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Linux to be Official OS of People's Republic of China

Hemos posted more than 14 years ago | from the politics-are-really-wierd dept.

Linux 648

Cy Guy writes "YAHOO UK is reporting that the People's Republic of China will be naming Linux as its "Official Operating System". The story is repeated with more details and notes that government officials are "enthusiastic about the community ethos behind the open source community." The story also links the announcement to the recent deal with Graphon Corp for Linux Server-based computing software. " I dunno how I feel about this. I think having a state bird is silly enough.

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Linux: official OS of the Red Army (1)

xyzzy (10685) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543887)

Shouldn't the icon for this be a little tux rampant on a red background?

JUST KIDDING...! Sheesh! :-)

Oh boy... (0)

MaximumBob (97339) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543888)

Linux: The official OS of Opression for the 21st Century?

I mean, seriously, is the endorsement of the government of the PRC really a good thing?

Communists running Linux (2)

bobdylan (30598) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543889)

A match made in heaven. The power of the common folk creating a superior OS. Let the capitalist pigs die the slow death while they use MicroSloth's products. Maybe what we need here is a revolution similar to China. Look at the progress they've made in 50 years. A country of peasants to one of the few superpowers.

"Oh shit, the reds have chosen sides!" (0)

Spirilis (3338) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543890)

I wonder what Bill Gates is thinking of all this. "But... I was the one chosen to bring humanity to the information age!!" I hope the 'ole bastard is sweating bullets :-)

Not surprising, but nice (1)

pigeon (909) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543891)

Well, Linux is kind of a communist OS.. but this may be something good for Linux. Imagine, a country of 1 billion people.. 1 billion potential linux users and developpers.. now if they only started to forbid Microsoft OS-ses..

timing is everything (1)

passion (84900) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543892)

of course they do this right after the US feds declare war on M$...

A whole new dimension of marketing. (4)

jblackman (72186) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543893)

I can just see it now. Microsoft strikes a deal with India to become their official operating system.

"Windows is the OS of choice for the world's largest democracy.
Linux ...isn't."

God help us if Pakistan signs a deal with Macintosh.


Re:Communists running Linux (2)

TheKodiak (79167) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543894)

"A country of peasants to one of the few superpowers."

A mink enjoys none of the benefits of the fur coat.

Are any Linux developers from/in China? (2)

webmaven (27463) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543895)

It would be interesting to know if any of Linux's development is being done in China currently.

Regardless, as various countries become more wired, hacker culture is going to become much more diverse.

Sometimes I shudder to think about what is going to happen to my employability when countries like China and India (which has the worlds largest english-speaking population) come online.

But which distro? Red Book? (1)

WillAffleck (42386) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543896)

And do they really believe in Open Source or will they try to ignore GPL?

Seriously, though, I've been expecting this for the last few months, as a logical progression. And as a necessary prerequisite for Linux growth.

Re:Linux: official OS of the Red Army (1)

razvedchik (107358) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543897)

And he's wearing a cap with a red star

Go for it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543898)

Yeah, why don't you go and join the 'People's Republic of Code Hackers' and work at a computer while the Chinese government runs down your friends in the street with tanks and holds you family hostage until you figure out how to put mind control images in the kernel.

Wait a minute (3)

Plasmic (26063) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543899)

Someone refresh my memory.. what's the official sound card of the People's Republic of China?

You have to admit... (4)

elfbabe (99631) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543900)

...that Linux could seem VERY communist if you were in the right mindset. (IE, if you were a chinese official) After all, Linux was made through the cooperation of many, many individuals who were not out to profit hugely, it's available at about 1/10 the price of Win98, and it works really well. However, I don't think that having an official OS for a country made up largely of oppressed peasants makes very much sense. They should stick to national animals.


However the official distribution... (2)

rjreb (30733) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543901)

However the official distribution is Chinux

Be Generous! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543902)

-Having a state 'embrace' Linux i a lot better than hving a corporation embrace Linux!

no matter what state! (-if you have any belief in mankind)

way to go!

hmmmm (2)

Malor (3658) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543903)

I don't do much programming, so my opinion doesn't count for much -- but if it were my code, I'd put a specific exclusion in the license, specifically disallowing the Chinese government any rights to use my code. I'd probably do some research and also exclude some other governments that are abusive of human rights, like Indonesia.

Not like it would stop any of them from actually using it, mind you, but I would feel better about it.

I wonder if I would include the US Government in that list of abusive countries? Frankly, the fact that the thought even crosses my mind is a bit sad. :(

Linux and China? What were they thinking? (2)

CentrX (50629) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543904)

It's rather ironic that Linux is a 'free' OS, and as people will tell you, the 'free' means 'freedom.' China, however, is an oppressive country; wouldn't they choose Microsoft? But then again, their whole country would fall apart, and what would they do then?
Chris Hagar

This raises a VERY important question (1)

Tanman (90298) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543905)

Lets say that China starts backing linux, and even throws government programmers at future kernels. Could this not put the US Government in a precarious position? The US may not want to use Linux in government computers if it is programmed by China because of possible security holes.

That could be very bad for the Linux community.


Hmm... (3)

Ripp (17047) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543906)

Like the subject says, imagine me going "Hrm..." with a concerned frown.

Is this good? Well, *scratches head*, well, yeah, kinda, I guess....

From a PR standpoint, does anyone else here see the potential for "others" (wink-nudge*cough*) to use this against our beloved penguin?

"Linux is the official OS of the communist-run monolith of you *really* want to use an OS officially sactioned by the largest communist regime in the world? Use *our* OS instead....we're 'made in America.' yadda yadda"

Don't laugh.

On the other hand, this could be good for China itself. Since A. It don't cost nuthin, and B. Runs on older machines quite well, it could introduce "modern computing" into some of the more remote areas, and create a new interest in technology in places where the year is still (for all intensive purps.) 1936 or earlier.

AND, on top of that, an active involvement in an open exchange of ideas such as Linux and open source could open a lot of people's eyes to what the rest of the world is doing, rather than what Chairman whosit says is going on.

Does anyone else think it's strange that this comes soon after this LinuxOne crud? That's my seed for the conspiracy theorists.

Re:A whole new dimension of marketing. (1)

rahuljain (98091) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543907)

Microsoft already opened their first off U.S. office in India, there might be some truth to what you say. Althouhg, Pakistan would have to sign a deal with Apple, not Macintosh.

This is not the best, IMO (3)

Chemical Serenity (1324) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543908)

I don't see this as being a good thing for Linux in certain sectors.

There's a lot of people out there who think (sometimes unfairly) that communism is the Worst Possible Thing® on the planet. The last thing we need is to be pidgeonholed, as a community, as communists to the last code pig and riot grrl... particularly in this point in time where Linux is getting real momentum and the possibility of substantial numbers of people making a decent living off of linux solutions is reaching a much wider population.

While I applaud the Chinese government for making what I personally feel as The Right Choice (IMO, no government anywhere should be tied to any one company for any one service or product, no matter how big the company is), I think the timing could have been a bit better (like, say, a year from now).

I wonder if France is getting any closer to OSS OSes as standard. Wouldn't it be nice if Canada and the US did something similar.

-- (remove the SPAM-B-GONE bit)

It makes total sense... (2)

drw (4614) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543909)

China is a country known for infringement of various copyright violations (music CD's, software). So, they think it is a good idea to support an OS that promotes free distribution. It's better than backing Windows and then getting busted for illegal copies.

Linux vs. Communism (3)

TheKodiak (79167) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543910)

I find it ironic that Linux succeeds because it operates in a sphere where the chief pitfall of Communism is a non-issue. Linux is from each according to his ability, to all according to their desires - Linux is an inherently abundant product. The fact that I get just as much Linux as Linus does doesn't bother Linus because I'm not taking any Linux away from him. (Well, at least, I hope it doesn't bother Linus.)

It's a press release disguised as an article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543911)

The Chinese government buys lots of products, including those made by M$. GraphON sold somebody in the government their product. ZDNet article about communism ensues.

ClueCheck: Has the Chinese Communist Party made any glorious announcements regarding Linux? The answer is left as an exercise to the reader.

Linux? (1)

dbrann (113237) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543912)

Your all saying linux is perferct for communism, but why would a communist government endorse something that they don't have control over? Communism is all about control of the people by the government.

This should be considered an insult. (1)

LocalYokel (85558) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543913)

Linux is about free thought, not just free software. If this is for real, I would consider it to be a big slap in the face.

China has nothing to do with freedom. Need I cite examples of their complete disrespect of human rights? They jail and execute people who think freely, continue to occupy Tibet, and regularly threaten Taiwan. Is this a Good Thing©? I don't think so.

economics (1)

rahuljain (98091) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543914)

Perhaps the real reason that the Chinese are even bothering with this is because its free. I mean, not to be stereotypical, but it is often assumed that Asians are cheap. There might be SOME truth to this, but nevertheless if you are a government that has to support the largest population of citizens int he world - you would be pretty concerned about cost too. Imagine paying for a 10,000 win2k licenses, as opposed to jus leaching off of the linux platform.

Why not? How can you pirate a free OS? (1)

GPFCharlie (98543) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543915)

Why should this type of announcement be a surprise? It's already well known that China is the largest consumer of pirated software in the world, both commercially and in government organizations. I've heard numerous estimates that their piracy rate for software is over 90%.

Not to mention the large underground (and above ground) market in pirated US videos, DVDs, CDs, pretty much anything they can get their hands on and copy.

From a political standpoint, this makes perfect sense. Rather than take a US commercial OS (such as Microsoft), where they'd have to deal with cultural differences, a lack of control of what goes in, and have to pay billions; or else risk antagonizing large US software firms who could pressure the WTO to deny China membership. Now they can simply take a free OS with open source code, modify it to their tastes, and use it with no worries under GPL.

Don't think that this decision is not highly political in nature, especially considering the upcoming WTO meeting in Seattle, where rumors have the admission of China as a possible agenda item. Everything China does is a political statement.

The coming ineffeciency... (1)

Chokai (10224) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543916)

Considering that one of the reasons communism failed was because of it's monolithic bureaucracy which led to incredible ineffeciencies I don't think this is a good "endorsement". I can see it now: "Linux: The OS for commies!

Afterall communism is in a sense the ultimate monopoly, the government controls all, sets all prices and determines what does and doesn't get done. Sound familiar?

free software: good for those who cannot afford (1)

goon (2774) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543917)

with the advent of high quality free software (thankyou GNU & hackers everywhere) such as linux, counties that had no hope of purchasing quality software now have a chance of joining their peers on the Internet.

...of course first they need access to a computer, a telephone, decent exchange and an internet connection...

I look forward to seeing what many millions of chinese hackers/programmers can contribute...

Re:You have to admit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543918)

Considering that China is probably #1 for software piracy, I doubt anyone is paying more than $10 for a Win98 or NT disk. It'll be interesting to see if Chinese consumer will choose a free Linux or a pirated NT for 10$ ?

Re:hmmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543919)

Hate monger. Nazi. God eat at McDonalds.

Re:This raises a VERY important question (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543920)

The open nature of Linux would make it very hard for someone to throw in security hacks. That's the beauty of an open development process.

Bitch Bitch, Moan Moan. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543921)

If communists are endorcing it to begin with, then whats one more communist on the pile?

The French: Steal from the Government.
The Chinese: Steal from the foreigners.
Stallman: Give free code so long as I'm being paid for other things.

Don't support this move! (1)

Somnus (46089) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543922)

If you think that Linux is the best OS out there, don't sanction this action by the Communists of China! If Linux is a great OS, then it can only help, not hurt, the oppressive regime there, and we don't want that. We want the Democratic movement in China to have Linux -- let the Communits flounder on servers running Win NT w/o the service packs.

To those who say Linux is a "Communist OS" -- BS. Linux was created by programmers who were unhappy with the OS market as it stood/stands and did something that was in their self-interest. Moreover, they chose to do this. Now that the pinkos have adopted Linux, how many "coding peasants" will be enslaved by the apparatchiks to write patches, etc.? I don't want kernel patches written by bonded labor ...

If you're worried about getting off topic on this debate, feel free to e-mail me at

*** Proven iconoclast, aspiring bohemian. ***

Re:Communists running Linux (1)

freakho (28342) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543923)

A country of peasants to one of the few superpowers.

That still, somehow, remains for the large part a country of peasants. This actually may backfire on the Linux rep, and demonstrates the already existing lack of understading by folks all over the world of Linux. How many Linux developers are actually communists like our friend here? Not many. Thinking that software should be free != communist, but who in the mainstream has even *considered* these issues yet? We need to start a PR campaign right now, in case the news media picks up on this and it gets into the popular thought that Linux == communism.


Re:This raises a VERY important question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543924)

Not very likely. Since the government sees the entire source for the program, like everyone else the bugs would be easily visible to everyone. This is not like Windows.

No Red Hat comments? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543925)

I can't believe no one's made the Red Hat communist "red" connection yet. :)

PS> Do you think if they could get iMacs in red & gold, they'd've picked MacOS instead? :)

Re:Communists running Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543926)

yo, man are u serious? go join the commies, my friend and tell me how they treat you. The progress of 50-yrs slaughter your own people is what they have made. Look at their Culutre Revloution and see how they slaughter their own people in the name of "Red Sun"(Chairman Mao) and see how "Little Red Army and Red Book" brought the "so-called progress to Chinese people" I'm a chinese and I know that the so-called progress is build on Blood!

My theory on why the PRC chose Linux. (1)

RISCy Business (27981) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543927)

It's really very simple. They have the source. In China, you can't use a computer without the state approved OS, and someone watching over your shoulder to make sure you don't view anything illegal.

Next step, official browser of Mozilla. If the PRC has the source, they can control every aspect of the software, including what people can do, and have it report to the police if they do something illegal. Anyone caught reading up on the Falun Gong from an unapproved source (ie; anyone who puts the PRC in a bad spot) they'll be arrested, more than likely.

Communism really isn't a bad thing, no. However, China's idea of Communism is not true to the Marxist ideals of communism really, and China is basically little more than a police state. They have no reguard for human rights, what makes you think they're going to use an OS they can't control every aspect of as well?

Re:Linux: official OS of the Red Army (1)

awrc (12953) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543928)

And he's wearing a cap with a red star?

A Red Hat, even.

Re:This raises a VERY important question (1)

kevlar (13509) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543929)

I think its safe to say that the majority of programmers working on the kernel right now are not chinese.

I doubt they'll be able to throw anything in there without people noticing. I doubt even more that they would be able to for a stable release thats been looked over so much.

The chinese would be more likely to pay off some insiders to do the dirty work, then to have their own people sabotage. Besides, they're going to be using it also, remember?

Re:This raises a VERY important question (2)

PimpDaddyKilla (112279) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543930)

Linux is open-source so the entire linux community could scrutinize whatever China put out...

Re:However the official distribution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543931)

Should it not be Sinux? as in Sino-american...?

Endorsement? (5)

TheKodiak (79167) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543932)

The word "Endorsement" keeps getting used in comments, here.

If we view this as analogous to selecting a State Bird, then it's not really an endorsement - the United States of America, in selecting the bald eagle as its State Bird, is not saying, "Bald eagles are really cool - you should all go out and get one."

On the other hand, making a firm commitment to using Linux and only Linux for all govt operations is a strong endorsement, no matter how "evil" those operations might be. Sure, it's possible that some of their evil might rub off on our operating system, but I don't think ANYONE will mistake the relationship for one of causation. A good tool is a good tool. I'm sure the Hammer is the official Hand Tool for Driving Nails into Wood of China, but that doesn't say anything about Hammers except that they're most excellent.

2 out of 3 ain't bad (2)

SurfsUp (11523) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543933)

CJK - China/Japan/Korea - now, the governments of 2 out of 3 have officially endorsed Linux. Hmm, that just leaves Japan. Now, this is *good* for governments in general - why should they be spending their citizen's tax dollars on software that costs money? When there is better software that can be had for free?

Re:But which distro? Red Book? (1)

eomir (65960) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543934)

Woah, China endorsing Linux is a necessary prerequisite for Linux growth? I thought it was growing just fine before they endorsed it.

Re:This raises a VERY important question (2)

~k.lee (36552) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543935)

I can't believe this ridiculous comment got moderated up.

Linux is open source, remember? The idea of China slipping security holes in the backdoor is pretty silly when we have a peer review process built into the system (and any security-conscious agency will definitely do a security audit before using Linux on any critical network). The chance that China will slip backdoors into Linux is about the same as the chance that Microsoft will slip backdoors into Emacs.

Moderators: do this thread a favor and moderate the parent comment back down.


Re:Oh boy... (1)

j a w a d (66763) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543936)

Seriously, does it *matter*? Who cares? This is going to be talked about for a short period (not much longer than this is on the front page of slashdot), and then forgotten about.

The endorsement of the gov't of PRC won't make a difference in Linux development.


Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543937)

argh! why is this story even posted here?

There is no "official OS" of China. GraphON sold some Linux-based product to a couple organizations associated with the government, and ZDNet somehow comes to the conclusion that Linux is the official OS!

what?! I can't even think of what kind of logical steps could lead to that conclusion.

Nevermind that this reporter disregarded that other Linux companies have been doing more business longer in China than GraphON (e.g. TurboLinux). And nevermind the domestic mainland Linux distro projects (I know of at least one, featuring "Simplified" character support)

Communism + GPL = Red Hat Penguin.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543938)

Of course, they are about the same thing...World Domination against the Capitalist pigs. Kill your nearest IT company !

Communism + GPL = Red Hat Penguin.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543939)

Of course, they are about the same thing...World Domination against the Capitalist pigs. Kill your nearest IT company ! (Even if you work on it)

Re:Linux and China? What were they thinking? (1)

turbohavoc (79880) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543940)

Just because they done bad things before doesnt have to mean that they MUST do all new desicions bad..

Re:However the official distribution... (1)

ChrisGoodwin (24375) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543941)

However the official distribution is Chinux

And the official distribution of Canada is, of course, Canux.

The U.S.? USux.


Re:hmmmm (1)

Tofuhead (40727) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543942)

Why stop there? Why not exclude Microsoft employees, the overweight, the ugly, and all overly-P.C. thugs?

Whoops. Then you might not be able to use your own software. ^_^ Just messin' with ya.

Re:Communists running Linux (1)

embobo (1520) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543943)

A mink enjoys none of the benefits of the fur coat.

Except, of course, when the mink is wearing the fur coat in the middle of winter in Canada.

good for everyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543944)

this will be good for everyone as long as China abides by the GNU GPL. Americans better equalize the situation by making Linux the official OS of the the government, just because Windows is way too expensive.

What was it before... (1)

chandoni (28843) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543945)

a pirated (I mean, shared with your comrades) copy of Win98?

another VERY important question (1)

freakho (28342) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543946)

Worry about the US, too. You can expect a few new "underground" groups to pop up, discovering, releasing, and using Linux security holes. And this also might lead to /leaning/ by the gov't on the Linux principals. If your enemy was using an OS developed partly by citizens of your own country, wouldn't you exploit that?


China's Hedging its bets (1)

kentt (105931) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543947)

In the face of the harsh tone of the Cox Report, which slammed Chinese espionage (both nuclear and industrial). It may be that China is trying to insulate itself from possible technology and trade restrictions, if Sino/US regulations remain fractous.

Some of the toughest U.S. trade regulations surround the export of High Performance Computers. With the recent advancements in clustering and other HPC technology in Linux Kernel development, the Chinese have made an important policy choice to adopt Linux, in that it allows them to make an end-run around export regulations.

It is an interesting reflection on the new nature of intellectual property and open source. How do you regulate an important technology with respect to national security when it's open source? (Remember those Apple G4 commercials about the Pentagon...Computers are majorly important to the modern state)

Additionally, making the official move to an Open Source operating system allows China to benefit from the millions of man hours of development to attempt to build a modern technology industry.

All in all, it poses interesting questions about the other result of open source. when you open the code, you foster cooperation, but you also can't control if it will be used to simulate nuclear detonations!

Then again maybe it's just me!

Re:Communists running Linux (1)

FalseConsciousness (59610) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543948)

I remember about 10 years ago seeing an advertisement for a steam iron made in the PRC - the slogan was "The best necessary". Get it? You could get a decadent, Western iron with a lot of flashy features, but you really don't need it. Buy our domestic product instead, it is good enough for what you need, and doesn't add complexity.

Although there are lots of things wrong with the PRC (hard to even know where to start that list), this utilitarian, practical approach has served them well in industry (imagine if all of China had the same wasteful manufacturing and consumption practices as the West - disaster!). So it is not surprising that they would "officially" adopt an OS that is inexpensive, utilitarian, and not ostentatious or bloated.

Also, my guess is that this will not dent in any way the MS market penetration is Asia, since such a big part of it is due to bootleggers.


subversion & propaganda (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543949)

We can include subversive statements, and capitalistic propaganda in the source!! Pop up little annoying windows that read "Question Authority" and such.

Will China have their own "official" distro? (1)

JoeShmoe (90109) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543950)

And will they call it Communix?


- JoeShmoe

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Re:The coming ineffeciency... (1)

tukka (43211) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543951)

Well, I don't see any reason to assume that just because an inefficient government endorses Linux that Linux will suddenly become inefficient for everybody. Besides, look who is software king of the capitalist hill, no inefficiencies there, huh? :)

It doesn't matter that the ignorant will make lame Linux=China=Oppression associations. If you're ignorant you probably are not going to be very open to Linux anyway (unless you're an ignorant Linux user, of course.) Yes, it will be irking to hear morons scream even louder about Linux being a "communist OS," but few people with an open mind and a gram of sense will pay much attention to them anyway.

Re:Linux? (2)

Chemical Serenity (1324) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543952)

That's not what communism is about, but it IS admittedly what has resulted in the pisspoor implementations of communism as practiced by the soviets, chinese, cubans et alia.

The Linux development model is probably closer to true communist ideals (as laid down by Marx and co.) than anything else I can think of in this world.

-- (remove the SPAM-B-GONE bit)

Just some comments (hit tab, not enter, sorry) (4)

the phantom (107624) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543953)

Yes, the People's Republic is an oppressive society, but the government that runs it knows what it is doing this time. Linux is the OS of choice.

It is free in a country where money is important.

It runs on old machines in a country where industry and computing are not on par with much of the rest of the world.

For the PR, Linux is ideal. There is great flexibility and power inherint in the OS and it can communicate with other systems fairly easily (i.e. Mac, Windoze, etc.).

In terms of public relations for China and good spin control, Linux is also ideal. The OS is developed by many often scattered strangers in often remote places. It is a community effort. "A People's OS for a People's Republic."

For the Linux community outside of China, on the other hand, this could be bad. In the United States and in much of the rest of the world, we still fear the "red bastards" and every thing even slightly smelling of communism is seen as taboo and evil. Linux as an OS may be tainted by communism.

Of course, die hard Linux users will never go away, but convincing other people to use Linux (read: the US Gov.) may grow more difficult. Though it is a good, stable OS, it may be killed by paranoid politicians crying "commies! commies!" ("wolf! wolf!").

And then of course, it is hard to truely feel good about making the Chinese government more effecient in its ability to oppress the masses (even with an OS from the masses).

And the Chinux mascot should be tux in red, instead of black.

Da Zdrastvui Revolutsia!!! Da Zdrastvui Lenin!!! Da Zdrastvui TUX!!!!!!!!

Communists After All? (1)

jensend (71114) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543954)

I always thought that the charge that people like Richard Stallman were Communists was crazy. However, now that China is supporting Linux because they like the opensource idea, a lot of people will be reopening this charge...

Re:Communists running Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543955)

All the progress has only occured in the last 20 years, when Deng started moving the country towards capitalism.

This opened up a massive cross-investment network between China and the "bamboo network" of overseas Chinese entrepreneurs.

It's the capitalists bringing the country out of the mess of the first 30 years.

Is this some kind of hoax? Or bad joke? (1)

haggar (72771) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543956)

I mean, the same people that have sent the tanks to reduce to minced meat the students on the Tyenan Men square, endorse Linux?

The same people that endorsed the nazi actions of the serbian army in kosovo, endorse Linux?

The same people that order hundreds (thousands?) of capital executions per year, endorse Linux?
(did you know there are doctors waiting for the poor guy to be shot in his had, so that they can take the organs EVEN IF HE IS NOT YET DEAD?)

Is this supposed to be funny? So, Linux is really going to have world domination, I mean, China is the most populous country by far.

Don't missunderstand me, I am not willing to say anything negative about Linux and the community, quite the opposite, I think of the positive ideals that have lead to Linux. I prefere BeOS, but I know who was breaking the ice...

Re:Oh boy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543957)

I have to agree with most people here.
PR can be bad as well as china being a communist country with a total lack of respect for human rights.
Shame really, I would like to have seen the great wall. But I will be damned if I step foot in a place like that - running over and shooting demonstrating students.
So will this help linux? I don't think so - but from a selfish standpoint I don't want linux running onm US government computers either. Eschelon running by way of linux stinks big.

Imagine the possibilities... (1)

ChrisGoodwin (24375) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543958)

....of, say, a hundred million PCs.


It's amazing (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543959)

How so many Americans are so quick to slam the 'Red Opressors' and the 'Commies'. Go read your history. Specificaly, the history of China. Then you tell ME how you would do it better, PERIOD.

Internationalization / Which distro? (1)

LocalYokel (85558) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543960)

Why is it that the Macintosh is always the exception to the rule? It has to be the most internationally-capable OS (without kludging) -- Be, Linux, and Windows sure aren't. But anyway...
What would the official distribution be?

  • Red Hat would kind of make sense by name alone.
  • TurboLinux could fit in well because of its Asian focus.
  • Austere government policies make Slackware a good candidate.
  • The sheer size of China makes SuSE's six volumes kind of appropriate.

And as I sort of said in a previous post, Debian and Red Hat's "RMS Linux" would probably have the least chance, since they're actually interested in freedom, not just free beer.

Re:Linux? (1)

eomir (65960) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543962)

Well, I would have to argue that an open source product is far more controllable than a propriety product, simply because you have control over an open source product. They would have no control over a propriety product like Windows, but they can pretty much do whatever they want with Linux. I would also like to note that Communism is not about control of the people by the government. Communism is actually, IMHO, a more democratic economic system than capitalism.

this will be funny (1)

A non-mouse Cow Herd (67426) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543963)

When they realize that the same people who brought them linux want to bring strong crypto to all their dissidents.

Or when they understand that the free in free software is speach.

It's sad that linux will be used as a tool of oppression (I'd much rather that my dossier of anti government activities was stored on a windows box) but once you GPL your code you don't get to say who can use it.

It is a very logical move for the for the PRC government, not because it is produced communally (which is just good PR fluff), but:
1) It is not a US product, unlike most other mainstream OS's
2) they have been repeatedly accused of pirating vast numbers of US software products. Being able to reasonably deny this might give them a better position in trade negotiations
3) they can customize it to their needs.

Now the question is, will we see patches for MySQL to allow it to maintian personal files (in unicode), photos and fingerprints for about a billion people. Maybe modified slash code ?

To all of the red-baiters.... (1)

ChrisGoodwin (24375) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543964)

Many posters don't seem to realize that China is one of the U.S.'s biggest trading partners. Think about it -- a potential market of over a billion people.

I guarantee that U.S. companies that sell to China certainly aren't worried about any "stigma" that Chinese endorsement of our favorite O.S. could cause.


Re:Oh boy... (2)

Q*bert (2134) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543965)

Unfortunately, there is nothing in the GPL to prevent use by oppressive, non-democratic regimes. Back in the day, the League for Programming Freedom concerned itself with banning possible military use of free software. Somehow that concern faded away with the Cold War, and own the LPF is known exclusively for opposing software patents. Perhaps it is time to bring back the restriction "This software may not be used for any military means" and add "nor may it be used by non-democratic governments." Yes, I know the definition is hairy, but I'm sure the U.N. or a similar institution publishes ewll-justified ratings of who is democratic and who isn't. Do any of you international politics experts out there (there must be some!) care to comment? Oxblood Ruffin, are you there?

Vovida, OS VoIP
Beer recipe: free! #Source
Cold pints: $2 #Product

[Offtopic] Comment moderation (1)

Chemical Serenity (1324) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543966)

It seems to me a very valid concern, and would certainly be a point raised by Sen. Guntotin Merican (rep. Texas, or whereever) who grew up in an atmosphere of fearing and loathing all things Communist should the US government decided on OSS inclusion as policy.

Just because it's describing a potentially silly, knee-jerk and predjudiced reaction doesn't mean the reaction itself won't happen. I can pretty much guarantee it will, as judging by how many Joe Everymans in the states spit on the sidewalk whenever the 'C Word' is mentioned.

-- (remove the SPAM-B-GONE bit)

Re:Linux? (2)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543967)

No, it isn't.

Communism is about a classless society where people work together, knowing each other, and pool their products. From there, they share out the products as required. IE: "You didn't produce much this week, Billy, but you are ill. Here's some extra medicine from the more well off"

The problem is that the governents setup to aid this change from city/town urban capitalism to town/village communism is/was either
1) founded by people under the guise of communism (a good method) so that they could gain power from the ignorant masses (maybe Mao and/or his succesors), and so will never let them truly be communist or
2) Becomes drunk on power/corrupt and does not relinquish control like they were supposed to (Stalin's Russia, etc).

Communism is great in theory for the same reasons that capitalism is great in theory. In reality, you have to deal with corrupt [communist leaders | politicials | bankers | businessmen]. Canada is a good example of a balance between capitalism (enconomy) and socialism (health care, welfare). There are some abuses, of course, but I'd rather have a safety net than not.

I just hope that the business men in the US and other "free" countries (where they define free as not communist, as opposed to true free speech [Columbine witch hunt]) have not been as much impacted by you by the Pro-US FUD of the past 40ish years ("Now, Billy, fight that Red menace!").

(I'd rant more about how I hate discrimination and prejudice, but this is as OT as I like to get -- and I think most of you understand this already)

will this mean better internationalization? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543968)

This would be great if it results in more Linux software being internationalized. One of the great things about projects like KDE and GNOME is that they are striving to write software that is language independent-- that is, choose your language when you log in and the interface will be written in words you understand. This is a lot better than commerical OSes like MacOS or Windows, where you must purchase a separate version of the OS and apps for the lanuage you want, and it then only works in that one language.

This would also be good for Linux users who are interested in learning the Chinese language.

For one time that Nerds can do something about.. (3)

jccq (113245) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543969)

About human rights! there are certain things that are absolutly impossible to regular diplomacy, like punishing countries that are absolutly untouchable under the political/economical point of view (china, but also US afterall). I personally would put a statement in next kernel releases something like : Not legal to be used by governamental agencies of countries that do not comply to the declaration of human rights according to .. bla bla. Of course they wouldnt care. Of course we'd make a point. As a shareware programmer i am seriously thinking of doing something like that. (Against death penalty in the US) but i think it would seriously damage my sales :)

And your little dog, too! (2)

TheKodiak (79167) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543970)

I think I've realized why so few of these comments, and the whole "Stallman is a Communist!" take on everything, make so little sense to me.

I see China, and the old USSR, as playing for a sports team whose mascot was "The Communists". Just like the failure of the Dallas Cowboys is not an indictment of the rustic way of life, the failure of China and the USSR to support or even treat humanely their citizens is not a reflection of the evil of Communism. AFAIK, there are "Democratic", "Capitalist" countries which abuse their citizens and have miserable standards of living. Sure, Communism isn't the beer of choice in the United States, or in many other regions, but it is no more to be feared and loathed than Heineken.

World leaders and information technology (2)

harmonica (29841) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543971)

"Enthusiasm for Linux is coming from the very highest level of the Government in China,"

Ehm, excuse me, but I hardly believe that top politicians have an idea of what an operating system is, let alone being able to make an educated evaluation of the superiority of Linux over, say, NT or Solaris.

Imagine Clinton, Chirac, Blair, Schroeder talking about 'their favourite OS' - an amusing thought. Of course I see the advantage for a country like China of having a free, reliable OS that comes with no trap doors included and can even run on older hardware. As the decision maker of such an isolated country that is not in close relations to the US (to put it mildly) I wouldn't trust any 'NT server, Chinese version', tested, modified and approved of by the NSA. Wherever you want to go today, we're looking over your shoulder ;-)

Re:Are any Linux developers from/in China? (1)

Q*bert (2134) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543972)

I don't see that as being very likely. Do you know how restricted Internet access is in China? The government is deathly afraid of "subversive" ideas getting in, and likewise of helping political dissidents communicate over the net. I fthere is any Linux development going on there, I'll bet it's underrgound and anonymous.

Vovida, OS VoIP
Beer recipe: free! #Source
Cold pints: $2 #Product

I am not a Marxist but... (1)

HamNRye (20218) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543973)

Man, there are some anti-commie sentiments floating around this drink tank ain't there??

First of all, the Linux OS is a perfect match for "ideal" communism. The very idea behind OSS is somewhat communist in it's doctrine. The Idea that everyone pitches in for the good of the group, "each according to his needs and abilities".

Secondly, the inherent belief that communism is "bad" is something that it seems that we have been indoctrinated to at birth. The truth of it is that communism is a good system marred by the actions of bad leaders. Would you defend democracy when one man owns a 15 Million dollar house and another sleeps on a sewer grate?? That seems like a poor human rights policy to me.

Now, in light of what I said, I think that the Chineese government most likely likes the ability of Linux for hacking systems. They have been defacing the web pages for a while now...

Also, If the Red Government violates the GPL??? Egad...


"By the half-light of burning republics Joe Stalin looks just like Uncle Sam"
~Andy Partrige

Umm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543974)

Exactly, it wouldn't really stop them, and nothing can really hurt them. It is *free* software, and this would be just as stupid as the US crypto laws, you're just limiting the software. They are pretty abusive with human rights, but imagine we had the same population density here. There would be chaos, I would expect, think of how packed the jails are right now. There are many things that they do that are totally unreasonable and appaling, but it is quite surprising how they have handled the situation. There is no real way to force them to change, the only way is probably a violent revolution, or if someone decides to invade, but China has nukes now afaik, and I doubt anyone would risk that. Heh, now that you think about it, do you think China would really care about a stupid exclusion in your license? Oh yeah, you're gonna sue the Chinese government, that'll stop them....

More likely... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543975)

They are just doing this to snub Microsoft. Everyone knows the Chinese don't give a shit about copyright. China has a history of not doing business with American companies who wouldn't play by their rules. My guess is Billy pissed em off, so now they aren't going to do business with Microsoft. Whether they are actually using Linux or not, is not the issue; if they want windows, they will just copy it like usual, but now they have an excuse for when Microsoft wants money: "Nope, we're not using Windows, we're using Linux. No money for you."

Re:You have to admit... (2)

Q*bert (2134) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543976)

Dude, "the Chinese consumer" can't even afford a computer. Only the rich (i.e. the party apparatchiks) will even be able to make this choice.

Vovida, OS VoIP
Beer recipe: free! #Source
Cold pints: $2 #Product

Linux will take off if this turns out right (1)

Gurlia (110988) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543977)

There are *billions* of people out there in PRC. I have a friend from PRC who told me that in the recent past many entrepreneurs who wanted to bring the benefits of the Internet to the people were stopped by the government. Nevertheless, so many people there are virtually dying to get their hands on something wonderful like Linux. Now if they legalize the use of Linux there, think about billions of people there that would be reached -- Linux will take off!! M$ will never be able to beat this if it happens.

Although, if this doesn't turn out right, the PRC government might just force people to use their own "customized" (read, bugged) version of Linux without access to source code. After all, who would enforce the GPL with them?? This will be *really* bad for Linux then... Hope this never happens!

How long would Slashdot survive in China? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543978)

About 1 day, and then everyone even remotly involved would be arrested, jailed and tortured. Marxism is the absolute antipode to what open source is about. Marxism is the corporation as state. I'm astonished that you guys are not horrified at this idea....

Re:Endorsement? (1)

Upsilon (21920) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543979)

While I think what you said is true, that doesn't mean that the media and the general public will perceive it that way. There is no doubt about it, this could be some very bad PR for Linux. There are already people running around claiming that open source means communism (note: I do not think that communism the most evil thing in the universe, but THEY seem to.), and this will actually give them something to use as evidence. Pretty ridiculous evidence, sure, but that won't stop them from creating some mass hysteria about how Linux will lead to nuclear war or something. This is a good thing for China. I think that Linux is an excellent choice for them. But, unfortunately, this is NOT a good thing for Linux. It just makes too many PR issues.

Fitting (2)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543980)

Linux and the broader free software movement already bridge the gaps between modern governmental philosophies. It is part socialist, part communist, part capitalist, and part anarchist. The movement accepts contributions according to the ability of the people. The means of production (CVS repositories, network links, web sites) are owned by the people. The people are free to make closed software if they want, and can sell the free software for as much as they choose. Finally, everybody gets as much free software as they want, without limit.

If you observe the free software community long enough, you can see that its trajectory will allow it to break all historical bounds of government, law, and power. Information will be free. Encryption will be widespread. Intellectual property will not be hoarded. Multinational corporations will not hold power over nations.

Get ready.

WHAT!!! They're not even on the net! (1)

Spamizbad (87449) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543981)

I don't believe China is even on the internet are they? They wanted to keep out those unwanted ideas that float around the web. So how they get there paws on Linux? Perhaps this is a hoax?

Re:another VERY important question (1)

miahrogers (34176) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543982)

because it's and OSS os it would be very hard for any security glitch to last for long. Once it had been used to exploit a computer (perhaps before?) it would get recongized, and a kernel patch would be applied. And even if there are a couple security holes in linux, it's much better than that swiss cheese we call NT.

matisse:~$ cat .sig

Re:It goes like this: (2)

webslacker (15723) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543983)

Woh Duh Monitor Way Sa Ma Lan Sah?

(translation) Why is my monitor blue?

Freedom is For EVERYONE (5)

Yohahn (8680) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543984)

How hypocritical would you be if you decided to say Linux is free, except to people in China...
It's just like they have free speach.. except to speak out against the government. If you're going to lead by example, you have to do it the whole way.

At least they have some value for community. They have a long way to go to learn about treating the individual right. What a great oppertunity to learn from each other. Perhaps they will learn that the free software community is made up of highly individualistic folk, and begin to learn the values of this.

Perhaps we can learn some things about how to work together, they've got 20% of the worlds population, I believe.. it must be excrutiatingly hard to keep any kinda government together there.

Human rights... They have more blatent problems.. we mask ours in a economic system, and revisionist history. There are plenty of oppressed people in the US. And don't even begin to respond without looking into the plight of Native americans (although with casino's they might finally win the longest war of attricion there ever was! :) ).

This does not make them innoscent, they need to work to allow basic human rights. But just cause we use money to confuse our system of oppressing people, doesn't really leave us guilt free either.

Eastern Europe has been trying to become more capitalist in the last decade and the people there are suffering horribly. Perhaps it is time that we started trying to find something more moderate, and thinking creatively to solve these problems.

Working together in a common goal is a first start, but just like when working with SUN or IBM or AOL we press hard on the License issues.. when we work with the Chineese, we need to press hard on human rights. When working with them we need to take into account how each project will add or take away from that plight. Don't help put down people, but work together to help each other.

(a bit idealistic.. but if no one trys, we won't even approach our ideals.. it's too easy to cheat and be cynical.. so get over that)

Re:Don't support this move! (1)

DarkClown (7673) | more than 14 years ago | (#1543986)

the real question is... can you you suck your own cock in a consistent, yet enjoyable manner? If you don't happen to have male gentalia, have you ever pondered this possibility? And do you have a maxim? Ah-ha.. And most of all, how do you feel about all these stock tips you've been flipping around like harmlesss chinese throwing stars...
I am obviously a jerk...

Now Countries realize Linux is the best! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1543987)

Linux has won. The handwriting is on the wall everywhere you turn...

The British, the Chinese, the French, they all know that no operating system can touch Linux in regards to security, scalability, reliability or stability. the proof is in the pudding as they say.

here are some facts to mull over:

1) solaris lost due to pricey underperforming hardware that could not compete with more scalable intel systems. the OS is bloated and slow, and lacks stability, scalability and security.

2) IRIX lost due to pricey poor quality hardware and an insecure, less scalable, less reliable and downright poor performing total package. couple that with absolutely no innovation in the last 10 years and you have a recipe for disaster.

3) AIX/HPUX/*BSD etc etc etc. all these bit players just wish they had the coding talent in their camps that linux has. they never had a chance.

Folks, the verdict is in, Linux/Intel and Open Source have taken over. Get on board or get run over...

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