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Microsoft

Japan Considers Moving Away From Windows 323

dm24_99 writes "According to this article at Japan Today, the Japanese government is considering abandoning Microsft Windows in a plan to boost computer security within the government. The government is very interested in alternatives, especially Linux." Of course, like the bank reform being proposed, who knows when this will actually happen.
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Japan Considers Moving Away From Windows

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  • by Slashdotess ( 605550 ) <gchurchNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Saturday November 16, 2002 @10:23AM (#4685212)
    I'm just curious, is there something that attracts asian countries to Open Source rather than let's say, North Americans?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 16, 2002 @10:25AM (#4685217)
      Because paying Microsoft is supporting a foreign nation instead of your own. Given the choice, you always want to invest in your own country. You get much better support that way, too.
    • by vivIsel ( 450550 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @10:28AM (#4685227)
      It's not just asian countries. A north american only needs look so far as...south america. While I can't find the article, there has been more than one south american country considering the switch to open source or actually doing it.
      • by rseuhs ( 322520 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @11:30AM (#4685404)
        Despite many announcements and press-releases, Microsoft is very strong in developing countries (including south America).

        In industrial countries where labour is expensive, like Germany and Japan, Linux is making inroads on desktops and has already marginalized Windows on Servers:

        Japan [securityspace.com]
        Germany [securityspace.com]

        For developing countries, the cost of hiring many people to babysit Windows computers is no problem, but where labour cost is high, the switch to Linux can pay off already in the first year.

        (Yes I know, that contradicts to Microsoft "Windows-TCO-is-low" propaganda, but so is reality.)

      • china, japan peru, germany, france, etc...
        I'd like to see someone actually build a world map with all the opensource-leaning countries marked.
        that way we can see where it's growing...
        This [nwsource.com] talks about some of the countries switching....
        I don't know, I guess it would just be nice to have a master list... maybe the EFF could do this?
    • by Air-conditioned cowh ( 552882 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @10:36AM (#4685256)
      However much MS say their software "builds" economies the fact is that for anyone outside the US the software is an import i.e. money leaves the country to buy it. Not good. It is also rumoured to contain back doors making it unsuitable unless you like being spied upon. Most don't.

      Another possibility is that threatening to use open source encourages MS to make huge donations and be very nice to you. If bribary is normal in your country then there is also the possibility of greatly improving your standard of living by being a decision maker in a government or educational establishment. MS can then buy out all your countries government bodies and universities to make absolutely sure open source will never ever see the light of day in any place that matters.

      I would hope that the Japanese government is considering open source for the first reasons in the first paragraph more than the second.
      • Payola (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) <jmorris@bea[ ]rg ['u.o' in gap]> on Saturday November 16, 2002 @11:18AM (#4685364)
        Doesn't bother me either way. Think it through. If they are looking for the payola that means M$ will be paying every country on the planet in just another year or two. Who would want to be left off the gravy train if all you have to do is say "We might migrate" and millions of dollars flow out of Redmond And they can do it again in a year or two. Bribes only work when you are trying to prevent the appearance of a 'showcase' installation and they are a stopgap measure at best.

        Eventually we will get a few governments converting simply because M$ has succeeded too well at getting the US Govt to lean on poor countries on the 'piracy' issue. Since they CAN'T pay they only really have two choices, get M$ to donate licenses or migrate.

        Longterm M$ needs a better answer than paying their customers to use their product. These tactics are just to buy time to come up with a real strategy. That will be the time for fear. They are now clear of the Justice Dept and are free to act. Expect them to act as soon as Bill G and Monkey Boy come up with a plan they like.
      • MS can then buy out all your countries government bodies and universities to make absolutely sure open source will never ever see the light of day in any place that matters.

        Despite what Microsoft-fanboys told you, this is nonsense.

        Actually most sentences that contain the word "never" are complete and utter nonsense.

        True is:

        MS can then buy out some of your contiries government bodies and universities to make absolutely sure open source will not see the light of day in the next year in most places that matter.

        So what. They can only slow Linux down for a year or two, they can't stop it. This bribery will just attract more and more "we will migrate away" threats. They can't pay everyone to run Windows. *most* users will have to pay, not the other way around

    • Uh... Don't think Germany is asian. Remember this slashdot article [slashdot.org] As Germany goes so goes the EU. And the EU is or will be the largest world economy. Japan is currently the second largest national economy.(IIRC)
      It makes perfect sense for governments to turn their backs on private/U.S. software and embrace open software solutions. The economic impact for M$ will ultimately be severe. I think it is in the U.S. economic interest to promote open source and or competitive alternatives to the M$ monopoly. So that we [speaking as a usian (tm) of course] remain competitive.
      And that is why the recent court decision r.e. M$ is a tragedy for all concerned.
    • by dazdaz ( 77833 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @11:23AM (#4685378)
      The answer is very simple. Money. The asian business community's simply cannot afford the Western licensing costs charged by Microsoft so many don't pay. Now that there is increasing Governmental software licensing enforcement, it's pushing company's towards a legalised solution, and Open Source is a good investment.
    • by rseuhs ( 322520 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @11:23AM (#4685379)
      Actually most Asian countries are pretty Microsoft-centric.

      Except Japan, where Microsoft is already dead on servers:

      see here [securityspace.com]

      I take this announcement much more seriously than all the announcements from China lately. The Japanese are able and willing to abandon Windows completely - unlike the Chinese.

      • Thank you very much! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Idou ( 572394 )
        For the last couple years I have been depressed about Japan's response to Linux, because I read somewhere that MS had 90% of their webservers . . . your link proves that whatever I read was either FUD, really OLD news, or a stupid misunderstanding. Today is a good day!!!

        Sorry, but who cares what the U.S. thinks about Linux and Open Source. Next year I am moving to Japan for good this time and am never looking back!

        btw, have you tried Mandrake 9.0!? I just installed it on my main system today and it is EXCELLENT (great Japanese suppor)!
      • Internet exposed web servers make up perhaps 10% of the total server market.

        I don't see how you can reasonably make any conclusions based on the statistics you just posted.
      • "The Japanese are able and willing to abandon Windows completely - unlike the Chinese."

        Do not underestimate the Chinese. Piracy is still rampant in China, and you can still get any M$ product you want for $4 per CD. On the other hand, M$ is getting serious about "product activation", BSA love letters, and other anti-piracy initiatives. The Chinese may have been willing to tolerate the security and stability issues at $4/product, but full sticker price is another matter entirely.
    • Better average education level?
  • by BESTouff ( 531293 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @10:24AM (#4685216)
    I hope they don't say this just to have Bill or Steve come and make a good deal. These days ...
    • You can say whatever you wish. But, if Bill and Steve have to show up all the time to permit a lower sales price (special deal), Microsoft is in trouble. If Bill or Steve were worth their salaries, the price would go up when they visit not down.

      Regardless of the reason, Microsoft is beginning to feel the price pressure. And, it will never let up. Just remember for Microsoft to discount 10% on price is about the same as losing a 10% share of the market. At least on day one it is.

      If you combine a price decrease (or special concession) with a loss in market share the impact can be significant. Remember in most markets Microsoft can not increase sales by lowering the price. About all they can do is put off the loss in market share. But, that will not be forever.

      Besides price is not the only disadvantage facing the monopolist. "Bad will" also plays a role. As does lack of trust. And, the more that the US Government and Microsoft get together in secret deals the faster all other companies will flee.

      One of the stupidest things the DOJ has done is to insert itself into the excuses for Microsoft to refuse to turn over API information, etc. Every government elsewhere can read that and see that there is a secret deal between Microsoft the monopolist (who gets enormous political favors from the US) and the federal government (who should not be trusted by other governments anyway).

      What happened to the "trust but verify" philosophy?

      The DOJ simply should never be making secret deals with any company much less a convicted monopolist.

      The DOJ is run by idiots.
  • by The J Kid ( 266953 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @10:26AM (#4685220) Homepage Journal
    The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport will set up a panel of experts to study the alternatives and what systems other governments use in the next fiscal year beginning April 1, the newspaper said.

    For once, /. editors might be actually right in saying this won't happen for a long time...
    • Given Japan's rather poor economy nowadays I really have my doubts if they're willing to tackle the conversion in the near future--mostly because of the large number of IT man-hours needed to do the conversion and support the systems after the conversion.
    • Err ... do you know what a fiscal year is. A fiscal year beginning April 1. may very well begin April 1. 2003.

      A fiscal year is a twelve month periode, but not bound to the gregorian year. The term is usually used in economics.
      • Err ... do you know what a fiscal year is. A fiscal year beginning April 1. may very well begin April 1. 2003.

        Hey! So you're the one who gets all huffy when people pull pranks on you on the 1st of April!
    • Japanes fiscal years always start on 1 April. It's not an April fools thing at all. I work for a Japanese company, so I know.
      As far as I'm informed even raising classes in school is around that period. They do not change like we do at the end of the summer. They raise in class "in the middle of the year". I might be wrong about this, but I'm sure about the fiscal year.
  • Seems like a ploy... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vjmurphy ( 190266 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @10:28AM (#4685228) Homepage
    Sounds like Japan got wind of all the stuff Microsoft and Gates have been handing out to India and want a piece of the action.
  • by ites ( 600337 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @10:29AM (#4685232) Journal
    Linux support for Unicode is/will be a major factor in any progress in the Asian market. Windows supports Unicode but it is (frankly) so painful to make work in applications that decent Linux support would be a major selling point.
    • including the c source code

    • by MtViewGuy ( 197597 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @10:39AM (#4685266)
      In theory, if Linux sets up Unicode so it supports the 1,980 kanji characters and the entire hiregana and katakana character sets that every Japanese high school graduate should know (this is the Japanese Ministry of Education requirement) it can be done.

      Didn't TurboLinux work like this?
      • Turbolinux is a Japanese distro. I would hope they had proper support for their native language.
    • Then the Japanese governement might just contract someone to do it, this will not a big spending for a such huge saving !
  • Bank Reform (Score:2, Insightful)

    by zero0w ( 572225 )
    Well I don't think it's fair to compare with bank reform, after all. The accumulation of loans and debts have been too deep to be exposed... and the reform will be too embarassing to the Japanese themselves. Dumping Microsoft, on the other hand, at least won't be embarassing. I think the Japanese had put many effort in localizing Linux themselves. Of course others are right that it could be yet another tactic to negotiate a better deal with MS...
  • Great! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Omkar ( 618823 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @10:30AM (#4685236) Homepage Journal
    More significant than any possible actual system change is the fact that Japan is actually considering dropping MS. As Linux and open source is taken more and more seriously, maybe people won't fall for the same closed source propaganda anymore. Microsoft may actually have to compete on quality, rather than reliability.
  • but... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 16, 2002 @10:30AM (#4685237)
    if they dont use windows, how will they see outside?!?
  • by MtViewGuy ( 197597 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @10:31AM (#4685240)
    ...First, they'll have to figure out the cost of changeover and supporting Linux, FreeBSD, etc. Software may be extremely cheap but supporting it could consume quite a lot of IT man-hours.

    Besides, the Japanese are already heavily invested in commercial UNIX systems. I believe many Japanese government ministries are running minicomputers and mainframes built in Japan using UNIX.

    Anyway, the Japanese should check with IBM Japan on this. After all, the biggest commercial supporter of Linux is IBM, and IBM definitely has the resources to do Linux installations from department servers all the way up to supercomputers.
    • First, they'll have to figure out the cost of changeover ...

      One must also consider the often overlooked cost of not changing over...

    • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @12:14PM (#4685603)
      ..First, they'll have to figure out the cost of changeover and supporting Linux, FreeBSD, etc. Software may be extremely cheap but supporting it could consume quite a lot of IT man-hours.

      Stop parrotting the Microsoft line about cost of use. As one who has worked in IT a very long time, and has administered large Windows networks, UNIX networks, GNU/Linux and FreeBSD networks, I can unequivocably say that the line you are spewing is both deceptive and wrong.

      The cost of maintaining and supporting UNIX systems in general, and GNU/Linux systems in particular, is a tiny fraction of the cost to maintain and support the equivelent number of Windows systems. A tiny fraction. Maintaining 20 Windows NT/2k systems requires one full-time employee (one who is competent ... if you're hiring new MSCEs off the street, double the number ... at least ... and hope for the best, because it is going to be a rocky ride). OTOH a single, competent person can easilly administer two hundred or more GNU/Linux systems in the same number of man-hours.

      The only real cost is the changeover itself ... retraining people on the new system, which costs time and money [a real cost, but one that is in generaly much lower than the propoganda from Redmond would have you believe. Again, they have an agenda, and it isn't your best interests they are concerned with]. Once the changeover is complete, the cost savings in every respect: time (user and administrator man-hours), cost (costs due to downtime are much lower, cost of software is negligable, cost of support is lower, etc.), and deployment logistics (no chasing proprietary, moving targets, no forced upgrades according to the vendor's schedule, not yours, etc.) are immense.

      When Microsoft, or those who parrot them, start talking about how much it is going to cost to support open systems vs. their ever-changing, buggy, insecure, and downright shoddy wares, grab ahold of your wallet and back away, carefully, for they are lying to you outright, almost certainly as a prelude to taking more of your time and money. In any other business it would be called fraud.
      • I think you're kind of forgetting that the installation process isn't exactly a trivial process. It means many hours of planning the change, uninstalling the old Windows software on servers and desktops, reinstalling everything under Linux, and configuring/tweaking the whole setup to work correctly.

        Given the state of the Japanese economy lately I don't think corporations are going to attempt this just yet given the high labor costs involved to do the conversion. They'll do it in a few years' time when the economy is better.
    • You know, one of the beauties of the current state of open source software on the desktop is that openoffice looks so much like microsoft orifice. Not everything is done in exactly the same way but enough is to where the user has to do relatively little adjusting. The desktops all work in basically the same way these days unless you get into really esoteric themes (they have the same gadgets to control the window that MSWin has, for example, and maybe they have a gnome button instead of a start button, but that's minimal) so there's not so much you have to learn to go from one environment to another as a user. As a "Power User" there's a lot to learn, and those people will want to spend the time at it, so there's a possible loss of productivity there, at least during spin-up :)

      As for supporting it once it's been installed, there are a zillion open source tools that make that far easier than doing it on windows; Windows has a neat administration toolkit but it fails more often than not.

      Since you bring up IBM, IBM bought this company Tivoli a while back which has an enterprise management package which is actually quite good. It allows you to do monitoring, scheduling, hard and soft-ware inventory, software distribution, and a number of other tasks from one centralized point. It runs on many different flavors of Unix plus OS/2 (needed it for a couple big contracts and to appease IBM) and NT. It has supported linux (first unofficially, then officially) for quite a while, is built from a common code base for all platforms, and is a CORBA application. It's also got a good GUI Abstraction system so you can make GUI customizations in exactly the same way across all platforms, and if you pay extra (ha ha) you can get a product which makes it fairly easy to extend the product.

      Tivoli's "competition" is CA Unicenter-TNG. I don't think I need to go into that, ha ha.

      Anyway if they talk to IBM Japan one assumes that IBM will try to sell them Tivoli, which actually doesn't suck and makes the administration of vast numbers of machines much easier.

    • ...First, they'll have to figure out the cost of changeover and supporting Linux, FreeBSD, etc.

      It should be emphasized whenever the cost of changeover is discussed that it only affects the short term. It's a one-time cost with a minimal expenditure afterwards for potentially training new users. The cost of using commercial closed software is permanent and, as history clearly demonstrates, spiralling ever higher with decreasing rights for the consumer.

      As more industry moves to free alternatives the cost of support will naturally come down with familiarity. I really don't think all those IT people managing linux servers will have too much trouble extending their expertise to desktops.

  • How much money? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pr0t3uS ( 586517 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @10:32AM (#4685241) Homepage
    I'm interested how much money will that cost MS. $100 millions for AIDS and $400 millions for fighting Linux like they did in India will certainly not be enough here. And may i add that I'm surprised how much an afternoon hobby of some of us cost that company.
    • You mean Cancer i hope.
    • ...I'm surprised how much an afternoon hobby of some of us cost that company.

      What cost? Bribes are always made with the expectation of greater returns. In any case M$ would not have a thing to worry about making them if they spent their research dollars on QC instead of stupid schemes to own all the world's computers and the information on them. If they did that, perhaps their "products" could compete with your hobby. Such is life, that greedy people never do well in the long run. As it is, they have ruined their reputation and this is what will cost them.

      Sianaura, Bill.

  • by LL ( 20038 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @10:40AM (#4685268)
    I suppose we shouldn't be surprised at governments decreeing security by fiat (cough*CLipper*cough). Companies have recognised that risk management is key to avoiding many of the problems (e.g. middle office to vet orders/inventory/accounts) yet they consider hiring sysadmins who hold paper certificates as a panacea for electronic security? If you are vitally concerned with information security (e.g. trade secrets), then it is incumbant on cultivating the right culture and habits (logging off away from desk). It might be feasible to leave houses unlocked in small towns where everyone knows everyone else (social sanctions in shunning property violation offenses) but we have deadbolts, invisible IDs and security guards in cities. Similarly security is mainly a systematic process of educating users in using keys (PGP), selecting secureable devices (OpenBSD) or hiring suitable external expertise. Just expecting a single silver bullet of replacing an OS (no matter how good/badly secure it is perceived to be) seems to be on the order of Caute v the tide.

    LL
  • by miffo.swe ( 547642 ) <daniel.hedblom@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Saturday November 16, 2002 @10:49AM (#4685290) Homepage Journal
    I have always been amazed by how almost every country pays MS tax even if they have both the skills and the industry to make their own software. Migrating to something from your own country would indeed put the money back in your pocket instead of shipping it abroad. Localization isnt just the language, the culture has a significant part of how a computer should interact too. There are big advantages of having your own software industry. The distance from a company in the USA to EU, Japan etc. is big both in culture and in communication. Microsoft develops mainly for the american culture wich shines through the product.

    Having the development in your country should atleast in theory give a much better adapted set of applications that if you buy a ironed out fit_all_suit-everything version like Microsofts products.
    • by sql*kitten ( 1359 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @11:08AM (#4685338)
      have always been amazed by how almost every country pays MS tax even if they have both the skills and the industry to make their own software. Migrating to something from your own country would indeed put the money back in your pocket instead of shipping it abroad.

      You think? Why do you suppose the countries have the same railway gauge, the same electrical outlet voltage, the same basic design for telephones and kitchen sinks? Because doing your own thing doesn't work in the modern world, what matters is interoperability. Spending money in your own country's software is a red herring, because it will sacrifice economies of scale and waste resources on compatibility with other country's software. If a country spends as much on development as MS but only has a local market to sell into, then everyone will be paying a multiple of what MS changes now.

      Consider other industries. Protecting the US steel industry is great for American steel producers, but it kinda sucks for American steel users, like automakers, who're paying over the odds. Subsidizing European farmers is great for European farmers, but it kinda sucks for the average family, whose grocery bill is higher than it should be.

      The distance from a company in the USA to EU, Japan etc. is big both in culture and in communication. Microsoft develops mainly for the american culture wich shines through the product.

      The whole business world is Western-oriented. English is the global language, global corporations stock is listed in Tokyo, New York and London. You can bet that if an Indian businessman and a Japanese sit down to do business, they'll do it in English.

      And Microsoft spend billions on localizing their products to local markets. They aren't an American company any more than Sony is a Japanese country: they both take a global view.

      Having the development in your country should atleast in theory give a much better adapted set of applications that if you buy a ironed out fit_all_suit-everything version like Microsofts products.

      Working the same way everywhere is a strength, not a weakness.
      • by The Cydonian ( 603441 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @11:32AM (#4685406) Homepage Journal
        Why do you suppose the countries have the same railway gauge, the same electrical outlet voltage, the same basic design for telephones and kitchen sinks?

        I actually thought you were sarcastic until I read till the end. Presuming you're a Brit, but surely,

        • ... you've heard of that 110 V thing they have in US, as opposed to the 220V you have out there in Britain and most Commonwealth countries?
        • ...seen that the rest of Europe (and indeed US) drives on the left?
        • ... noticed that US uses NTSC while Europe uses PAL?
        • ... you haven't travelled by train from Mongolia to Russia. Apparently, there's this border station where they lift the cars above the ground with cranes and manually compress the wheels to fit the narrower Russian gauge.
        The whole business world is Western-oriented. English is the global language, global corporations stock is listed in Tokyo, New York and London. You can bet that if an Indian businessman and a Japanese sit down to do business, they'll do it in English.

        I agree here with your thesis, but a small nitpick; English is definitely the global business language, but if my experience with my Chinese friends is any indication, Asian (ie Korean, Japanese and Chinese) users certainly seem to prefer an interface in their mother tongue rather than a generic English one, even if they read and write okay-ish English. So yes, Microsoft spends quite a lot on internationalisation, but no, this is despite English emerging as the de-facto business language for the world.

        They aren't an American company any more than Sony is a Japanese country: they both take a global view.

        Interesting typo. ;-)

        • you haven't travelled by train from Mongolia to Russia. Apparently, there's this border station where they lift the cars above the ground with cranes and manually compress the wheels to fit the narrower Russian gauge.

          They have to manually compress the wheels because the automatic compression was buggy. Also, when wheels are compressed, when the train is damaged you lose twice as many wheels. I hear they are considering upgrading to NTTS 5.0 (New Technology Track System) which will remember where those lost wheels went and automatically reattach them for you, but until that upgrade comes through they will have to continue with manual compression as usual.

        • seen that the rest of Europe (and indeed US) drives on the left?

          I understand your point you were trying to make, but I think you wanted to reverse left and right in your argument. That is, in the UK and many Commonwealth countries, they drive on the left, and in North America and continental Europe driving is done on the right.

          As far as I know, the only place in the U.S. where driving on the left is common is Boston and its immediate bordering cities and suburbs. In fact most traffic conventions are ignored or perverted in this area: for instance, red lights in addition to green lights are interpreted to mean "proceed at your current speed through the interesection" while yellow lights mean "please place your accelerator pedal on the floor as you go through this intersection." And everyone except for the police officers around here seems to read speed limits as meters/sec. values instead of MPH or km/h values. :)
      • Spending money in your own country's software is a red herring, because it will sacrifice economies of scale and waste resources on compatibility with other country's software.

        They won't build anything from scratch, they will use KDE/Linux and will maybe modify some parts of KDE - if at all, it's already done for the most part.

        But essentially, you are right. Why should we use unstable, crappy software that runs only on glorified typewriters when we have an OS that runs on everything from mainframes down to embedded systems? Why should we run an insecure and slow OS that runs only on x86, when we already have an OS that runs on almost every CPU in existence?

        Standardizing on Linux makes much more sense than standardizing on Windows.

      • MS spends pocket money on localization. The only thing i have ever found different besides the language, time and currency is that non english versions are even worse and more buggy than english versions. Countries using linux WONT spend much money since the basis is already there. Only the localisation is left to carry out. Money spent in your country is a better trade balance and that is worth a hell of a lot to countries like Japan. Choosing another product isnt the same as subsidizing either.

        Even if it can seem to a ignorant american that everybody is like them doesnt in any way mean that it is the case. The differences in behaviour and values is very big indeed even if people tries to meet on common ground in business. To expect that everybody should adapt and behaive like us western have lost companies many contracts in foreign countries.

        I am one of those that think computers should eventually adopt how we humans work. To make a human work as a computer is impossible.

        Working the same way everywhere, thats something that really sounds like communism to me. People are different so lets accept that and move on. Who wants to live in a world full of faceless clones?
      • The Imperial US appears to interoperate quite well in a Metric world.
    • by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @11:40AM (#4685442)
      Because doing your own thing doesn't work in the modern world, what matters is interoperability.

      Exactly. That's why we have global standards such as the Metric System. Any country that would use some other system would be at a great disadvantage, and would never be able to achieve any measure of economic success.

    • I have always been amazed by how almost every country pays MS tax even if they have both the skills and the industry to make their own software.
      That's because short-term oriented bourgeois run the show. The bourgeois aren't interested in anything that is not immediate. The bourgeois universe is strictly short-term. So, for them it's better to buy an unsuitable read-made "solution" than plan ahead for the future and take more time to develop a better-suited one.
      • ...The bourgeois aren't interested in anything that is not immediate. The...

        I believe that this preference didn't truely become dominant until it was endorsed by the Harvard Business School. I suppose you could pretend that those people aren't aristocrats... to me, however, they seem to have all the bad features of aristocrats, though they do seem to be missing the few redeeming features.

        I think I noticed this change starting during the 1970's. People have always had a tendency toward being shortsighted, but they have generally considered it a failing. Then the Harvard School of Economics (I think) started churning out MBAs that believed that the true value of a company was what it's value was at the next quarterly report. Long term planning was denigrated, and short-sightedness was exhalted. And as far as I can tell, they're still churning them out. And these are the people whose only legitimate social role (or the only one that I see) was to engage in long range planning.

        When I'm feeling paranoid, I suspect deliberate sabotage. Then I try to figure out who benefits. And it looks to me like EVERYONE looses from this ploy.

  • Why does Japan need Linux when they have all these wonderful operating systems that can plug directly into your brain and have cute holographic girls who pop up to inform you when there's a problem?

    It must be true, I saw it on TV!

    And you'd think they'd rebuild Tokyo Tower somewhere else. I mean, it's what, the fourth time this month it's been destroyed by giant monsters.
  • by dmaxwell ( 43234 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @11:02AM (#4685323)
    I wonder what Steve and Bill are going to do with all of those frequent flyer miles? They sure have been racking them up lately haven't they?

    I heard that Walmart will give you a really neat Microtel PC for a quarter million miles.
  • by paku ( 583939 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @11:16AM (#4685356) Homepage
    http://www.asahi.com/business/update/1116/005.html
  • In other news...

    {insert country name} has decided to move away from Windows to [linux|bsd|QNX|opendos] due to [political|security|economic] reasons. The [OSS|GNU|Richard Stallman] is [very|GNU] happy. ... Move along... nothing to see.
  • Bargaining chips ?? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 16, 2002 @11:35AM (#4685416)
    Is Linux being used by goverments and large clients as a "bargaining chip" to gain consessions
    from M$?
    • Is Linux being used by goverments and large clients as a "bargaining chip" to gain consessions
      from M$?

      Sure they do, how else do you think the US DoJ put to gether such a stunning setlement? Just think of all the "consessions" Japan will be able to wring with this. They might get to run their software as they please, look at snapshots of M$ source code, modify that code and share their modifications, Errr, wait a minute!

      Ever thought that people elsewhere in the world would just have noticed that M$ is unstable, insecure, the EULA says they can look at your data and upload any old program they chose, and costs load of money too? They might have also noticed this little thing called free software that works better. Hmmmm, even M$'s own survey showed that people around the world both know about and think well of free software.

      The damb cracked two years ago, what you are seeing now are chunks of M$ junk washed away in the flood. M$ is not dying, they are dead and don't know it. The fools are still openly planning stupid junk like Paladium, DRM and in general proving everyone's most paranoid dream about their intentions to be a underestimate. Germany, Japan, the EU, India, Wall Street, Bankers, IBM all have something in common.

  • All in one go? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by melonman ( 608440 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @11:35AM (#4685418) Journal

    > the Japanese government is considering abandoning Microsft Windows

    I struggle with the idea of a whole country, or even a whole administration, changing OS at midnight one Saturday. Surely this sort of thing is going to happen one department at a time, and, probably, one office at a time in a lot of cases. Most government departments have a significant amount of bespoke software that would need tweaking, if not rewriting. Even if the decision was taken on a nationwide basis, I would expect the changeover to take at least the lifetime of the average corporate PC, ie 2-4 years.

    While Linux might be wonderful for a lot of purposes, I can't see all the government graphic designers being thrilled with the current choice of Linux frame-based DTP packages, for example. So you are going to have Windows (and, probably) Mac ghettos for a long long time.

    And I think we can assume that the security people at least would like to be able to run all the programs the people they are spying on can run...

    • > the Japanese government is considering abandoning Microsft Windows

      I struggle with the idea of a whole country, or even a whole administration, changing OS at midnight one Saturday. Surely this sort of thing is going to happen one department at a time, and, probably, one office at a time in a lot of cases. Most government departments have a significant amount of bespoke software that would need tweaking, if not rewriting. Even if the decision was taken on a nationwide basis, I would expect the changeover to take at least the lifetime of the average corporate PC, ie 2-4 years.
      I remember reading somewhere about sweden swiching from driving on the left to the right side ... one night changing all the signs, lights, etc. and everybody starting driving on the right. From what I heard the switchover was pretty painless. Of course it took several years of planning up-front to pull this off. With enough planning you can pull-off just about any change.

      subsolar

  • Hehe... (Score:3, Funny)

    by HungWeiLo ( 250320 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @12:10PM (#4685581)
    Well, in Japan corporate culture, it is a bad thing to be put in a window seat in a company... Rimshot.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Some people actually believe that Linux is more secure than Windows. How sad.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/55/28118.ht ml
  • Windows doesn't support 50,000 button keyboards with 27 shift keys.

    You'd think that the guys who came up with the shortest poems in the world would have been all about a smaller character set.

  • by Rai ( 524476 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @02:12PM (#4686119) Homepage
    I know this is bad taste, but I wonder if they'll pronounce it "Rinux."

    Yes, yes. I'm the insensitive clod of this topic. No offense intended :)

  • Most people don't realize the strong technical reasons why an organization would want to consider other operating systems. Here is an article which gathers facts and links: Windows XP Shows the Direction Microsoft is Going. [hevanet.com]
  • Japan: Yeah, we're giving up Windows. All Linux from here on out.
    Bill: Wait! Would one...hundred...billion...dollars change you mind.
    Japan: Ehhhhhh-xcellent.

    Taft

  • This is a beancounter's idea, obviously--someone who thinks Linux is "free" *chuckle*...
  • I think that open source is a wise choice for any non-US country. Look at the number of spying tools were found on the Boeing jet that we sold to the Chinese.

    I don't see how any country that is concerned with its internal security could use any closed source OS without worrying about such shenanigans.
  • by dwheeler ( 321049 ) on Sunday November 17, 2002 @01:25AM (#4688997) Homepage Journal
    There's actually quite a bit of Linux use in Japan. A Japanese paper called the Linux white paper 2003 [mri.co.jp] found that overall use of GNU/Linux jumped from 35.5% in 2001 to 64.3% in 2002 by Japanese corporations, and GNU/Linux was the most popular platform for small projects. It also found that 49.3% of IT solution vendors support Linux in Japan, as well as a number of other interesting statistics.

    If you don't read Japanese, you can find a summary of interesting results in Why Open Source Software / Free Software (OSS/FS)? Look at the Numbers! [dwheeler.com]; look for the text starting with "A Japanese survey found".

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