back to article Russia, China could ban western tech if they want to live in the PAST

Russia and China have both, of late, threatened western IT companies with difficult trading conditions or banishment if they can't prove their products are secure. The reason for their ire is, of course, Edward Snowden's many revelations about US intelligence activities. The response to his leaks have been widespread and …

  1. petur
    Facepalm

    Do you think they care?

    They already have all the blueprints of the chips, so short-term problems for them are zero.

    We, on the other hand, will suffer much more in short-term. And this is what it's all about, in the end. These sanctions are not long-term strategies.

    1. Anonymous Blowhard

      Re: Do you think they care?

      But wouldn't the blueprints contain "whatever it is they are afraid of"?

      Even if some of the technology is tainted, they can get around most of the problems by using off the shelf components to build systems and develop their own operating systems and applications based on open source software.

      The only issues is cost, and both Russia and China will have economies of scale plus the benefit of driving their country's IT sectors through state funded R&D, and profits will stay in the country, and pay tax to them, rather than out of the country where they fund western governments.

      In the past, it was isolationism that stunted Russia and China's technology industries, they can avoid this by allowing their technology industries to continue trading with the rest of the world.

      We're not in the 1970s any more, these countries have highly developed technology infrastructure, from education through to design and even manufacturing.

      Question: The West, Russia and China; which one of them can't put a man into space?

      1. MyffyW Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Good luck enforcing those rules, Vladimir

        I recall a colleague carting a firewall into Russia in his hand luggage some years ago. When stopped by Customs they explained that he was a naughty boy, that what he was doing was punishable under all sorts of laws but they could arrange a "Special Import License". After taking the contents of his wallet (and the wallet itself) he and the firewall were free to go.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Good luck enforcing those rules, Vladimir

          "stopped by Customs"

          Mmm, customs controls and tariffs are not really the issue here, but if you want to play that game, try taking a haggis, even tinned haggis, into those united states of america.

          http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/06/30/us-haggis-ban-scotland_n_5542595.html

          1. launcap Silver badge
            Mushroom

            Re: Good luck enforcing those rules, Vladimir

            > try taking a haggis, even tinned haggis, into those united states of america.

            I shudder what their reaction to Andouillette would be..

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andouillette

      2. big_D Silver badge

        Re: Do you think they care?

        China also has the technology already.

        Don't forget a majority of Western tech is now put together in China. If they stop exporting or put high tarifs on exports, then IT will become more expensive outside of China and they have the know-how to build the kit themselves - look at Lenovo and the smartphone and comms companies quickly gaining international status.

        They might struggle to start with, but it won't just be China and Russia going back a couple of decades. We'll be faced with 90s pricing of hardware again, as production facilities in China are abandoned and other substitutes have to be found - maybe even bringing production back to the West...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Do you think they care?

        Come now, Obama just told us Russia doesn't manufacture anything. Those rockets (including the ones used to launch some US satellites), arms, cars and so on are really being made in China and smuggled in via Novosibirsk.

    2. K

      Re: Do you think they care?

      "They already have all the blueprints of the chips, so short-term problems for them are zero."

      You obviously don't know your history. The USSR stole blue prints for a lot of western technologies, but everything they copied was inferior and they could not keep pace, its one of the many reasons the USSR collapsed.

      Having the blue prints is one thing, having the FAB's, infrastructure and intellects to build from them is another. The likes of Intel, IBM and AMD spend billions on research and developing tools to create smaller and faster infrastructure, which in turn requires other highly specialized tools and high skilled individuals to operate - Where do you propose Russia will get these from.

      Fact is, we live in an integrated world, which requires global cooperation. No one country can afford to be completely isolationist, if they are, then they end up losing what the others have to offer. Whilst there has been major headlines about sanctions, such spats between countries are nothing new, a few years ago they were called trade embargo's, quotas and import duties!

      1. Denarius Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: Do you think they care?

        Intel dont make silicon lithographic machines, they buy them from Germany ? One supplier to world ? Would Germany kowtow to US policy ?

        As for economicly integrated world, one should remember the worlds economy were much more international 100 years ago. How did that wind up ? The lights of western civilisation have not been relit yet.

  2. Lionel Baden

    But What about diversity ?

    I may be wrong, but doesn't having a larger amount of people working on different designs benefit us as a whole ?

    Who knows maybe the fact they are starting from scratch could produce some very nice results

    1. proud2bgrumpy

      Re: But What about diversity ?

      I have a pal who uses Chinese and Eastern European manufacturers to supply components for assembly of his *widget* in the UK. The individual components are worthless on their own and it is not possible to determine how they will be used in isolation from the completed assembly and part of one of the Chinese manufactured components is actually deliberately removed and thrown away during UK assembly. It is by no means the most efficient manufacturing process, but it is the only way to stop them stealing designs. And that is the problem with patents - a valid patent should enable the reader to completely understand the form and function of the item such that they can create a working version of their own. Of course, observing international patent law is essentially nothing more than a gentlemans agreement and patenting an idea actually only serve to put money into a lawyers pockets - there is effectively no protection.

  3. DropBear
    WTF?

    Heck no...

    It's neither China nor Russia who's living in the past - it's the people who insist that anything coming from China has to be a cheap, lousy knock-off of some vastly superior western product. That used to be true to some degree, but it isn't for quite some years now. One should ask himself how come mobile review sites recently started to dedicate more reviews to Indian and Chinese phones than to all traditional vendors combined? I'll give you a clue - the fact that the phones are indeed cheaper wouldn't matter one damn bit if they'd be truly inferior (and exactly what chipset they are running on is beside the point of this example, but we can discuss, say, Allwinner chips all day if you insist)...

    1. TheBully

      Re: Heck no...

      Well my Chinese Dual Sim Zopo ZP980+ has just gone tits up after 4 months with dodgy or non existent reception on both SIMs. Thats £220 down the swanny and now I have to buy another phone HTC one or S4 probably. Chinese phones. :(

      1. Paul_Murphy

        Re: Heck no...

        My 990 is still going Ok, and I bought mine in the new year - I have found one location that doesn't allow either sim to work, but away from there it's normally fine - the tunnels out of Kings Cross can be troublesome though :-)

        After all a quad-core (1.5Ghz), dual sim, dual camera, microSD (up to 64Gb) phoe with 2Gb RAM and 32Gb ROM for £200 from Amazon is worth a try isn't it?

        1. TheBully

          Re: Heck no...

          Well I have found a few others have had the same issues when I have been searching forums for a fix, one guy modified his antenna with foil. I was really chuffed to bits with the phone up until two weeks ago but now when I use it its so annoying it makes me want to smash it. Have to hold it up to the window to get enough signal to send a sms message, people complaining that my phone rings their end but I don't even get a missed call notification. I am getting onto the seller to see if I can return the phone for repair or something.

          The 990 is a nice phone a friend of mine bought one after seeing my 980 and that one is still going strong. Back to my old Nokia N900 now and it gets full signal in the places the zopo used to get none.

  4. Suricou Raven

    Sounds good to me.

    Their technologies may be inferior in many ways, but they will surely find niches where they have some advantage, and the competition will continue to drive technological advance. Having access to more alternatives also helps prevent any one player growing to the point where they can pose a serious threat of abusing their power to lock in customers or dictate terms.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well, I guess Russian and China just have to cooperate to develop their own chips then. =) Look at all the chinese Ph.Ds in the world. I'm sure they can be put to excellent use.

    Also, didn't Russia have a disadvantage in computing power during the space race, but instead, relied on good coding and engineering efficinecy to compensate for brute force? Not sure about that one, but if so, maybe less than stellar CPUs in Russia, could lead to advances in computer science instead.

    Well, let's see what this leads to and who will blink first.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      relied on good coding and engineering efficinecy to compensate for brute force

      No it did not. Same as for weapons it relied on maths. I am going to give a weapon example here (space tech was not that different).

      How does West build a AAA system. It has a corporation (Raytheon, BAE, Matra) write the most complex piece of rubbish realtime code known to man to achieve the highest possible probability of hit with the smartest possible _SINGLE_ missile (plenty of examples, Patriot is not the only one). Efficiency is... cough.. cough... sub-95% (that is if Raytheon, BAE, etc is to be believed, actual engagement so far has shown much less).

      How did Soviet Union (and Russia still continues) build an AAA system. It has a couple of math PhDs working on Optimal control problems (I know some of them by name by the way) define a _MULTIPLE_ pursuit problem, express it via differential games theory (and more recently differential inclusions), define the system of equations to solve it. The result can be coded with high school level of coding. You hook it up to fire control firing _MULTIPLE_ relatively _DUMB_ missiles, according to the equation solution (it looks very wierd by the way - it fires missiles into open sky way off from the target). Result - Buk (the internal, not the export version). Letality - 99%+

      Same for P-700 Granit/Sunburn (the non-export version) vs ships and so on.

      By the way, I know there is a method in this madness - the reason Raytheon and Co are doing it is because they will not be able to get the barrel of pork they are getting now if the solution is a small notebook of equations (instead of several men-millenia of realtime code).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Semiconductor vodka

      @AC; "Well, I guess Russian and China just have to cooperate to develop their own chips then. =) "

      I strongly suspect that the Russians would need the Chinese for that a *lot* more than the Chinese need the Russians.

      The Chinese already have the knowledge base, an increasing home-grown industry (*) and semiconductor manufacturing facilities.

      The Russians? Not so much. It'll take time to convert their potato vodka manufacturing plants.

      (*) Much of which was originally based on knowledge gleaned from Western businesses manufacturing there- say what you like about this, but the Chinese clearly had their eye on the long game more than the short-termist next-quarter's-results focused Western stereotype- but has let them move beyond assembly and bottom-end OEM work into "name" businesses that are starting to compete with their one-time clients, the increasingly-hollowed out Western tech companies.

    3. Michael Strorm

      What if a PC could be programmed to "1K ZX Chess" levels of efficiency?

      "maybe less than stellar CPUs in Russia, could lead to advances in computer science instead"

      This probably won't happen. However, it raises an interesting question I've pondered before.

      Anyone old enough might remember some of the things that were done with the extremely basic ZX81 in the early 1980s. For example, someone managed to fit a near-complete game of Chess into the unexpanded 1KB RAM model!!!

      That's a feat of programming that requires mindbogglingly efficient use of the limited resources. Compare this to bloated modern software running in gigabytes of RAM.

      Question is... how powerful would a typical midrange PC of today be *if* it could be programmed to the same level of efficiency, and what would it be capable of?

      Of course, this is a purely theoretical question. I realise in practice that there's obviously no way that code multiple gigabytes long could be designed in a similar manner to that level of efficiency- it'd require ludicrous amounts of work- which couldn't be solved by throwing even an unlimited number of people at it (*)- and the low-level techniques used would make code utterly unmanageable at even megabyte length.

      But the question remains. If such coding *were* possible at that scale, what feats could the bog-standard PC sitting on your desktop be capable of? I suspect the answer would amaze- if not frighten- us.

      (*) A la "The Mythical Man Month". The overheads required to make development by multiple parties workable would reduce the efficiency of any code significantly. Even scaled up to megabyte length, the code dependencies required for such efficiency would have to be totally unworkable at a practical level for one person, let alone a group. Can you imagine writing a program that was a near-solid gigabyte lump?! As I said, this is a purely theoretical question!

  6. tempemeaty

    Of goals and getting by.

    I think the real question in their minds, is not if they'll be behind, but if they can get by on what they have or accomplish what "they" need to on it.

  7. Alan Denman

    But who got there first, China or the US ?

    The US bans a massive range of Chinese made goods.

    That Symantec security hole was interesting as they were seemingly already banned in China.

    So who is iving in the past, the US banning Chinese tech for made up security concerns, or China banning US NSA ware ?

    As to Russia, well Putin pulled the walls right back up, he is just Nixon except for being here to stay.

    1. Ross K
      Facepalm

      Re: But who got there first, China or the US ?

      The US bans a massive range of Chinese made goods.

      In that event, Walmart can close the doors and call it a day. Along with....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But who got there first, China or the US ?

        In that event, Walmart can close the doors and call it a day. Along with....

        I think you're forgetting the Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar...

        Actually this will probably happen anyway (if it's not already happening), at a certain point the standard of living rises and companies profiting from the lower wages end up moving elsewhere (just ask Nike, Adidas, etc).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But who got there first, China or the US ?

      So who is iving in the past, the US banning Chinese tech for made up security concerns, or China banning US NSA ware ?

      Are we really sure the american's concerns about Chinese networking tech were made up? If anyone knows a thing or two about backdooring commercial hardware it would be the NSA (and remember that the NSA prohibited Obama from using an iPhone when he took office back in 2008, but it was another 5 years before the Germans took similar steps).

  8. Dan 55 Silver badge
    WTF?

    Western tech?

    It's all made there anyway. I think the time when the west got them to make stuff for peanuts but they didn't know what it was they were making has long gone.

  9. kdh0009

    Secure or secure?

    I would have thought Putin would have liked to see the spread of leaky backdoor products - can't have the populace keeping secrets from the state now.

  10. Richard Jones 1
    Stop

    Time To Wake Up and Smell The Grass?

    It is now time to reconsider the idea of using China and others as cheap labour sites that can be safely employed for stuff that is essential(?) to us.

    Perhaps Snowden's one useful contribution might yet be to make someone realise that making things that we want might well be better done at home and not the other side of the world. Then, rather than exporting jobs and importing debts we might start to run a re-balanced economy.

    Perhaps then some good might yet come out of what otherwise has been a string of evil.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seriously???

    You really think that rejecting Windows 8 can be equated to "living in the past"? Windows IS the past.

    1. Ross K
      Meh

      Re: Seriously???

      Windows IS the past.

      What is the future, in your enlightened opinion?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Seriously???

        "What is the future, in your enlightened opinion?"

        Obviously, open source software. For an operating system, Linux is a good start. The kernel and associated shells and tools are continuously being improved and tested by a huge global community. Even more important, open source provides a whole sheaf of overlapping stacks of software built by reusing freely available lower layers. This is unbelievably more efficient than the rather paleolithic approach of trying desperately to keep everything secret within a single organization.

        Consider Joy's Law: "No matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else". Microsoft certainly employs a large number of very smart and experienced people - but that is a tiny fraction of those who are working on open source. Moreover, many of the smartest people who work for Microsoft have their best research work ignored or hopelessly distorted when the marketroids who run the company try to shoehorn it into their profit-making "architectures" and "strategies". A good example lies in the contrast between the utopian vision of Longhorn originally offered to a wondering world, and the pathetic subset that eventually went on sale: Windows Vista.

        As for the future, I am enlightened enough to know that I cannot predict it. That's really why we call it "the future". As John Kenneth Galbraith remarked, "There are two kinds of forecasters: those who don't know and those who don't know they don't know".

        But I can tell you what is better than Windows right now. Apart from Linux and BSD for general and scientific use, and IBM software for large-scale data and transaction processing, OpenVMS is still better than Windows despite having been more or less completely neglected for the last 20 years. Bill Gates made a reasonably intelligent stab at making Windows stable and reliable when he hired David Cutler and his crew to write Windows NT - but Microsoft's values fatally outweighed the good engineering that Cutler injected.

        http://www.vmssoftware.com/index.html

        1. Ross K

          Re: Seriously???

          Obviously, open source software. For an operating system, Linux is a good start. The kernel and associated shells and tools are continuously being improved and tested by a huge global community.

          Predictable answer. Spare me the evangelism - I've heard it all before.

          I'm no fan of Windows 8, but I'd use it all day long before I'd resort to Linux.

          I'm ignoring the rest of your post - you started off criticising a consumer OS and next thing you're going on about how great OpenVMS is... Apples and oranges.

          As for the future, I am enlightened enough to know that I cannot predict it.

          You missed my sarcasm. I wasn't really suggesting you're enlightened.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Seriously???

            "You missed my sarcasm".

            You missed that I deliberately missed your sarcasm. It didn't seem worth noticing.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Seriously???

      "Windows IS the past."

      It seems to be significantly less in the past than the other mainstream options. For instance it's the only OS to fully support touch and gesture based controls - which seems to very definately be the future...

      1. Jess

        Re: it's the only OS to fully support touch and gesture based controls

        Android, iOS and BB10 don't?

  12. Christian Berger

    It's a tradeoff

    A computer that's a factor of 2 slower, but secure seems like a great tradeoff. I mean there are people willing to trade in much more performance for much less security benefits. Just look at antivirus users.

    1. P. Lee

      Re: It's a tradeoff

      There are other trade-offs too. With IT in a slump it would appear that most people don't need Intel's "6" performance. At this point, there seems little harm in favouring cost over performance. It also helps develop the home market.

      It is actually the right thing to do. Governments are there to enhance the good of the people in ways the market cannot. Pushing cheap tech development over more expensive foreign products, especially when there's little need for performance, seems like an excellent long-term strategy.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's a tradeoff

      "A computer that's a factor of 2 slower, but secure seems like a great tradeoff..."

      Especially when you consider that it might be programmed carefully, professionally, and economically. In which case it might still provide a user experience several times FASTER. It's amazing what can be accomplished by radically eliminating bloatware and carefully optimizing for performance. (Instead of building on top of the last three generations' vast libraries, and rushing madly to market in case Wall Street gets upset and marks the stock down).

  13. TimeBandit

    Western Tech?

    Since when did anyone in the "West" produce Tech? Isn't everything made in China nowadays anyway?

  14. John 98

    Works all ways

    Any country banning any technology (for any reason but typically national security) runs the risk of losing out. If the West chooses to ban good ideas from China or Russia, we may hurt ourselves more than them - and fall behind.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Works all ways

      That is the case if the technology requires signficant tangible investment and cannot be reproduced locally. So silicon, advanced material tech, etc - all theoretically fall in that category. Practically - they are all in China already.

      Software does not fall into that category. Even North Korea can write the software it needs nowdays.

      In fact, the west may find it more difficult here as the number of qualified software engineers (total and per capita) and their productivity is significantly higher outside USA and UK.

    2. Richard Jones 1
      Flame

      Re: Works all ways

      Let's see some of the good ideas we could import from Russia and China.

      1) Right its my way or no way according to Putin and the politburo, how does that one fly chaps?

      2) You want to complain about any government policy, there's no internet and a windowless cell for you?,

      3) Want to go on strike stick that work or starve your choice oh and forget your family.

      4) Want to make any sort of protest? We've not got an app for that we've got a bunch of apes acting as thugs with whips for that! See pussy riot photos for confirmation.

      5) you want an Apple/MS/whatever toy, here is a nice unheated cell for you.

      Yes I can see how the good ideas flow from those two 'wonderful lands' China and Russia.

      Just don't let me stop you from applying to go there.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ Richard Jones 1

        That's just a silly troll. Your post has absolutely nothing to do with technology; it's a weak attempt to change the subject to politics. (As well as smuggling in a lot of unsound assumptions about life in modern Russia and China).

        "See pussy riot photos for confirmation".

        If Pussy Riot had tried some of their stunts in Britain, France, or the USA they would have wound up in prison. Do you actually know anything about those people? Do you perhaps like, or approve of, them? They have nothing whatsoever to do with freedom, and a great deal to do with exhibitionism and the profit motive.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @ Richard Jones 1

          I seem to recall that one of Pussy Riot's supporters in Germany was put in gaol for 3 years for performing a stunt in support of the two women in chokey.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Let's see some of the good ideas we could import from Russia

        What about the one where the bottom section of society actually get a decent standard of living?

        That would probably be the reason the people are happy with him despite his blatantly feathering his own and his friends' nests.

        Cameron (who does the same, but far less blatantly) could learn from this.

  15. Paw Bokenfohr

    Comfortable local market ≠ world beating products.

    You only have to look to Blackberry to see what happens when you have a local market which will support you no matter what.

    In that case, it was Canadians good-natured patriotism to the plucky RIM which enabled them to continue, supported, down a path which others had abandoned because of the prevailing moves in the market, and if Russian and Chinese businesses and people are required to support local vendors, the same thing will happen; lack of competition → stagnation.

  16. Lars Silver badge
    Coat

    I think

    We have to remember that, while those countries might have known a lot about the NSA, it's now out in the open, and they just have to react openly. If there are any long term plans is an other question. So what should they do.

  17. All names Taken
    Alien

    Scary monsters?

    You humans,tsk what you like?

    As soon as something disagreeable happens you respond to the release of adrenaline by aspiring to be a scary monster.

    Maybe failing to manage the response to adrenaline is the reason for your wars, conflicts, ... and so forth.

    It always astounds me how you are prepared to set fire to a car tyre set around someone's neck purely because of some minor yet universally insignificant difference.

    What are you like?

    (personally I'd ditch the X86 if I were you - it also prohibits so much and so many alternative methodologies but I guessed and hoped you already knew that?)

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Scary monsters?

      > (personally I'd ditch the X86 if I were you - it also prohibits so much and so many alternative methodologies but I guessed and hoped you already knew that?)

      Ironically it was Intel who attempted to do that (Itanium) and AMD who forced it to be retained (AMD-x64)

  18. smartypants

    China and Russia: Tale of two developing nations

    The biggest problem Russians face is that Putin could be around for another 40 years, and in that time, the entire state and all it does will be moulded to his whims, with his friends occupying all the high places.

    This hinders development. China, though a one-party-state with issues of its own, is not encumbered by the need to service a single ego, and commerce is free to develop organically without the threat of becoming 'too successful' to be allowed not to be absorbed into the Putin web.

    Why is Russia not one of the natural places in the developing world to set up your manufacturing? Putin. Why is Germany digging up more brown coal than ever before rather than burning less environmentally friendly russian gas? Putin.

    Why don't I think a russian ARM chip is going to set the world on fire? Putin.

    It's a shame, really, that he isn't a lot older.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: China and Russia: Tale of two developing nations

      Who caused the 2004 tsunami? Putin.

      Who is responsible for the spread of Ebola? Putin.

      Who hates all human beings with a rabid, insane, insatiable hatred? Putin. (Oh no, that's the devil. I'm so confused).

      Blaming one person for all the world's evils is much easier than learning and thinking, isn't it?

  19. larokus

    in breaking news..

    The US bans all Chinese imports. China reciprocates.

    In other news, all retail outlets and department stores across the US close their doors citing merchandise procurement issues. TESLA has announced it has stayed it's plans for a US production facility as it can not secure any lithium. All US lithium ion facilities grind to a halt.

    Let's go to our correspondant in China. TSMC has just received an influx of state funded investment to ramp up R&D and production of home grown semiconductors from the likes of Allwinner, Mediatek and Rockchip. TSMC is also being urged to push heavily to have its 14nm fab ready for mid 2015 and is looking on target. In the meantime they are currently producing at 120% capacity at 22nm. Astounding.

    But what about the ban on x86 John?

    Apparently all the systems here were upgraded last year. No state department needs a new PC for a few years. Additional optimization is being done here on gpu/cpu coprocessing as a stop gap measure, and is showing some really surprising results. It's unbelievable just how break-neck the chinese tech industry has become over the past three years. Looking around I see a wave of 5.5 inch 1080p chinese made smartphones, a size of which the West still has yet to accept without ridiculing one another. They also seem to embrace the technology itself above the name brand stamped on the device. Quite a peculiar way of thinking I'll never understand but it seems to be paying dividends here in China.

    John looking around there it somewhat reminds me of the glory days of US manufacturing with the K car.

    (ok surely the Sherman is a better representation of glory days but I digress)

  20. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    alt

    The rise and fall of the USA empire?

    The Brit empire ceased to be geographic post-1945 thanks to, not the "enemy' but to a stalwart ally insisting upon independence from UK or supremacy to US as a gifted military base.

    The Brit empire transited from influential thanks to HRH to financial thanks to universal "tax free" status whatever that used to be.

    And then the Brit empires vanished some few years before the USA ones?

    Maybe the Brits need new friends?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: alt

      Actually the British Empire was quietly replaced by the American Empire between 1917 and 1945. Shortly after the beginning of WW2, Britain's rulers realised that it was stony broke. So they did the obvious thing: they begged for help from the USA. This was generously given, on the usual terms: that every red cent be fully repaid, no matter how long it took. (From memory, we finished the repayments in 2003 or thereabouts).

      As the imbalance was so grotesque, Churchill agreed to throw lots of scientific and technical information into the scales, as well as dozens of overseas military and naval bases. The basic engineering work on the atom bomb, radar, the jet engine, and many other incredibly valuable breakthroughs were given, free of charge and without restriction, to our American cousins. Who immediately declared them to be Top Secret, and refused to share them with us.

      1. All names Taken
        Alien

        Re: alt

        With friends like that who needs enemies?

        (I mean the decision makers making/taking decisions rather than the folk who live there).

        Hmmm ... maybe that's it?

        Meaning rulers of the USA want, really, really want a lot of nations to be in hawk to the USA for at least 60 years hence need for a notional finance system based not on wealth (sterling any one? or gold?) but on notional dosh such as, for example, the dollar?

        And that would mean that BRICK attempts to a new world currency, with new world banking with power shared between major players would sort of unhinge the present order?

        Tsk! Humans! Money!

        Were it not so tragic it would be funny?

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: alt

          > And that would mean that BRICK attempts to a new world currency, with new world banking with power shared between major players would sort of unhinge the present order?

          It's long been speculated that the real reason for GulfWar2 was that Saddam was taking payments in Euro instead of US$

          At some point the preferred international trading currency is likely to be the renminbi (aka chinese yuan) and that point is looming ever-closer.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: alt

        I thought the jet engine was mainly developed with German help after the war...

        The "basic engineering" of the atom bomb hadn't been done by anyone before the Manhattan Project. It was a huge expense just getting enough material for a fission reaction, then figuring out how to make that fission reaction occur. You seem to be overlooking these as trivial final steps or something.

        Radar definitely was developed by the British, but what did the US keep secret from them later? Stealth technology was developed 30 years later.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: alt

          "I thought the jet engine was mainly developed with German help after the war..."

          Read about Frank Whittle; for a start try http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Whittle

          "Air Commodore Sir Frank Whittle, OM, KBE, CB, FRS, Hon FRAeS (1 June 1907 – 9 August 1996) was a British Royal Air Force (RAF) engineer air officer. He is credited with single handedly inventing the turbojet engine...

          "With the W.2 design proceeding smoothly, Whittle was sent to Boston, Massachusetts in mid-1942 to help the General Electric jet programme".

          The British Gloster Meteor and the German Me 262 were both in production and flying by early 1944, but the USA did not have operational jet fighters until after 1945. However German achievements are irrelevant to my original point, which was that the USA got a lot of help with jet technology from Britain.

          1. Lars Silver badge
            WTF?

            Re: alt

            The Meteor first flew in 1943

            German Me 262. First flight 18 April 1941 with piston engine . 18 July 1942 with jet engines.

            Compared with Allied fighters of its day, including the British jet-powered Gloster Meteor, it was much faster and better armed.[6] One of the most advanced aviation designs in operational use during World War II,[7] the Me 262 was used in a variety of roles, including light bomber, reconnaissance, and even experimental night fighter versions. Me 262 pilots claimed a total of 542 Allied kills.

            Not German but why is it so damned difficult to accept simple facts. Should we try computers again or rocket planes, rockets, air to ait missiles, Perhaps we should continue with France on airships and parashutes.

  21. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    "maybe less than stellar CPUs in Russia, could lead to advances in computer science instead"

    Well, I do remember in the 1990s using a DOS disk cache that a Russian gentleman wrote. This sucker even did elevator sorting. Man Windows 95'd start in less than 10 seconds with that cache on (versus about 40 seconds with it off.) But, the CD-ROM locked it solid with this cache on so I had to take it off. Oh well. Linux got elevator sort a few years later, so I guess I have them back now 8-)

    Anyway, I think ARMs could work pretty well for desktops and servers. There are tasks where they are long-running and don't parallelize, you want a core as fast as possible for this. However, as long as a single core is fast enough so a desktop or server app is not sluggish, adding more cores or making each core much faster are equivalent in terms of adding more total processing power. Those ARMs could have plenty of cores and still save serious power in servers and portable PCs (and of course desktops but people don't worry about that as much.)

  22. W. Anderson

    potentially serious disruption and chaos

    While the effects of a comprehensive boycott of "Western", meaning US technologies by China and Russia are unclear, many in the West would be naive and ignorant to assume that a great deal of the best technologies are actually under the ownership or control of Western powers.

    For example, in software the Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) products of PostgreSQL, NoSQL, MySQL, Ingres Databases, Apache and nginx HTTP/proxy servers, Firefox and Chromium web browsers, FOSS Groupware, collaboration, Office Suites, Graphics, Animation and professional CADD, Networking stacks, and many more world class software technologies are accessible to the two and any other entities.

    Even the fairly excellent Sparc and MIPS CPU Chip designs, which are licensed to Fujitsu and other Asian nations are obtainable by China and Russia, and they can just as well develop to the Open Hardware specifications put forth by Facebook, Twitter and other top US technology firms.

    And arrogance should not detract from fact that Huawei and ZTE of China possess very elaborate and sophisticated Networking technologies, already implemented worldwide

    Boycots of US technologies will certainly not put these 2 countries in any position of equivalence in technological prowess with the West, but is guaranteed to cause significant chaos, especially if they develop their own Internetworking protocols contrary to current standards, and adopted by dozens of other Asian, African and South American countries.

  23. All names Taken
    Alien

    Energy

    Of all the things being considered energy use is of increasing importance.

    For why you ask?

    Because computers are everywhere nowadays and the technology to make cost effective (that is low cost) and task effective computers now exists where once it did not.

    Why is that important?

    Because low cost, task effective kit tends to be low energy use as well.

    For sure, a big bulky, power and energy hungry computer once was an effective solution with emphasis on was and once

  24. mhenriday
    FAIL

    «Russia, China could ban western tech

    if they want to live in the PAST» So banning Windows 8 indicates a desire to live in the PAST, Mr Sharwood ? TINA, as Ms Thatcher used to say ?...

    Don't make me laugh....

    Henri

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