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Linux To Be Installed In Every Russian School

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the lots-and-lots-of-penguins dept.

Education 293

J_Omega writes "According to an article from last week at the Russian IT site CNews, Linux is slated to be installed in every Russian school by 2009. The article makes it appear that it will be going by the (unimaginative) name 'Russian OS.' As stated in the article: 'The main aim of the given work is to reduce dependence on foreign commercial software and provide education institutions with the possibility to choose whether to pay for commercial items or to use the software, provided by the government.' Initial testing installations are supposed to begin next year in select districts. Is 2008/09 the year of Linux on the (Russian) desktop?"

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293 comments

Great, the penguin goes red! (1, Funny)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712123)

This is potentially good for Linux and potentially bad for Internet banking.

Let's teach all the russian kids how to hack. This is what we should be doing in the USA.

Re:Great, the penguin goes red! (5, Funny)

eobanb (823187) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712171)

In Soviet Russia, Linux hacks you!

Re:Great, the penguin goes red! (1)

WwWonka (545303) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712309)

In Soviet Russia, we don't DO "in Soviet Russia" jokes. ...they do you.

Stallman got to russia through CUBA !! Viva la rev (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20712595)

Stallman got to russia through CUBA !! Viva la rev !! We love Castro !! Both of them !!

Re:Great, the penguin goes red! (5, Funny)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712431)

In Post-Soviet Russia, the students program the computers! What a country!

Re:Great, the penguin goes red! (3, Funny)

boaworm (180781) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712853)

Well atleast we know that, In Soviet Russia, Linux is desktop ready ;-)

Huh? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20712197)

Wait, how does Linux teach you how to hack? Is there a hacking man page that I've been missing? Maybe it is in /usr/share/hack or /usr/share/doc/hack? Never checked those directories my self. Or maybe with the latest wireless drivers the wireless car shoots needles into your brain, upload hacking knowledge directly.

Your theories are fascinating indeed.

Re:Huh? (5, Informative)

mahmud (254877) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712247)

Wait, how does Linux teach you how to hack?
By giving you more control of the OS internals, and by having a steeper usage learning curve.

Once you become proficient in using Linux you are having a better understanding of OS and network internals than your Windows-using peers.

Re:Huh? (2, Funny)

DaedalusHKX (660194) | more than 6 years ago | (#20713123)

Yep, the only things Russian computers will have in "closed source" will be the monitoring and surveillance modules. Those will be copyrighted NSA/KGB 2.0 :)

Not a balanced starting point (4, Insightful)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 6 years ago | (#20713259)

By giving you more control of the OS internals, and by having a steeper usage learning curve.

Once you become proficient in using Linux you are having a better understanding of OS and network internals than your Windows-using peers.

You're making it sound like most windows users are proficient in using Windows. Just because something is there doesn't mean that it's going to be used. In this case, just because the code is there for everyone doesn't mean that many of these students are going to dig around and play with the code. They're going to treat it just like they do when they use Windows.

in soviet russia (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20712311)

your posts are not a troll!

Re:Huh? (5, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712375)

Wait, how does Linux teach you how to hack? Is there a hacking man page that I've been missing? Maybe it is in /usr/share/hack or /usr/share/doc/hack? Never checked those directories my self.

/usr/share/doc/howto/en/html/BackspaceDelete/morehack.html
/usr/share/doc/howto/en/html/LVM-HOWTO/hackingcode.html
/usr/share/doc/kernel/kernel-hacking.pdf
/usr/share/doc/packages/fftw/README.hacks
/usr/share/doc/packages/gnokii/gnokii-hackers-howto
/usr/share/doc/packages/gnucash/guile-hackers.txt
/usr/share/doc/packages/libquicktime-devel/hackersguide.txt
/usr/share/doc/packages/ncurses/hackguide.doc
/usr/share/doc/packages/ncurses/hackguide.html
SCNR :-)

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20712493)

Indeed, I have been proven wrong. Russian students now have the ability to hack GNUCash. The US banks shall now TREMBLE IN FEAR! You have taken shaken my identity as an Anonymous Coward and shaken it to the ground. I may have to register or something.

Re:Huh? (4, Insightful)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712589)

By giving you a system with a number of programming languages day one.

If you have not noticed, may I remind you that windows have degenerated into a consumer device totally unusable for any computer science education without spending a significant amount of money and effort to install extra software. As a result Windows based computer literacy has long degenerated into mouse driven "button pushing".

Linux ships with 4 high level computer languages useable out of the box in the base install - perl, python, C and C++. The rest are easily available as packages. As a result the environment to teach CS is already there. The likelihood that the kids will have at least some hacking skills is much higher as well.

Re:Huh? (5, Funny)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712617)

Linux ships with 4 high level computer languages useable out of the box in the base install - perl, python, C and C++.
Let's not forget PHP. No, seriously, guys, where are you going? Guys, come back!

Re:Huh? (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712987)

You actually have to work to not install Ruby, emacs-lisp, Scheme and 3 different shell interperators in most linux distro's. Fortran and java slip in pretty quietly as well.

Re:Huh? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 6 years ago | (#20713083)

I don't know what distro you are using but in my experiance C/C++ compilers are usually not part of the default install (though they usually are on the disk). Python is indeed usually there unless you do a really minimal install and perl is basically irremovable at least in the debian based world.

Re:Great, the penguin goes red! (5, Interesting)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712261)

This is potentially good for Linux and potentially bad for Internet banking.

Let's teach all the russian kids how to hack. This is what we should be doing in the USA.

Back when I was teaching, I did exactly that.

I had a standing challenge that any kid who managed to pop any of my servers, and show/prove exactly how he or she did it, got a their overall grade bumped by one letter for that semester. The ground rules were simple: they could only break into a server that I controlled. I did it because 1) kids try for it out of curiousity anyway, and 2) they may as well be challenged to study than admonished into ignorance. I went out of my way to include security into the curricula whenever and wherever I could.

Out of six years of teaching, only one student had managed it... he organized the local (Salt Lake City) 2600 chapter. Last I heard he was running his own security consulting firm.

/P

Re:Great, the penguin goes red! (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712917)

The Russian Kids that want to hack, know how to hack and how to do it well. If they want to hack, they already have Linux installed because the only thing that embarrass a hacker more than failing to penetrate a target system it's getting his/her own machine p0wned in the attempt.

Good for them (2, Interesting)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712139)

I fully encourage any and all large organizations ( like a government ) to move to an OS that suits their needs, or can be tailored as such.

With the hopeful side effect, of course, of a more robust OS for all others involved. Given russia's rather lax attitude towards IP ( which I can't fault them in ), it's questionable whether we will see changes committed back to the tree. But here's hoping!

Re:Good for them (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712343)

Would they have to? With the GPL, if you make changes and distribute the software to an outside entity, you have to make the source code available. However, if you are a corporation, and make a bunch of changes to some GPL product, but only use it internally within you're corporation, you aren't required to release any of the changes. So if the Russian government makes a bunch of changes but only releases it to be used by government controlled entities such as schools, government offices, police, and military are they required to release the source? I would think not.

Re:Good for them (2, Insightful)

kryten_nl (863119) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712537)

It wouldn't be helpful if a school-OS wasn't available for students to use at home. So I think the source will be distributed. If it comes with a localized version of Pidgin (or other IM software), it might even become a serious Windows rival.

Re:Good for them (5, Insightful)

kebes (861706) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712351)

Given russia's rather lax attitude towards IP ( which I can't fault them in ), it's questionable whether we will see changes committed back to the tree. But here's hoping!
Well, there's a difference between the Russian government, the Russian corporate sector, and the Russian people. Lax copyright enforcement merely means that it will be difficult to prevent commercial entities in Russia from creative closed-source forks of GPL software (or, conversely, that it will be difficult to induce them to contribute code improvements). But, really, companies that don't want to contribute to open-source software have never been the primary source of code improvements.

The primary source of code improvements is from enthusiasts, and from companies that understand the inherent advantages of building upon the FOSS software and the FOSS community. Both of these groups of people will operate in a lax-copyright regime much the same way they would elsewhere. Enthusiasts contribute to GPL projects not because of copyright law (or any other law) but because of a desire to be part of the process. Russian enthusiasts are no different than those from any other countries.

On the commercial end, I suppose it's less likely that a company leveraging the GPL will appear in a place where copyright law isn't enforced. But, on the other hand, many companies do business internationally, so being based in Russia may have little effect on their code contributions to GPL projects, or their desire to leverage FOSS code in general (and contribute to said code).

At the end of the day, from the "get more code" angle, having more people exposed to open-source software is always a good thing. The more people are involved, the more enthusiast coders you get, and the more community volunteers you get. Not to mention that when a large number of people are using FOSS software, companies will find it in their financial interest to support that software (in terms of hardware, software, and support), and even to support "the community." If Linux were truly widespread in Russia, I see no reason why companies wouldn't actively support FOSS with open-source code.

Re:Good for them (5, Informative)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712795)

This has nothing to do with suiting needs or not.

This is a reaction towards this long, protracted and phenomenally stupid lawsuit brought by the Russian branch of the BSA: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6499843.stm [bbc.co.uk]

In brief: a school in the middle of nowhere was sold computers with pirated windows and office which they believed to be genuine. Instead of going after the manufacturer and the reseller the Russian branch of the BSA went after the headmaster of the school and tried to make him personally criminally responsible. he case got phenomenal adverse publicity and reached to the level of the both Putin and Gorbachev wading in and asking that the real culprit is prosecuted. Instead of that the idiots continued and even tried to invoke the MAFIAA favourite tool of WTO scaremongering.

At this point the Russians did the very Russian thing of making a point in principle. Is the OS suited or not no longer matters in the slightest. They will simply no longer do educational business with Microsoft in principle and this is it.

It is a part of Russian character - you may push them for a very long time and they will do nothing. At one point they will go into "Za nami Rodina, ni shagu nazad (Fatherland is behind us, no further steps back)". This is a point you simply do not want to reach when you negotiate with them and it was reached solely through the BSA stupidity.

This also makes a major difference between the Russian case and similar situations in Asia a few years back. There Microsoft managed to defuse the situation through offering seriously discounted Windows and BilliGatus gifts to education and health. In this case this will not work. It is not a matter of money it is a matter of principle from now on.

Re:Good for them (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#20713153)

Around here, there is only one principle: You're not allowed to have principles. They're provincial, prejudicial and bad for business.

Time for Linux Penetration WorldMap ? (5, Interesting)

Adeptus_Luminati (634274) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712159)

Ok, every other week now for the past couple of years we read on slashdot "Government XYZ in country ABC is converting to Linux","Country XYZ schools in XYZ country mandate Linux be in classrooms", "Company DFG has migrated to Linux desktops", etc

It'd be interesting to see some world maps showing which countries have massive deployments and when you mouse-over, it shows you the # population that is using Linux.

Then we can turn to our bosses and say... "See!"

Anybody up for the challenge?

Adeptus

Re:Time for Linux Penetration WorldMap ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20712203)

I nominate you.

Re:Time for Linux Penetration WorldMap ? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20712361)

I find it interesting (and disturbing) that almost all of the metaphors surrounding both business and warfare involve fucking. Gotta increase that penetration at all costs.

What would a female-dominated society look like? No warfare, just a lot of snide remarks and gossip? That sounds like a good deal to me. "After 5 years of hostilities, isn't it about time we start returning Iraq's phone calls?"

Re:Time for Linux Penetration WorldMap ? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20712713)

You mean to say: "Iraq isn't raising their kids properly, call the lawyer, take the kids, and bill them for child support."

I think it's safe to say that women are completely capable of astonishing cruelty. Of course the above theory isn't necessarily horrible by US standards of living, but most Americans, women included, just don't give a sh*t. I think female generals, would take the position, based on their own inherent ability for waging war, just like female politicians are not hesitant to vote in favor of war. It's a crap-ass-sexist delusion that women are somehow more peaceful than men or are better at raising children than men. Women are often just as volatile, psychotic, predatory and cunning as men. History is full of examples that discredit your opinions. Oh, and btw, women use metaphors for fucking too, not that penetration doesn't have less perverted meanings.

Now for my history, I'm a single dad, my bosses, supervisors, and higher ups (at work), consist of 3 women and 1 man. I have no grudges against these women, nor do I think any of them are unqualified for their positions, but it is disproportionate. I work in a field where I constantly hear about women crying "sexism" (not where I work, thank god). And dating I hear about women that complain constantly about horrible men (bad fathers etc), but often, I miss relationships with women because they go out and FUCK the proverbial epitome of their stereotypical asshole boyfriends they always complain about. Now, I'm a good guy, with a good job, that cares about his kids, honestly looking for someone to settle down with. I've been single for four years largely because I'm not a piece of shit, so please take your condescending feminist bullshit to Myspace where you can post a bulletin and all your 20-something retarded girlfriends can sit around further distancing themselves from the men they really want to be with. Hope I don't come off too confrontational, but you must understand that I have a vested interest in finding women that are nothing fucking like you. Hateful baggage is not something any man wants to carry for you.

Re:Time for Linux Penetration WorldMap ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20713291)

I wish I could mod you up.

Re:Time for Linux Penetration WorldMap ? (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 6 years ago | (#20713073)

"Hell thath no fury like a woman scorned", does that give you a clue? PMS and the army of a major-power, scarry stuff, just ask Argentina.

That's a lot of schools (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20712163)

Russia is a big country. Once again the growth of Linux, a product made mostly in America, is happening most freely outside of American borders. Back home, it has to contend with "software patents", and the unrestrained monopolism of Microsoft, both of which are much less of a problem overseas where governments refuse to allow big foreign corporations to shit all over their economies (whereas the US govt. is all too happy to let big American corporations do whatever the hell they like as long as they have the "lobbyists" to pay for it).

I'm very disappointed (2, Interesting)

Mr. Lwanga (872401) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712165)

No "In Soviet Russia" jokes as FP?

Re:I'm very disappointed (1)

J_Omega (709711) | more than 6 years ago | (#20713297)

I take partial responsibility. I mean, I could/should have put in a joke when I submitted the story!

Cue "Bill and Melinda Gates..." (3, Funny)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712185)

I wonder how long it'll take before Mssr. Gates and his little charity swoops in and donates a universal XP license to all russian schools?

/P

Re:Cue "Bill and Melinda Gates..." (1)

neildiamond (610251) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712847)

Yes, because if it were a universal Vista license...

Too many joke possibilities with that one, too little time.

Re:Cue "Bill and Melinda Gates..." (1)

colourmyeyes (1028804) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712887)

It seems to be a different software company:

because of widely spread illegal practically free Miscrosoft software.
Who knew Miscrosoft had made such inroads in Russia?

Not called "Russian OS" (5, Insightful)

jpetts (208163) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712205)

The software will be called ALTLinux. It is the typical lack of the use of articles in Russian which seems to be confusing the submitter. If written by an English author, the article would have started "A Russian OS...".

Re:Not called "Russian OS" (2, Informative)

Marcion (876801) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712313)

Yup I just had a fish through, and ALT Linux seems to be a Redhat recompile in the style of CentOS with some extra Russian documentation etc.

Re:Not called "Russian OS" (3, Informative)

Sheltem The Guardian (940038) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712575)

Nope. What you're talking about is ASP Linux. Alt linux is a complete-cycle distribution remotely based on mandrake and debian.

Re:Not called "Russian OS" (2, Informative)

tropicdog (811766) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712337)

Incorrect, you say:

"The software will be called ALTLinux. It is the typical lack of the use of articles in Russian which seems to be confusing the submitter. If written by an English author, the article would have started "A Russian OS..."

TFA actually says:

"The Ministry of Communication Press Service explains the Ministry plans to install Russian OS and alternative program package in every Russian school. The dates to carry out tenders for OS development have not been announced yet, but the tenders are to be held in the near future, the Ministry of Communication informs."

And then introduces this hopeful contender for the development of the software applications to be geared towards classroom use.

"Alexey Smirnov, Director General of the Company ALTLinux which has already announced its desire to put in a bid for the tender to develop alternative software package considers the given terms reasonable."

Re:Not called "Russian OS" (1)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712577)

No, what he means is that TFA has an incorrect translation from Russian, which was then picked up by Slashdot.

In Russian there's no "the" article, so "the ministry plans to install the russian OS" would be written more like "ministry plans to install russian OS". That seems to have confused the translator, who understood "russian OS" as a product name instead of "russian-made OS".

Re:Not called "Russian OS" (1)

gr8dude (832945) | more than 6 years ago | (#20713059)

The software will be called ALTLinux

ALTLinux is a distro that exists for many years, they just decided they'll use THAT one because there is a Russian company behind it.

Open Source Really Is Like Communism Now (2, Funny)

johnrpenner (40054) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712235)


this will just play into the hands of our detractors who can now claim that 'Open Source Really Is Like Communism' (never mind that it was invented by an American... ;-)

at least i'm trying to be funny...

j

--
open source -- in the long tradition of libraries, liberty, and threefolding [earthlink.net]...

Re:Open Source Really Is Like Communism Now (1)

dapyx (665882) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712503)

never mind that it was invented by an American

so what? Communism was developed by two Germans (Karl Marx and Friedrich Engles), who wrote the The Communist Manifesto in 1848.

Re:Open Source Really Is Like Communism Now (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20712543)

On the contrary, now we'll have a great comeback line.

"Open-source is just like communism."
"No, communism failed in Russia. Open-source is succeeding. No matter what open-source is, it's not *quite* as bad as communism."

Russia isn't communist... (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#20713079)

It's a federal republican democracy with a capitalist economy... Has been for years.

Doesn't make it a good democracy, but then, the US can't exactly throw stones in that regard either.
 

What's wrong with the name? (-1, Troll)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712253)

The article makes it appear that it will be going by the (unimaginative) name 'Russian OS.'

Don't you know Linux was invented in Russia? :p

Re:What's wrong with the name? (2, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712451)

Or as Ensign Chekov would no doubt have said, "Linux? Of course, Keptin. It was a Russian inwention."

Re:What's wrong with the name? (2, Informative)

kryten_nl (863119) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712609)

Finland declared it's independence from (Soviet) Russia in 1917. I know some people might be a little bit behind the times, but you're pushing the envelope.

As linux.org.ru readers would say... (3, Insightful)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712255)

Vendekapetz blisitsa!

(The end of Windows is getting closer!)

One solution to copyright infringment suits (2, Interesting)

Protonk (599901) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712271)

Price of a given software good too high for teachers to use it? Russian teachers have already tried pirating it, because the cost of an XP OS license is ridiculous in comparison to budgets for schools there, especially outside of moscow. Microsoft comes down like a ton of bricks on the teacher, so it becomes clear that this isn't a useful route for other teachers. The switch is made to an Os without license fees and distribution limitations.

Microsoft could have solved this by lowering the price of XP for educators in russia enough so that it could have been meaningfully distributed around the country. But they didn't. Oh well.

Re:One solution to copyright infringment suits (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712551)

At the same time, I feel the government has been pushing the teacher ahead of them for brownie points. It's not like Putin and Russia are really that broke, they're creating the conditions these teachers have to live under. Like, we want XP on our computers but won't pay you for licenses, hint hint nudge nudge. It's a lot like employees of a corporation or officers in an army, even if you're not able to put the blame where it belongs you want to make damn sure that the next teacher will say "Sorry boss, won't do that because it's illegal, too risky and I don't want to be the fall guy." It's not exactly an uncommon practise in a shady environment to encourage one sort of behavior then turn around and disavow all knowledge when shit hits the fan, "isolated incident", "acted without authorization", "against company policy" and so on.

Re:One solution to copyright infringment suits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20712639)

Price of a given software good too high for teachers to use it?

Woaw, I nearly had a heart attack... At first I read "Price of a given good software...". Remember that we're talking about Windows ;)

Partially due to cost, too (2, Interesting)

ACS Solver (1068112) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712301)

The vast majority of Russian schools has pirated software installed. They can't afford to buy licenses for MS products, and frankly the government doesn't view it as a high priority either, Russia still doesn't respect copyrights too much. At the same time, they've been actually cracking down on pirates lately (due to international pressure, in part). So I expect that going Linux in schools is by far the easiest way of going legal in Russia - licenses are just really not an option.

Re:Partially due to cost, too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20712371)

This is how MS makes $60bn per year. Because users are used to it through piracy.

And this shows why linux was such an important project all along. It may not be ready for the desktop in US, but if somebody wants to build an alternative Desktop, the free OS is here.

Combined with the Dragon3 CPU from the Chinese and wireless cards from Taiwan. Keep on rocking in the free world!

Getting Linux into western schools / OpenEducation (2, Interesting)

pluke (801200) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712327)

I've been trying to get the techies at my school to consider linux and open source for a while now. They are not interested, distrust things that are free and find it easier just to follow the commercial software peddled to them or recommended by the UK government's BECTA organisation. Maybe it takes a governmental decision to bring about change for the ill-informed schools. Well done Russia. In the mean time I'm trying to change their mind by giving the students copies of the OpenEducationCD and getting them to tell their teachers how they are finding it. www.theopencd.org/education

Non-commercial? (1)

skeeto (1138903) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712359)

reduce dependence on foreign commercial software

Since when is GNU/Linux not commercial software?

Re:Non-commercial? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20712533)

Wow, you're an idiot. I mean geez, reading slashdot I've come across some real morons, but you completely take the cake.

Just out of, um, scientific curiosity, could you try an experiment for me? I want to you walk and breath at the same time. I know it sounds difficult, but perhaps you can manage. As you put a foot forward, inhale. When you put the next foot forward, exhale. It's important to remember these steps and do them in proper order.

Anyway: OSS != commercial software.

Re:Non-commercial? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20712977)

No, you're the idiot. What, you think big companies like Red Hat and Trolltech pay their rent with magic pixie dust? No, they make bucketloads of money off of OSS.

You fucking dumb shit. I believe this cake is yours.

Re:Non-commercial? (1)

skeeto (1138903) | more than 6 years ago | (#20713169)

OSS != commercial software
Since you used "open source", I will reply to that. This comes right from the Open Source Initiative's website, [opensource.org]

6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor

The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.

Rationale: The major intention of this clause is to prohibit license traps that prevent open source from being used commercially. We want commercial users to join our community, not feel excluded from it.

Free software can be commericial software too. From the GNU website's Selling Free Software [gnu.org],

Actually we encourage people who redistribute free software to charge as much as they wish or can. If this seems surprising to you, please read on.

The word "free" has two legitimate general meanings; it can refer either to freedom or to price. When we speak of "free software", we're talking about freedom, not price. (Think of "free speech", not "free beer".) Specifically, it means that a user is free to run the program, change the program, and redistribute the program with or without changes.

Software can be both free software (or "open source" as you used) and commericial software at the same time. There is nothing exclusive about either. For examples, see Red Hat, Sun, IBM, and many more.

Looks like I just fed a troll.

Is Linux really important? (2, Insightful)

tsa (15680) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712365)

I think the importance of the penetration of Linux is overestimated. What is more important than the penetration of Linux, is the penetration of Open Source programs. We now have a few very succesfull Open Source programs that are useful for a lot of people: Firefox, Thunderbird, Gimp, OpenOffice, and, to a lesser extent, Inkscape. They run on the three main operating systems: OSX, Linux, And Windows. The use of programs like the OpenOffice et al. ensures the use of open standards for documents, pictures, etc, which in the long run is much more important than which operating system is prevalent.

Re:Is Linux really important? (5, Insightful)

McDutchie (151611) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712985)

Yes, Linux is really important. Open standards are meaningless if a single dominant closed operating system can control and restrict every program that runs on the computer, and this is the direction in which Windows is going. If left unchallenged, it may not even be able to run open soure software [gnu.org], some years from now. Linux is essential in being that challenge.

Re:Is Linux really important? (1)

Vexorian (959249) | more than 6 years ago | (#20713235)

hell yeah?

Dunno about you but if you use open source software and open documents all is right, but there's no reason to keep paying for a "windows tax" in that case, a lot of people prefer open source but get locked into these proprietary operating systems for no more reason than a single software/hardware company that likes to pick platforms for their customers. We can only beat this by promoting an open source operating system, in this regards Linux, and a possible GPLed OpenSolaris are required, there is not much worth in open source if you still need to pay some tax to use them (windows' licensing...)

All they need now is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20712367)

A chicken in every pot!

This anti-piracy move shoud make Microsft happy. (5, Funny)

Technician (215283) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712425)

It should make Microsoft very happy as Russia is a hotbed of pirated copies of Microsoft products. It is nice to see Russia taking a proactive step to combat international piracy.

(*($%^%#%^-crash%%&(

What is that sound from Redmond?

Re:This anti-piracy move shoud make Microsft happy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20712823)

Most likely "Oh crap, now they wount even think about buying any of our products."

Re:This anti-piracy move shoud make Microsft happy (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 6 years ago | (#20713161)

They can't admit it but it is far better for MS if people use pirate MS software than if they use linux.

Linux reaching a large enough market share for software vendors to take it seriously would be incrediablly damaging to MS.

Old news? (1)

atamyrat (980611) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712505)

I've submitted news to /. about Russian schools consider switching to ALTLinux a long before, i think it was after Microsoft sued the high-school teacher for pirated copy of windows xp.

Re:Old news? (3, Informative)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712901)

AFAIK the decision was taken about a month ago and announced on Russian TV. I got a couple of letters on the subject from Russian friends when it happened.
You are right - it is related to the teacher. Frankly, Microsoft should have given it a second thought and stopped simulating that it has nothing to do with it especially after both Putin, Gorbi and Zhirik got involved with it. Before that it was a piracy case. Now, after MSFT ignored all political parties from the left to the right end, the current and the past presidents it has become a political issue. It is not a matter of money any more.

The biggest driver of Linux on the desktop ... (1, Insightful)

Kristoph (242780) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712529)

IMO the biggest driver of Linux on the Desktop is Microsoft and this article is but one example.

Their combination of their recalcitrant anti-competitive behavior and anti-piracy lobbying prompts governments to seek alternatives, which drives wider Linux awareness as Linux is adopted by educational institutions. Their anti-piracy technologies essentially prevent many multi-computer households from upgrading making Linux as an alternative (for tech savy users) that much appealing. Their zeal to dominate every market forces other industry players towards supporting alternatives as a defensive measure, which means more applications and codecs.

Linux is otherwise technically competitive with Microsoft but certainly it is facing a significant market disadvantage due to Microsoft's entrenched position, and so Microsoft's actions are likely to have the most impact in combating that position.

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Linux/OSS/Freeware for Education -- A Rant (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20712547)

As you'll surely assume from this rant I do not have children, but I do have a nephew. I also use Linux, F/OSS as well as Windows and commercial software. Let me say, that I realize that Linux and OSS doesn't necessarily mean free or cheap but usually it does cost less. I'm all for using Linux and OSS in education. I do not feel it is necessary to spend (waste) taxpayer money just because some people will rant that the children deserve the best in name-brand, expensive software for kids. If so, buy them whatever you wish for their home use, but every student does not need to be issued a laptop with Windows/Office installed on it with my money. Then they send out kids with coupon books, candy, etc. to raise more money. Linux/OSS/Freeware can teach kids to use a computer and allow them to get their homework done without spending as much taxpayer money. I'm all for it.

"Russian OS" name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20712599)

The name is no more unimaginative than Microsoft or Office or FrontPage or may the boring list go on....

Now the cat is out of the bag (2, Informative)

harris s newman (714436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712603)

Now you told Microsoft things will change rapidly. Soon to be announced, discounted copies of XP to every school in Russia.

Re:Now the cat is out of the bag (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712629)

You can't discount it much more than "free". But everyone in Russia as been getting pirated XP for "free" anyway. So price is obviously not the reasoning behind this.

Re:Now the cat is out of the bag (2, Insightful)

budgenator (254554) | more than 6 years ago | (#20713245)

At the risk of sounding trollish, but people have been getting Windows at no additional cost for a long time, and when you get something for "free" it's hard to get them to start paying for it. Now there isn't much purpose in buying a new computer, for all practical purposes a 5 y. o. computer is just as good as a new one, not like the old days when a 5 yo. computer was slow, so microsoft is in trouble now, they just aren't selling product to the OEM computer vendors and so aren't sell windows.

No way; Microsoft will stop this. (2, Interesting)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712655)

Not going to happen. Russian goverment is strongly corrupted on all levels [wikipedia.org]. On the other hand, Microsoft has deep pockets, and little hesitation reaching into them in such cases.

What's going to happen, most likely, is that they let the pilot programme run, and then buy sufficient amount of FUD-spreading from those involved to declare it unsuccessful, with a nice side-effect of discrediting the only competitor (Apple is not competitive in Russia - hardware pricing is way too high, and, perhaps, more importantly for education sector, their software is not localized for Russia).

Re:No way; Microsoft will stop this. (1)

temcat (873475) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712859)

Yes, what you describe is a very likely outcome. There already are some regional precedents to that effect (I believe exactly the same happened with ALTLinux in Volgograd).

Also, this may be simply a PR move before the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections which will be quickly forgotten after the elections are over.

Russia OWNS Linux (mode me flamebait if you want) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20712677)

Why? Linus is a Finn and Finland used to be part of the Russian Empire. Russia still owns parts of Finland acquired in the Winter War almost 70 years ago. For a Russian mind this is enough to claim owneship of Finland and everthing what goes with it including Linus and his operating system. Whatever belonged to Mother Russia in the past should belong to Russia FOREVER! Baltic and Skandinavian countrie, beware!

Linus is a Swedish Finn not a Finn Finn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20712833)

Upper classes in Finland used to be Swedish while the losers and nobodies vere Finns. Linus belongs to the Swedish speaking upper classes. Linus is a Swede from Finland, not a Finn. Saying that Linus is a Finn is the same sayng that a Hungarian person from Romania is a Romanian or a Ukrainian person from Poland is a Pole.

Re:Russia OWNS Linux (mode me flamebait if you wan (1)

Chemicalscum (525689) | more than 6 years ago | (#20713071)

Linus's father was a Finnish communist journalist and a leading figure in the Communist Party of Finland who spent a lot of time living in Russia. I gather from Linus's book that these long absences in part contributed to the break up of his parents marriage.

those poor sods - too poor for a real computer (1, Flamebait)

Fluk3 (742259) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712731)

linux desktop and communism are a good mach though - citizens are miserable, but pretend to be proud - and it is doomed to fail miserably

Using one Now! (-1, Offtopic)

penguin7009 (1160373) | more than 6 years ago | (#20712733)

I have been using Linux XP for three years now! The newest version LXP2007 is due out in Sept 2007. It IS a VERY good Distro, the newest version based on Fedora Core6. It is a FOR PAY Distro and has been highly customized. The latest version is beautifully done and works excellent. Follow the link to version 2006: http://www.linux-xp.com/ [linux-xp.com] penguin7009

Linux and Communism (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20712967)

Sounds like a perfect match to me.

Government-approved Linux? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20713109)

Yet another example that Linux can only compete through government mandate; government shoving it down its citizen's throats. Well, what else would you expect from dictatorship (which Putin has turned Russia's "democracy" into).

Any takers on whether this Russian Government version of Linux violates GPL? You can bet that there will be modifications that will NOT be given back to the "community", just as is the case with China's "Red Flag" Linux.

Sadly, it would appear that rich schools will pay for the privilidge to use higher quality commercial software while poorer ones will have to make do with Russia OS Linux.
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