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Why South Korea Is Shackled To Windows

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the monoculture dept.

Microsoft 252

baron writes with a blog post explaining in detail why 99.9% of S. Korea uses Windows. This amazing tale began in 1998 when Korea decided it couldn't wait for SSL to be standardized (which it was in 1999) and commissioned an ActiveX control for secure Web transactions. At first there was a secure Netscape plugin too, but we know how that story ended. Quoting: "This nation is a place where Apple Macintosh users cannot bank online, make any purchases online, or interact with any of the nation's e-government sites online. In fact, Linux users, Mozilla Firefox users, and Opera users are also banned from any of these types of transactions..." Now that Microsoft has made ActiveX more secure in Vista, every Web site in S. Korea is scrambling to get things working again and the government is advising citizens not to install Vista. At the end of all this work, they will still be a monoculture in thrall to Microsoft, with millions of users sitting behind some of the fattest pipes in the world.

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S Korea got pwned (-1, Troll)

joshetc (955226) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770434)

Have fun getting all your money stolen in 10 years when Microsoft finally realizes ActiveX sucks!

& I thought N Korea was a barbaric dictatorshi (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17770814)

Just imagine HAVING to use Windows, oh the humanity!

Re:& I thought N Korea was a barbaric dictator (2)

ccarson (562931) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771572)

It's typical that a Slashdot editor would use the word "Shackled". Oh, heaven forbid the majority of a country uses the predominate operating system in the world. Actually, I kinda get a kick out of Slashdot's bias toward their anti-Micro$oft philosophy.

Re:& I thought N Korea was a barbaric dictator (-1, Flamebait)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771710)

The problem with open source people and free software advocates is that they think this is a battle of words. They come up with 'clever' misnames like "treacherous computing" or "digital restrictions management" and then clap each other on the back and beam at how smart they feel. Then they get nowhere with their cause, and they wonder why the rest of the world doesn't just bow before their clever sloganmaking.

This isn't a troll or a flame. It's the plain truth. It's a little ugly, sure, but that's not my fault. I just observed it.

sp! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17770450)

Second Post!!!

Shackled to Windows? (4, Funny)

Apocalypse111 (597674) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770462)

But I thought Starcraft worked on Mac too...

Laugh. Its funny.

Re:Shackled to Windows? (-1, Offtopic)

Rosyna (80334) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770516)

But I thought Starcraft worked on Mac too...

It's called World of Warcraft...

Starcraft in South Korea (4, Informative)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770636)

"But I thought Starcraft worked on Mac too..."

It's called World of Warcraft...


I don't think you realize the popularity of Starcrft in South Korea. It's almost a national sport, there are multiple cable TV channels that show tournaments live with play-by-play commentators.

Re:Starcraft in South Korea (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771672)

That's just fucking inexplicable to me. Starcraft is the most formulaic game I've ever seen. The way the game has been designed, there is a very limited number of strategies worth using. How many zerg rushes can you watch? And is one actually different from the next in any way that matters?

Re:Starcraft in South Korea (2, Insightful)

LHX (691802) | more than 7 years ago | (#17772034)

You forgot that people will watch a staring contest if there is $10K to be won.

Re:Shackled to Windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17770646)

Actually it is Starcraft which is still in very heavy play in S. Korea. They recognize a great game when they see it. Kudos to the grandparent.

Re:Shackled to Windows? (4, Funny)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770632)

Laugh. Its funny.

kekekeke

Re:Shackled to Windows? (1)

KingEomer (795285) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770702)

Bah, you beat me to it! Though, I must say that you structured it better.

First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17770464)

First post.

How easy to give up Freedom (4, Insightful)

what about (730877) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770494)

and how difficult to get it back

This is not just for Computing but the concept is more important than ever now, in Computing

TCO Study? (3, Interesting)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770790)

Anyone? I'd love to see a widescale analysis of how much vendor lockin actually costs. When it's this bad I imagine it's disastrous

Re:How easy to give up Freedom (4, Insightful)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771544)

and how difficult to get it back
What's stopping someone (in the government) from writing a new SEED-compatible applet that works on Firefox and/or Opera and on other operating systems? After all, there USED to be a plugin for Netscape.

I have the solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17770554)

Sounds like those loonies at the WTO should get involved. A national government and banking sector creating a monopoly in a separate industry is worse than privatized public transport. I propose an embargo until they remedy the situation.

Fattest pipes? (1)

Achra (846023) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770558)

I know that there is a joke in here somewhere..

Re:Fattest pipes? (1)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770680)

It definitely should say tubes.

Re:Fattest pipes? (1)

illegalcortex (1007791) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771018)

At least it didn't say millions of users sitting on some of the fattest pipes in the world.

When in doubt, make up your own cryptosystem... (4, Funny)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770562)

... the NSA loves you when you do!

The Anti-Massachusetts (4, Insightful)

hey (83763) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770576)

Kinda makes you think that Massachusetts with their push for open formats, etc might
be on to something. (If you we're already thinking that.)

Like Geek heven.. (1, Insightful)

WarlockD (623872) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770606)

Just Satan calls the shots.

Kind of bashing Windows I guess, but it makes me wonder if it's even possible to convert to more open standards at a reasonable price? Even with the "more secure" ActiveX controls, its still easier to modify those existing controls in VS than it is to rebuild the site under OSS.

Sigh. Owning a Monopoly must be nice.

Re:Like Geek heven.. (3, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770980)

The first thing I wondered when I read this was, "Did they learn their lesson?" They standardized their entire country on a closed system, and when the vendor of that closed system initiates an arbitrary change, they're pretty much screwed and forced to rebuild things. In my mind, the smart thing would be to bite the bullet, drop Active X, and switch to Firefox and have a true multi-platform solution. Hell, if they can't do everything they require in an extension, they can go as far as making their own fork, and they'll retain that option in the future.

Really, this should be a lesson for everyone.

Re:Like Geek heven.. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17771098)

Owning a Monopoly must be nice.

Owning the two dark blue properties just before GO is even nicer.

That's what you get (3, Insightful)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770608)

when the government jumps the gun and does what it thinks is best for everyone.

Apparently (2, Funny)

killa62 (828317) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770616)

Apparently, the dupe detection software was written in south korea and uses activex to authenticate

http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/01/24/210234 [slashdot.org]

too bad kdawson just upgraded to vista

Diversity (4, Funny)

Zebra_X (13249) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770618)

Kids, diversity is bad, MMMM KAY?

Dupe (-1, Troll)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770634)

Dup du-wop dupe dee duup duuop [slashdot.org]

Isnt this the same reason they CANT go to Vista, that and MS finally got rid of ActiveX? Oh well, guess their banking apps should NOT have been tied to a OS they have no control over.

Re:Dupe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17770884)

This is a different article about a different issue than the one you're linking to. RTFA next time.

Bent over their cross. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17770672)

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross,
when ignorance reigns, life is lost.

Re:Bent over their cross. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17770952)

Rage Against Rage Against The Machine

Korea is stuck using Microsoft (-1, Redundant)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770704)

Ran into this with my partner, who is Korean. Her online banking uses incredibly invasive, poorly conceived and programmed software called nProtect. Which installs a bloody device driver to function. It actually blue screened Vista randomly. It does not install without Administrator level access to the machine (obviously). In addition, it required that you run IE7 in Administrator mode when attempting to log in. Also, many many websites did not function reliably with Vista and IE7, their ActiveX controls expecting to have administrator level access to the machine. Advanced technologically? Hardly. Just proprietary and locked in, and not very security conscious. The amount of times I had to click "Allow this website to install an ActiveX control" is just insane, I don't want to think of the amount of remote code execution vulnerabilities present on a machine with all these controls installed. They're pretty much conditioned to allow the website to install any old thing, really, since so many of their websites require it.

Re:Korea is stuck using Microsoft (2, Informative)

i_like_spam (874080) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770880)

Not only is the story a dupe, but so is your post!

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=218612&cid=177 44830 [slashdot.org]

Re:Korea is stuck using Microsoft (-1, Offtopic)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770990)

If the editors can dupe stories, I can dupe +5 posts.

Suck it down ;-D

Re:Korea is stuck using Microsoft (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771722)

And if it had been your own comment, I wouldn't have added you to my foes list.

Re:Korea is stuck using Microsoft (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771880)

Its really funny to have articles coming out with "50+ % of population has downloaded pirated movies", and whiners of DRM and 'all that is evil about copyright', but look what happens when I duplicate posts from a duplicated Article...

People are attacking me more than they attack the RIAA/MPAA. And I didnt even claim I was the writer.... they just assume that. I even explain to another commenter later on that I DIDNT WRITE THIS. [slashdot.org]

It was originally a joke, but you all need to chill.

Re:Korea is stuck using Microsoft (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771318)

Check out his journal -- he's a blatant troll.

Re:Korea is stuck using Microsoft (0, Troll)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771598)

You should have posted in my journal. I'd engage you fairly there. My journal isnt a battle ground.

Re:Korea is stuck using Microsoft (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771826)

I don't feed trolls. This will be the last response I give you. Good day sir.

Re:Korea is stuck using Microsoft (0, Troll)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771934)

Fair enough. I'd not associate around myself either online.

Re:Korea is stuck using Microsoft (1)

init100 (915886) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771490)

I don't want to think of the amount of remote code execution vulnerabilities present on a machine with all these controls installed.

Now we know where all those spam-distributing botnets are located. Bring out teh bombers! :)

Botnet and FatPipes (1)

DieNadel (550271) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770728)

We all know how good, greasy fat pipes are a botnet-master dream. Maybe that's why I see so much SPAM from S.Korean IPs.

Also, a major flaw in MS-Win could render this country's Internet infrastructure and systems useless.

They really should reconsider this decision. Strategically it isn't a good one. And I don't mean creating another monopoly with Linux or whatever, just give the users a choice, so that their OS environment gets more colored.

Shackled to...windows? (4, Funny)

shirizaki (994008) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770744)

Just break the glass and escape through the window.

Alternatively... (5, Funny)

Corsican Upstart (879857) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770754)

Alternatively, from the better-than-what-they're-using-in-north-korea department

Re:Alternatively... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17771486)

Surprisingly, no. North Korea's missile program runs on linux. Not that it seems to help them much, but it could obviously be worse....

wait? (5, Interesting)

Tom (822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770756)

This amazing tale began in 1998 when Korea decided it couldn't wait for SSL to be standardized (which it was in 1999) and commissioned an ActiveX control for secure Web transactions.
Has anyone ever investigate which backroom dealings resulted in this decision? Decisions like this, with a multi-billion profit guarantee to a specific vendor, aren't made for technical merit. If you really believe that neither MS nor someone else with stakes in it (maybe some reseller?) was involved, I have a few bridges for sale...

Re:wait? (5, Insightful)

inviolet (797804) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770916)

Has anyone ever investigate which backroom dealings resulted in this decision? Decisions like this, with a multi-billion profit guarantee to a specific vendor, aren't made for technical merit. If you really believe that neither MS nor someone else with stakes in it (maybe some reseller?) was involved, I have a few bridges for sale...

Well said.

This tale still might have a silver lining, though. A single security vulnerability, properly exploited, could turn the entire economy of South Korea into a cautionary tale. For a decade afterward, at board meetings where purchasing or standardization decisions are being debated, people will randomly interject "But we could end up like South Korea!".

This is slashdot. Do we believe what we say about the perils of vendor lockin and closed-source? If so, then we should also believe that South Korea's predicament will eventually become a clear and obvious error.

Screw nukes (2, Funny)

plopez (54068) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771270)

If I were N. Korea this is what I would be developing.

Re:wait? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771612)

This is slashdot. Do we believe what we say about the perils of vendor lockin and closed-source? If so, then we should also believe that South Korea's predicament will eventually become a clear and obvious error.

Uh, it's already a clear and obvious error that has cost them all interoperability, compromised security, and cost them piles of money. I think they're already a cautionary tale. The hard part is getting PHBs to believe that it could happen to them.

Am I too naive (1)

Wooky_linuxer (685371) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771664)

or I should read your comment as an open call to hack Korean's ActiveX based transactions to smitherings?

Re:wait? (1)

Random BedHead Ed (602081) | more than 7 years ago | (#17772082)

Have another look at TFA. The government commissioned both an ActiveX control and a Netscape plugin, since those were the two major browsers at the time. Of course, the NS plugin became abandonware. So they did try to be impartial, just not open. Thus illustrating the importance of 'open.' As someone mentioned above, I have newfound respect for what Massachusetts is doing.

Not a dupe, merely... (1)

SighKoPath (956085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770758)

information on why the S. Korean government is urging users not to upgrade. Perhaps this would have been better included in the next slashback?

Err, disregard that. (1)

SighKoPath (956085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770904)

Yeah, it's a dupe.

the concept of (meosi-ittah) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17770788)

...roughly translated as "it's stylish, fashionable, smart, cool, polished", is pervasive among Koreans.

They like bling, but it is usually devoid of substance.

things need to look cool, regardless of how pointless it is.

take one example: the KBS (www.kbs.com) website. the main page is impossibly heavy to load, and has a mixture of flash, java, activex and whatnot. all cruft, no real value except for the bling factor.

Fattest Pipes in the world? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17770810)

Don't you mean tubes? Because tubes and pipes are totally different.

Just goes to show... (0, Troll)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770822)

...that the grass is not always greener. Maybe now we can drop all the posts and stories about how the Koreans have it so much better with their massively fast pipes, and how the US is sooo far behind.

This is MS's fault how? (5, Insightful)

Bacon Bits (926911) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770824)

Yeah, I'm not getting how this is anybody's fault except S. Korea's. SEED is an open specification. There is no reason the Korean community can't develop a plug-in for other systems. All that is required is for the S. Korean CA to allow it. Again, that's S. Korea's fault.



The only fault of Microsoft's lies in an area that the author is grossly misinformed. He says "In IE 7 and in Vista, Microsoft has re-architected Active X controls in such a way to make them 'more safe' by requiring a user action for the control to run", and then links to a page about the Eolas patent resolution. Many places have had to recode websites and controls after this change. While it is Microsoft's fault for the implementation, the impact on S. Korea is entirely up to them.



Sorry, you made your bed.

Re:This is MS's fault how? (5, Interesting)

michaelvkim (981938) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771292)

There is no reason the Korean community can't develop a plug-in for other systems.
Contrary to what this article is trying to say, there simply is no reason to develop a plug-in for other systems.
You need to understand the Korean mentality. It wouldn't have mattered if the government made Active-X the standard, or if they outlawed it completely. Hell, it wouldn't have mattered if the government didn't do anything. This would've happened regardless. The reason is that unlike in America where it's cool to be different and unique, the Korean mentality is to be as homogeneous as possible. Anybody "weird" is singled out and alienated. This mindset is embedded in their society, culture, personal and professional lives, and everything else they do.
The mere fact MS bundles IE with XP pretty much ENSURED that IE would be used by the vast majority of users in Korea.
Even if standards were opened to allow Firefox, Safari, or Opera access to everything online, I will bet that IE will still have 99.9% of the market. Simply because it's what everybody else is using.

Re:This is MS's fault how? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771568)

Couldn't something like this be built into open source browsers like Firefox, without using active X? The reason they used activeX is because that was the only way of changing the functionality of IE. But if the browser was open source, they could just add the functionality right into the browser. Then users of all operating systems could do all this e-commerce stuff.

Not WIndows Fault (2, Insightful)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770828)

The problem is that Vista doesn't play well with a software program called Active-X that is widely used in Korean Internet sites.

No, the problem is that incompetently created websites use delicate nonportable nonstandard proprietary software that is only interoperative with one single obsolete platform.

Don't blame Vista; blame people who aren't responsible, experienced, or forward-looking enough to see why complying with standards is so necessary.

Now let's see how people will fix their glaring mistake. Will they "fix" it by repeating it (i.e. rewriting ActiveX controls to be compatible with Vista, so that they can get paid to screw their customers again in 5 years when the next version of Windows comes out) or will they fix it by removing the irresponsible dependencies?

Re:Not WIndows Fault (1)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771044)

No, the problem is that incompetently created websites use delicate nonportable nonstandard proprietary software that is only interoperative with one single obsolete platform.

It's only "obsolete" because it was poorly designed in the first place and the vendor had to drop support for it in Vista. Although you can blame the web sites for being stupid and not anticipating that they were going to get screwed by Microsoft, Microsoft is still the primary party at fault here.

And if you think Vista's "advanced technologies" are going to look any better a few years down the road, well, you deserve what you get.

Re:Not WIndows Fault (0, Troll)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771242)

the posts a dupe too [slashdot.org] dude.

If editors can dupe stories without checking back a week, why should I care if I go post +5's?

Just post a canned response from the post I took.

Re:Not WIndows Fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17772072)

You really should credit your source when you copy a post, though.

Copy without credit - plagiarism.
Copy with credit - research.

Mod this guy up! (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771364)

I hope you don't mind if I quote your whole post, but..

No, the problem is that incompetently created websites use delicate nonportable nonstandard proprietary software that is only interoperative with one single obsolete platform.

Don't blame Vista; blame people who aren't responsible, experienced, or forward-looking enough to see why complying with standards is so necessary.

Now let's see how people will fix their glaring mistake. Will they "fix" it by repeating it (i.e. rewriting ActiveX controls to be compatible with Vista, so that they can get paid to screw their customers again in 5 years when the next version of Windows comes out) or will they fix it by removing the irresponsible dependencies?

..that's what I call insightful! I don't think I could have said it better myself. [slashdot.org]

Re:Mod this guy up! (0, Troll)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771428)

Consider it a compliment ;-D

Slashdot moderators and I found that QUITE INSIGHTFUL. Thank you for boosting the S/N ratio that I lower everyday.

Korean computers SUCKKKKK!!! (5, Informative)

michaelvkim (981938) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770832)

Being Korean and known as somebody who's good with computers, a lot of my friends and family members ask me to look at their computer because "it's running too slow". At first I was more than happy to, but now I dread looking at a Korean computer because:

1. it's running Windows with IE and at least 3 extraneous toolbars

2. it hasn't been defragmented since the computer was first built

3. EVERY website HAS to install software to make it run properly

4. EVERY website the user has bookmarked has at least 5 megabytes of flash (and they're all advertisements)

Everybody in Korea signs up for everything, not knowing how useless the service is, how dangerous it is on their computer, and how much traffic it eats up. Just go to www.daum.net [daum.net] or www.naver.co.kr [naver.co.kr] , the two most popular media portals in Korea. What's worse is that Koreans prefer that kind of interface over Google [google.com] .

I'm not trying to bash Koreans, Windows, or Internet Explorer at all. It's just that when you put the three together, bad things are bound to happen.

Re:Korean computers SUCKKKKK!!! (4, Funny)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770882)

What in the heck are those websites you linked to? They're all Korean to me...

Re:Korean computers SUCKKKKK!!! (2, Informative)

michaelvkim (981938) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770960)

They're the Yahoo of Korea. I didn't link them so you can understand Korean, but to see how bandwidth-intensive Korean websites are over American websites.

Re:Korean computers SUCKKKKK!!! (2, Insightful)

init100 (915886) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771586)

I didn't link them so you can understand Korean, but to see how bandwidth-intensive Korean websites are over American websites.

They didn't seem bandwith-intensive to me, but of course Adblock+ and NoScript helps a lot. :P

Re:Korean computers SUCKKKKK!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17771058)

what about KBS? one of the heaviest sites I've ever seen.

Korean _WEBSITES_ SUCKKKKK!!! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17771084)

daum.net is 40KB of html (with all CSS and javascript inline) compressed. It uncompresses to over 150KB ppv, absolutely unbelievable. That web team are way beyond the reach of the almighty clue bat; they need shooting.

Re:Korean computers SUCKKKKK!!! (3, Funny)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771314)

So the national motto is "Have bandwidth, will waste it"?

Re:Korean computers SUCKKKKK!!! (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771336)

Just go to www.daum.net

Hmm, 300-600kbps and still it takes awhile to load everything. 50%+ CPU load with all the various flash, and MY EYES, MY EYES, DEAR LORD the layout is TERRIBLE!

Re:Korean computers SUCKKKKK!!! (1)

Air-conditioned cowh (552882) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771818)

Yes I agree. The colour scheme does look a bit dull. Maybe they should try something more like this [spectraleyes.com] .

Re:Korean computers SUCKKKKK!!! (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771562)


1. it's running Windows with IE and at least 3 extraneous toolbars
2. it hasn't been defragmented since the computer was first built
3. EVERY website HAS to install software to make it run properly
4. EVERY website the user has bookmarked has at least 5 megabytes of flash (and they're all advertisements)

Everybody in Korea signs up for everything, not knowing how useless the service is, how dangerous it is on their computer, and how much traffic it eats up. Just go to www.daum.net or www.naver.co.kr, the two most popular media portals in Korea. What's worse is that Koreans prefer that kind of interface over Google.

I'm not trying to bash Koreans, Windows, or Internet Explorer at all. It's just that when you put the three together, bad things are bound to happen.

I'd say the same thing would happen if they were running Linux. Why? Because they'd Linux as root or atleast all those website would ask for a root password which all of them would provide for that peice of software to install. They'd see it just like click "yes" 3-5 times trying to install something in Windows. Just something that you have to do to get any program to run. Of course, most people don't think about what programs they give permission to run, but they shouldn't want running in the first place. Korea is ahead in broadband access to all. This actually sounds somewhat like my mom's HP from Walmart computer that she installs flash games and toolbar on. If everyone in my neighboorhood had cheap high speed internet, they'd have the same problem. This is as much a social problem as a computer problem. The only positive thing is that such a user could claim that they don't know what's installed or running on their PC and P2P or child porn stuff could be running on all that how should they knwo? They click yes or ok or type in the root password to everything that asks for it. How do we (either Linux, MS, or anytone else) fix that?

ActiveX (5, Informative)

ZwJGR (1014973) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770870)

It shouldn't be a huge amount of work to get ActiveX controls working on Windows.
A .ocx activex control is just a COM DLL really, and ought not to be too much trouble to port to Linux Firefox (in conjunction with WINE perhaps), or to Mac OS possibly in conjunction with the Win32 api compatability layer (Darwin?). A plugin wouldn't be too difficult to write, as ActiveX is better documented than many other areas of Windows. I'm sure that if enough South Korean programmers, and there are a lot, get annoyed, the problem will be sorted, particularly with the Vista issue.

Personnely I doubt that Vista will break these Korean ActiveX modules indefinetely, as MS can release a patch after the OS is releashed and selling, at their leisure. MS would never create a situation where an entire country is put off their flagship product, especially a country with 99.9% MS Windows usage, as stated in the article.

While I find the prevalent MS monoculture in South Korea in itself quite alarming and surprising, I don't think that the compatability issues with Vista are a cause for major concern. Nobody is foring anybody to upgrade to Vista after all.

Re:ActiveX (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771698)

Nobody is foring anybody to upgrade to Vista after all.

Unless you count the fact that in 6 months it's going to be very hard to find a computer which comes with Windows XP on it. And if you want to run new versions of other programs, it may be a requirement that you have XP. There's already a lot of programs that refuse to run on windows 2000, which is only a little older than XP. I don't think that it will be all that uncommon in 1 year to find a lot of programs that only run in Vista, especially with games and directX 10.

Proprietary software (4, Insightful)

feranick (858651) | more than 7 years ago | (#17770970)

This is exactly why the generalized use of proprietary and not standard software is a bad idea. Being the most common platform, doesn't make it a standard either since the all country relies on something you have totally no control about.

Re:Proprietary software (1)

I_HATE_THIS (1019084) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771642)

Yes, that's why ET can't phone home, our phone system is so not 'standard'.

Why the extreme negativity? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17771152)

Microsoft isn't that bad. The only reason people keep bashing them is
because they are the market leader. Do you think things got this way
because their software sucks? Of course not. The free market decided
to make them king. It's that simple.



Pragmatists need to step up to the plate and start throwing around a little
street logic because the idealists (which seems to be a lot of people
at Slashdot) don't have much to stand on here.



I've used just about every major operating system from the last 25 or 30
years. And I can attest that computers have never been more capable,
accessible, and easy to use as they are now. Microsoft is the Model-T of
operating systems. They have brought computing to the masses.



And yes I've used Linux a lot. Face it, you walk into any computer store
and what do you find? Hardware where only Microsoft *whatever version*
is supported. It doesn't make sense to put resources into other systems
with so little market share. A lot of hardware is working in Linux now.
But try buying a printer, scanner, or some other specialty hardware. Forget
it. You're going to have endless trouble unless you're using Windows. Period.



The pragmatist is going to want to just plug it in and move on. The idealist
is going to waste his life away trying to get something to work, sometimes only
partially. Be my guest. I have better things to do with my time;-)


Re:Why the extreme negativity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17771546)

So now I'm a troll because I disagree with the prevailing wisdom? There's no real debate or discourse that goes on here. You guys are a bunch of hypocrites.

It's that last part that freaks me out... (4, Insightful)

Karl Cocknozzle (514413) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771156)

At the end of all this work, they will still be a monoculture in thrall to Microsoft, with millions of users sitting behind some of the fattest pipes in the world.
I think its funny the poster left the part about millions of users behind the fattest pipes around--that seems like the worst part of the story. A monstrous delivery system for Microsoft zero-day worms/exploits, etc... A virtual-WMD if you will.

Just thinking about it makes me want to tell my firewall to shun all traffic from large swaths of the world...

Another question: Couldn't this be forced through liability? I.e. These companies need to switch to using the now much-more secure SSL to handle transactions, or find themselves liable when their customers identities are stolen through their weak quasi-encryption scheme. That's why US companies did it--they didn't want to get sued because a weak protocol was cracked.

Re:It's that last part that freaks me out... (1)

TimmyDee (713324) | more than 7 years ago | (#17772096)

You're telling me. I frequented a Korean run internet cafe when I was in Australia a number of years ago, and those computers were absolutely laden with spyware, etc. This being the early days of spyware, I wasn't too aware of the extent of the situation. I certainly didn't do any banking, but I did check my email. After that, the email account I had used was inundated with an insane amount of Korean spam.

I guess there's a price to pay with being on the "cutting edge".

Re:It's that last part that freaks me out... (2, Funny)

smbarbour (893880) | more than 7 years ago | (#17772112)

Windows to hosed in 3...

*** STOP 0x0000007B (0xF201B84C,0xC0000034,0x00000000,0x00000000)
INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE

If this is the first time you've seen this Stop error screen, you are
very fortunate. However, it is highly unlikely that this will be the
last time you will see this.

This particular error means that there was a problem reading the boot
information from the hard disk drive. If you are hearing strange
clicking noises coming from your computer, you should go out and buy
a new hard drive as soon as possible. If you are lucky, there may still
be some salvageable data left on the disk.


*Humor added for effect - Does not necessarily reflect the STOP error that will occur from not using protection.

virtualization (1)

jbaas (1020697) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771352)

Even though Linus thinks virtualization is overhyped, I think this will bring a huge leap in consumer choice in these kind of environments. If the virtualized and the host environments can merge well from a user's perspective (thinks like file access, clipboard, menu's, etc.), people would be able to use IE/win for those things they really have to use IE on windows, and for the rest they can really use whatever environment they like.

In almost all new markets untill this date, it has been possible to make huge sums of money. As markets mature competition takes over. John D. Rockefeller and Bill Gates would be names you would've never heard of if they were born 30 years later.

Consumers, businesses, and governments are slow learners, but they do learn. In a couple of decades, this whole Microsoft thing will only be known to us geeks and some historians.

other parallels (3, Insightful)

nostriluu (138310) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771378)


The Government of Canada uses a public key infrastructure system, that only works in some browsers. Famously for the past census, only some people could access it.

Some important sites, such as banks and airlines, don't support other browsers or require plugins as well. It is getting better with the important cross platform critical mass of Firefox, but far from perfect.

Is it a public highway, or something designed only for Ford Explorers(tm)?

I'm SO glad you clarified this (2, Funny)

sheldon (2322) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771390)

After this was posted two days ago as Koreans Advised to "Avoid Vista" for Now [slashdot.org] , there was a lot of confusion created.

It's good that you put up this article for us, helping to clarify that we're talking about South Korea and not North Korea.

Thank you. My comrades in North Korea will be relieved to hear this.

Re:I'm SO glad you clarified this (1)

michaelvkim (981938) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771456)

North Koreans are shackled to windows too, but in the literal sense.

Re:I'm SO glad you clarified this (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771990)

North Korea uses windows too. Mainly unlicensed copies of Windows 98. Ofcourse, they don't really have to worry about ActiveX compatibility issues because nobody has internet access, and I can guarantee that not many have even heard of Vista, let alone have machines powerful enough to run it.

uh? (1, Interesting)

waspleg (316038) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771422)

this is a country where one of the most popular sports is watching people play online games, a quick search for korean gamer scored 1.2 million hits with a number of articles talking about south korea as the gaming capital of the world.

maybe this has something to do with a fervent windows dedication? linux games are still limted to cedega, and no one wants to pay for play, although some people don't care, like my friend who pays their dev fee on top of his WoW subscription; i guess it depends on your disposable income.

what i'm saying is maybe ActiveX isn't the only factor here, maybe DirectX is a big (bigger?) one.

waspleg

Re:uh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17771688)

- Slashdot is full of hypocrites. Only here is censorship both reviled and accepted unconditionally.
Slashdot is a crowd. It's full of disagreement. Any crowd that's large enough is hypocritical.

this is a perfect indicator (2, Interesting)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771696)

as to the problem that would quickly happen to the rest of the world too if it weren't for OpenSource and GNU/Linux, and the EU fighting Microsoft.

Stallman (1)

true_hacker (969330) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771716)

So, will RMS support the North now??

Shackled? And this has hurt them how? (2, Interesting)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771860)

This amazing tale began in 1998 when Korea decided it couldn't wait for SSL to be standardized (which it was in 1999) and commissioned an ActiveX control for secure Web transactions.
According to Wikipedia, South Korea's economy began a miraculous recovery starting in 1998. They enjoyed 10% growth in 1999 and 9% in 2000. Growth continued, though at a slightly slower (but very respectable) 6% after that. And interestingly, the major driver of that growth is in the service industry - the very segment of the economy that relies on Windows. Could it be that having Windows as a monolithic IT infrastructure is/was a key driver of that economic growth? Most developed nations would *love* to be shackled to growth like that.

the perfect microsoft society (1)

wardk (3037) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771932)

that is the model folks

Oblig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17771976)

It's not the size of the pipe, it's what you do with it.

Broken, yes. But is it being fixed? (1)

Bob of Dole (453013) | more than 7 years ago | (#17771982)

After seeing both stories (Twice the time to think about it! Thanks, slashdot.) it's not obvious why this is the case. Firefox is big now, and has plenty of active development going on, both in the core and in the extensions. Why isn't anyone just writing a SEED extension to support this format?
That'd remove the cross-platform problems. (You'd still have the cross-browser problems, but IE+Firefox is infinitely better than just IE, even if Opera/Safari/etc don't work)

Patents, maybe? Or just lack of developer interests? Maybe there's no South Korean Firefox programmers.

Also, the information about the two plugins doesn't make sense. There used to be a Netscape plugin, but then IE won the browser wars, so it stopped being used. ... So why doesn't anyone just start using it again?
Firefox supports Netscape plugins (I think), I doubt the bits have rotted.
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