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Browsing the Broken Web: a Software Developer Behind the Great Firewall of China

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the internet-obstacle-course dept.

Censorship 58

troyhunt writes "While we've long known that China takes a fairly aggressive stance on internet censorship, I thought a visit to Shanghai this week would pose a good opportunity to look at just how impactful this was to software developers behind the Great Firewall of China. It turns out that the access control policies make life very difficult at all sorts of levels when accessing simple technology resources we use every day from other countries. But I also found an amazing level of inconsistency with sites and services intended to be off limits being accessible via other means. It's an interesting insight into how our developer peers can and can't work in the country with the world's largest internet population."

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FRIST PSOT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39383811)

THAT'S RIGHT, NIGGERS!

Re:FRIST PSOT (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39384293)

I'm a racist too, but I try to keep it under control.

impactful? (1, Insightful)

Hubert_Shrump (256081) | more than 2 years ago | (#39383879)

The English, she weeps.

Re:impactful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39383903)

The English, she weeps.

Dats rasist

Re:impactful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39383919)

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/impactful

2 : to impinge or make contact especially forcefully
— impactful adjective

Re:impactful? (2)

jc42 (318812) | more than 2 years ago | (#39384563)

Heh. It's fun to watch an ignorant bit of "peevery" shot down by an entry in a well-known dictionary. Not that dictionary makers consider themselves arbiters of correctness, of course, but lots of people insist on believing them to fill that role.

In this case, it's actually a bit unusual to find such an entry, since "impactful" is a simple combination of a common English substantial (a common term for words that are both noun and adjective, and in this case also verb) plus a common suffix. Dictionaries tend to omit such normal combinations unless they have some idiomatic meaning that can't be deduced from the parts, and that doesn't apply to this case. OTOH, if it's an unabridged dictionary, such routine combinations are likely to be included, and disk space is getting so cheap that all online dictionaries are becoming unabridged.

But the real fun is watching people look silly by objecting to a perfectly cromulent bit of affixation like this. We here at /. tend to pride ourselves in our education and literacy, but there are constant reminders that the linguistically ignorant are about as common here as in the rest of the English-speaking world.

(And when I decided to ask google to "define:peevery", I was entertained by the fact that most of matches are for the phrase "pee very", typically followed by words like "often" or "badly". I also discovered the peevery.com web site, which is a lot of fun. ;-)

Re:impactful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39384877)

Care to embiggen your point any further? We're all enjoying it a great deal.

Re:impactful? (4, Insightful)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | more than 2 years ago | (#39385727)

We (people in my country) don't use Webster's (we use the Oxford Dictionary instead as our standard - mostly). Just because a word is in Websters doesn't mean the word is accepted by the international English community. While we my countrymen will usually tolerate abominations like 'impactful', they come across as quite dissonant and are avoided by better writers and speakers. For example, the the writer could have substituted the word 'significant' for 'impactful'.

My other favourite poor-word-choice peeve is 'architected' when 'designed' is the better word to use. All these faux-formal words being made up by corporate drones when there are perfectly suitable and well accepted alternatives instead. If you have a good vocabulary you choose the simplest word to fit, not make up words to try sound enlightened or technically adept. Use of such words are jarring for those of us who have moved past the stage of complicating our prose (as you learn to do as an undergraduate in university) to the stage of ruthlessly simplifying it where we can.

Re:impactful? (0)

Carthag (643047) | more than 2 years ago | (#39387445)

Fuck prescriptivism. "Impactful" is entirely and fully understandable and a valid word in every sense of the latter.

Also you're the one who sounds faux-formal (oh I bet this pisses you off, a goddamn sentence fragment aaaaa). Just because English isn't currently 100% agglutinative 100% of the time doesn't mean it can't be some of the time. Sincerepostin' over here.

Re:impactful? (1)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | more than 2 years ago | (#39387547)

> "Impactful" is entirely and fully understandable and a valid word in every sense of the latter.
Personally, I disagree. For a start people will have to think what the word actually means. Second, even if people do think about what it means, two people may arrive at slightly different definitions/interpretations and therefore slightly different conclusions as to what the writer intended to say. This doesn't piss me off in the least, I was just pointing out that there are usually existing words in common use that convey the writer's point in an unambiguous manner. I guess on Slashdot you may be fed up with the so-called Grammar Nazis, but here I was not trying to correct grammar - I was pointing out that it is possible to write much more simply in many cases where these made-up words are used. All I can do is pass on my knowledge as a train and internationally experienced technical writer (in the psychologically-verified Information Mapping methodology). If people like you choose not to listen then that is your choice - I can only try 'lead the horse to water' to try make others better writers (when they discus technical subjects, such as on Slashdot).

Re:impactful? (1)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | more than 2 years ago | (#39387551)

Clearly I'm a dodgy typist though :) s/train/trained/.

Re:impactful? (1)

Carthag (643047) | more than 2 years ago | (#39387605)

Name two significantly divergent possible interpretations of "impactful".

I'm not talking about grammar-nazism, I'm talking about staleness. Languages die when you bar them from evolving. Sure, there are certain fields where a strict, formally defined language is preferable — law, science, etc. This is not the case here, there's no doubt what is meant by impactful, no grey areas, no ambiguity.

Re:impactful? (1)

Anonymus (2267354) | more than 2 years ago | (#39387939)

The grumpy old man in me is just bitter about the direction in which it's evolving. Most of its changes (such as this one) are driven entirely by marketing-speak bullshit from ad executives who never really learned English in the first place. When they create new words, they tend to replace perfectly fine existing words, sound terrible (seriously, "impactful"?), and are irregular forms in regards to the rest of the language.

Re:impactful? (1)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | more than 2 years ago | (#39390119)

And can be hard for 'English-as-second-language' folks to follow what these new words are supposed to mean.

Re:impactful? (1)

lennier (44736) | more than 2 years ago | (#39393417)

Name two significantly divergent possible interpretations of "impactful".

1. This gangsterizer was obviously killified by an impactful velocityness of steelish-jacketified leady stuff, thought Inspector Noun-Suffix, abstractly.
2. This dynamic corporate motivational seminar will be both uplifting and impactful. To ensure this, we have planted hydraulic rams under the front-row seats and have removed the carpet. Please bring a crash helmet.

Re:impactful? (1)

Exceptica (2022320) | more than 2 years ago | (#39390299)

It seems to me that both of you (parent and grandparent) are trying to follow a beautiful and necessary impulse of being human: find and represent relevant information; say more with less. Unfortunately, this phrase is all about context, like 'easy'. What's easy for a man is difficult for another. What's good enough for one is unacceptable for another. Context, context, context. And now is when I realize one of you is an idiot and the other is someone who knows his language and can use it well. I'll leave it to you to decide who's the cromulent one.

Re:impactful? (1)

Carthag (643047) | more than 2 years ago | (#39394631)

its me i am the clever one

Re:impactful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39387849)

Use of such words are jarring

Use of words like 'are' is jarring when used with singulars such as 'use'.

Re:impactful? (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 2 years ago | (#39388139)

Use of such words are jarring

Use of words like 'are' is jarring when used with singulars such as 'use'.

Don't be so sensitive. I had to stop and think a few seconds to figure out what could possibly be wrong with that usage. The use of "use" in this case is clearly a noun describing an activity, and such words aren't obviously singular or plural, though one could also say "uses" in this case. I didn't notice the number mismatch until it was pointed out, and I'm a native speaker. What I noticed first was the omission of the definite article, but "the" is optional in this case. It's just that my native dialect would say "The use of ...", as I did above.

Similarly for the original: I didn't consciously notice the word "impactful" until someone complained about it, and then my main reaction was "Why would someone be bothered by such a simply-constructed word? English uses suffixes." Yeah, it's not a word I see every day, but it's not like anyone fluent in English should have a problem understanding it. About the only thing you can sensibly say about it is something like "Hey, suffixes are useful."

(And I just know that someone is going to make a snarky comment about my use of the word "useful" in this discusion. Maybe I should have typed "OK" instead. ;-)

Re:impactful? (1)

lennier (44736) | more than 2 years ago | (#39393375)

My favourite newbizgovspeak is "administrate" - when I'm almost certain that what administrators used to do when they performed administration was administer. Somehow a perfectly good transtitive/nontransitive verb got forcefully detransitivised the hard way.

I am expectfully confidentised that soon we will see the growthed riseupping of "system administrationisers".

Re:impactful? (1)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | more than 2 years ago | (#39393619)

lol. Love your example sentence. Sounds like what a 'lolcat' would come out with when in business.

Re:impactful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39383929)

The correct word of course is 'impactatious'

Re:impactful? (1)

philip.paradis (2580427) | more than 2 years ago | (#39384119)

That's a perfectly cromulent word.

Re:impactful? (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 2 years ago | (#39385675)

Cromulent? That's unpossible!

Just like DRM (4, Insightful)

deciduousness (755695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39383901)

Seems to work just like DRM. Gives the company a sense of power and usually just inconveniences the average user. The power user probably has very few issues.

Unh. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39383977)

I just dropped a footlong brownsnake as thick and hearty as a jungle python.

I've never had sex in my butt, and nothing has ever been up my butt...so...how the heck can something that long and wide emerge from my anus?

It must be a message from Jesus Christ. I can even see his likeness on one tip of the snake.

Re:Just like DRM (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#39383985)

Indeed. What's so amazing about inconsistency? It would be fairly amazing if some organization dumb enough to implement censorship did it 100% effectively. Even something as simple as DRM on itunes files, there are workarounds that were simple, like burning it to a CD, then ripping it back as an MP3.

(Yes yes, apple apologists, they HAVE stopped adding DRM, though they haven't released files that were bought previous to that date, and their legal teams prevent anyone from unlocking those songs to play on, say, an android phone.)

Re:Just like DRM (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#39386987)

Indeed. What's so amazing about inconsistency? It would be fairly amazing if some organization dumb enough to implement censorship did it 100% effectively. Even something as simple as DRM on itunes files, there are workarounds that were simple, like burning it to a CD, then ripping it back as an MP3.

(Yes yes, apple apologists, they HAVE stopped adding DRM, though they haven't released files that were bought previous to that date, and their legal teams prevent anyone from unlocking those songs to play on, say, an android phone.)

Actually, the burn to CD is a supported method. Apple even says you should back up your purchases by using the Burn to CD function! Heck, they tried to make it "hard" by restricting you to burning a playlist 3 times or so. Of course, you could always delete the playlist and make a new one. Or delete the last track and re-add it back and get 3 more burnings out of it.

It was always one of the DRM'd iTunes Music Store rights - that you can always burn the track to CD. What you did afterwards, Apple didn't care.

Re:Just like DRM (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#39387503)

Yes, but a simple, efficient, lossless workaround like Requiem, they went after that like someone had naked pictures of Steve Jobs.

Re:Just like DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39391781)

I spoke to someone in Iran recently about programming and we shared tools/techniques. I suggested one particular tool that was free and could be found on an Oracle website. I was surprised to hear that he couldn't access it, as it the website had blocked Iranian IP addresses because of sanctions. I suggested he use a proxy and he said that actually that is very hard because his country blocks those. He put it as being firewalled on both sides. I suggested he sign up for a free shell somewhere and use SSH and a poor man's proxy (such as wget and scp). Anyway, turns out he could just get it from something like tucows instead of the original sites. So much for them beans.

4 months in Shanghai was too long (5, Interesting)

Saphati (698453) | more than 2 years ago | (#39384037)

I spent 4 months in Shanghai and was considering moving there. Shanghai is an amazing city. However, by the end of the 4 months I could not get out of there fast enough. Their Internet censoring/monitoring slows down your Internet connection so much it is sometimes not useable. Skype and many other programs/websites we use regularly in the west are not legal in China. Some are blocked for political reasons and other are blocked so people are forced to use local versions of the products. The local versions all have built in monitoring for the government. Almost all expats in China use VPN connections for their daily work. Hong Kong is the complete opposite. Nothing is censored there and their Internet connections are extremely fast! I can live in HK.

Re:4 months in Shanghai was too long (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39386069)

I can live in HK.

you do realize that the "one country, two systems" deal is only valid for 50 years after PRC assumed control over hong kong? so there's as little as 35 years left before all hell breaks loose there... and PRC has already tried, countless times with no signs of stopping, to reduce the economic and social freedoms and exert more control over judicial system and media. so unless you're like 50+ yrs old and probably won't be around in 35 years, you may like to live there NOW but you certainly won't want to STAY.

Re:4 months in Shanghai was too long (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39387419)

So you left Shanghai because you needed to use a $3/month VPN? What's the logic? Internet there is plenty fast. Maybe you had a bad connection due to where you lived or whatever, but certainly most broadband is decent.

HK isn't much of a democracy either, because the fucking UK. But hey, at least you don't need a $3/month VPN.

One acronym solution: (4, Informative)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 2 years ago | (#39384045)

VPN. VPNMakers.com - $5/month, works great from all over China (including Shanghai, where I live half-time). No problem getting into corporate networks, secured websites, or even streaming Hulu/Pandora/MOG/Netflix.

Re:One acronym solution: (1)

Wingfat (911988) | more than 2 years ago | (#39384141)

there is always a free way to do things, ask me first. http://www.vischeck.com/vischeck/vischeckURL.php [vischeck.com] @answerbird

Re:One acronym solution: (3, Insightful)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 2 years ago | (#39385635)

Having tried many free ones before I decided to pay, I can say that nearly all of them are slow, do not always work - and are not reliable at all (drop connection regularly). If you're actually developing and making money, spend a few bucks (32 RMB) and get a REAL VPN connection.

Poorly admined network (3, Informative)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39384591)

Been to Shanghai more than I can count. Basically, the network is poorly maintained. Everything from double-NATing, poor routing, to offline DNS servers. The problem at least residential side are systemic.

Re:Poorly admined network (3, Informative)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 2 years ago | (#39385649)

Been to Shanghai more than I can count. Basically, the network is poorly maintained. Everything from double-NATing, poor routing, to offline DNS servers. The problem at least residential side are systemic.

I live in Shanghai half-time (out by Qibao town, in Minhang). My apartment had poor Internet service, until I complained to China Telecom and demanded they honor the contract I had with them. Ended up I was too far from the CO to get the 3 Mbps connection I was paying for, so they pulled fiber to my apartment block and now I get a solid 8-10 Mbps down/1 Mbps up without a hitch.

Use China's laws to your advantage. If a contract is offered, accepted and paid for, then legally they HAVE to give you what you want - there is no way for them to back out or refund the money. Service has been paid for, they must provide the service regardless of cost.

Re:Poorly admined network (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39386271)

Where my wife's parents live, they get pretty poor cable and DSL service. They live in a nicer area of Shanghai though. But all the building including the walls are poured concrete. I honestly doubt there's conduit in place. Maybe the electricians are lazy, but anytime they add a new like or repair, they always seem to run it on the outside of the wall. I'm assuming they can do this with twisted pair or fiber?

Also, isn't China Telcom a state owned and operated utility? Or has it always been privatized under heavy regulation?

Re:Poorly admined network (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 2 years ago | (#39386459)

There's a central chase next to the stairwell/elevator shaft in most apartment blocks, where cable and phone is delivered. They pulled fiber into that space, then tapped through the wall for me. And yes, China Telecom is State-owned, but they still have to abide by the rules. I pushed them on it, and it did take 6 weeks - but I got the speedy service I contracted for. The techs were pretty worthless, and it took 9 visits - but it did happen.

Color me a sympathizer... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39385161)

...but, maybe that's a key element to the kind of growth they experience. America is a foul-mouthed brat who can't be reasoned with. The economy is a downer. China jails people who stir shit up just for the sake of it. Their economy is on the rise. Perhaps a clean-cut image is an important part of success, be it a true reflection or not. China isn't clean-cut by any means. But, they're not pointing out their every minute flaw, making mountains out of mole-hills, lessening their national image. The Chinese are team players. Americans put the "I" in "team."

I wonder if they have stand-up comics in China? And, if so, are they as politically charged as American comedians? I don't bother with stand-up comedy — or any form of comedy — in the United States of America, because they make me feel bad about being an American. I am from the mid-Western United States. We are a constant target of their rhetoric. Somehow, I doubt the Chinese would stand for such demonizations. It wouldn't heighten their chances of success to allow that. They'd spend all their time laughing and applauding hatred that has been masked in a performance piece. It would be counter-productive, to say the least.

Now, Freedom of Speech is something I believe in 100%. But, I do wonder if it has ill-effects on the imagery of our Nation to allow such blatantly biased and expertly constructed forms of propaganda to exist. Heck, my usage of the term "our Nation" within my previous sentence is a form of propaganda. As an American, I can construct propaganda on the fly! Steve Jobs was the world's foremost practitioner of it, in my opinion. Being exposed to it in so many forms has made us all students of Joseph Goebbels.

The Chinese put their efforts into national structuring. A strong American pastime is to erode the national structure. And, to think, many Americans are puzzled as to why the Chinese are so strong at the moment. They aren't injecting artificial weakness into their every strength.

Re:Color me a sympathizer... (2)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | more than 2 years ago | (#39385887)

What you are missing is that China also jails people who point out corruption, mis-governance, unsafe practices such as the addition of mildly poisonous food additives to food products that result in baby deaths (eg the melamine added to milk by a Chinese dairy producer - and then blame it on the New Zealand company that acquired them), illegal and unreasonable acquisition of citizen land, etc. Yes, this happens elsewhere too, but not on the same scale nor without the same redresses available elsewhere.

With regards to economics. America is slowly getting back to growth. The difference between China and America's economies is not really to do with their political systems, it is to do with whether the government believes in a lassez faire system with weak regulation (America) or strong central control of the economy (China) including product dumping and currency manipulation and other unfair trade practices (at least according to the WTO 'standards'). America also bends the rules in its favour (obvious to outsiders, most US citizens don't know or care), but not to the same extent as China. If America decided to bend the rules too far in its favour it would reap the same short-term (several decades) benefits that China does now, at the expense of getting the same bad reputation China is rapidly acquiring (and will take a much longer time to shake off).

You feel bad about being an American because of stand-up comedians? This is tragic, perhaps you are a bit too sensitive (but at least that is much better than being insensitive/oblivious - as many of your countrymen are). As cultures mature they gain the ability to laugh at themselves. As they mature further they then gain the ability to allow others to laugh at them. This is why the 'English' (what you might call 'British') culture around the World appreciates black humour and sarcasm to a degree not seen in the US. Unfortunately these delights seem lost on many Americans who in their earnestness are mostly quite poor in distinguishing a pleasantly sounding mortal insult from invective wrapped comradely banter.

Your desire for your countrymen to do better is laudable. However, I think that America would often look better to outsiders if it learned to kick back, have a beer, and not take things so seriously. Trying to look good usually makes you look worse. This trying hard to look good is something the Russian and Chinese governments miss completely - trying to look strong makes them look 'try-hard' and feeble; showing how much power they have over various things (eg. Russian supply of gas) does not make their neighbours respect them out of fear, it makes them distrust them. Doing these things is counter-productive and most Chinese and Russians just don't grok this yet. My point here is that the ability of America to grow stand-up comedians with their cutting insight shows strength of their culture and is something to be proud of, not ashamed of. The ability to recognise and laugh at your own foibles shows good judgment and character. *All* cultures have flaws, acknowledging them is good (because ignoring them is ridiculous - outsiders can see the flaws even better than you can). America is a great country to be proud of, please also realise that almost everyone else is also proud of their countries too - and it isn't a competition as to who is best at what, it is all a joke.

China has some great aspects. The ones you pointed out are not some of them. I hope the US doesn't slavishly emulate China, because as the US edges towards the concentration of power to centralized elites and draconian laws (both of which China has) against the citizenry it is making it a worse country, not better. That trend is not something to tolerate or aspire to.

Re:Color me a sympathizer... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39386007)

I don't bother with stand-up comedy — or any form of comedy — in the United States of America, because they make me feel bad about being an American. I am from the mid-Western United States. We are a constant target of their rhetoric.

Three things about your post are seriously wrong-headed:

1. Get a sense of humor. Use it. Nurture it. Exercise it.

2. Instead of feeling bad about being an American, why don't you focus on becoming a better person? Then take that behavior into your community as an example of how people should behave. What I'm saying is don't blame comedians for pointing out your short-comings but thank them, accept the criticism, evolve, and grow beyond it.

3. Not all American comedy is denigrating to those who live in the mid-West. There are plenty of jokes that poke fun at: religions, races, city-folk, country-folk, disabled people, Northerners, Southerners, Easterners, Westerners, gays, straights, tall, short, fat, skinny, immigrants, natives, etc. There are also whole genres of comedy that don't denigrate anyone. Please see item #1.

Obligatory... (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39386095)

Insert obligatory ignorant "but the USA is way WORSE than China!" post here.

Re:Obligatory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39398421)

Insert obligatory ignorant "but the USA is way WORSE than China!" post here.

Typical lazy American, trying to get someone else to do the work for you.

Many tech site are blocked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39386325)

I have lived in China for over 2 years. The service provided is very bad, I have to wait for days to get the connection repaired. The internet goes out about once every three months.

I develop using leading edge OSS. Many sites that have the latest bug fixes and HOWTO are blocked. Often google "slowed" that it becomes unusable, and baidu does not have the links to the necessary technical links and it does not support english. The government is hurting the development of advance technology by blocking. That is one reason M$windoz is so popular, the average developer can not find information on advance technology.

Working from China (2)

beefsack (1172479) | more than 2 years ago | (#39387313)

I'm a developer currently living in China and working for an Australian company. It is immensely difficult to work here without a VPN and I notice it in every part of the work. Searching the internet for information about a problem is nigh on impossible, Google searches are intermittent, I can't access a large amount of developer blogs, and stackoverflow is intermittent too.

One funny one I came across last night was after installing Mint. The Ubuntu repos aren't blocked, but the main Mint repo is. Luckily there is a Chinese mirror that is actually really fast.

I'm lucky in that I live very close to Hong Kong (I'm in Guangzhou), and VPN access to Hong Kong is blisteringly fast. I keep VPN accounts with both SuperVPN and StrongVPN (when one is performing poorly, I switch to the other). From my experience, SuperVPN has the better performance in HK.

I love living in China, it's an amazing country with some great people, but you really need to be prepared if you want to live here and work in IT internationally. Make sure you organise a VPN before you get here, and always have a backup plan.

Re:Working from China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39387723)

Well, you "love living" in a dictatorship so you shouldn't complain about working there being "immensely difficult". Furthermore you shouldn't get a VPN but live according the laws of the country you love so much. Did you ever got a feeling of contradiction?

Re:Working from China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39387817)

Do you ever get the feeling that you're just a jawbone shy of being a complete ass?

I do hope the GFW people gets jailed someday (2)

r6144 (544027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39387613)

Disclaimer: I'm a native Chinese living in Shanghai. Somehow access to /. isn't disrupted, but I wouldn't be surprised if it is in the future. Simple complaints about the GFW, online or otherwise, is too common to be considered sensitive here AFAIK. Buying a VPN is probably so as well; I have been too lazy to get one myself, but considering the amount of lost productivity, maybe I should.

That said, Google is borderline unusable here. When I search for anything technical, 30% of the time the connection gets reset and google becomes inaccessible for several minutes, and if the search results are shown, about half of the sites are inaccessible, including most foreign blog sites and many of the mailing list archives. It is so frustrating that I'd wish for the evil bit to be implemented, or bang the keyboard refreshing the page in a vain attempt to DoS the machine sending out these bogus TCP reset packets.

I consider the GFW a kind of malicious DoS attack on our network infrastructure. We do have laws against such attacks, and I think those responsible for it may well deserve a few years in prison.

Re:I do hope the GFW people gets jailed someday (1)

thejynxed (831517) | more than 2 years ago | (#39387865)

If they are sending TCP reset packets, you do realize you can use firewall/router rules to drop those reset packets. You don't have to allow them to use that simple trick to thwart your browsing. We did the same when Comcast here in the USA was using that same trick to disrupt Bit Torrent transfers.

Re:I do hope the GFW people gets jailed someday (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39388145)

Any tips on where to look to give a guide on how to accomplish this? I ran a quick google search that turned up a few forums talking about various firewall solutions, but I'd like to know if there's a way to do it at the router level. Any hints?

Re:I do hope the GFW people gets jailed someday (1)

LS (57954) | more than 2 years ago | (#39388333)

There was a paper on how they were doing this released maybe 5 years ago. I tried setting up firewall rules as they described and I didn't have any success. I could be doing something wrong but I suspect they've figured this one out.

Re:I do hope the GFW people gets jailed someday (1)

r6144 (544027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39388543)

The problem is that they are sending reset packets to both sides, and if Google's servers honor these reset packets, it doesn't matter whether my computer does.

There was indeed a project, named after a fairly well-known story in Chinese literature ("west chambers" or something), that finds a way to work around this problem. IIRC it sends special packets to make these reset packets ineffective on the other side due to timing issues. However, since this only helps with TCP resets and cannot deal with IP blocking (which is also common), and the scheme itself a bit of a hack that might slow down network access sometimes, I used it only for a few weeks. I don't know if it still works now.

Good to see some locals posting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39387665)

I'm glad to see some local developers posting on their experiences as they are all mixed. For sure it is a problem - the most annoying just searching google. Generally there are ways around it and it will probably not be looked upon by authorities because you're just doing your work. Having been here for just over 6 years it's hard to imagine how easy it can get but I do use a VPN 100% home.
The internet is always about being part of something bigger and at times it does seem like you are on a different internet here. You can be entertained for hours and if you read Chinese there just seems little point in browsing the "other side" some evenings but that is where it stops. The west is still a leader of new stuff and most of us devs get their hackernews fix in just fine.

The Great Firewall will be global (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39387955)

Feeling lucky you're not living in China now? Think again. If you don't like what the Great Firewall does, oppose it now. Soon it will be global and business as usual. China is quickly becoming the most powerful nation. It's already the most populous. A vast chunk of all manufacture takes place there. The economy has grown double digits for a decade during a period of time when other countries have had negative growth. And even now we have rethoric in the west like "only criminals want privacy" coming from our digital overlords and oppressors, like google and facebook. And these people will only get stronger.

Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niemoeller_poem [wikipedia.org]

Working from Thailand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39388059)

You should be happy with the great firewall of China. At least it is run by people who are not fucking idiots. The great firewall of Thailand leaves you with not only broken sites but with less them 1 megabit to work with. So yuo pay for 12 megabit connection and get 1 if you are lucky.

No problem from China (1)

Cito (1725214) | more than 2 years ago | (#39390235)

But I use TOR and I have a colocated server in the states that I use to browse the web using SSH forwarding... I use Putty with tcp forwarding turned on in putty then on firefox i tell it manual proxy set to localhost and port I set putty to, then ssh into my colo server in the states which is really fast and browse anywhere unfiltered.

For everything else I use Tor with manually added exit nodes

on my colo I also installed rapidleech, rutorrent web front end to rtorrrent and setup password protection on them, so I can torrent and direct download from my colo here in china with no blocks/filters/problems :)

course if ever caught they'd probably cut my head off or something

but zero filter problems since I bypass it all.

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