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Japan Subsidizes Linux Development, Considers Switch

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the know-which-way-the-wind-is-blowing dept.

Linux 248

TheAB writes "Japan is betting 50 million yen ($450k US) that the next-generation of high-tech products and computer networks will rely on open-source software. The money is to develop an 'operating system for consumer electronics goods'."

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fp? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5254538)

hehehe.

waste of space comment.

props to billy, jp, and me. :)

tp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5254952)

Can you read this?

I've gotten something like five replies to my (logged-in) comment and only one of them actually shows up. I'm sure using the production server as a test environment to cut costs by 50% seemed like a good idea at the meeting, but...

jApan tO oFFEr AID To asIaN COmpUTER SoFTWARe devE (-1)

Genghis Troll (158585) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254540)

Wed feb 5, 8:38 AM ET

TOKYO - jAPan PLans to sPenD aBOUt 1 BillIOn YEn (Us$8.3 MIllioN) funDiNg AsIAN sOFtwAre DeVeLOpERs Working oN tHE oPen-SoURCE LiNux (newS - wEb SItES) oPeRaTInG SYStem FOR ConSuMer eLECtrOnICS GOodS, An oFFiCiAl SaId WEDnEsdaY.
mInIStrY OF ecONOmy, trADe And INDustrY offIciAL SHUICHi tASHIRO sAID tHe suBSIDiEs Will bE dOleD OUt Next FISCAl yEar, whIcH bEGins AprIL 1.
JAPAN is beTtiNg ThaT the nEXt-GEnErAtIoN OF HIGH-TecH pRoDucTs anD cOmputEr nETWORkS wIlL ReLy on opeN-soUrce sOFTWaRE, In WhICH ThE UndERLYING Code Is pubLiC ANd OpEN FOr ModIFICaTIon, uNlIKE MicRoSoFt'S prOprIeTARy SofTWare.
TOkYo Has alReAdy budgetED 50 MiLlIOn Yen (uS$416,000) fOr NeXt fISCal YEaR To sTuDY The PossiBiLitY OF SWiTcHING GovERNMENt COmPuters To an Open-sourcE OPeraTiNg syStEM.
liKe comPuterS, mosT hIGh-TeCH eleCTRoniCs PRoducTS SucH AS dIGitAl CAmERAS, ReFriGeRAtOrS aND aiR cONDitioneRS rEQUIRe BuilT-IN soFTwaRE to CoNtROl ThEiR FUnCTiONs.
U.S. coMputeR GIanT ibm has ThROwn ITs COnSIdERaBle WEIgHT BeHInD open-soURcE soFtWArE, and sOmE jaPanESe CompanIeS ARe joinIng iN.
iN dEceMBeR, soNY cOrP (nEws - wEB siteS). ANd matSusHiTa eleCTric indUsTriaL cO., both MAjOr JaPanEsE ElECtRONics maKeRs, sAiD tHeY wIll JoIntlY deVelOP a LinuX-Based SyStEm FOR dIGitAl COnSumeR ElectRONiCs.

great idea..... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5254544)

maybe the US should think about this?!
BTW FS!!!!!!!!!!

FP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5254545)

Beeeeyotch. Much propz to me posse!

Re:FP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5254607)

you fail it you dumb beotch

I don't know about this (1, Flamebait)

WickedClean (230550) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254555)

Isn't Japan and China and the surround areas notorious for software piracy? I mean...if they are already stealing commercial software and using/selling it, why would they give a crap about open source? Sounds like a big coverup!

Re:I don't know about this (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5254577)

I have heard of MS and other companies approaching the chinese government about their wide use of pirated software (in many cases the chinese themselves don't realize it's illegality) and faced with the option of buying huge amounts of expensive software, or moving to something open source, they are moving to Linux.

Or something...

Re:I don't know about this (5, Insightful)

awa (4952) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254597)

Err... putting Japan and China in the same bag is akin to saying the U.S., Mexico and surrounding areas are all alike.

Besides, if you read the story, the entities mentioned are Ministries and two _very_ big corporations (Sony and Matsushita) - highly unlikely to be pirating software.

Re:I don't know about this (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5254710)

I'd be surprised if there wasn't more piracy in the United States than Japan. I think one of the biggest problems in Japan is just getting the software. I recall reading an article about an American who started working in Japan and the huge headaches getting any software at all for the buisness he worked for, and how many hoops he had to jump through in order to even buy something direct from the US.

Re:I don't know about this (0, Redundant)

WickedClean (230550) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254800)

Yeah but re-selling counterfeit software is a big problem over there. During December I was trying to find a good price on UT 2003 and found copy after copy for $15 from Singapre. Only came with the disc and install code. No box or instructions "to save on shipping costs" they said. SHA RIGHT!

IN NIPPONESE JAPAN (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5254556)

You thought this was going to be a stupid joke.

Interesting... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5254561)

The page doesn't work for me.

Defined "betting" (5, Interesting)

Rocko Bonaparte (562051) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254570)

Japan plans to spend about 1 billion yen (US$8.3 million) funding Asian software developers working on the open-source Linux

This makes it sound like a certain win, but what is this about "betting?"

Tokyo has already budgeted 50 million yen (US$416,000) for next fiscal year to study the possibility of switching government computers to an open-source operating system.

So are they putting that upfront to see if it's worth it, with the $8.3 million conditional? It sounds exciting, but I don't want to hold my breath without clarification.

Actually... (5, Informative)

Archie Steel (539670) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254571)

According to the article that's 50 million yen for Tokyo alone...for the whole of Japan it's closer a billion yen (8.3 million$).

In either case it's not that big of a sum, but any amount helps!

Re:Actually... (2, Insightful)

That_Dan_Guy (589967) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254684)

Yeah, the 450k would harldy hire 2 or 3 programmers and the office space for a year in Tokyo.

Re:Actually... (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254857)

Presumably though as it is a feasability study they will source a consultancy group to execute it. I'm sure Gartner and their ilk will quite happily pocket 450K for a study of this nature and produce a nicely formatted 10 page document at its conclusion.

Even if they do execute in house its still a reasonable upfront investment for a feasability study.

Math (2, Insightful)

1984 (56406) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254575)

From the article:

Japan plans to spend about 1 billion yen (US$8.3 million)... working on the open-source Linux operating system for consumer electronics goods...

That might be a useful amount. Separately:

Tokyo has already budgeted 50 million yen (US$416,000) for next fiscal year to study the possibility of switching government computers to an open-source operating system.

So that's $8.3M for working on embedded Linux, and $416K for a study into looking at moving government computers to using Linux. "Government computers" is kind of a broad brush. Anyone know if that's servers, desktops, or really is just a general look?

Re:Math (5, Informative)

Rinikusu (28164) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254660)

That doesn't mean "linux". Open Source Operating System != Linux, folks. IT could be one of the various BSD's or even something like Plan 9.

Of course, I'm putting my money on "linux", too, but you can never just assume things...

whoa there pilgrim (0, Funny)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254576)

All of the Emperor's feudal lands? Fifty million yen?! Gomen, gomen- surely they could instead invest in a royal fleet and merely conquer those foreign lands that oppose?!

Re:whoa there pilgrim (5, Funny)

Lockjaw (41852) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254622)

According to the Bill Gates Net Worth Page they could hire him for over two hours with that kind of money...

I hope... (0)

jimius (628132) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254582)

I hope they will have only good experiences with it, so they can share their knowledge and experience with other countrys, so that they can adopt open-source too without having to try it out first. You can just look at Japan's results.

Why? (5, Funny)

loknor (583729) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254583)

" Japan plans to spend about 1 billion yen (US$8.3 million) funding Asian software developers working on the open-source Linux "

Why do that when you can just pull a Castle and steal it.... :-)

Kasparov TIES Deep Junior (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5254587)

In the very first FIDE Man vs Machine Championship, Kasparov accepted a draw offer from Deep Junior to end the championship in a TIE. The audience started booing. Ahahahahahahaha. You heard it here first.

Sorry about the typo in the post on the other story. God, Slashdot is slipping. Doesn't everyone want to know that Kasparov TIED Deep Junior? What a fucking pussy. He should have spit in the face of Deep Junior and kicked its sorry ass. I know I would have.

The Japanese government, not Japan (4, Insightful)

palfreman (164768) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254590)

It is the Japaese government that is spending the money, not "Japan". This may seem off-topic, but a country is different from its government. The amount Japan spends on Linux would be all the money all Japanese people and companies spend on Linux and Linux related things, not what the government did there. Governments are just another organisation and for most countries the main source of their problems.

Re:The Japanese government, not Japan (5, Interesting)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254698)

You've come square up against what I like to call "the one big person" theory of foreign states. Anything that is both very complex and very unfamiliar is treated as one big person: France is a big crybaby. Canada is a wimp. Israel is just one big Holocaust survivor. America is arrogant. On and on. Sure the sterotypes might sometimes contribute some pithy insight, but once they begin to suck up all debate nothing constructive ever gets said again. It is fundamentally impossible to sum up a complex system in this manner. It leads to all sorts of problems. Not that this mode of thinking will ever go away, mind you.

Actually, I think the whole 'complex entity = person" idea is something very human, and applies to all sorts of things beyond foreign countries. Businesses, cultural groups, one's own government, all of them treated like this. Its the human mind's way of dealing I suppose. And to a degree, maybe it even makes sense. The individual human is one of the most complex systems on this planet. Therefore we try to model other complex systems with that model.

Re:The Japanese government, not Japan (1)

csguy314 (559705) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254703)

a country is different from its government

It most certainly is. But a gov't is elected (in democratic systems anyway). And where, pray tell, does the gov't get it's money?

Re:The Japanese government, not Japan (4, Insightful)

palfreman (164768) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254785)

It takes its money from people who live there by force. So what if the government where you live is elected - I didn't vote for them, I hate almost everything they do (they in my case being the "British" government and the warmongering fool who runs it), and if I don't pay up they really would arrest me and send me to jail.

Just as I wouldn't want to be lumped in with a bunch of techno-illiterate nutcases in London, I'm sure there are plenty of people in Japan who wouldn't like to be associated with what their government does.

LedHat Rinux ? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5254602)

RMS -- Me love you long time!!

Re:LedHat Rinux ? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5254665)

That was good..

MOD PARENT UP +5 FUNNY (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5254741)

Heh.
Classic Jap accent humor.

Interesting choice of dates.. (5, Funny)

Edball (611096) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254603)

"Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry official Shuichi Tashiro said the subsidies will be doled out next fiscal year, which begins April 1."

Hmmmm....

Re:Interesting choice of dates.. (1)

msgmonkey (599753) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254676)

As far as I am aware, the fiscal year is always 365 days long so it begins on different days every year.

Oh boy! $450k! (5, Insightful)

occamboy (583175) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254605)

At the risk of being obvious...

Linux is a stupendous 'operating system for consumer electronics goods' -- as an engineer who's developed embedded systems, I think that Linux is great for this purpose. For example, Tivo, which is Linux-based, is the greatest consumer electronic item of all time.

But $450k? Gee, what a commitment! That's like 2-3 full time people if you include overhead.

Re:Oh boy! $450k! (-1, Informative)

MaximusPrime (609071) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254709)


RTFA!

In Japanese that means like $50 Million, and that's a lot!

Re:Oh boy! $450k! (2, Informative)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254714)

It's only a fleshwound, er, study.

Re:Oh boy! $450k! (1)

OECD (639690) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254724)

But $450k? Gee, what a commitment! That's like 2-3 full time people if you include overhead.

If I read it right, that's the amount for a study about moving Japanese gov't computers to Linux. They're just going to reassign some suits. (Still, it's probably a bargain by U.S. standards!)

Re:Oh boy! $450k! (5, Informative)

nsandver-work (91781) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254755)

It says right in the article (did you read it?) that "Japan plans to spend about 1 billion yen (US$8.3 million) funding Asian software developers working on the open-source Linux operating system for consumer electronics goods, an official said Wednesday." That is a sizable commitment.

The $450k figure in the article comes from this: " Tokyo has already budgeted 50 million yen (US$416,000) for next fiscal year to study the possibility of switching government computers to an open-source operating system." Note, that's the city of Tokyo, not the Japanese government.

Read the article.

Re:Oh boy! $450k! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5254765)

Read the article.

Japan plans to spend about 1 billion yen (US$8.3 million) funding Asian software developers working on the open-source Linux.

Re:Oh boy! $450k! (1)

stinky wizzleteats (552063) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254867)

Are you kidding? That will buy two or three full sized multi-story development campuses full of engineers in India!

Re:Oh boy! $450k! (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254958)

Presumably though as it is a feasability study they will source a consultancy group to execute it. I'm sure Gartner and their ilk will quite happily pocket 450K for a study of this nature and produce a nicely formatted 10 page document at its conclusion.

Even if they do perform the study in house its still a reasonable upfront investment for a feasability study.

Re:Oh boy! $450k! (1)

JoeBuck (7947) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254989)

Basic rule when reading Slashdot: the story will be wrong, you need to follow the link to get the real story. The government is allocating 1 billion yen ($8.3 million) for Linux software developers. In addition, it is spending $450K to study the possibility of switching government computers to Linux. If the study finds that they could switch if problems X, Y, and Z can be solved, they can use the $8.3 million to solve those problems, and then get all that money back, and more, when they kick Microsoft out of a hundred thousand or so government machines.

developers, developers, developers... (5, Interesting)

pubjames (468013) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254610)


This kind of thing must be extremely worrying to Microsoft. All up all the developers working for governments around the world, and I bet there are about ten times as many as work for Microsoft. It's probably even more than that if you think about it.

refrigerator root (5, Funny)

scrotch (605605) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254611)

Personally, I would love to be able to ssh into my refrigerator and poke around without having to get up and go all the way to the kitchen...

And imagine how cool you'll be with sendmail running on your air conditioner.

Please mod this up +1 funny (1)

eniu!uine (317250) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254872)

I'm all out of mod points you see, but I'm laughing out loud.

WOOHOO! GUNDAM! (5, Funny)

macshune (628296) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254612)

When they *finally* get around to getting that Gundam [bitter.swee.to] operational, it will run Linux!!!!!

Re:WOOHOO! GUNDAM! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5254736)

For some reason I'm getting this picture of something like a classic Voltron episode, where they need to try a different configuration, but have to halt the battle to recompile the kernel...

Re:WOOHOO! GUNDAM! (1)

VoidEngineer (633446) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254954)

Ohmygosh! rotflmao!. That's the coolest thing I've seen in, like, a month!

Yo, I had no idea that there was anybody building wacked out stuff like that... What's up with that control seat?! It looks like a fricking back-hoe operators seat! =)

They totally need to get a copy of the code to MechWarrior and rewrite the device drivers! If anybody want's to work on a Gundam-mech port of Mechwarrior, count me in! (I'm totally serious... I'd open up a site on sourceforge, and recode the entire fricken game, if it meant getting to fly back and forth from the US to Japan to write Mech code!!!)

LOL... Yo, mod the parent up!!! That's the coolest link on this thread! =)

Re:WOOHOO! GUNDAM! (2, Informative)

VoidEngineer (633446) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254988)

LOL... rotflmao! That's the coolest link I've seen in, like, a month!

Yo, I had no idea that folks were building wacked out stuff like that over there! What's up with the control seat?! It looks like a freakin back-hoe operator's chair! LOL.

Seriously, though... they need to port Mechwarior, and write device driver's for that thing! Put a couple of LCD moniters in there, a throttle control and joy-stick, maybe some foot pedals... Yo, if anybody want's to open a file on source-forge, and make a port of MechWarrior for Gundam-mech, there, count me in! =)

Mod the parent up! That's the coolest link on this thread!

Here's the REAL question (4, Funny)

deanj (519759) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254615)

The real question is, will THESE folks violate the GPL in products?

Previous story here is on a company that did that. If Japan's encouraging the use of open source (and presumably GPL), what do they ship if they, for example, do an embedded linux port for a microwave? Do they ship a CD with the code with the microwave?

Geeze, if they did that, half the country would use the thing as the coaster, 49 percent would try and mu-wave the thing, and 1 percent (well, less...go with the idea here) would be left figuring how to do cool hacks on it.

Re:Here's the REAL question (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5254666)

if they, for example, do an embedded linux port for a microwave? Do they ship a CD with the code with the microwave?

Lots of companies are already shipping products with embedded linux in it. You dont have to ship the code with the microwave. You can to make it available on a website.

Re:Here's the REAL question (1)

deanj (519759) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254754)

yeah, but does EVERY company put that stuff on the websites? I'll bet they don't.

Re:Here's the REAL question (1)

kenthorvath (225950) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254993)

Do you have to include the code with the hardware that is running the software? I thought that you only have to include the source if you distribute the software. (I.E. download the binaries, etc...) The linux source code is freely availabe many places anyhow, if they don't make any modifications, do they still have to produce the source? This is too confusing - ARGGHHHHH!

Re:Here's the REAL question (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5254782)

>> The real question is, will THESE folks violate the GPL in products?

Has the GPL ever been tested in a court of law? And what about a potential international court? Couldn't Japan just essentially give the Japanese equilavelant of the middle finger to the FSF? It might be polite (since they really are not as vulgar as most westerners in that sense), but they could still do it.

I would if I was a big, bad corporation. Oh wait, isn't that personifying the corporation, like another poster mentioned?

Re:Here's the REAL question (1)

JoeBuck (7947) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254933)

The best way for an embedded systems company to satisfy the GPL is simply to include the required written offer, good for three years, with the product: if you really want the source code, you could either download it from the web site, or send enough money to cover the company's costs (including labor costs) for shipping you a CD.

Makes perfect sense. (5, Interesting)

amberspry (596952) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254627)

Many of the small devices that have any type of computing power run on Linux or proprietary software. Seeing as how open source software is already out there and developed to the point of using without as much modification, it is much cheaper that development from scratch. Since they do have such a high piracy rate they don't have to worry as much about licensing and other legal complications.

As far as the government computers all they have to worry about is the software that runs on top of the OS, in fact most of the applications they would need access to are already available in one form or another. They can also get around any trouble from Microsoft. Even though they are probably not loosing any sleep over it now.

Re:Makes perfect sense. (3, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254790)

Many of the small devices that have any type of computing power run on Linux or proprietary software. Seeing as how open source software is already out there and developed to the point of using without as much modification, it is much cheaper that development from scratch. Since they do have such a high piracy rate they don't have to worry as much about licensing and other legal complications.

Not to be picky, but Linux DOES have a license to deal with, the GNU/GPL. This means that their software would have to be open source as well.

If they wanted to create a "*nix like" OS to power their gadgets, but didn't want to open up their software for others to look at (perhaps to hide really sloppy code), they may be looking more into BSD. There also remains the chance that some company (probably small) will end up using Linux in a device, and not releasing their code, resulting in a lawsuit from Linus. Odds are, this is more of a "when" than a "if".

Argh not again (-1, Troll)

kahei (466208) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254628)

Hmm, maybe this will work out as well as their last brilliant idea, which was to massively subsidize NEC et al to produce huge chunks of massively parallel gunk that nobody ever used. There have been so many great ideas in Japanese computing -- I remember when Hitachi came out with the first CORBA-like system, now long forgotten -- and they have all been lost due to ridiculous large-scale 'initiatives' and the fact that a very high proportion of Japanese programmers favor the 'it works for me, so I'm going home now, what's a user?' methodology.

See Ruby [ruby-lang.org] for classic examples of all these phenomena :)

My Clie will be running Linux soon! (3, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254637)

I can hardly wait! Now not only are we seeing various countries and governments using OSS, now we actually have backing. Okay, so maybe it's a very small amount of money in the grand scheme of things, but consider that this money goes directly (more or less) into the pockets of the people actually doing the work and not into vast amounts of overhead or to expiring license fees or any other such nonsense. An equal-sized fund given to Microsoft to create a project would buy far less... (for that matter, could end in the demise of the investor... don't mess with Microsoft or they'll find a way to cheat you in the end -- remember the cell phone company?)

I agree this is important--very important. And just MAYBE I can get the same level of Japanese lanugage functionality out of Linux that I do out of Microsoft products.

I hope Japan gets more than it paid for inspiring them and others to invest more into Linux in order to make more things happen.

On another note: Gotta love that RMS who has managed to create a way to keep people and companies from abusing free software. BSD gave the world a pretty decent TCP/IP implementation and Microsoft thanks them heartily. I hope it all remains as OSS and benefits the world -- I really *DO* want world peace.

This should be good news, but... (5, Interesting)

Sheetrock (152993) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254641)

I'm not particularly happy living under our current operating system monopoly, but this article only bolsters my concern that we're on the brink of creating a new one.

Could the adoption of Linux go too quickly and be too widespread?

I know it seems a bit funny now, as it's still not very useful as a desktop environment and is going head-to-head with arguably better server software, but I think there's a menace lurking beneath the surface: companies may soon get to the point where they -expect- software to be produced for free. It's a bit ironic, I think, that the products of our success at programmers are in the position to undermine our ability to survive in our careers.

Already, programming jobs are being exported to places where they can be done almost for free. I'm starting to wonder if Linux and other open source projects are choking off what remains of our software economy. Is it too farfetched to think that some restrictions need to be put into place to protect workers?

Re:This should be good news, but... (3, Insightful)

amberspry (596952) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254682)

It still is. People expected the Internet to be free forever, yet there are still many sites that cost money. Free is generally regarded as inferior compared to a similar product that costs money. As long as there are enough things that cost money or enough companies that agree something should cost money there will always be a segment of the population that sees a perceived value and will shell out the bucks.

Just think you can download Linux for free, yet people still pay for the CD. Why? There is an additional value perceived or real that comes with the product. If enough people are willing to pay then companies may continue to charge for their product.

bad example (2, Interesting)

SweetAndSourJesus (555410) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254777)

People buy the CD because maybe they don't have the bandwidth to download 1+ gigs. Maybe they can't afford a CD burner. Maybe they don't have an operating system to begin with.

It's not that they thing they're getting a better deal.

Re:This should be good news, but... (1)

webengr (301595) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254821)

This sort of begs the question, "should there even be such a thing as a software economy?" Perhaps software belongs under the heading "service industry."

[Oooohhh, I'm gonna get flamed for this. Where did I put those asbestos boxers?]

Re:This should be good news, but... (1)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254826)

Already, programming jobs are being exported to places where they can be done almost for free. I'm starting to wonder if Linux and other open source projects are choking off what remains of our software economy. Is it too farfetched to think that some restrictions need to be put into place to protect workers?

This is a non-sequitor. Jobs HAVE moved overseas, and it doesn't matter whether the software is Open Source or not.

Frankly software should be free. We don't charge for understanding algebra, chemical processes have been known for years, and I don't recall paying royalties for understanding the history of WWII.

It is only in the 20th century that we have regarded ideas as any kind of property. If you don't believe me that the open exchange of ideas speeds progress, look at how in a little under 200 years Chemistry CAN now turn lead into gold. (Granted, if you simply shoot protons into lead atoms you will end up with a radioactive isotope of gold, but I digress.)

Alchemists tried for thousands of years, each toiling in secret. They coveted their formulas, and each took them to the grave. I don't recall any one of them being particularly rich at the end either.

Re:This should be good news, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5254871)

>> I'm starting to wonder if Linux and other open source projects are choking off what remains of our software economy.

We programmers are phucked.

Pretty soon we will all just be burger flipping drones, working on these Open Source projects in our spare time. Like when I was in high school and tried to learn the guitar, using all the money I made at my automaton job to buy more effects pedals, never realizing that you have to play decent BEFORE you add the effects.

We will all be coveting that night manager position at the Quick Mart, so we can WiFi to a CVS repository at sourceforge while waiting for a customer to arrive. Plus discounted Coke is always a bonus.

I will probably be driving the same car for the next 10 years, so maybe I ought to take an auto shop class so I can afford to fix it myself. Damnit, this is so depressing. See what you did? And it's Friday for crying out loud.

Maybe I will just go to the Quick Mart around the corner tonight and get some 40s of Old English and listen to mid-school gansta rap, maybe NWA or something. This sux.

On top of all that, we have Alert Level Orange, so I have to look twice at suspicous characters at the Quick Mart. All the while ignoring the gwakers who see my goatee and think I'm one of those Marin County Taliban-types. Phucking Jihad Johnny, see what you did to those of us living in Marin County?

Re:This should be good news, but... (2, Interesting)

Beowabbit (306889) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254877)

I'm not particularly happy living under our current operating system monopoly, but this article only bolsters my concern that we're on the brink of creating a new one.

I don't have much to contribute about your other points, but I wanted to point out that a "monopoly" based on a GPL'ed operating system would be a very different thing that a monopoly based on a closed-source operating system, because no one entity would have a monopoly on the code itself.

Microsoft has a huge amount of leverage they can use by being the people who implement de-facto standards, and not disclosing them to their competitors. While Microsoft encourages other vendors to develop for Windows, and to some extent cooperates with hardware vendors in setting standards, it's not a level playing field. If you have an interesting widget you want to sell, and Microsoft doesn't like you, they can just guarantee that your widget doesn't work under windows (or more likely, subtly break things so that your widget doesn't work well). I can't easily figure out what they've done without their cooperation (and depending how they've done it, I might need extremely well-paid lawyers just to feel safe trying).

If a GPL'ed operating system were in the same position of market domination and $linux_vendor tried to prevent my widget working with their OS, and assuming they were complying with the GPL, I could say, "Why would you want to buy a Linux from $linux_vendor, when I'll ship you a Linux for free with my $59.95 widget that is completely compatible with $linux_vendor's version, except that it works with my widget and I've folded in these hundred and fifty bug fixes and it runs a little faster?" (The latter two advantages being just because I was releasing my version a few weeks after $linux_vendor released their version.)

(In theory, the same sort of hidden de-facto-standard torpedo could happen with a fork of a BSD-licensed OS as does with Windows, but I think it would be considerably less likely as long as no one proprietary fork got a huge market advantage.)

Re:This should be good news, but... (1)

Dirtside (91468) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254991)

Is it too farfetched to think that some restrictions need to be put into place to protect workers?
Maybe this will be a bit too vociferous a denial of this idea, but allow me to be the first to say, HELL FUCKING NO. "Protecting" jobs by limiting technological progress is an absolutely horrible idea. The only time it's justified is if the "progress" would make things worse than the protection -- and that isn't the case, here. (Specifically, in this case, it's about "protecting" Americans' jobs versus the jobs of overseas labor.)

At worst, U.S. programmers may have to become more competitive -- or find other fields to work in. Just because the tech field pays a lot now doesn't mean it always will, and anyone who forgets that fact isn't going to get a lot of sympathy if the edifice crumbles.

Press Release (4, Funny)

$$$$$exyGal (638164) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254653)

Business - AP World Business

Microsoft Buys Japan
Wed Feb 5, 03:53 PM PT

Microsoft plans to spend about 1 billion dollars (120 billion Yen) funding Japan in its entirety, says Bill Gates, Wednesday.

Gates' plans on purchasing the country at the end of fiscal 2004, but he's not sure what to do with it. Industry pundits predict that Japan will go the way of WebTV and many other companies/countries purchased by Microsoft.

"I like Japan", says Gates, "they really are good at science". Later, Gates was seen snickering.

--naked [slashdot.org]

Re:Press Release (3, Insightful)

pubjames (468013) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254699)

Microsoft plans to spend about 1 billion dollars (120 billion Yen) funding Japan in its entirety, says Bill Gates, Wednesday.

I know many Americans have a distorted view of the world, but this is streaching things a bit far.

Japan is a massive economy, even though it's currently in recession. It is also the worlds largest creditor - more so than the USA, and is home to some of the worlds largest banks. So thankfully there are a few things in the world that Bill Gates can't buy!

Re:Press Release (4, Funny)

Tingler (56229) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254745)

Joke (n)

Pronunciation: 'jOk
Function: noun
Etymology: Latin jocus; perhaps akin to Old High German gehan to say, Sanskrit yAcati he asks
Date: 1670
1 a : something said or done to provoke laughter; especially : a brief oral narrative with a climactic humorous twist b (1) : the humorous or ridiculous element in something (2) : an instance of jesting : KIDDING c : PRACTICAL JOKE d : LAUGHINGSTOCK
2 : something not to be taken seriously : a trifling matter -- often used in negative construction

A note about the banks. (1)

glrotate (300695) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254846)

The reason they are so large is because they have so few of them. 18 major ones I think. The US has thousands.

Re:Press Release (1)

archen (447353) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254770)

Business - AP World Business

Microsoft Sells Japan
Wed Feb 5, 04:44 PM PT

In other strange news Microsoft sells Japan less than an hour after buying it. Sources allege that the push to sell Japan came after it was pointed out that Tokyo had the biggest bug of all: Godzilla.

Bill Gates was quoted as saying: "It sounds like that other browser thing I heard about. But even more shocking is that Godzilla is a bigger bug than Windows".

Re:Press Release (1)

ocelotbob (173602) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254937)

I think you have things a bit mixed up. Godzilla [avia-art.com] is not a bug. Godzilla is a lizard. If you want a bug in Japan, you must look here [onlyinternet.net] . Though some may argue that that's not a bug, but rather a security feature.

Re:Press Release (1)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254838)

Now according to the theory of marketing, an ideal product fulfills an existing demand. The marketer simply acts as way of communicating between buyers and sellers.

Given how much in the way of resources Microsoft devotes to marketing, does anyone have illusions of it being an ideal product?

Re:Press Release (1)

JoeBuck (7947) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254911)

With $1 billion, Microsoft might be able to buy some real estate in Tokyo, but that's about it.

Next-Gen? (5, Interesting)

theCat (36907) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254674)

OK, let's think about this a moment. The current generation of networks and servers already hinges largely on Unix and Unix-like things (GNU/Linux). Linux is free, and many point out that Linux is mostly replacing Unix boxen at the moment.

Ipso facto, GNU/Linux will probably be a big part of the "next-generation" platform, whatever the foosh that actually refers to in practice.

But I guess what is interesting here is that they are broadcasting this "truth" and not, oh for example, signing up on some zany M$ initiative-of-the-week.

Someone actually pointed out in an earlier post (since modded into oblivion I can assume) that Asia pirates all their software so la-de-da. Which misses the point that Asia pirating software was always a good thing for the proprietary products. India is so awash in black market copies of Windows that they are practically addicts now, and still M$ gives them buckets of cash "donations" as soon as someone over there mumbles "Linux rulez" in his sleep.

Is it just me? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5254677)

Or is Japan producing/subsidizing everything that geeks like?

Re:Is it just me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5254747)

yeah. like cute air-headed daughters.

Re:Is it just me? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5254791)

I prefer nigger women.

Their pussies have soul power.

Slashdot And Racist Sexual Conquest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5254831)

A winning combination!

Slashdot and Racist Sexual Conquest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5254845)

A winning comibination!

Subsidies (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5254687)


Does each developer kit come with a free tentacle and rape kit?

Re:Subsidies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5254735)

I'm sure you'll be modded down, but you're obviously making light of the odder themes in Japan's themed bar scene. Some of the other bars that are less well-known here in the States are the sekkenriksu (hat bar) where everybody wears black top hats and the rinjinriksu (kangaroo bar) where they only serve Aussie beer and you carry it around in pouches. Great fun, that.

Re:Subsidies (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5254762)

no. clueless fag that i am, i'm making light of anime.

ALL ANIME

I ain't falling for this again ... (5, Funny)

RavinDave (58826) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254707)

"Japan is betting 50 million yen ($450k US) that the next-generation of high-tech products and computer networks will rely on open-source software. ... "

Last time I read a headline about Japan trying to predict the future computer trends, I tossed out my "C" books and wasted 6 months learning PROLOG.

Next Generation? (5, Insightful)

PetWolverine (638111) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254719)

Japan is betting...that the next-generation of high-tech products and computer networks will rely on open-source software.

The next generation?

As far as networks: The Internet is the most important network that I can think of, and what does it run on? Apache is the main Web server; I run a mail server with Qpopper and sendmail, of which the former is open source and the latter is at least free (is it open source? I don't even know); for the FTP part of serving, you can choose from Pure-FTPd, Pro-FTPd, wu-ftpd, or whatever else. "High-tech computer networks" of this generation already run on OSS.

As for products: There's a little more room for improvement here, but my PowerMac G4 is pretty damned high-tech, and while the GUI is closed, the core OS, Darwin, is open-source. And unlike Linux nerds who will say they have such-and-such a high tech system that's running OSS, mine came like this--right out of the box--and is a product targeted at, and sold mainly to, non-nerd consumers.

It used to be that I used very little software I paid for because I pirated everything; now I use very little software I paid for because it's free anyway, and for a substantial part of that software the source is available if I want it. Open source isn't a bet pertaining to the next generation, it's here already.

The Open Source War : Part 10 The Final Chapter (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5254731)

Dear Diary,

I awoke today to see that all the systems in the world were running open source. M$'s beastly OS was finally outdone. I threw off my robe and danced on my front lawn, much to the surprise of my neighbors, a little happy dance. Much to my surprise, I came back inside to hear about M$ marketing a new technology that had nothing to do with computers, and sure enough, it was taking hold.

So in conclusion, dear Diary, I think M$ will be around for a long time in many of our daily lives. If it's not that pesky 0S it's going to be something. I have a 50' length of rope in the garage and a little chair to stand on, I think .. wait what's that? No! No! I........

another country going down the wrong path (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5254738)

It's a shame all these countries don't know about the vastly more advanced FreeBSD.

Re:another country going down the wrong path (1)

jasonditz (597385) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254822)

When you read "open source Linux software" just remember all that stuff will be trivial to port to FreeBSD as well (assuming it doesn't run using the Linux ABI emulation layer).

worth $450k is it? (2, Interesting)

yaiba (628769) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254742)

well $450k is big enough to show that they're serious about the open source movement... dont think about how big or small they're betting on.. it's the thought that counts

Japanese Linux (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5254750)

Microsoft, concerned about Japan's move towards Linux, visits government executives with the hopes of swaying their decision.

Microsoft Exec: We're a bit worried that you guys are moving away from Windows.

Japanese president: There is nothing to worry about! We in Japan are all in awe of your large penis!

Microsoft Exec: What?!

Japanese president: You see, Japanese penis is so small!

Japanese vice-president: So small!

Japanese president: You Americans have such humungous-bungus penis!

Microsoft Execs: Well... that's true!

Japanese vice-president: Oh, such, a nice, big penis, American!

Japanese president: What can we possibly do with such small penis? We cannot take over your operating system with programmers of such masterdonic penis!

Microsoft Execs: Well, you've got a point there! That settles that! We're sorry for taking your time, gentlemen!

Japanese president: Oh, no! Thank you! Another chance to be in same room with big American penis!

Microsoft Execs (leaving): Nice guys!

... later ...

TV announcer: And now, for a special announcement from the President of the United States.

George Bush: My fellow Americans, I wish to address the concerns many of us have over the growing number of Japanese Linux distributions in America's IT sector. The new Japanese Emperor Linus Hirohito has made our own children into programmers who will soon launch a DDOS attack against American military networks at Pearl Harbour. However, I spoke with Mr. Hirohito this morning and he assured me that I have a very large penis! He said it was dinosauric, and absolutely dwarfed his penis which he assured me was nearly microscopic in size. My penis, he said, was most likely one of the biggest on the planet. I applaud Mr. Hirohito in his honest. Thank you.

Re:Japanese Linux (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5254888)

This is funny, because as a black man, I've actually been asked (seriously, twice now) by white men to fuck their wives for them. They're called cuckold fetishists, and apparently they get off by watching guys with big dicks fuck their wives for them. One of them didn't even know me at all, he and his wife just saw me at a club and assumed that since I was alone and black that I'd havbe nothing better than to do than fuck a white woman. They just assumed I had a big dick, and tried to be as polite about their request as possible.

That's when you know you're hanging out in all the wrong places, when strange men ask you for sex on their wive's behalfs. I'd call it racist if my dick WASN'T so big. ;)

Re:Japanese Linux (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254966)

This was modded up because.... ?

topic -1 redundant; (3, Funny)

collapser (610412) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254753)

as I'm writing this from my zanussi-debian refridgerator.

Thhpppt! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5254819)

Tiny island nation embraces Linux. News at 11. Whoopty-freaking-doo.

Who's heard of this Japan place anyway? They probably still use oxcarts.

billg

Ah, (2, Funny)

labratuk (204918) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254869)

It's so nice of Japan to donate this code to us.

--
CEO,
Castle Technology UK

I also dont understand nothing (0)

Blueice88 (648233) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254880)

in Japan And China Have much piracy,So why would invest in softwares OpenSource?What you think about???best regards. Blueice88

$450k US? (2, Insightful)

vlad_petric (94134) | more than 11 years ago | (#5254884)

... enough to pay ~ 6 developers for a year ...

Compared to the investment IBM made (they claim ~1B$), or even Redhat (50M$), this most likely won't have a real impact (except for PR, of course)

farking ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5254885)

The fact that Japans spending on closed source software is orders of magnitudes greater than this piddling sum would be suggest they're betting on the other side.

Open-Source OS for Consumer Hardware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5254894)

Wow. Who has ever heard of running linux on consumer technology? Certainly not Slashdot.
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