. These companies are largely run by the government, often through the armed forces. The country's economy is essentially a national oligopoly, run by a small clique of insiders.

    The members of the G7 have been pushing the Chinese to free up their economy for quite a while. This effort has been led by the US. To much of the world, for better and for worse, one of the standards of the US multinational dominance is Microsoft (along with MacDonald's, Disney, and Coke).

    So a thumb in Microsoft's eye is a thumb in the eye of the much-envied US. It is a blow for "independence" from the dominant foreign power. More than that, under the cover of open source, it's a chance to look like your protecting "freedom" while doing this. It's good propaganda. It is just plain good domestic politics.

    This is all compounded by the on-going battle by the chinese oligarchs to get into the WTO. China isn't happy that its domestic policies regarding abuses in Taiwan and in Tienamin Square are considered relevant issues in the West. What's the best solution: first, accuse a foreign government of the same tactics (remember Kosovo and the "intentional" bombing of the Chinese embassy?) and, failing that, go after a foreign corporate icon. Bet's on whether MacDonald's, or Disney is next?

    Oh, shit. Disney already got it over that awful Richard Gere film about Tibet. Never mind -- Boeing maybe.

  • Whether or not this article is true, and whether or not the Chinese Government is going to mandate Linux, the development of a Chinese Linux distribution called Red Flag Linux has been widely reported. The distribuion as described sounds very good and very likely to be in development.

    Many of the articles say that development's being done at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and that Compaq's China branch is assisting in development. Maybe one of the more journalistic minded people here might want to contact these organizations for confirmation and information about the distribution?

  • You didn't even read the article. The Chinese people are allowed to use it. Go read the article.

  • Its not protectionism, they are not banning the import of Win2K, they are just saying that the Chinese Government won't buy it. Private companies are free to do so.
  • No its not, they Chinese government said that they will be using Linux, not that everyone in China had to. There is a big difference. Similarly our government sets all sorts of policies of what it will or won't spend it money on. Acording to the 2 articles refrenced here all they have done is set usage policies for the government itself. That is normal and sensable.
  • Some products are exported with longer than 40 bit keys but they must be granted an export license which means there is key escrow or a back door. The back door may "only" decrease the effective key length to 40 bits for the NSA.

    In the case of the export version of Lotus Notes, encrypted messages expose 24 of the 64 bit key to the NSA [] enabling easier brute force attacks. You may agree or disagree with this, but it seems wrong to sell your customers a 64 bit encryption subsystem and not tell them about the back door. Of course the existence of a back door for one party generally means that any party has an easier time breaking the encryption.
  • Why would the Chinese government not honor the GPL? If it kept the source code a secret, it would hinder their development just like the Windows code base is within Microsoft. To keep it a secret would cripple their development.

    Cut their pipe? Who are you to censor a nation? The internet treats censorship as damage and routes around it. Technology is very diverse and IP packets can be sent in many ways and there will always be those who will connect (unless its spam, and no one lives for that.) It would take many bigots with a great many nuclear weapons to censor a large nation such as China.

    the commie turds.

    Why don't you start with censoring yourself and learn from it. Better yet, get an education.
  • DOS attacks from China? I haven't seen any connection attempts from China, except for the http logs on my box. Most of the portscans I have seen are from here in the states and have yet to see one from China.
  • No, I don't remember "Jesux". What is it? Some catholic thing?

    Here is your source [] for the Jesux Distro. Download and enjoy!
  • This is less suspicious than it sounds. It's almost certain that many government departments are already using Windows 95, 98, NT, etc. and have existing applications running on those platforms. Banning those would be a rather poor migration move :) Assuming this story is true, the likely plan is to force the ministries to follow a Linux upgrade path rather than a W2K one, as I'm sure many existing applications would need ported/emulated/tested/replaced. You don't just throw away your IT infrastructure, after all.
  • ----------

    # give me gedit in Traditional Chinese
    LANG=zh_TW.Big5 gedit &

    # give me gedit in Simplified Chinese
    LANG=zh_CN.GB2312-1980 gedit &

    This works on my system (Debian potato), totally untested on others.

    As for Unicode, well... it doesn't yet include all the characters in Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese, therefore it can't yet totally replace character sets like Big5 yet.
  • by The G ( 7787 )
    Might this just be a ploy for some sort of deal with MS -- more favorable licensing terms or some such?
  • The story is posted by a Chinese newspaper, and we all know how informed our own media is...

    I think the best way to describe the Chinese media is the fact that the Weekly World News gets a lot of it's more bizarre articles verbatim from Chinese press.
  • I hope the comments don't come in Chinese. Particularly in the case of new apps.
  • I agree with your sentiment. I would state, however, that:

    1) My ancester's actions are not my actions. My hands are not dirty simply because theirs were. In fact, I repudiate the actions of my culture then, as well as those now which perpetuate such injustices. That being said, I will not be silent when I see injustice, either here or abroad. If that offends someones sensibilities or their national pride, tough shit.

    2) In mentioning (as an aside) the atrocities on Tiannamin Square and Tibet, I did not in any way seek to downplay or "hide" the dark past of my own culture, or to imply we hadn't wronged numerous people, including Native Americans, early Asian settlers, and black folk. Our ancestors did, it was evil, wrong, repugnant, and as far as I'm concerned has been woefully underaddressed by our current society. However, the subject was China's alleged embracing of Linux, not America's past, be it savory or otherwise.

    3) My problem with comments such as Wah's isn't the airing of our dirty laundry at all. Quite the opposite, I think it of critical importance to speak openly, publicly, and loudly of our culture's past crimes, lest they be repeated. My problem is that, nearly every "he who is without sin" argument that is put forward, with some example from the dark past of the orignal commenter's culture, is done in order to silence the criticism itself, or in some way dilute it, by implying that a historical wrong by one country somehow makes it inappropriate for any citizen of that country, however personally innocent they may be, from speaking out against ongoing, contemporary injustice elsewhere in the world, or that somehow their criticism counts for less because of what someone's ancestors did. It also implies that historical injustice which no one can do anything about (short of inventing time travel), is equivelent to onging injustice which can be stopped. The result of such reasoning, if taken at all seriously, is obvious: no one has the moral authority to speak out against anything and injustice can run rampent without opposition, spoken or otherwise. This is why I fundamentally and vehemently reject such reasoning, as well as such trite "your granddaddy was bad so you shut up!" arguments.

    I think your suggestion on visiting a local tribal meeting is brilliant. I had no idea such were open to non-Indians. Could you post some links or additional info on this? I'm in Illinois and don't have any local reservation I can stop by (that I'm aware of), but I'm a pilot with a small airplane, so flying a few hundred miles to take you up on your suggestion is something I'm very open to doing. My range for an evening is probably about 3-4 hours one way, or about 500 miles.
  • What source, specifically, in the Chinese government does Reuters quote? I couldn't find it in the link supplied. As far as I can tell the Reuter's story has no more inherent "facts" than the slashdot link, with both quoting "unnamed" government officials of unknown, and unconfirmed, authority. The only certainty is that Microsoft is denying this, which is hardly surprising.

    It is also interesting to note Reuter's reference to the Microsoft Big Brother Feature as a "coding mistake" which was later fixed, rather than a policy Microsoft only backed away from in the face of public outrage. This is contrary to known fact, and implies a suspicious bias of the article as a whole.

    Finally, it is obvious from both articles that the Chinese government is moving away from MS as a platform toward independent, home-grown solutions, and that the government is hardly unanimous in its direction as to how to do this, or whether to do it at all.

    Both articles appear equally biased, from diametrically opposed points of view. The reality appears to be somewhere in the middle, probably along the lines of some ministries or departments having mandated the use of Red Flag Linux, while others (probably most) have not. Apparently all are being quietly encouraged to look at alternatives, of which I suspect Red Flag Linux is just one. The lack of named sources for information on both sides is highly irritating, however, and precludes forming any hard and fast opinion about exactly what policies are being followed.
  • I should probably have prefaced my pessimistic last sentance with the fact that (a) I'm sick, so optimism isn't in the cards today and (b) just because they're looking at Linux doesn't mean they won't dump it for a proprietary alternative (such as a closed-source derivitive of *BSD) if the government sees a profit in it.

    I will be very, very interested to see if the Chinese government adheres to an open source approach, as it is in many ways antithetical to how they have operated in the past. On the other hand, perhaps this is the beginning of a Great Thaw?
  • You are arguing against a means that has created what you believe to be a justifiable ends.

    No, I am not. You are making unwarrented and absurd extrapolations (which are not in the least bit logically defensible) from my comments. I am arguing againt ongoing repression and murder in China. In fact, my initial comments to which you responded didn't even argue that ... I was merely commenting that while I disagreed with some policies of China's government, I agree with their alleged stance on Linux.

    However, I would assume that you would like to see China become more like the U.S politically (at least from a human rights perspective), yet how can they get there without pulling the same B.S. that our forefathers did to gain the raw materials and power necessary to accomplish that goal?

    As to your absurd notion that social progress requires injustice, I respectfully disagree. Not repressing minorities does not require a history of repressing minorities, nor does it require might, power, or wealth. It merely requires that you not repress others. Democracy does not require power.might, or wealth (whether gained honorably or by repressing others), it merely requires adherence to democratic principles. Nor does respect for human rights require might, power, or material wealth. For that matter, even if material wealth were a consideration, obtaining such wealth does not require the violation of human rights or the various other myrid injustices to which you allude.

    Your logic is flawed, your arguments are flawed, and IMHO your entire stance on the issue is flawed. What China did at Tiannamin Square was criminal. What the American Army did at Wounded Knee was criminal. Whatever "moral authority" I have is no less than that any other individual has irrespective of where they come from or what the country whos government claims authority over me has done in the past. My moral authority comes from the fact that I have never taken a human life and that I will speak out against against injustice anywhere I see it, at home or abroad, as is my constitutional right and IMHO my moral obligation. As an aside, I and anyone else of good conscience, would have that same moral obligation even if my past were sullied through personal wrongdoing -- one is hardly excused from opposing wrong today simply because one has done wrong in the past.

    Injustice must be opposed, however imperfect those opposing it may be, and however sullied a nation's (people's, or world's) past may be. The alternative is a future even more rife with abuses and injustice than the past we all so laboriously bemoan.

  • *cough*American Indians*cough*

    You are absolutely right. Our forfather's treatment of Native Americans, not to mention blacks and early Asian settlers, was beyond reprehensible. That Indians still live on reservations to this day is appalling, to say the least. Nevertheless ...

    Let he who is without sin, shoot the first missile.

    This is foolish. Christ was referring to physical stones killing a woman for adultery, not words of criticism against an injustice. We are all with sin, so to speak. There isn't a culture on the planet that hasn't wronged another at one time or another. If we are all therefor precluded from speaking out against injustice when we see it, all we end up with is a world locked into a conspiracy of silence, with injustice even more rampent than it is today, with not a word spoken in opposition.

  • Most Favored Nation status was renamed year or two ago, to Normal Trade Relations. Most countries already had MFN, so the name change was appropriate. So, I'm sure Australia has it.

    I personally agree that countries which violate basic rights flagrantly, and often, should be reprimanded. Americans, a majority of whom I'm sure, deplore the actions taken by the "Communist" government of the PRC. It's time the US government, on this issue, acted in a way that represents the people, and not the idea of a "free market", as mis-represented by various GM, Microsoft, and other lobbyists.

    To those who submit that tariffs are government interference, I reply that tariffs are probably the least intrusive tax, as they tax foreign goods. I don't care if some US-based multinational owns it; a Coppermine processor manufactured in Malaysia is not a domestic product.

    To those who submit that tariffs tax domestic companies indirectly, because other countries respond with tariffs of their own, I give the reminder that I'm only suggesting that the PRC not be granted NTR. And, according to 1996 numbers provided by the PRC embassy [], the US ran a 33 billion dollar trade deficit (with 16 billion on Chinese imports). Compared with the total production of the US economy, a potential reduction of that 16 billion, due to retaliatory tariffs, is peanuts. The PRC would be hurt by a trade war far more than US would.

    To the Chinese trade ministers: The US economy is the largest national economy in the world, whose potential for imports can keep entire regions afloat during a crisis. The libertarian Republican/human rights Democratic coalition in Congress would be more than happy to blow your head clean off. Do you feel lucky, punk?

  • You don't see all the KDE comments in German, do you?

    You don't see all the Linux kernel comments in Swedish, do you? (I sure hope that's the right language for the point I'm making)

    Of course, there will be some brilliant coders that can't write functional english in comments, but most will I should think, simply because most of the existing knowledge base of code, documentation, and discussion, is already primarily in english.

    Besides, it'd probably be hard to keep straight all the various C keywords without speaking english, I bet. Oh yes, and does anyone know whether gcc is capable of handling chinese variable names and function names, regardless of which encoding scheme used?
  • You're right... I meant to say C keywords, and libraries...

    I actually thought this through about a week ago, for some reason, and came to that conclusion: libraries are killer, for programming without knowledge of english. Maybe some future version of ELF might fix that. :-)

    Honestly, though, I wouldn't be surprised if Windows 2003 had multinational DLL exports. Microsoft is good about language support.
  • Why would they send tanks after peacefully protesting people?

    Why would they arrest people for worshiping in small groups, privately?

    Why would they forcibly control places like Tibet?

    Why would they hold military exercises to influence ROC elections?
  • "Inappropriate" is undefined and used intentionally vaguely in your post. Information exists outside /. in case you weren't aware -- which is why posts which present insight (correct or incorrect) from outside the 1-click-from-slashdot radius may be moderated up.

    The intent of the moderation system is not to evaluate the factual correctness of posts (given that most posters can't do this for themselves, and moderators are posters, ...). The purpose of moderation is to rank posts via scores so that the more interesting, useful, funny, and informative posts have high scores, while the crap, flames, trolls, etc., have lower scores. A post [ such as the one to which I am currently replying ] can be factually WRONG and deserve a high score on the basis of these criteria (not that your post deserves a high score, but it does not deserve to be down-moderated, because it is "interesting" although completely boneheaded). If the post is off-topic then it should be moderated so. If the post is factually incorrect (or correct for that matter) but interesting or insightful it should be moderated so. How many times do people have to tell you to read the moderator guidelines before you click the friggin link []?

  • Umm... did you READ the article? Or even the HEADLINE?

    It reads:

    "China to ban government use of Windows 2000" [ emphasis mine ]

    How is this forcing the people to use it? The government of china has every right to dictate what computer systems and operating systems can be used within it. The US does the same thing.

    Next time try reading the article before posting.
  • It was actually banned because the boneheads at Microsoft did the double byte enable work in Taiwan. Not because it was insecure.
  • Oooh.. this is REALLY neat :) My bet is that China will be using Red Flag Linux to monitor the access and email and other such things of all it's people. ANd why go through MSFT to get them to put these backdoors in when it's quite easy enough to take the linux code and hack the backdoors in there. Sure, the GPL says they have to release the code, but.. really now :) It's all just another form of big brother. China wants to watch their people. This is the easiest way and most cost effective way. Use the source :) Mags
  • "If they want to encourage indigenous software development, their programmers need access to the most widely-used operating systems."

    1) Define "widely used". Sure, Windows dominates the world numerically, but as a local phenomena Linux is just as viable. If every Chinese person were using Linux and no non-Chinese were it would still make sense. Who do Chinese developers develop for? Chinese users!

    2) In any case, W2k is not "widely used" by any definition. It hasn't even shipped yet. And before there's a bunch of shouting about "migration paths", let's just cast our minds back to all the articles we've read about retraining admins and programmers for the "whole new paradigm" of W2k.

    MS made a bad move in dropping a lot of backward compatibility. Now purchasers think to themselves (assuming they think at all): "Well, I could buy W2k, but if I'm going to have to relearn a bunch of stuff, why not try out this Linux thing?"
  • Cut their pipe and tell them they can have it back when the Chinese government is run by the people, not the commie turds.

    And just how the hell would you that? do you think all Pipes are controlled by the US government? or perhaps by you?

    Most arn't even controled by US companies we could no more cut there pipe then they could cut ours.

    "Suble Mind control? why do html buttons say submit?",
  • I agree, simplified Chinese does suck. I think traditional is much easyer to read.

    To bad I can't figure out how to enter Traditional into my computer...

    "Suble Mind control? why do html buttons say submit?",
  • chinese programers speak english, how would they understand the code to begin with if they didn't?

    Linus's native language is finish, but linux is in english. I suspect the situation in china will be the same.

    "Suble Mind control? why do html buttons say submit?",
  • Imagen the US passed a law that said that the US government would only use windows. Would you care? I wouldn't, since the gov't already uses windows for lots of stuff.

    Incase you hadn't noticed, this only applies to the chinese government not the chinese people

    "Suble Mind control? why do html buttons say submit?",
  • I don't think you'll see Star Spangled Linux. "Star Spangled" is already a trade mark for software in the USA. However, it was issued in 1992 for a large package of application software...I can't find a reference to that on the Net so it may be easy to buy the trade mark. But if the source code for that application software is available, I wouldn't mind if it were GPL'ed so it would have new life.
  • Well, that's not something you hear of every day. Whatever that means...
  • "
    MS-Windows is easier to use at a glance"?
    Then why don't I see a "File Manager" on the menu when I left-click on the root window? It's awkward to use files on a graphical GUI when there is no File Manager shown.

    It's easy to use whatever you have already learned. A pop bottle is hard to use if you've only used bottles with corks, as the corkscrew keeps dropping bits of aluminum into the pop.

  • I don't want to get in the way of your prejudices, but I think the original posting was about your average Linux programmer who has nothing to do with his / her government at all. So, with tons of new users and coders, there is a large likelihood that more people will be active in the development of Linux. It worked for about any other country on the planet... For a real coder it's a certain satisfaction to have his extensions / improvements integrated in the kernel. I don't think that'll be different with the Chinese (no matter whether the original announcement was a hoax or not).
  • 1) A person's contry's actions (which is what you were originally condemning) are associated with that person as long as that person associates themselves with that country. (Germans, be they active participants in the Holocaust or not (or even alive at the time) will have to deal with that stygma for the foreseeabel future). I wouldn't expect anyone to be silent when they see (from whatever awkward angle) injustice, but to condemn it from a position of moral authority (as the U.S. is soo adept at) is wrong, IMHO.

    2) same as 1

    3) As for this , you have admitted that the U.S. is not blameless and has a dirty past, and are (justifiably) condemning China for recent actions. However, I would assume that you would like to see China become more like the U.S politically (at least from a human rights perspective), yet how can they get there without pulling the same B.S. that our forefathers did to gain the raw materials and power necessary to accomplish that goal?

    You are arguing against a means that has created what you believe to be a justifiable ends. This is a loaded discusssion and way-off topic of what has now been exposed as a hoax story.
  • have nearly killed several cultures (c.f Tibet among others)

    *cough*American Indians*cough*

    Let he who is without sin, shoot the first missile. (oh, wait, we did that too)

    Not a defense of China, merely an attempt to keep bashing of cultures most of us don't understand, or actively participate in, to a minimum.

    And to keep this post moderately on-topic, I think it's great that a large government has the ABILITY to roll their own NOS if need be.
  • In fact, my initial comments to which you responded didn't even argue that ... I was merely commenting that while I disagreed with some policies of China's government, I agree with their alleged stance on Linux.

    it was the tone of the initial post that grabbed my attention. You have defended this by comparing your personal moral standards with those of the government that controls 1/4-1/5 of the world's population. To condemn a country's actions (in any concrete sense) you must come from an entire country's perspective, not an individuals. This was the descrepancy I was pointing out.

    As to your absurd notion that social progress requires injustice, I respectfully disagree.

    In the limited universe of examples I chose (the U.S.) it would appear to be fact that social progress (Imperial Wealth and Power would be more accurate) requires injustice. Theoretically and philosophically, I agree with you, and wish it wasn't the case. If you can give some other examples, (English, nope, French, nope) I'd love to see them. All's fair in Love and War, and the Winners write the history books.

    Nor does respect for human rights require might, power, or material wealth.

    I will very much disagree here. Don't eat for about a week (and watch your children starve) and tell me how much you would rather be nice than have a thick steak.

    My moral authority comes from the fact that I have never taken a human life and that I will speak out against against injustice anywhere I see it, at home or abroad, as is my constitutional right and IMHO my moral obligation.

    That makes it easy. Close your eyes and your moral obligation disappears. Funny, but I would respect your position more if you HAD taken a life (not talking about homicide here folks). People in the U.S. have been fat and happy for so long they are starting to think it's a right (yes, I am a tad bit overweight and have a positive outlook on life).

    I for one hope the world can balance our progress such that our animal natures can forever be dormant, accessed only as a means to get your attention for advertising or entertainment. But we can't forget where we came from, or how we got here.

    BTW: thanks for a coherent argument (even if you don't think mine is), this is why I read /.
  • My Windows 95 is much more secure now, but it took several months of intense psychotherapy...
  • Never trust that a large organization, especially a government, will act in its best interests. If that were the case, we would have no crypto export regulations.

    By the ideal of communism, China should keep their Linux open sourced. By the ideal of central governmental control, China should keep their Linux closed source. Which ideal do you expect China to hold more closely?

  • It is absolutely in a country's best interest to deny strong crypto to everybody else. The problem is that crypto export regulations produce the opposite effect.

    Per current law, most "strong" (not easily crackable) crypto cannot be exported from the US. It can be imported from anywhere. Other countries don't particularly have this policy. As a result, people who really want to write crypto software have reason to move overseas. Moreover, remember that most of the mathematical types who do crypto don't live in this country.

    Where a piece of software needs to have crypto built in, foriegn developers have a natural advantage because they can ship a secure product anywhere.

    What it comes down to is that crypto export regulations insure that the best crypto, and the best crypto-enabled software, come from places other than the US. And this is exactly how you fail to deny strong crypto to your enemies.

  • The largest country in the world runs on Linux, shouldn't you?

    Apparently just the government. That's not the same as banning it everywhere. Private enterprises presumably can shell out for Windows.

    What this begs the question is, why is our government still buying Windows, when Linux is certainly usable for probably 90% of what Windows is used for?

  • What I think is the biggest joke is that the article from the South China is in ASP.
  • It's a ban at government use only. In other words, they are making linux the default OS, just like so many companies and governments in the world have chosen for MS windows as their default OS.
  • Uh, look closely. SCMP isn't the one reporting the decision. They are only reporting what another paper has said.

    The decision to ban W2K was reported by the Yangcheng Evening News. And they don't need to be lying, as another Coward suggested; they only need to be misinformed.
  • I absolutely agree. And somewhat disagree.

    Many western governments have had a de-facto ban on non-Microsoft products for a long time. These come in subtle forms: purchasing agreements with vendors who only supply Windows boxes, mandated file formats and applications for some tasks and so on.

    So in one sense I don't see this (alleged) move on behalf of the Chinese government as any worse than what western governments have done.

    The question which arises is, how should governments chose their software? We might suggest fitness for the job, but if every office of every department does their own comparative study, they will probably spend more than if they bought MS in the first place.

    Governments have two reponsibilities to balence: get the job done and not waste the tax payers money. Linux certainly has advantages in the second task, but there are still application holes where the former is a serious problems in the former. So the issue is not cut-and-dried.
  • The folks who don't know anything about China say that Red Flag Linux will be closed-source by Chinese government mandate. People familiar with China say it's technically open, if politically closed, and that the first group are a bunch of noodnik know-nothings. Debate went rapidly downhill from there.

    I'll point out one fact: Microsoft tried to enforce their trademark in China and not only lost, but created a firestorm by the very attempt.

    How much luck do you think you're going to have enforcing GPL in a Chinese court?

    Red Flag Linux is going to be as open or closed as the Chinese government wants it to be, and nothing any of the GPL fans say or do is going to matter one bit. China conforms to international trade law when it suits them, and it suits them when their trading partners have the economic clout to enforce it.

    The open-source movement does not have that clout.
  • As much as this article says "to promote the use of ingidenous software" I can't help but think there are other concerns the Chinese Government has.

    Security concerns? Sure, we all know GPL software is a hell of a lot more secure than closed-source software.

    User concerns? Maybe, while Windows may be easier to use at a glance, Linux can be just as easy with 2-4 weeks of practice.

    Anyone agree with me here?

  • No, they are not. According to Wired even the original story about them banning Win 2000 for government agencies is untrue (they're citing a high ranking Chinese official).
  • > Imagine a law like that being passed in the
    > [US,Canada,Europe,Australia,YourCountry]...
    > imagine the law requires Windows

    Um you mean there isn't?

    So you are saying that a person working at any
    government office has complete discretionary
    control over what OS they run? military too?

    You are missing something. This is INTERNAL
    government offices. It is the basic equivalent
    of the head of The DMV saying "We are dumping
    windows and moving to linux on all our servers
    and workstations" except on a larger scale.

    This has no effect on personal workstations or
    private companies (bizzare...private companies
    in a "Communist COuntry"? what kind of communists
    do they claim to be?)

  • I am a user of Sun, Linux, and Windows operating systems. I would agree wholeheartedly that open sourced OS's have it all over Windows. But I can't BELIEVE that you all would be foolish enought to praise China's decision on this matter. Sure it promotes your favorite OS, but at what cost?

    Protectionist policies have no place in the modern world economy, and serve only to put up barriers between people/countries. No matter what your feeling for a particular OS is, you should not promote the exclusion of all others. Isn't this the exact stuff you are pissed about microsoft doing in the US? Great, you are doing it yourselves. If you truly believe in the Linux operating system, then it will flourish without the banishment of all other operating systems.

  • No matter how much we geeks don't want to admit it, there is a place for Windows in the world. It is easy for those of us who have some talent in the field of computers to scream, "Whooo Hooo! Use Linux...Down w/Micro$oft...". However, I think that we often fail to realize how computer illiterate the average Joe really is.

    Windows is often a more realistic choice in the corporate (or in this case governmental) community for the shear fact that it is easy to use and EVERYBODY knows something about it. It is (like it or not) a fairly intuitive OS.

    Now, don't get me wrong...I dispise Micro$oft as much as the next guy. I am simply willing to admit that Windows is useful for some tasks. The Chinese government would be making a mistake by taking this sort of action. It will result in (at the least) a significant period of decreased productivity...

  • by Telcontar ( 819 ) on Thursday January 06, 2000 @06:34AM (#1398639) Homepage
    > Then, there's the "banning" of Windows 2000. Why ban one Microsoft OS and no other?

    Some time ago, Windows 95 has been banned in China, too, because it is too insecure (I can't argue with that) :-)
  • by Zachary Kessin ( 1372 ) <> on Thursday January 06, 2000 @05:40AM (#1398640) Homepage Journal
    I can think of several ways that it will benifit all linux users.

    1) Better support for 2 byte char systems.
    2) A lot of people in China will be using linux. Some of them will be writing new code. With luck we will see some cool software originating in China. Both in terms of totaly new software and
    in terms of improvments to existing code.

  • by Frater 219 ( 1455 ) on Thursday January 06, 2000 @09:01AM (#1398641) Journal
    There may be some bullshit in this article, but it is not entirely bullshit. For instance, Red Flag Linux apparently does indeed exist, as a Google Linux [] search will reveal. Linux Weekly News [] covered it in this article [] back in August of last year. It also refers to an article [] in ComputerWorld China [] (in Chinese, of course).

    Now that I've got the "Informative" part of this comment out of the way, I'll add the "Flamebait": For the Chinese government to use a Linux-based OS does not demean Linux. There are millions of people in the world who use Linux-based systems already. Some number of these people are assholes; this does not make Linux an assholes' operating system. Some number of them beat their spouses or children; this does not make Linux a domestically violent operating system. By now there's probably been a serial killer or two who's used Linux ... does this make Linux the operating system of serial killers?

    It is true that by using a more efficient, less crash-prone operating system, the Chinese government may become more efficient itself. In theory, this could be bad for the Chinese people: an efficient tyranny is likely worse than an inefficient one. However, I suspect that this would be more than balanced by the fact that involvement with Linux has the potential to lead to greater integration of China with the Net: how are they to keep up with new software developments if they don't have connectivity? And greater integration with the Net might very well lead to the spread of democratic ideals in the Chinese population, especially in the technologically adept population sectors who are most likely to come in direct contact with Linux-based systems.

    Finally, I must add the following: China (says the Guide) is big. Really really big. You may have thought Texas was the epitome of big-itude, but that's just peanuts to China. China has big history, big culture, and lots of other big things too. The Chinese civilization has survived other bogus and tyrannical dynasties, and it will survive the "Mao Dynasty" as well. Right now things are obviously getting a bit shaky over there -- the Falun Gong crackdown indicates to me that the regime is scared of imminent popular uprising. In some sense, wouldn't adoption of Linux (and all that it entails) throw that much more Blessed Chaos into the mixture?
  • by Signal 11 ( 7608 ) on Thursday January 06, 2000 @05:55AM (#1398642)
    Gee, I thought MS was bad "Where do you want to go today?"... but now China went and one-up'd them with Red Flag Linux: "You will go here today or we'll kill you and your family!"

  • by RayChuang ( 10181 ) on Thursday January 06, 2000 @05:42AM (#1398643)
    I have to ask just what kind of character support this "Red Flag Linux" is supposed to have. Will it be Simplified Chinese and/or Traditional Chinese?

    Remember, Windows 2000 supports both Chinese character sets through Unicode, the international standard for foreign character sets. Unicode supports Latin, Cyrillic, both Chinese sets, Japanese, Hindi, Arabic, Hebrew, Thai and other character sets I don't remember offhand without having to do complicated changes to the OS just to change character displays.
  • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Thursday January 06, 2000 @07:01AM (#1398644)
    A couple of quick questions;
    • Has anyone actually been able to look at Red Flag Linux. Are there ISO images available online? Source trees? A web page? Actually seeing the product might resolve or at least alleviate some of the concerns that this could a hoax, or simply a misinformed beaurocrat.
    • In the (hopefully very unlikely) event that the Chinese government were to make a proprietary knockoff of Linux, in direct violation of the GPL, what exactly could any of us do about it? I don't see the Clinton Administration (or any administration, for that matter) risking a trade confrontation on behalf of free software, more's the pity.

    I guess I feel like being a troublemaker today ...
  • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Thursday January 06, 2000 @05:42AM (#1398645)
    While I am not a fan of China's draconian governmental policies, which have given us the bloodshet of Tiannamin Square and have nearly killed several cultures (c.f Tibet among others), the principal behind what they are doing -- encouraging indigineous industry and experties and not pouring their money into another country's pockets, is a sound one.

    I suspect if the used FreeBSD or Linux, they would quickly develop a remarkable level of local talent and expertise, having the source to hack on and improve. It would be truly ironic if a government like China's were to become an outspoken advocate of Open Source software. Not the spokesman I would choose, certainly, but a billion new Linux users in Asia wouldn't be all bad, either. :-)

    Alas, I suspect some home-grown, proprietary system will be what is standardized on, rather than an international collaborative project like Linux and FreeBSD.
  • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Thursday January 06, 2000 @06:02AM (#1398646)
    The Chinese government isn't imposing Linux in the private sector, nor is it banning Windows 2000 from retail shelves in China. It is banning its use in government ministries and mandating the use of a free alternative that is more secure, more stable, less expensive, and more capable of developing local programming talent by virtue of the fact that the end user has access to the source code. The private sector is free to continue pirating^H^H^H^H^H^H purchasing Windows for its use.

    It is entirely appropriate for a body to mandate what its internal software standards are. Our government does this all the time, as does any large corporation. In fact, our government has been known to mandate to contractors and subcontractors what products they may, or may not use, on more than one occasion, which is far more intrusive into the "free" market than what China is presently doing.

    It is nice to see, for once, that such a mandate actually has a grain of intelligence and thoughtfulness behind it, something that is all too often lacking. It is very, very ironic indeed that a government as draconian and reactionary as that of China would be one of the first to be open minded enough to evaluate and then embrace Open software (if, in fact, that is actually what they are doing).
  • by Arandir ( 19206 ) on Thursday January 06, 2000 @09:42AM (#1398647) Homepage Journal
    Recently there has been a spate of articles here and elsewhere touting the wonderful benefits that would acrue of a government adopted Open Source software. France is being hailed as a nation with ultra-enlightened statesmen for considering Open Source, and there is a push to lobby the US to do the same.

    Now comes this story. Even though it's a hoax, imagine if it were true. Only Red Star Linux may be used. Debian, Redhat, SuSE, Slackware may NOT be used. This would be a government deciding not what *kind* of software it would use, but what *specific* piece of software to use. Although every other government seems to be predominantly Microsoft based, none has ever mandated a specific operating system nationwide.

    This is not freedom in *ANY* sense of the word. And any here who would be in favor of such a policy don't want the freedom they claim they do, but instead just want their pet OS to win, fair or foul.
  • by Blitzkopf ( 21587 ) on Thursday January 06, 2000 @05:40AM (#1398648)
    I thought China and Microsoft made a deal for a site license, a few years back. So that all computers in China could use Microsoft Windows.
    Pretty big Site if you ask me. I think the reason for this was that chine had been using pirated copies and the Copyright laws there are not very tight. And like all Western companies MS saw a huge future market in China.

    Hopefully they are seeing the light and dropping Windows. I believe the Chineese are smart people.
  • by Rupert ( 28001 ) on Thursday January 06, 2000 @05:42AM (#1398649) Homepage Journal
    First off, it's nice to see a government making better use of its resources by not paying for software that can be had for free. Not that China ever paid for much software, software theft is pretty much the norm.

    On the downside, China is going to have problems developing an "entrepeneur economy" if the government dictates technology. "Use Linux not W2K" is OK, but what if they come down next and say "use MySQL not Oracle" or "use GTK not Qt"?
  • by poopie ( 35416 ) on Thursday January 06, 2000 @05:52AM (#1398650) Journal
    China's still the most populous nation in the world until India takes over ~2030.

    So, as China industrializes, why should China let non-Chinese owned RedHat or TurboLinux own their HUGE market for new OS installs?

    realistically, China needs a free OS. There are just too many people who will need low cost access, and too many government organizations that can't afford to license all of their illegal copies of Commercial software and apps.

    It all fits. China will support linux, but only the version that is developed, branded, and offically supported by the CHinese government.
  • by Yebyen ( 59663 ) on Thursday January 06, 2000 @06:11PM (#1398651) Homepage
    I mean I'm all for more linux use, but I'm not sure banning another operating system (even if just in government use) is a good idea. After all, isn't linux about freedom?

  • by Our Man In Redmond ( 63094 ) on Thursday January 06, 2000 @07:01AM (#1398652)
    Simplified Chinese is used on the mainland, Traditional in Taiwan. So it would be safe to guess that Red Flag would default to Simplified. Linux being what it is, though, it would probably not be that difficult to switch it from one to the other, or at least no more difficult than switching from Roman to Cyrillic characters.

    Someone more qualified than I would have to give an assessment of where Unicode support currently stands in the various distributions.
  • by fozzybear ( 67611 ) on Thursday January 06, 2000 @05:44AM (#1398653)
    Nope, Red Flag was developed by Compaq (China) ml

  • by twitter ( 104583 ) on Thursday January 06, 2000 @08:09AM (#1398654) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft's future in China looks bleak if "Microsoft Under New Media Attack in China" is to be belived. Here are a few good parts, you be the judge:

    Microsoft and Chinese officials on Thursday denied the report, which appeared in Wednesday's edition of the Yangcheng Evening News.

    But a Ministry of Information Industry official, who declined to be identified, said the government was advocating that users bought domestic software.

    Microsoft is reeling from a stream of negative publicity in China, fuelled by a vitriolic book written by its former Chinese general manager, Wu Shihong, who accuses her former employer of arrogance and insensitivity to China's needs.

    A piracy lawsuit by Microsoft against a small local firm unleashed a nationalist backlash against the U.S. software giant. The suit was thrown out by a Chinese judge last month.

    The state-run think tank developing Red Flag-Linux said government offices had expressed strong interest in scrapping Windows for Red Flag, citing security concerns as a chief reason. It's hard to tell which end is up in a autocracy that lacks a free press, but we can see that segments of the Chineese government look down on Windows for all the obvious reasons. See my other article, "low expectations from a command economy," for why I don't think China's 7.1 million internet users will make too big a difference anytime soon.

  • by WinTired ( 125929 ) on Thursday January 06, 2000 @05:52AM (#1398655)

    A wise move, for they will be able to keep lots of 486's in business. I think Bill Gates himself advised people not to upgrade to W2K until their next computer purchase. The thing ought to be bloated!

    The interesting aspect is that this Red Flag distro will certainly not be kept within the gov't . As the chinese seem not to be very fond of purchasing software, we may well have a nation of 1 billion using mostly Linux in the near future.

    Maybe there won't be a LinuxOne IPO at all!


  • Let's take your points in turn.

    1/6th of the world's population. Right. Who's figures? You gone out and counted them, right? Or are you depending on some published figure for China from a decade ago, then comparing it to the world population of today? Sorry, but that ain't worth a damn. Like with like, or don't bother.

    Then, there's this "Government-only" stuff. Yeah. The Government supplies the general public with online documents in Klyx format, or KWord format, and the public -aren't- forced to use Linux. Right. Pull the other one. It's got bells on. That'd be like saying that the French don't -require- you to speak French in their country. They just make sure all official documents and published material is in French, making it impossible for people who don't speak the language to function. You don't have to demand at gunpoint to force someone to do something. You can simply make it impossible to function at anything more than at a very basic level, depending on others at every turn, any other way.

    As for the moderators, why should they necessarily understand the "facts"? The Moderator's Guidelines are very clear on the matter. Moderating is NOT about whether you agree or disagree, but about whether the post might be of interest to others.

    I've moderated up dozens of posts I personally thought were factually screwy. Why? Because they were still interesting, or still informative, and I believed them worth the effort of reading. My personal opinion on the facts contained therein were irrelevent, as they damn well should be.

    I've also moderated down posts that I've personally agreed 100% with, for the same reason. Under the guidelines, they were the sorts of posts that merited the title of "flamebait", "troll", or "overrated". That I agreed, though, doesn't matter. That's not how moderation works here. RTFM! It's all there, -if- you read it.

    The same is true of meta-moderation. Meta-moderation isn't about making your voice heard, or any other such nonsense. That's what posting is for! It's about deciding if the moderation is an accurate reflection on the value of the post to other reader. Whether you agree with the contents of the post or not DOESN'T MATTER.

  • by Zaffle ( 13798 ) on Thursday January 06, 2000 @05:51AM (#1398657) Homepage Journal
    The biggest country in the world stating Linux (or more specifically Redhat Linux) is better than Windows 2000. And stating it in such a way that non-techos will listen, by banning the competition.

    Its the biggest communist country in the world, now before you moderate me down as flamebate, just hear me out... so there is unlikely to be much in the way of backlash from their citizens. (I mean nothing like if the US decided to ban an Operating system (ANY Operating system)). And now they will have the medias eye.

    Esentially this could be bad for linux, for all the negative conitations China brings with it. (Ah, before we go any further, I am speaking generally. That particular view isn't one I share. I don't have anything against ANY culture or country (well, except Microsoft ;))).

    However, it could be good, it definatly gives us some public relations stunts we can play with.

    The largest country in the world runs on Linux, shouldn't you?

    Linux doesn't scale well? ha! It serves 3 billion people well

    Entire countries are adopting linux, is your business is being left behind?

    The Chinese government doesn't trust Windows 2000. Why should you?

    etc... etc... etc... (I realize some of these are half-truths, or worse, but what advertising isn't?. These are just examples)..

    This could have negative sideeffects in respect to DOJ vs MS. MS has a bit more fodder now.

    I think the best thing that will come out of this entire deal is better support for Chinese in Linux. You gotta admit, nothing like 3 billion customers to get you moving :) I can't think of a better OS to support foriegn large alphabets, with complete access to the source code, theres nothing you can't change.

    Anyway, don't take this thing to extremes, its just news :)

  • by jd ( 1658 ) <imipak AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday January 06, 2000 @05:53AM (#1398658) Homepage Journal
    Ok, this rumour seems to be persisting. Last time, there were unconfirmed reports that China would force everyone to use Linux, because of it's perceived political stance, IIRC.

    This time, Windows 2000 is to be banned, and "Red Flag Linux" is to be given to every computer user in China. (This would make Linux the number #2 OS in the world, by dint of China having more than 50% of the world's population.)

    However, I can see a number of key problems with this story. "Red Flag" seems suspiciously similar to "Red Hat", and looks more like a student's play on words than a real product.

    Then, there's the "banning" of Windows 2000. Why ban one Microsoft OS and no other? That doesn't make sense. If Linux is to be mandatory, it would make more sense to ban -ALL- other OS', at least those which could seriously threaten Linux' use. But, no, it's only a product which isn't even available yet which is being "banned".

    I'm going to put this in the "I'll believe it if I see it" file, also known as the "Z" file. (It's at least two orders of magnitude less probable than "X" files, and you can fall asleep waiting for anything to happen.)

  • by RocketJeff ( 46275 ) on Thursday January 06, 2000 @06:33AM (#1398659) Homepage
    As many have already suspected, this is yet another 'Linux in China' hoax post. There is a story from Reuters (on about Microsoft Under New Media Attack in China [] that seems to clear this up.

    It basically says that both Microsoft and the Govt of China both deny the story and that the newspaper (in China) that originally reported it has no evidence for the policy.

  • by devphil ( 51341 ) on Thursday January 06, 2000 @05:50AM (#1398660) Homepage

    For those of you who are posting kneejerk reactions without reading the article:

    Officials at several government ministries said they were unaware of such a policy.

    The story is posted by a Chinese newspaper, and we all know how informed our own media is... Maybe it's true; I'll believe it when I see it, that's all.

  • by Misericorde ( 103773 ) on Thursday January 06, 2000 @05:59AM (#1398661)
    I expect much of /.'s community to jump on this with a malicious glee in their eyes, hanging burning Bill Gates dolls and praising Red China for embracing Linux and all that it represents. Remember, "all that it represents", which also means open-sourcing. Do you actually think that China will openly and without any barriers open-source Red Flag Linux? The same country that killed thousands of students at Tienanmen, the same country that suppresed a whole culture (Tibet), the same country that just sent a few dissidents to jail for being part of nothing more than their equivalent of the Rotary club. China is a closed-source country. They're using Linux because it's an open-source OS that they can tweak at will, make it their own. They couldn't do that with Windows2000. So they'll get their own OS, but will I be able to order Red Flag? Will the world be able to see what Chinese coders can do with it? Think again.

Trap full -- please empty.