Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Retraction of "China Banning W2K" 76

??? writes "It would appear that the Mercury is retracting its earlier story posted here. In a recently posted story, both the Chinese government and Microsoft deny the veracity of the story. The interviewed Chinese government spokesperson did however indicate that they are encouraging the use of domestically produced software. " Some of the Reuters stories seem to indicate that China has banned Win2k in critical government/infrastructure situations - but I can't find confirmation.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Retraction of "China Banning W2K"

Comments Filter:
    • While I don't believe for a minute that MS will get dumped in China, Linux will run on older PC's better and will extend the life of older existing PC's. Our market in the US is dominated by MS; in China that market is still really developing.
    • It would be great to see software get a foot hold based on it's capability and not its ad campaigns.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 07, 2000 @06:23AM (#1395692)
    ...some of the "commie"-centered posts on this thread are laughable. Maybe the reasons why the Chinese government is interest in Linux include: 1. China is poor 2. Linux is free (even if China isn't) 3. They want to develop indigenous software development so they can stop sending billions to Redmond 4. They are under pressure to curtail software piracy...GPL software makes this moot. 5. They are tired of finding BackOrifice, Netbus and 48,000 viruses on their systems 6. The mostly have old hardware (486s and P54C/Pentiums) and Linux is friendly to old iron; can you imagine the hardware cost to them of buying machines capable of running Win2K!? (you same jerks praised Mexico for using Linux in their education system; China's motivations are not much different) and, finally: The are getting ready for the CHICOM IPO (NSDQ: CHCM) and are hoping to boost the share values and by linking the offering to Linux. p.s., get over the "commie" label--they have evolved into a run-of-the-mill authoritarian regime, no worse than some of the US' friends like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Mexico, Malaysia, Singapore. The fact that they are Chinese has a lot more explanatory power for their actions than any lingering Marx/Lenin/Stalin/Mao Zedong/Robert Reich stench.
  • It is easier to kick an opium addiction for most people than it is for a large organization to switch to another OS. Addictive == TRUE. The threat of force is _always_ implicitly present to back up copyright and other laws. Gunboats == TRUE. Cheers, gbs
  • Here is a thought. M$ selling W2K to the PRC has a historic parallel to the British Empire selling opium to China during colonialism.
  • Every moron who discovers that magnets repel each other seems to be convinced he's discovered the secret to perpetual motion and will not be disuaded.

    Nor should he be. By exploring his nonsensical notions, he'll:

    1) Learn more about physics.


    2) Be proved a moron while he's not yet in a position to do any real damage.


    3) Both.

    As for his posts; that's why we invented killfiles. Ignore 'em long enough and they go away. Get 'em to switch to UCE, get 'em kicked off a few ISPs for it, and they'll switch to running conspiracy-oriented websites naming their old ISPs as part of the conspiracy. :-)
  • You mean that after the past 3 "China adopting Linux" stories turned out to be hoaxes, this one turns out to be a hoax too?

    Maybe the next time you post the story it will be true.
  • i'd say the PRC is a fair bit worse than the countries you mentioned, but they're damned sure not the worst on the block. just the next duly elected enemy.

    also, you left out 7. a sovereign government might not want all of their critical computers running on software from another country, and one that has proven itself profoundly unfriendly, to boot.

    a radical idea, i know, but i think if microsoft were a PRC company, we might concievably (hear me out on this...) not want to run all of our computers on their software. just a guess. maybe pat buchanan would disagree.

  • by Markvs ( 17298 ) on Friday January 07, 2000 @04:34AM (#1395698) Journal
    Okay... China's a Communist country. (One of the last in the world, but hey.) OF COURSE they're going to promote "home grown" software over Microsoft!

    Theoretically (or is it ideologically in this sense?), Communists don't believe in the acquisition of personal wealth. So why would they want to pay licensing fees? Or for that matter for any software at all? In the ideal utopian society, each member produces to his or her ability and takes only what he or she needs. Linux is therefore the OS of the people!

    Needless to say, it won't be easy. It's not like even simplified Chinese is easy to code for/with (just guessing here), at least with the relative preponderence of English/Spanish/French/German compilers. (For example, I've never seen a Polish version of C++, even in Poland. If anyone knows otherwise, lemme know). They'd have to come up with an entire microcomputer industry more or less from scratch...

  • is that bogus stories about it, like the one about Linux becoming the "official" OS of China, are posted here.

    What's next? Linux Rumored To Be Most Popular OS on Mars! or maybe Previously Unknown Abyssal Fish Species Rumored Never To Use Windows!

    Give us a break... Real news from China might be interesting, however.

  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Friday January 07, 2000 @05:00AM (#1395700)
    Newspapers crying "wolf" aside, I expect it's only a matter of time before this happens for real. Not just in China, but in most of the world's nations.

    I'd like to say my prediction is based on the the many intrinsic benefits of logicels libre, but in fact I think it boils down to a single issue: proof against trojan horses.

    Plenty of nations have reason to be wary of snooping by the USA, and there have been enough corporations caught uploading unauthorized data lately that it doesn't take an excess of paranoia to want to play things on the safe side.

    Hell, I'm wary of closed source software just because I don't want unauthorized snooping on my home system, where I don't have anything remotely worth stealing. How much more wary would I be if it was a matter of national security in the face of software possibly harboring hooks from a somewhat unfriendly rival government?

    It's October 6th. Where's W2K? Over the horizon again, eh?
  • No. Red Flag is a real Chinese linux distribution. Check out their home page []. IMHO, they drawn some cute Tux too :). And yes, you need to set up your computer for Chinese to read it correctly ;).

    And if you're interested in Chinese Linux, you should also check out some other distributions such as Bluepoint [].

  • they will definitely regret this in the short and

    long term !!?!?!?
  • This is from the above paper via Reuters in Beijing and can be accessed at
    South China Morning Post []

    China will ban use of Microsoft's new Windows 2000 operating system throughout the government and instead opt for a homegorwn software system.

    Ministries will have to use "Red Flag Linux", a new platform developed by Chinese researchers and based on upstart operating system Linux, the Yangcheng Evening News said.

    There's more info in the article but you can read it for yourself if interested.

    Would the Chinese newspapers themselves be wrong?

  • Register article:

    "As Microsoft sniffily denies suggestions that the Chinese
    government is poised to ban Windows 2000, TurboLinux has
    opportunistically leapt into the fray by claiming it's been
    outselling Windows in China for the past four months."

  • I mean, really, wasn't "Red Flag" enough of a red flag to tell that the story was bogus?
  • The thing is not about China, but about the chinese government. Chinese endorsment can certainly be a good thing, but government backing from china isn't always that good....

    // Simon
  • by SYS2066 ( 37710 ) on Friday January 07, 2000 @05:46AM (#1395707) Homepage
    Well, I wouldn't expect the Chineese to ban W2000 than I'd expect USA to ban all forms of Linux. Still, if the adoption of Linux would be true - despite the rumours about W200 - it would certainly be rather interesting politically.

    The government in China is certainly not a nice government, and to have Linux associated with it would be somewhat unpleasant. There is a more than a little socialist (NOT in the chinese sense, mind you) touch to Linux, mostly because it strives due to the "communal ownership of code". But at the same time, free software is highly libertarian too, which does not go well with communism.

    Had linux been a political system, this mixture of libertarian and socialist ideas would be rather interesting. But I think one should see Linux as essentially non-political (in the general sense) because it deals with technology and not society. The ideas embraced by Linux has been around for a long time in the political system, and Linux has merely transferred it to the technological arena - and proven to be a big success.

    Still - the growth of Linux would be tremendous if it was introduced on a government scale in china...

    // Simon Kågström
  • When a newspaper in a given country quotes officials in that country, it must be give at least a bit of credence.

    I don't think the newspapers in this country (the US) get quotes from our officials right. Why should I think newspapers in other countries do any better? And when it's a US paper quoting a forign paper quoting their officials...

  • Here's a link to the full TurboLinux Press Release [] provided by LinuxToday.

    I know piracy is a huge problem in the PRC, but for the self-claimed largest software retail chain in the country to basically admit it is selling bootlegged copies of Windows 2000 as an "Upgrade" is pretty amazing.

    I hope MS is following up on this. If MS fails to ensure that their licenses are adhered to it will ultimately hurt Linux as fewer people will will bother to switch to Linux if they can upgrade to Win2k at bootleg prices.

  • "A coding flaw allowed Microsoft to collect information about unique computer-identifying information."

    Apparently. Oh that's what it was, was it? 'A coding flaw' that just happened to send information back to a database, after assigning everyone a unique ID?

    It seems strange that the media keep confusing the issues - the NSA backdoor turned out probably not to be an NSA backdoor, but the security problems in MS products hardly stem solely from malicious attempts to allow people into the computers - the article seems to miss the fact that MS products just tend to be less secure, as is their security model...
  • You left out this book :) 1/ref=sim_books/102-8815157-6638436

    IIRC, the story was retracted because the Mercury found out that Gary Webb had _fabricated_ much of
    his story.

    Here's a quote from Reason magazine (hardly a CIA lapdog):
    The newspaper series was quickly shot to pieces by other news outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. Eventually even the Mercury itself, after sending a reporter around to recheck Webb's work, started backing away. Webb, not surprisingly, began intimating that his own newspaper was part of the conspiracy, and they soon parted ways.

    The URL for the above article is:
  • TurboLinux has been outselling FULL VERSIONS OF WINDOWS. TurboLinux is ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE NEAR outselling Windows in upgrades.

  • Insightful my ass. I have a bone to pick with the moderator (and ChrisGB for that matter)! For one... China is Socialist NOT Communist (there has never been a Communist state (and probably never will be)).

  • Apparently. Oh that's what it was, was it? 'A coding flaw' that just happened to send information back to a database, after assigning everyone a unique ID?

    I wouldn't even call it a flaw, an oversight.

    And I don't think any GUIDs where being collected into any special database. I mean, GUIDs have been in use for like 15 years now, and MS uses them extensively, i mean, a GUID gets attached to a word (compound OLE document - eg. uses GUIDs) it's hardly a security flaw IMHO...or a bug IMHO.

    MS just don't seem to realise how many people out there get freaked over something so small (the same people who use credit cards)
  • Lest we all forget, there was also a recent story citing that Germany, bastion of righteousness, was going to ban certain MS OS's due to the fact that parts of the OS's in question were developed by scientology-based software co's Anyone remember that?
  • by Fruan ( 105302 ) on Friday January 07, 2000 @04:46AM (#1395717) Homepage
    Now, the big question is, which conspircy? Take your pick:

    -Mircrosoft payed off China
    -Microsoft threatend China
    -Microsoft traded nucular secrets to China
    -China was actually trying to hide the fact that Microsoft had boycotted them, but managed to cut a deal (once again either money, violence or nuclar secrets)
    -The Red Hat prototype mind control laser had the Chinese govt. in its thrall until Microsoft Stormtroopers managed to destroy it
  • That would be an interesting 'historic parallel' if:

    1. Windows 2000 was an addictive substance.

    2. Microsoft was an invading country with gunboats.

    Don't trivialize the serious criminal nature of the British opium trade that resulted in "The Opium Wars" in China. Just about any expensive manufactured goods being sold by a first world country to a third world country is similar to Microsoft selling W2K to China. Intel selling Pentium chips is pretty much the same thing, for instance. Or Sun selling Sparc hardware, for that matter.

  • I think the problem is that anything that the management at Slashdot thinks would be a good controversial topic, promoting high traffic and bringing in greater banner revenues, is considered fair game.

    Come on, Mr. Malda & co. Stop your irresponsible "journalism." You're cashing in on Slashdot's former reputation in a rather ugly way.
  • What would make a Polish version of C++ any different than the ANSI version? The keywords in C aren't English, thought they may have a certain resemblance.

    You may as well be talking about a Polish version of Calculus.
  • Linux will run on older PC's better and will extend the life of older existing PC's.

    What makes you think there is an ageing fleet of older computers (386's and 486's) in China just waiting for somebody to install Linux on? That's a very 'first world' assumption.
  • Yeah, good post thar...nice to see someone spending more time than it takes to jerk a knee when composing their comments...and IMHO Anonymous Coward is right on target with the practical reasons why any poor nation would consider open source. It doesn't hurt that M$'s general manager in China, a Chinese woman, quit the company and wrote a best-selling tell-all book that blasted Microsoft's business practices. (Some cross-cultural misunderstanding apparently played into it). So M$ may not get 'kicked out', but the emphasis on home-grown software by the gov't certainly tilts the playing field.
  • The names "communism" and "socialism" have been used in so many different ways that its hard to talk about them, any more. I think some understanding of the Russian Revolution will help people better understand these terms, how they have been used and why - although I'm going to be brief!
    Many of the people who carried out the Russian Revolution in 1917 (I think it was then) were not communists. They were workers and peasants who organized, shut their bosses out of their factories and workplaces and ran their workplaces themselves. Many were anarchists, who wanted to run the whole economy not by central planning but through federations of these worker councils. (Sorry, the word "anarchist" is probably unusable today as well.)
    The word "soviet" means worker council, or union, and the Russians organized into these councils and were able to have control over their lives, for the first time. The sad new is: this revolution was eventually taken over by the Communist party (Bolsheviks). The leaders said "You do not need these soviets because our party represents the workers"! The Communist party killed its opponents, broke the unions, and assumed all power.
    Here's where some of the confusion begins: The Soviet Union called themselves "socialists" and "communists" to propagandize to its own citizens that the government was serving their interests. The capitalists, afraid of unions and workers' power in general called the Soviet Union "socialists" and "communists". They did this to make people associate alternatives to capitalism with the totalitarianism of the Soviet Union, and later, China. Also there have been a whole bunch of interpretations of "socialism" - from radical left-wing to Clinton-Democrat but that's too big a story to get into here.
    As far as being "armchair philosophers", socialists and communists in the U.S. have worked for peace, civil rights, civil liberties, workers' rights, and just about any non-conservative social movement you can think of. Abroad, socialists and communists have helped replaced feudalism with democracy (look at Europe). Is that enough far you? As Karl Marx said (although not an exact quote), "Philosophers so far have tried to understand history... the point is to change it!"
  • What probably happened was that someone heard that they were trying to encourage the use of 'home cooked' software, and someone in the news agencies misinterpretted this as a ban. Maybe it was language related - perhaps something got lost in the translation? Maybe the Chinese government 'suggested' that Linux should be used, and the communist definition of a suggestion is 'you will do this'!
  • A company named GraphOn is working with a Chinese company to bring Linux to the China's education system. Check out their website and their stock ticker is GOJO.
  • Red Flag Linux - On August 11, the Renmin Ribao (People's Daily) reported the formal launch of the new Red Flag Linux OS. Red Flag Linux, a locally developed Chinese-language OS, is based on Linux freeware, and is claimed to be the only Chinese OS that supports large character sets. Red Flag Linux can support numerous applications, including controlware, "workstream management" software, accounting and management programs, and Chinese-language word processing on an array of different platforms.

    Red Flag Linux was developed jointly by the Software Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Peking University Founder Group, and Compaq Computer Corp.

    See more at: 3.html [] and oday/99/09/01/news4.html []

  • Aaarch, page&num=10 []

    Who do you think is reference number one?

  • It shouldn't be hard for Compaq to do this, as they have excellent Chinese support in Tru64/OSF1.

  • China would have just formally bought one copy anyway. Then they would have burned copies for the masses.

    Precidents been set, hasn't it?

  • Like the Chinese follow REGULAR software license agreements ??? 90% of the stuff they use in the government ministries is pirated.

    China breaks EULAs because it's too poor to afford purchasing licenses.

    What makes you think they care about the Linux GPL ??

    IANAL, but all it needs to do to comply with GNU GPL is include the source code on the CDs it burns for Chinese GNU/Linux users. Now how tough is that?

    Oh, by the way, here's [] your GPL in Chinese. It's an unofficial translation, but I think the government will understand it. :-)

  • Well, seems to me like another big democracy issue. I have not read the story yet, but it seems logical to me not to buy proprietary software. Why would anyone buy for things they can get very well done on a free environment? In fact, on more than one. (Linux/3 BSD's/...) So, at that point, the Government of China is correct, but it is lacking on freedom of the people. They can choose what is good or not for them. No one is ever going to do a complete change from Win9x to *NIX systems. I believe nobody has the perfect conditions to do so. I guess using Linux as in the Brazillian project, as a priority, would be much better than in this "project" (which I guess its an order).
  • Yes, but this story came from a Chinese newspaper, the Yangcheng Evening News.

    When a newspaper in a given country quotes officials in that country, it must be give at least a bit of credence.
  • Like the Chinese follow REGULAR software license agreements ???

    90% of the stuff they use in the government ministries is pirated.

    What makes you think they care about the Linux GPL ??
  • Somehow I have the feeling that if the Chinese government really were to be banning Win Y2K that the news would come out of some other source than a small-town newspaper of little importance.
  • I think the problem is that people really don't have good B.S. detectors regarding stories about China and computers.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"