back to article Ubuntu tapped by China for national operating system

Ubuntu is going to become the reference architecture for a Linux distribution, backed and developed by the Chinese government. The news means Ubuntu-stewards Canonical will work with China's National University of Defense Technology, and The China Software and Integrated Chip Promotions Center, to develop a Chinese-flavored …

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  1. Esskay
    Joke

    Possible additions

    Send to>

    -Home

    -Documents

    -Gulag

    Or maybe a Gimp editor where you can erase people from photos...as well as newspapers, books, history, etc.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Possible additions

      At least we should be able to hack them back easily then.

      http://secunia.com/advisories/product/40762/?task=advisories

      1. yossarianuk

        Re: Possible additions

        But no where near as easy as Windows.

        Most Linux vulns require local access to exploit.

        Unlike Windows.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Possible additions

          "Most Linux vulns require local access to exploit." - actually it's demonstrably the other way round. The vast majority of Windows malware requires local access. The vast majority of Linux exploits are remote - such as internet facing systems being remotely hacked - http://www.zone-h.org/news/id/4737

    2. Interceptor
      Big Brother

      Re: Possible additions

      Rutherford unperson. Substitute Ogilvy. Ogilvy blog details as follows: war hero, recently killed, Malabar front. Today awarded posthumous secondary order of conspicuous merit second class.

    3. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Possible additions

      Gulags were those lovely Soviets, for the Chinese you have Laogai instead.

  2. solidsoup
    Facepalm

    Part of a Plan

    In light of this, introducing feature that spies on peoples searches makes a lot more sense. They can just substitute PRC servers for their own now and keep the same code. Very convenient. Now if any company allied itself with China to build the operating system, there would be outcry aplenty. See this fly past the radar as Ubuntu is considered crucial by many in the free software movement in beating "evil" Apple and Microsoft.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ubuntu obvious choice

    Ubuntu is already the most popular Linux dist in China, so its good they stop free-riding as usual and put some resources into developing the os.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ubuntu obvious choice

      Do you really think you would like to use that OS ?

      1. asdf
        Trollface

        Re: ubuntu obvious choice

        >Do you really think you would like to use that OS ?

        What Ubuntu? Unity pushed me away not the Chinese. Long live Mint! (with the parts of Ubuntu worth using).

        1. solidsoup
          Devil

          Re: ubuntu obvious choice

          The obligatory...

          So on one end of the deal you have an entity controlled by a cadre of orthodox ideologues and lead by an autocratic leader who can't handle people disagreeing with him. It spies on its subjects and is willing to sell them out to multinational commercial interests. And on the the other there's Republic of China.

  4. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
    Coat

    Which Chinese Calendars?

    I know of only two, the lunar calendar, popular for determining the date of Chinese New Year and other festivals, and the Minguo calendar.

    The Minguo calendar was defined by Sun Yat-Sen with year 1 = 1912 in the Gregorian Calendar, and is only used in Taiwan. I would expect, uh, political difficulties in including it in a PRC Ubuntu.

    So, what is the other Chinese calendar they'll be including?

    Incidentally, functions for date conversion between the Minguo and Gregorian calendars were included in WordBasic, Word 6.0.

    The lunar calendar depends on which side of midnight the full moon occurs, so a small uncertainty can sometimes change the date by a day.

    icon - well, yes, I think today's a holiday...

    1. mhenriday
      Boffin

      Re: Which Chinese Calendars?

      As a matter of fact, the traditional Chinese calendar is not a lunar, but rather a lunisolar calendar - otherwise, instead of occurring between 21 January and 20 February in the solar Gregorian calendar that most of us, including people in China, use, the traditional Chinese new year would, like, e g, the month of Ramadan in the Islamic calender, wander throughout all the months of year....

      Henri

    2. Grivas Bo Diddly Harm
      Coat

      Re: Which Chinese Calendars?

      I got given a free Chines calendar by the Happy Garden last Christmas. It hangs up in my kitchen and is quite useful especially as, handily enough, it has their phone number on it in case I need to order a takeaway. They think of everything don't they?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Because the software is open source it's unlikely that any backdoors could be added into the Ubuntu OS without the global Linux community taking notice."

    Ha-ha-ha.

    1. g e
      Joke

      Can Linus swear in Chinese?

      I bet he's learning :oD

      1. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

        Re: Can Linus swear in Chinese?

        Swearing in Chinese is definitely the future...

        1. K Cartlidge
          Happy

          Re: Can Linus swear in Chinese?

          Shiny.

    2. 6 inches long, handle.

      The system will be open-source for sure but only within the great firewall of China.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Spies like us.

    They way Ubuntu's treats it's users, this makes sense, Amazon sells a lot of china made products.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Amazing how silent the extremely virulent free software apologists are being on this thus far. I would expect more condemnation, though it is the middle of the night or very early in the morning in most of the Anglosphere.

    Yet another reason to not use a Canonical product to me though. Not that I was at this point anyway.

    1. g e
      Facepalm

      Don't forget, also

      They'll be using the Linux kernel, best stop using that, too.

      Just in case.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @AC 03:47GMT - Why should FOSS apologists be angry with this ?

      This is not limiting my freedoms in any way since I will not be force to use it. Like you and me, they can do whatever they want with Ubuntu. Oh, you were just trolling ? OK then, keep going.

      1. The BigYin

        Re: @AC 03:47GMT - Why should FOSS apologists be angry with this ?

        It's not limiting your freedoms (yet) but enabling the freedoms of others to be limited is not good. The tools the Chinese develop and add in will no doubt be picked up by other states and used to monitor their citizenry. You only have to look at what Obama is doing in the USA to see what a hard-on they'd have for a "national OS" with built-in spyware.

        All to protect freedom, you understand.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Spyware-R-Us

    Ubuntu does spyware-by-default really well, so it's a no-brainer that the Chinese government picked them.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "China's decision to plough more resources into Linux development stems from a similar desire to wean itself off of technologies developed by Western companies as part of the nation's latest five year plan."

    Canonical Ltd. is UK based, so the UK is not considered a Western company?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If they want to wean themselves

      they should pour a lot more resources into Windows development.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: If they want to wean themselves

        why? even microsoft seem to have stopped!

    2. Euripides Pants Silver badge

      "Canonical Ltd. is UK based, so the UK is not considered a Western company?"

      Not by the Chinese, apparently...

    3. The BigYin

      China owns the UK. Then again, they own the USA too; so what do they have to fear from their serf nations?

      1. Charles Manning

        Ahem....

        China owns the UK....

        Except for the bits owned by India (Land Rover etc) or Germany (Rolls Royce etc).

        1. 6 inches long, handle.

          Re: Ahem....

          There is a difference between China owning something and the Indian or German owning something. When China owns, it is the Chinese government that does the investment via it's state fund. Where as the Indian or German ownership is by private companies. I recently happen to meet an Indian M&A senior official from a state owned Indian bank and the topic turned to acquisitions abroad (well, he was sitting in UK, so the "abroad" term applied to UK). He immediately said: "We do get lots of requests for funding acquisitions. But as we are very conservative we don't invest in risky assets. We need to think of the people investing with us - the bank account holders, because one mistake in investment division has ripple effect of the consumer banking division." I didn't know what to say!

  10. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    FAIL

    How long before the 'backdoors' start appearing?

    in Ubuntu code shipped to the West?

    What ever happened to 'Red Flag' Linux then?

    Perhaps the Chinese Gov are trying this route to get hold of all our data in the hope that we won't notice?

    Fail for obvious reasons including the mandatory 'I told you so' when it all goes horribly wrong and Canonical gets taken over by the Chinese Gov (or Foxconn)

    1. Suricou Raven

      Re: How long before the 'backdoors' start appearing?

      It's open source, no prospect of hiding backdoors. They'd be noticed eventually. I view this as more defensive: China has just as much reason to distrust the products of American companies as America has to distrust the products of Chinese companies. Even if Windows is free of backdoors right now, one could be Windows Updated in easily should hostilities break out.

      1. The BigYin

        Re: How long before the 'backdoors' start appearing?

        Ubuntu is not entirely open source unlike, say, Trisquel. Canonical would have no problem including binary blobs that spy on users.

        They pretty much do this themselves!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How long before the 'backdoors' start appearing?

        I think you're right about this. The Chinese are obviously now comfortable enough with the level of monitoring they can do at the NETWORK level to go open on their operating system platform. All those routers and firewalls Cisco delivered and configured for them years ago, together with the stuff made by their own HTC, is clearly getting the job done to their satisfaction. Back doors are much harder to hide in an open as opposed to closed source system. Of course even with open source you have to have people watching the code who (a) will know a back door when they see one; and (b) are willing to go public when one is discovered. The first requires dedication and intelligence, the second people ready to put the common good over their own personal enrichment. I think the Linux community has an abundance of both from the top down. Not so sure about all those closed source companies.

      3. Charles Manning

        Good reasons to be defensive

        Stuxnet etc - thanks to Windows.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Good reasons to be defensive

          "Stuxnet etc - thanks to Windows"

          Morris Worm etc - thanks to UNIX. Just saying....

  11. bailey86

    This is very good news for Ubuntu

    A huge market and further enhancement of Ubuntu overall.

    I'm not a fan of Unity - I use Xubuntu on my laptop - but others seems to be happy with the latest Unity incarnation on Ubuntu so maybe it's coming together.

    A couple of points.

    Surely any attempt to introduce any backdoors is going to be found easily and would be a huge PR problem for China. The repositories are run by Canonical, there is all sorts of code diffing stuff as well as it being relatively easy to check the network traffic to/from any Ubuntu build.

    If fact - I would say that China adopting an open source OS is a huge move forward in terms of freedom. They are effectively promoting an operating system which they actually CAN'T put monitoring stuff into.

    1. Turtle

      @bailey86: Re: This is very good news for Ubuntu

      "if fact - I would say that China adopting an open source OS is a huge move forward in terms of freedom. "

      Yeah, who needs bullshit like the right to vote for the who leads the government if they have an open source OS, right? And of course if memory serves, North Korea is also just racing towards democracy too; isn't that right?

      Well I have always said that the "freedom" that Open Source software claims to promote is a very trivial sort of freedom. And this of course is a good illustration of that.

      1. g e
        Facepalm

        Re: @bailey86: This is very good news for Ubuntu

        Then write to China and ask them to use an OS you don't like very much instead to make you feel better.

        Alternatively you could use Windows, I guess.

        #IfThineOperatingSystemOffendsThee

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @bailey86 - Re: This is very good news for Ubuntu

      Your last paragraph shows clearly you are naive in believing the Chinese government would promote something so dangerous as a free OS without putting in place some form of control. Keep on dreaming, it's good to have people like you.

    3. TheCraigE

      Re: This is very good news for Ubuntu

      They don't have to make any source code changes to spy on users... It's all built right into Ubuntu already in the lenses feature... Where they, by default, funnel all your search results through their "lense providers" aka. Amazom.

      The chinese version just swaps amazon out for governmentapprovedsearchprovider.com and job done.

      "Your computer has encountered an error.. Click Here to submit your information"

      [OK] [YES] [OK]

    4. The BigYin

      Re: This is very good news for Ubuntu

      "They are effectively promoting an operating system which they actually CAN'T put monitoring stuff into."

      Why does everyone think that just because the Linux kernel is F/OSS that everything that runs on it is also F/OSS. nvidia drivers anyone?

      It would not be beyond the wit of the Chinese to include binary blobs. Want to connect to the Internet? First the closed-source blob must authenticate that it is running and correctly filtering/reporting on you.

      One could remove the blob, of course, but then the authorities just have to detect that fact and kick your door down for trying to undermine the glorious Party.

      They don't have to do anything to the kernel, the kernel is irrelevant; it's what Canonical help then include in userland that should worry you.

      1. Hungry Sean

        Re: This is very good news for Ubuntu

        also, nothing prevents a FOSS distributor from putting in changes that are not accepted by the core teams. Sure, Linus & co can spot evils in the kernel or elsewhere and reject them from the official kernel distribution, but China is plenty big enough to effectively run a fork. Assuming they play nice with copyright law and recognize the GPL as legally binding, all they need to do is either:

        a) block access from their population to sites that host the relevant source

        b) tell their users that of course the benevolent government needs to monitor their computer use, and if they don't want to be re-educated, they will use the approved distribution.

        Big, powerful governments have a lot of options for shoving crap down people's throats. FOSS doesn't change that.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Could be interesting from a security perspective as there are lots of compromised unlicensed windows PCs that don't get patched in China.

    1. Ole Juul

      insecure devices

      Could be interesting from a security perspective as there are lots of compromised unlicensed windows PCs that don't get patched in China.

      Indeed, this could be revealing. We might see a lot less malware coming from China as botnet hosts die.

  13. Paul J Turner

    A simple Google

    https://encrypted.google.com/search?q=closed-source+code+in+ubuntu

    and we may have a winner from 2012/10/19 -

    http://www.zdnet.com/ubuntu-moves-some-linux-development-inside-7000006069/

    I wonder how much will be revealed when 13.0 ships?

  14. Tony Paulazzo

    I don't understand

    If china is so evil and opposed to western democracy why don't they have their own pc architecture with Chinese software and a local only Internet, also, why do western business's do business with a state that imprisons anyone asking for a little freedom?

    I also thought Chinese society was 99% farmers/workers (fixed living income), and 1% ruling elite - turns out they've got layers of society too, middle class, affluent, poor etc. any Chinese resident readers (via vpn), wanna write an honest breakdown of modern Chinese society.

    Also, is it true you don't have a Chinese equivalent for child abuse/paedophilia and can marry 14 year olds?

    Honest curiosity.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: I don't understand

      >Honest curiosity.

      Okay, these figure are a bit out of date:

      According to the International Centre for Prison Studies at King's College London, the U.S. currently has the largest documented prison population in the world, both in absolute and proportional terms. We've got roughly 2.03 million people behind bars, or 701 per 100,000 population. China has the second-largest number of prisoners (1.51 million, for a rate of 117 per 100,000),

      -http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2494/does-the-united-states-lead-the-world-in-prison-population

      > can marry 14 year olds?

      Alabama: You can get married at 14, but you will need a certified copy of your birth certificate. Both parents must be present with identification, or if you have a legal guardian they must be present with a court order and identification. The state requires a $200 bond to be executed, payable to the State of Alabama. If one or both parents are deceased, proper evidence of such must be provided.

      -http://marriage.about.com/cs/teenmarriage/a/teenus.htm

      1. asdf
        Mushroom

        Re: I don't understand

        >Alabama: You can get married at 14

        Yep the American south making the nation proud once again. The only reason we fought to retain that shithole part of the country is because we didn't want unskilled economic refugees coming from two 3rd world countries directly bordering us to the south. The big mistake was giving the treasonous bible thumpers back the right to vote.

        1. Don Jefe

          Re: I don't understand

          You can get married in many U.S. states at a very early age if all parents/guardians on both sides give written consent. It isn't limited to Alabama (where it is also legal to marry sheep and your sister).

    2. mhenriday
      Boffin

      Re: I don't understand

      The marriageable age for males in China is 22 years, for females 20 years....

      Henri

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: I don't understand

        "The marriageable age for males in China....." Strange, but I don't remember any States in the US imposing a government-mandated one child policy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-child_policy).

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: I don't understand

          Nope the US instead has a; use as many resources as you can policy.

          Anybody that allows a 100% tax write off for your car if it's more than 8000 lbs and then invades middle eastern oil producers

    3. Nightkiller

      Re: I don't understand

      Because the Chinese can't complete enough espionage fast enough to be able to deploy properly.

    4. Suricou Raven

      Re: I don't understand

      Politics aside, China and the entire western world have an economic relationship that both find very beneficial - so much that they are willing to largely overlook political differences. Companies of the west demand cheap labor and lax regulation in order to produce the dirt-cheap goods that consumers expect, while China needs rapid industrial growth and investment to turn what was a land of impoverished subsistence farmers only a few decades ago into a modernised industrial powerhouse. The economic exchange is simply too great for either side to sacrifice it over something as petty as an ideological conflict, or even rampant human rights abuse. If China were to stop doing business with the 'capitalist pigs' then their economy would instantly collapse leading to massive rioting, unemployment and poverty. If the US were to outlaw importing the products of cheap Chinese labor and a poison-the-earth environmental policy, the population would cheer... for about two days, before they realise that almost every product they could want to buy suddenly costs ten times as much. So both sides continue to exchange heated rhetoric and maintain an active process of intelligence-gathering, but can't afford to go without the other.

  15. itzman

    If only the UK could do the same..

    ..and require that all documents were in a public open standard format, and that all schools were equipeed with it. etc etc.

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: If only the UK could do the same..

      Yes, and not only the UK. Linux and open source and standards is a no-brainer really. Linux has been used in China for a long time. Linux has been used to develop China's MIPS-based processors, an architecture I would call a no-brainer too. We just have to live with the fact that China will very soon surpass the EU as the worlds biggest economy. A rather self-inflicted situation really.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: Lars Re: If only the UK could do the same..

        "Yes, and not only the UK. Linux and open source and standards is a no-brainer really....." Oh puh-lease! I have done this exercise with companies, charities and even a school - switching 100% to Linux simply doesn't make sense for the majority of organisations. It is ridiculously hard compared to just going with off-the-shelf Micro$haft, especially given the massive amount of documents already in Office format that don't work in Open Office or any of the other pretenders - I know, I've tried convincing business people it would be a smart idea. Sure, if you can limit your business requirements, find a host of additional sysadmins with Linux skills, and manage to cobble together your own builds, but by then your usually over the cost of the Microsoft offering. Sorry, but it will need a lot more effort from the vendors to provide more proven off-the-shelf builds, and then convince the VARs to give up the Microsoft gravy-train that they make lots of money from. As a RHEL/CentOS fanboi I have long since accepted that co-existence is probably a much better immediate choice than trying to convince people a 100% switch is a good idea.

        ".....We just have to live with the fact that China will very soon surpass the EU as the worlds biggest economy....." If China does succeed Europe (which is actually a load of little economies pretending to be one big one) then it will be because the Chinese will work cheaper, ignore regulations and be easier to bribe than even the Greeks. Linux will have nothing to do with it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If only the UK could do the same..

      The vast majority of governments already use MS Office - the Office XML formats of which are an open standard that are supported on 99% of Office software, including most non Microsoft Office software.

      All other Office software options are currently vastly inferior though. If anyone ever makes a better Office product, i'm sure most of the world will come running, but it hasn't happened yet...and doesn't look likely to whilst Microsoft still invest billions on R&D.

      1. The BigYin
        FAIL

        Re: If only the UK could do the same..

        "the Office XML formats of which are an open standard that are supported"

        Apart from the fact they are not open, they are infected with patents and one can't implement MS's format without infringing on MS's patents. Patents MS has licensed in such a way as to make it hard (nay, impossible) for F/OSS to fully support.

        MS also deliberately mis-implemented the ODF standard to break compatibility with Libre/Open Office. Their code was free to read, MS could have made sure they used the same/compatible implementation; but no. They had to make sure it would not work.

        For many the other products are superior (or, at least) equal; but the lock-in MS retains prevents any real competition or choice.

        MS are not open, they are not to be trusted. Ever.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Stop

          Re: The BigYin Re: If only the UK could do the same..

          ".....For many the other products are superior (or, at least) equal....." Sorry, but no. Having tried to use nothing but OSS alternatives many times since 2000, I still use M$ Office. Even after the awful ribbon was introduced, which I absolutely hate, I will still pay for M$ Office over any of the alternatives.

          ".....MS are not open, they are not to be trusted....." Well, do consumers or businesses care? As long as M$ are smart with the pricing we'll carry on letting them ream us. And as for not being open, I'm sure the M$ response will be that they took the standard XML formats and extended them to improve their offering. There is nothing in the XML standards to say you can't do that, nothing that says any extensions have to be given back to the community, and nothing to stop the community either developing their own extensions or paying M$ a licence fee. Face it, the wheels largely fell off the broken Open Office bandwagon when Oracle dropped Oracle Open Office in 2011. M$ offerings like Office 365 show M$ is determined to still reatain their dominance even if it means supporting Office on not just Windoze desktops. Swallow that bile and get used to it, or develop something better.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: If only the UK could do the same..

          "Patents MS has licensed in such a way as to make it hard (nay, impossible) for F/OSS to fully support" - not true - Microsoft have made it easy to license and have provided patent protection. Many F/OSS products therefore already support OXML formats.

          1. Hungry Sean
            WTF?

            @AC 12:59

            are you stupid, willfully ignorant, or trying to whitewash? Have you ever tried to move an OXML file between libre office and word? Pictures, equations, formatting, content get mutilated and lost.

            Don't piss on my head and tell me it's raining gold. Unfortunately, doc 97/2000 remains the most compatible format for the two environments and it's clear to anyone who followed the shameful theater of the standardization process exactly who is to blame.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @AC 12:59

              Why is it the fault of MS that Libre Office can't correctly implement an ISO standard? Seems to me that this is a matter to take up with the amateur volunteers at Libre Office, not the professionals at MS (you know, the people who can actually implement a fully documented standard).

              Or is your the freetard failure to be laid at the door of MS again?

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @AC 12:59

              Have you ever tried to move any Office format file to / from Libre Office (or Google Apps for that matter?) The products suck at interoperability - and that isn't Microsoft's fault.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If only the UK could do the same..

      "public open standard format"

      Office Open XML (OOXML). An ISO standard, gifted to the world by MS and fully supported by MS Office.

      What is your problem, caller?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If only the UK could do the same..

        "What is your problem, caller?" That you forgot to use the "Joke Alert" icon. A standard that can be used only by MS is not an open standard.

  16. 2cent

    Good for the goose is good for the gander???

    It only makes sense.

    If everything you do is bounced off Amazon, why not your government as well.

    I thought it was MS specialty to resell you already developed software a couple of times in new packaging.

    Ooops! I meant recycle products for a better world.

    Still like 12.04 precisely for what it does though. Just edgy this morning.

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      FAIL fail

      He said "unlikely", not impossible. Do you know of any other back doors in open source software?

      And since I'm nit-picking, 1984 was an era of UNIX tapes being passed among friends and I doubt that even Linus could pull off the same trick on Linux today.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. Amorous Cowherder
    Facepalm

    Brilliant!

    Cheers, one more reason to keep away from Ubuntu and stick to a better distro!

    So first it was the threat of Amazon ads and now......

    "Ubuntu, now comes with totalitarian regime approval! When you need that extra push over the cliff of human rights abuse, install Ubuntu!".

    1. GrumpyOldBloke
      Mushroom

      Re: Brilliant!

      Human rights? How are those searches for WMD's going in Iraq after the free west inadvertently killed a million of their people in a bid to halt oppression (or was that the decline of the petrodollar). Afghanistan? Mali? Somalia? Palestine? to name a few. I think you will find that here in the West our approach to human rights tends to end or ruin a lot more lives than all of the 'totalitarian' regimes put together.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Brilliant!

        As an other GrumpyOldBloke I can see your point but to date, depending on the time you choose, Germany, The Sovjet Union and China are still in the lead. Germany a totalitarian regime during WW2. And as far as Iraq is concerned some of "the free west" did not join. If I was still grumpier I would suggest the "freedom fries" eaters stick them up their arse, but why add insult to injury.

      2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: GrumpyoldSheep Re: Brilliant!

        Wow, it's like a condensed version of all the MoveOn/Code Pink group-dumbness rolled into one post!

        ".....How are those searches for WMD's going in Iraq......" Seriously, are there still sheeple bleating about that? Has it replaced Agent Orange as the stock hippy bleat? Please ignroe your herders for a minute and go read up on UN Security Council Resolution 1441. United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441 is a United Nations Security Council resolution adopted unanimously by the United Nations Security Council on 8 November 2002, offering Iraq under Saddam Hussein "a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations" that had been set out in several previous resolutions (Resolution 660, Resolution 661, Resolution 678, Resolution 686, Resolution 687, Resolution 688, Resolution 707, Resolution 715, Resolution 986, and Resolution 1284). Resolution 1441 stated that Iraq was in material breach of the ceasefire terms presented under the terms of Resolution 687. Iraq's breaches related not only to weapons of mass destruction (WMD), but also the known construction of prohibited types of missiles, the purchase and import of prohibited armaments, and the continuing refusal of Iraq to compensate Kuwait for the widespread looting conducted by Iraqi troops during the 1990–1991 invasion and occupation. It also stated that "...false statements or omissions in the declarations submitted by Iraq pursuant to this resolution and failure by Iraq at any time to comply with, and cooperate fully in the implementation of, this resolution shall constitute a further material breach of Iraq's obligations." 1441 gave the LEGAL basis for the invasion of Iraq as Saddam was in breach of numerous UN resolutions. Just to make it clear to you (well, that's probably impossible, but I suppose we must have a dream in life), Saddam was in breach of his commitment to destroy and stop developing WMDs if he had as much as the components to make a single home-made teargas cannister, but as a quick look at http://www.iraqwatch.org/profiles/chemical.html will show, he had plenty going on. Try READING for yourself rather than just bleating what others tell you is the trendy bleat-du-jour.

        ".....after the free west inadvertently killed a million of their people....." Are you basing that whimsical figure on the debunked and Soros-funded Lancet "study" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lancet_surveys_of_Iraq_War_casualties)? Nice to see you forgot to mention the vast majority of dead in Iraq were not killed by the Alliance but by suicide bombers from the insurgents of Shia or Sunni ilk (i.e., mainly Muslim on Muslim murders). As the continued and escalating violence after the US withdrawl from Iraq shows, the locals are quite happy to go on killing each other (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-19076257). But - hey! - you carry on bleating about the "petrodollar" if it keeps you happy.

  19. tempemeaty
    Thumb Up

    China always has their own way, perhaps that's a positive

    I'm going to be the go against the flow and applaud Ubuntu. Unity sucks but maybe China will ask why the same software has to always be recompiled to work with every new release of Linux and demand that issue is addressed. Hopefully.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @tempemeaty - @Re: China always has their own way, perhaps that's a positive

      Just as an example for you, I've successfully upgraded Centos through every version from 5.2 up to 5.9 without ever needing to compile anything. You obviously don't seem to know much about Linux so stick with Windows.

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: @tempemeaty - @China always has their own way, perhaps that's a positive

        @AC, you realise you just neatly made 'tempemeaty"'s point?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @tempemeaty - @China always has their own way, perhaps that's a positive

        "I've successfully upgraded Centos through every version from 5.2 up to 5.9 without ever needing to compile anything. You obviously don't seem to know much about Linux so stick with Windows."

        Try upgrading to version 6 then. Oh wait - upgrading isn't supported? Even Windows can manage to support in place upgrades between major versions...

  20. Michael Habel Silver badge
    WTF?

    What I like to know is the >implication that Microsoft are selling the North Koreans sensitive hi-tech Software in violation of such US Export Laws that says you can't export such things to our Friends over in (or other places), Cuba, Iran, and of course North Korea.

  21. John Savard Silver badge

    Interesting

    I see someone else already remembered "Red Flag Linux", but that looked too much like Windows XP, which is now old-fashioned. As for Windows finding its way into North Korea, that would be piracy, not Microsoft violating U.S. export laws.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  22. admiraljkb
    Headmaster

    Typo alert....

    Overall I liked the article, but this typo on the last sentence is a bit embarrassing:

    "... who can blaim him ..."

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nvidia

    If you really want to screw them, give them some Nvidia cards to plug into their Ubuntu machines.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Nvidia

      With any luck, this will be the push that persuades nvidia to get their act together.

  24. cexcells
    Pint

    Hun hao!

    Good news for both Ubuntu and China.

  25. calonddraig

    Local Tin

    I wonder if they'll be using this on bog standard PC hardware, or if those home-grown MIPS clones they brought out a few years back will get a new outing in locally designed boxen?

  26. yossarianuk

    This could be a great thing if they abide by the GPL.

    This could be a great thing if they abide by the GPL....

    Unlike out silly country where the tax payer is forced to fund a known monopolist patent troll through tax, the Chinese tax payer could fund innonvation and technology improvements the entire world can use.

    What I mean is the fact that schools, hospitals, police, etc are all using Windows desktops still when there is absolutely no need (better) free alternatives exist. his is due to the fact they got a monopoly during the 90's when competition didn't really exist and use tactics outlined in the Halloween documents (at the end of the 90's) to keep their position by ensuring that competition cannot viably exist and 'customers' get locked in forever.

    I'm going to have a major issue when schools/public services want to spend my hard earned money on their Windows 8 'upgrade' , unless they stop using Windows that is where they are heading.

  27. Paul 187
    Joke

    So those "Linux is for commies" trolls were right after all?

    never thought I'd see the day...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: So those "Linux is for commies" trolls were right after all?

      Linux is for everybody.

      Including the communists. :-)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So those "Linux is for commies" trolls were right after all?

      Sorry Paul 187, I was looking for a really stupid message and you came rather close was it not for the Joke Alert.

      Nothing against you, as I hope you understand.

      So if Linux become communist because of the use of Linux in China has Google now become communist too because of using Linux. What would you recommend China to use, Windows, proprietary versions of Unix like HP-UP, Aix or what ever. Would China become a capitalistic state then or would IBM become a communist company. The simple logic is that when a "late to the party" country tries to enter, the one and only alternative is LInux or BSD. I would perhaps go for BSD as you are allowed to take it without sharing anything like Apple did.

      The trolls are Microsoft, as we know, communist, socialist and un-american are the big weapons to fool the stupid in the USA. (note to Microsoft, have you forgotten gay and leftist, why not Palinish or mormonish or does "stupid" come too close to home).

      Anyway, even if I see China as a totalitarian state totally without human rights, the lack of intelligence is not in my top 10 list. But it is silly to mix things without any reason. A bit like the guy who happened to say "I like cats" and the guy who replied "why do you hate dogs".

  28. DanceMan
    Thumb Up

    Population of China: 1.3 billion. So a potential billion users of linux can't be a bad thing when you consider hardware support and software development. By its very nature of numerous distros and lack of a single controlling entity for the software (not the kernel) it will be difficult for any gov't to subvert it. If you want to talk about control, save it for your Playstation or Xbox.

    I was tempted to make some snide comments on China's lack of democracy and excessive control of its citizenry, but I've been reading some history lately. The Chinese philosophy called Legalism, as opposed to Confucianism and others, goes back at least 2300 years, and first was widespread under the first emperor who unified the warring states. The bureaucracy then even controlled who you would marry. Give them time. Education, free enterprise, and information through various sources, travel as well as the internet, will bring about change. I've sat at lunch here in Vancouver with Chinese tourists from the mainland. They won't be able to keep them down forever, as strikes at various factories in China have shown.

  29. mIRCat
    Linux

    Ubuntu

    So this is how we're taking down China? After their first apt-get dist-upgrade they'll be back to the stone age.

  30. RISC OS
    FAIL

    As if....

    ... the lives of people in china aren't bad enough... they now have to use Linux. The poor sods

  31. Skymonrie
    Go

    Only encouragement from me

    I have been living in China for the past two and a half years. As a Linux advocat, this is the best news I think I have ever read. I would like to very briefly paint a picture of IT within China.

    1) The vast majority of people use a pirated copy of Windows XP, there seems to be one image that everyone and their dog has. People will even install Windows XP from this disc on their Apple computers because they only know XP. Because they can't download updates, people install a program called 360. 360 does everything (particularly make a device slow and unresponsive) from giving you a replacement start menu to delivering windows updates, to telling you the weather and modifying the vast array of system files. This thing spies like someone stood 10cm in front of you with a pair of binoculars.

    2) The level of computing proficiency is very poor to the point people who work in computer shops don't understand and will hop on to baidu (web-search) for almost everything unless they have tried it before. When it comes to performing a task, this can result in amusement for the observer but a big vein popping out the forehead for users.

    3) China is filling up with consumers who demand fashion, particularly following the "latest and greatest", Windows XP is something i remember using way back in school and considered very uncool. The chances are this generation will soon be upgrading to the latest pirated version of Windows 7/8.

    With the current scene set, we have the following opportunities

    - When it does come time to put an IT curriculum together, it will be based on Linux

    - When people can control their device, even if the repositories are limited, they will experiment more, many people using open source software; testing it, possibly contributing to it and definitely not pirating it.

    - Don't you think it would be pleasent to have less vulnerable devices on the internet to be abused?

    - Until China is well versed with the Linux ecosystem, there will be plenty of opportunity for service oriented commerce from other countries.

    - Hang Mark Shuttleworth by his scraggly balls to pass that suitcase (more like warehouse) full of cash he will be getting in the general direction of Linux

    In sincerity, I feel this move (even if only talked about) puts China in front of our own governments with regard to technology. Anyone who feels this is a step in the wrong direction is just bitter.

  32. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    the largest market?

    "With a population of 1.34bn and rising, China is all but certain to be the largest market for desktop operating systems in the world in terms of users"

    What are you counting as a market? http://www.britishcouncil.org/learning-faq-the-english-language.htm suggests that the market for English speakers is about 50% larger. Even if you restrict yourself to a single country (and I don't think big business works that way) there is rather more potential in countries like India where they have a vaguely functional legal system that will respect things like contracts. After 1991, everyone thought Russia would be a huge market, until they realised that none of the inward investment was ever going to come out again.

    Come back and tell me about the potential of the Chinese market when they've erected that huge monument in Tiananmen square to the victims of the present regime.

  33. Thomas 4

    Does no-one else see the irony in this?

    A "free" operating system being used by one of the most oppressive and brutal governments on the planet?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Does no-one else see the irony in this?

      It is only "free" if your time has no value....Which is more true in China than here I guess..

  34. agricola
    Holmes

    Finally!

    The world is going to get an Ubuntu which really works, and will work fabulously. So much so, that the Chinese will teach us all a lesson in capitalism: it will sell ITS version of Ubuntu to the rest of the world for $4.99, and make bazeelions of dollars.

    Oh, and in the process, it will tell Mark Shuttleworth to go take a hike; that they've gotten all they need from that lame organization. Yes, Mark, the Chinese are going to show you how correct you've been all along: there IS a way to 'monetize' Ubuntu. Just sit back and watch. And don't even THINK about legal matters--you're now dealing with the world's largest software pirate, and THE entity which started the crumbling of the Microsoft empire, when they told Microsoft to take a hike.

    Good-bye, Mark. I'm looking forward, finally, to a really, REALLY good version of Ubuntu.

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