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Red Flag Linux Forced On Chinese Internet Cafes

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the billions-and-billions-served dept.

Government 295

iamhigh writes "Reports are popping up that Chinese Internet Cafes are being required to switch to Red Flag Linux. Red Flag is China's biggest Linux distro and recently received headlines for their Olympic Edition release. The regulations, effective Nov. 5th, are aimed at combating piracy and require only that cafes install either a legal version of Windows or Red Flag. However, Radio Free Asia says that cafes are being forced to install Red Flag even if they have legal versions of Windows. Obviously questions about spying and surveillance have arisen, with no comment from the Chinese Government."

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Where Exactly is the Danger? (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980461)

Obviously questions about spying and surveillance have arisen ...

Um, it uses RPM as a package manager so as long as the government isn't forcing Cafes to use a certain package repository or use certain packages, where does the danger of surveillance lie? I mean, I wouldn't trust the Chinese government either but I am confused why a mandate of Red Flag Linux upsets people in this case ... and a recommendation from the DoD is probably heralded [cbronline.com] ?

Yeah, they're running an industry's tech core, yeah they're stating exactly what OSS to use but where is the danger?

Re:Where Exactly is the Danger? (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980595)

And I assume srpms are also available? RTFSC.

Re:Where Exactly is the Danger? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25980633)

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It also features the packaging manager ape-ghetto, and the challenging Linux manual pages have been reformatted into the new 'monkey' format, so for example the manual for the shutdown command can be accessed just by typing: 'monkey shut-up -h now mothafukka' instead of 'man shutdown'.

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Re:Where Exactly is the Danger? (5, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981167)

I'm confused.

Are there concerns that the Chinese government are going to be spying on citizens using the open source Red Flag operating system, or are there concerns that using the closed source Windows operating system will allow some group to spy on the Chinese?

The second seems like a greater risk than the first.

Re:Where Exactly is the Danger? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980599)

I mean, I wouldn't trust the Chinese government either but I am confused why a mandate of Red Flag Linux upsets people in this case ... and a recommendation from the DoD is probably heralded

You said it yourself: mandate vs. recommendation.

Re:Where Exactly is the Danger? (2, Informative)

no-body (127863) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981011)

&& rootkit preinstalled

probably a rootkit cleaner would fix that but the site to download it is blocked by the "Great Wall of China" - dang!

Re:Where Exactly is the Danger? (4, Informative)

athakur999 (44340) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981431)

Or they could just make some code changes to the rootkit cleaners available in the repository so that it ignores any hypothetical pre-installed rootkits. Most people are going to install programs from the official repository instead of directly downloading the source.

Re:Where Exactly is the Danger? (1, Insightful)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981773)

Yep, just like the rootkit they would put in the windows machine.

I don't see a difference, only that the government is saying "you must use linux".

Really, what's the problem with that? I mean, it sucks... but it could be far worse...

Re:Where Exactly is the Danger? (3, Informative)

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980647)

Well if the distro includes an RPM that was custom built by the Chinese government and is specified as a dependency for other RPM's then even switching to a different RPM repo wouldn't help. Or the Red Flag installer could come with an RPM that includes a rootkit or other backdoor utilities that the RPM leaves behind even when uninstalled. So even if you switch repos after the initial install it could leave the system compromised.

You can't spot the obvious danger? (3, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980671)

Who do you think controls the RPM repository that Red Flag uses? A company in league with the PRC government.

It's a silo. Anyone can set one up. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981331)

Anyone can download (or otherwise acquire) the source RPM's from other sites and set up their own silo that still other people can point to instead of the official government silos.

Re:It's a silo. Anyone can set one up. (4, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981787)

And anyone can stand in front of a fucking tank.

No danger whatsoever (4, Insightful)

hackingbear (988354) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981769)

The new rules that went into effect Nov. 5 are aimed at cracking down on the use of pirated software, said Hu Shenghua, a spokesman for the Culture Bureau in the city of Nanchang.

  1. Common mistake #1: assuming whatever a little municipal government says equal what the Chinese central government says. REALITY: in China, local governments don't pay a shit to upper government and just make up whatever rule they want.
  2. Common mistake #2: assuming this has anything to do with national security, censorship, etc. REALITY: it is just a marketing maneuver some company trying to get people buy into their products -- by making it officially required.
  3. Common mistake #3; assuming any people actually pay a shit to this. REALITY: if so, they would have obey anything from tax laws to traffic laws first before worrying about this.

Welcome to China!

Re:You can't spot the obvious danger? (2, Interesting)

mweather (1089505) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981783)

Every company in China is in league with the PRC, including American companies.

Re:Where Exactly is the Danger? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25980965)

Who needs to monitor traffic when you can monitor the hardware?

The Danger is Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25981259)

Danger depends on your perspective.

It's not like the DoD and MS don't get along very well....

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/1999/feb99/cohenpr.mspx [microsoft.com]

Any sane govt with unlimited resources will want to keep the OS at home.

Besides they might have developed some anxiety from past reports.

http://edition.cnn.com/TECH/computing/9909/03/windows.nsa.02/ [cnn.com]

Funny how this thing just won't die.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/437967.stm [bbc.co.uk]

I'm guessing that Bill shot the goose that could have laid a billion golden eggs back in '99.

It just took a while to die.

So, how much MS stock do you have in your wallet???

Re:Where Exactly is the Danger? (3, Insightful)

Sylver Dragon (445237) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981297)

Government recommendation: Hey, this stuff is pretty good. You guys should try it.

Government mandate: You will use this, regardless of how good or bad it is, or we will put a bullet in you.

Just a little different.

Also, that article you linked talked about an internal DoD recommendation. They don't really care what Happy Fun Time internet cafe is using.

The Danger may be in your portfolio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25981449)

It's not like the DoD and MS don't get along very well....

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/1999/feb99/cohenpr.mspx [microsoft.com]

Any sane govt with unlimited resources will want to keep the OS at home.

Besides they might have developed some anxiety from past reports.

http://edition.cnn.com/TECH/computing/9909/03/windows.nsa.02/ [cnn.com]

Funny how this thing just won't die.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/437967.stm [bbc.co.uk]

I'm guessing that Bill shot the goose that could have laid a billion golden eggs back in '99.

It just took a while to die.

So, how much MS stock do you have in your wallet???

Re:Where Exactly is the Danger? (1)

discogravy (455376) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981467)

are you trolling? [wikipedia.org] or do you really not know?

Finally (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25980483)

The year of Linux on the desktop, right?

Re:Finally (5, Funny)

VeNoM0619 (1058216) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980545)

There will NEVER [wikipedia.org] be the year of the Linux in China...

Re:Finally (1)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980695)

Note there will never be a year of the Windows or OS X either.

Re:Finally (5, Funny)

mad_robot (960268) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981175)

Note there will never be a year of the Windows or OS X either.

*cough* Tiger [wikipedia.org] *cough*

Re:Finally (5, Funny)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981821)

So, we just name the next Ubuntu Malignant Monkey or Dancing Dog. Problem solved.

Re:Finally (4, Funny)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981003)

Every time I hear this meme I imagine it being part of the opening voiceover for Season 3 of Babylon 5.


It was the year of fire... the year of destruction... the year we took back what was ours. It was the year of rebirth... the year of great sadness... the year of pain... and the year of joy. It was a new age. It was the end of history. It was the year everything changed. It was the year of Linux on the desktop. The year is 2261. The place: Babylon 5.

Re:Finally (1)

ketilwaa (1095727) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981527)

What, isn't next year the year of the jackalope?

Re:Finally (0)

JayAitch (1277640) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980583)

It being the year of the rat in China. Red Rat edition sounds so appropriate.

Re:Finally (1)

CoonAss56 (927862) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981377)

Now it's the Year of the Dead Rat

Re:Finally (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25981061)

One major reason internet cafe is asked to install Linux is probably to restrict gaming. Internet cafe in China is vastly different than it's counterpart in America. Think of it more as a "gaming center" rather than a place to surf the net. A few years back most of them used to provides food and bed to lure it's gamer based customer to stay 24/7.

Over the past 5 or 6 years, there are increasing social problems generated by internet cafe. Parent's concern for their kids is a major issue. There are also a few incidents of unlicensed internet cafe not reaching safety regulation. One fire outbreak has caused 24 death in 2002 in a internet cafe in Beijing. Chinese government has been trying t o resolve these problems by introducing tighter regulations. Just to name a few: A policy came out a few years back requires all internet cafe to obtain a license, and no new license would be issued; Also under aged people are not allowed to enter internet cafe during weekdays unless accompanied by parent; All users are required to register wit h their ID before using internet cafe.

This new move is nothing more than another regulation to address the issued introduced by internet cafe. As most games does not run natively on Linux, the government probably expects to turn internet cafe away from the old "gaming center" model, into a role fitted more to it's actual name.

A rather ironic thing is, Linux was the choice for it's incompatibility with most games. So I guess YEAR_OF_LINUX_ON_DESKTOP=$((YEAR+1)) still holds.

Re:Finally (3, Funny)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981075)

I checked all 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac -- couldn't find the Year of Linux, sorry.

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25981485)

That's because you don't know how to read Chinese astrology. Everyone that can knows that if you combine the Rooster (bird, Fixed Element Metal), with an inner animal of Dragon (Fixed Element Wood), and secret animals Pig and Rat (both Fixed Element Water), you end up with Penguin => Tux. It really is not much more rare than a year of the White Horse, duh!

In Communist China (0)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980541)

Linux for YOU!

Re:In Communist China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25980691)

2009 is the year of the Linux Chinese Internet Cafe Desktop.

I find that splitting (2, Insightful)

windsurfer619 (958212) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981743)

up comments is confusing.

Poor Microsoft... (4, Interesting)

Manip (656104) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980547)

You know Microsoft has been pushing for the Chinese government to do something about the rampant piracy in China... They no doubt expected reduced piracy to lead to more legal installations of Windows but it has backfired on them hugely with this move to allow Internet Cafés to use Red Flag Linux.

Also the spying claims are meh. We already know the Chinese Gov. watch the pipes closely there really is no advantage in further monitoring within Internet Cafés.

In other news (5, Funny)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980663)

Windows market share suddenly drops below 50%

Re:In other news (5, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980757)

...While number of licensed copies remains the same.

Re:Poor Microsoft... (3, Informative)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980749)

...but it has backfired on them hugely with this move to allow Internet Cafés to use Red Flag Linux.

Unfortunately, this isn't permission (they already had that). This is now a mandatory thing.

Re:Poor Microsoft... (4, Insightful)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980827)

Maybe it's the fact that Windows is an OS made from their good friends in the US, and Windows is proprietary, and we know how many Americans (US) feel about the risk of software working against you...

It's like the US Government buying Cisco routers made in China, how the US sabotaged a Russian oil pump station, there's only so much trust to be had, and when you have people from the Land of Microsoft being untrusting of Microsoft, how can you possibly expect a xenophobic, militant country to?

Next will be North Korea I bet.

Re:Poor Microsoft... (5, Interesting)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981083)

no, no, no. you have it all wrong. don't you know that piracy is theft? now that hundreds of thousands of Chinese internet cafes are no longer pirating windows and stealing tens of millions of dollars from Microsoft, their quarterly profits will surely skyrocket as a result.

after all, the BSA would never lie about the losses caused by piracy. if software pirates are actually stealing money from businesses, then surely any reduction in piracy will necessarily translate into economic gains by the industry. that is, of course, unless they made up their figures for financial losses based on the specious reasoning that not buying software from a company is equal to stealing from them.

Re:Poor Microsoft... (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981791)

Nicely put. I'd love to rub this in to all those game software companies that use abusive and irritating DRM to keep me from using their products legally.

Re:Poor Microsoft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25981647)

The ban on Microsoft's products is just to reveal the real reason why MS hates piracy, while agreeing to uphold justice. Very chic: not because of the ban, but because of its message reaching the global media.

We all need to work hard for our living. Software programmers' notion of getting rich with copyrights and low distribution costs just won't cut it, the universe will find its balance. Despite your arguments.

Re:Poor Microsoft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25981703)

Also the spying claims are meh. We already know the Chinese Gov. watch the pipes closely there really is no advantage in further monitoring within Internet Cafés.

A tainted distro could make spying on crypto significantly easier

Fitting Name (5, Funny)

cabjf (710106) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980597)

A red flag should go up when you are forced to use an operating system designated by the government.

Re:Fitting Name (2, Interesting)

Improv (2467) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980899)

Unlike that designated by a corporation one works for? :)

Re:Fitting Name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25980985)

Like the NSA with Vista [washingtonpost.com] and SELinux [nsa.gov] ?

SELinux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25981137)

As long as I can compile it myself, I don't see the problem.

Re:SELinux (1)

atraintocry (1183485) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981201)

As long as I can compile it myself, I don't see the problem.

Off-topic but a good read:
http://cm.bell-labs.com/who/ken/trust.html [bell-labs.com]

Re:SELinux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25981767)

http://cm.bell-labs.cn/who/broken/trust.html

Re:Fitting Name (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981149)

The government forces you to use either Vista or Linux with SELinux enabled?

You must work for the government, then. I don't think that's exactly what parent poster had in mind.

The UI is Hilariously Windows-ish (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980607)

If you don't think Red Flag is meant to be a Windows replacement, take a look at Wikipedia's screen shot of Version 6 [wikimedia.org] (presumably out of the box).

Isn't this the part [slashdot.org] where Gates shits his gourd and asks to meet with Hu Jintao? Then baits the large part of greater China with free software that he writes off as a goodwill donation? I mean, we are talking a serious part of the world's population ...

Re:The UI is Hilariously Windows-ish (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980683)

I mean, we are talking a serious part of the world's population ...

That he has grown very rich ignoring thus far.

I don't mean to dismiss the potential market of China - by all accounts it will be the next Japan, and then after that maybe the next US... huge market potential. But MS isn't exactly doomed if people that haven't been buying their stuff continue to not buy their stuff.

Re:The UI is Hilariously Windows-ish (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981195)

But MS isn't exactly doomed if people that haven't been buying their stuff continue to not buy their stuff.

Actually they might be. MS has always counted on Windows sales, which are mostly from new computer sales (OEM) and corporate licensing. Corporate licensing is stagnating somewhat with Vista uptake being slow and market saturation in the US. If China isn't Microsoft's next big growth market, they have few other places to look for large sales increases. And people are getting tired of the periodic costly upgrades when they see little benefit, so upgrade sales will likely slow down over time.

Microsoft's relying on China for their sales numbers to remain high into the future.

Re:The UI is Hilariously Windows-ish (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980959)

"I mean, we are talking a serious part of the world's population ..."

Money spent on MSFT is money lost to China. It makes perfect sense to expand Linux usage and save billions upon billions of dollars that can be spent elsewhere.

Re:The UI is Hilariously Windows-ish (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981687)

Actually, I think this is the part where China demands the source code to examine before allowing it to be used again...

unintended consequences (2, Interesting)

nycguy (892403) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980649)

Perhaps Microsoft will complain less about piracy if governments force people to replace pirated versions of Windows with Linux instead of forcing them to buy Windows licenses.

In this case, though, I suspect that there are some other motives at work besides curbing piracy--namely supporting a local software developer/distributor over a foreign one and possibly the ability to better control/monitor internet access in the future.

What "questions about spying and surveillance?" (1)

seeker_1us (1203072) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980659)

TFA doesn't mention any. What they DO mention is "They're also not happy about the fees for Red Flag Linux, which are more than $700."

So what's with the FUD?

Seriously, this is about the Chinese government wanting to break MS dominance over the computer OS in china. If anyone was worried about "surveilance" they could install packages compiled from source so they knew what was in there.

Re:What "questions about spying and surveillance?" (1)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980815)

That's $2 to compete with the $3 MS Windows XP Starter Edition, plus $699 for the SCO licenses. Total is $701, which is more than $700.

Re:What "questions about spying and surveillance?" (2, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980911)

What "questions about spying and surveillance?" TFA doesn't mention any.

Did you read the same article I did? From TFA:
It quoted Xiao Qiang, director of the California-based China Internet Project, as saying the new rules would help authorities regulate Internet cafes that now operate on the margins of the law, and allow them to undertake heightened surveillance.

3 full paragraphs in the article discuss surveillance.

Re:What "questions about spying and surveillance?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25980989)

oh my, another moron lost in linux land. do you really think that the chinese government gives a damn about licensing? you have no idea what goes on over there and your post confirms this.

Well, One Thing is for Sure .... (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980701)

This can only mean better support for a World of Warcraft client [wikipedia.org] in Linux:

In China, because a large number of the players do not own the computer they use to play games (e.g. Internet cafes), the CD keys required to create an account can be purchased independently of the software package. In order to play the game, players must also purchase prepaid game cards that can be played for 66 hours and 40 minutes.[43] A monthly fee model is not available to players of this region. The Chinese government and The9, the licensee for World of Warcraft in China, have imposed a modification on Chinese versions of the game which places flesh on bare-boned skeletons and transforms dead character corpses into tidy graves. These changes were imposed by the Chinese government in an attempt to "promote a healthy and harmonious online game environment" in World of Warcraft.

Re:Well, One Thing is for Sure .... (4, Funny)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981043)

Why does the Chinese government want to keep it secret that inside each living, breathing person, is a skeleton waiting to get out and start swinging around a comically huge sword?

Re:Well, One Thing is for Sure .... (1)

dalhamir (1423303) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981105)

yeah, and for pretty much any game that wants access to China's market. Although, there is always the danger of removing too many sources of entertainment from their own population at once. Gamer's of the world revolt?

Re:Well, One Thing is for Sure .... (1)

bigngamer92 (1418559) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981135)

Wow that's a really good point or Blizzard could mark it up as a win against Gold farming. Of course it's not South Korea so I doubt Blizzard is THAT worried. (Although a billion people is nothing to sneeze at in target market).

Re:Well, One Thing is for Sure .... (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981223)

And likely more/better drivers for Linux as well. Any devices expected to be used in China, anyway...

Re:Well, One Thing is for Sure .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25981563)

These changes were imposed by the Chinese government in an attempt to "promote a healthy and harmonious online game environment" in World of Warcraft.

Yeah. Because "harmony" as a sole purpose is good. Just ask the Borg.

Could it be.... (2, Interesting)

Kiralan (765796) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980715)

Maybe it is so the cafes are limited to software that runs on Linux? Does Red Flag Linux have/support WINE or an equivalent?

Easy Solution (1)

kwandar (733439) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980735)

... looks like Red Flag Linux ("RFL"), acts like RFL, but ... well, it isn't RFL. Aren't forks wonderful things!

Re:Easy Solution (2, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980939)

What good is a fork? The rest of the world generally isn't using Red Flag anyways and China isn't exactly all butterflies and tater tots when it comes to their directives.

If they say you have to use Red Flag, you'll be using Red Flag or they'll be "reeducating" you on just WHY you should be using it.

Derivative (1)

senorpoco (1396603) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980771)

In communist China, Opensource codes you.

Smart on their part (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25980793)

They have put all sorts of backdoors into products sold in the rest of the world. So, they are making sure that they are safe from MS doing the same to them. My guess is that they are about to call it quit with buying goods from USA even though it is already low.

Another motive (5, Insightful)

theapeman (1068448) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980795)

If I were some non-american government then I would prefer people to use Linux. Not because of any backdoors that I could put in it, but because I could be reasonably sure that there were no backdoors put in it by the US government.

Re:Another motive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25981409)

Damn, why are those pathetic slashdotters whining now?
China got half of earth's population, the government is forcing people to use Linux, so half of earth's population will be using Linux soon.
So, all the "year of Linux "things you dreamed about are becoming reality!
But, I understand, you guys not prepared to it. Would be the same thing like you guys going on a date with a real Blonde supermodel, you "trained" so much for that day, and now that it is true you just don't know what to do...

Re:Another motive (4, Funny)

Paradigm_Complex (968558) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981499)

If I were some American government then I would prefer people to use Linux, too. Sadly I'm not an American government.

A suggestion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25981565)

Why don't *you* switch over to Red Flag Linux.....then you'll be sure there are no possible backdoors put in by the Satanic US Government. Of course the Chinese might have put a few in.

Let us know how it works out for you.

that's insane (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981641)

you support an authoritarian government imposing its prescription for surveillance on ITS PEOPLE

why? because the us govt might spy on that authoritarian government

i am sorry, but i am not diplomatic person: you are a fucking retard

Gaming (4, Informative)

number17 (952777) | more than 5 years ago | (#25980943)

I've been into some of China's small town Internet Cafe's and almost everyone was under 20 and gaming. I sure hope those games have been ported with proper language support or the cafe's will be hurting.

If it's Linux... (1)

notdotcom.com (1021409) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981013)

Why not look at the source for govt backdoors, rootkits, or whatever?

Great News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25981101)

More Linux adoption is always a good thing.

Re:Great News (2, Insightful)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981221)

Not when it isn't a voluntary adoption.

This is stupid. (5, Interesting)

darthaya (66687) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981181)

The internet cafes in China are not going to run Linux anytime soon.

Why?

Because the cafe users are gamers, mostly. They use the *cheap* internet connection to play one of tons of different windows only MMORPGs(And that includes World of Warcraft.) or Online shooters.(Used to be counterstrike.)

To ask those internet cafes to run Linux is to ask them to get rid of their source of profits.

Re:This is stupid. (4, Interesting)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981271)

To ask those internet cafes to run Linux is to ask them to get rid of their source of profits.

Or it is to ask game publishers to provide a Linux version (or fund WINE) if they want any revenue from China (assuming low piracy rates for games).

Re:This is stupid. (3, Informative)

Vexorian (959249) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981463)

If they just want to play WoW, that's fine, you just mentioned one of those games that actually work well in WINE. platinum in winehq...

Re:This is stupid. (1)

robkill (259732) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981795)

To ask those internet cafes to run Linux is to ask them to get rid of their source of profits.

Two questions:
1.) Does the PRC government really care about internet cafe profits, or does it care more about having control over them?
2.) Does the PRC government "ask" the cafes to run Red Flag Linux, or is it telling them? If it is forcing cafes that have documented, licensed versions of Windows on their machines to switch (and pay $700 per machine to do so), then it's not "asking".

Didn't this... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25981211)

...raise any red flags for anyone?

Year of Linux (1, Interesting)

PolarBearFire (1176791) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981213)

2009 - Year of Linux. One of the things that set Linux behind is lack of promotion, if Linux and commie China becomes connected somehow, it won't be a good thing.

It has to be an hoax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25981251)

It has to be an hoax, or there is a lack of information on the article.

Why the fee? This governamental fee is compatible with GPL? It's sound strange.

I know that "linux is free" doesn't means that you don't have to pay nothing but... yo don't have to pay anything for a copy if the other person gives you free

Manpower. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25981273)

Good.
Now, dear Chinese, please increase your contributions to Linux. We need bugfixing and polishing (badly).

I guess though that english-oriented programming languages are a trouble for Chinese to start hacking.

Hey, Blizzard? (1)

toriver (11308) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981365)

Does this mean we will get a Linux client for World of Warcraft?

Re:Hey, Blizzard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25981561)

Blizzard here,

The demand of your enormous population, funded by your government, will ensure you get a linux version of WoW.

We will assimilate...

Have a nice day.

-Blizzard.

In Communist China... (1)

CompMD (522020) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981445)

Red Flag Linux opensources YOU!

spying...LOL (3, Informative)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981469)

I have had the occasion to visit MII in China. They can already get a screenshot of what any iCafe user is doing in real time. I saw it with my own eyes. Combine that with their requirement that iCafe users need to show their ID card when they rent a computer and there is effectively zero privacy. These were windows PC's so I'm not sure why the hurry to switch to Linux. It probably has less to do with the actual operating system and more to do with the vendor who is supporting the switchover backhanding some government lackey a Benz or three. Welcome to China.

$700 Fee?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25981535)

From the link,

Red Flag Linux is the name of a Chinese-made operating system. Officials in Nanchang are forcing local Internet cafe owners to install it in place of Microsoft Windows. An official from the the city's Cultural Discipline Team confirmed this to Radio Free Asia, which is funded by the U.S. government. The rule is apparently aimed at cracking down on pirated software. But some cafe owners say they're using Microsoft legally and don't want to change. They're also not happy about the fees for Red Flag Linux, which are more than $700.

Whose $700 fee? Can anybody in Nanchang or China fill us in on detail here? (Or is able to read relevant forum threads for us?)

Sounds like the anti-piracy legislation has been 'shanghaied' into being a cash-cow for local government. Which is business as usual is modern China, but still a presumption. We need more detail.

Comunism and free (as in beer) software... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25981555)

...play well together. Surprised?

Oh Sweet Irony (3, Funny)

quantaman (517394) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981587)

That's going to be a lot of new Linux users.

Imagine Linux on the desktop taking off due to support from a totalitarian regime!

Btw. does anyone know if Red Flag contributes any code back to the community? It would be interesting if they've submitted any of their changes to KDE, Gnome, or OpenSSH...

Hey, I got a box of Red Flag Linux 2.0 - never ins (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981621)

I just got it for shits and giggles. This is a rather old version (from 2002 or so) and I see from a screenshot that it comes with KDE.

Strangely enough, it seems to come with a CD key, and a longish one, at that.

Tactical move (1)

Vexorian (959249) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981649)

You may assume the Chinese government has installed surveillance on it and thousands of backdoors, etc. And perhaps they did... But I think that it is more than that.

They would sure like to have an OS in which they have a saying rather than having to trust American corporations, it is probably about control but not of the population but of their tech infrastructure. They are probably also looking in advance the sorts of issues TPM is going to cause them if they keep in MS' domain, not to mention all the annoying anti piracy harass they are to deal with,

if they want to stop piracy and still have an actual tech infra estructure, they will have to move out of windows and any sort of American-controlled software, and they know that with cybercafes they have something that is easy to enforce and effective to introduce their brand new Chinese OS to people so they can prepare further migrations later - worse case scenario, some gamers will be unable to play WoW anymore... something that the Chinese gov. would be happy to see, since they basically hate WoW...

. They chose Linux as a base, mostly because they can.

ObamaLinux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25981675)

Personally I'm eagerly awaiting ObamaLinux.

irony, irony, irony (2, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981749)

that which was started to cricumvent corporate control, is used as a tool for authoritarian control

this is not in any way good for linux

it cuts to the very core of the rationale we all use for saying linux and open source software is a superior approach

if the software is coopted and subverted by an authoritarain regime, where is the inherent freedom that makes open software ideologically superior?

a corporate controlled software can make deals with an authoritarian regime, and withhold support for certain functionality. not that they do, but that they can. but with open source, the devil doesn't need to make deals with you, he just ignores you completely, and uses the software for dominance and control as the authoritarian regime sees fit

the predicable joke (1)

pinchies (1275404) | more than 5 years ago | (#25981789)

Whoa.. wait.. i'm seeing little red flags going up everywhere...
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