Another one bites the dust. (Or several hundreds of thousands...)
The Russian government says it is looking to dump Microsoft and adopt Linux as the operating system for agency PCs. In an interview with Bloomberg, Russian internet advisor German Klimenko said the state will consider moving all of its networks off the Microsoft platform and onto an unspecified Linux build instead. Citing …
"Another one bites the dust. (Or several hundreds of thousands...)"
Like Levis jeans in the past - The Russians will just have to make do with inferior local products instead...
"guess Russian will keep on using pirated copies of Windows, though..."
This being Russia, probably they were not paying for any of the licences.
The Russian government is doing this so it can spy on itself ...
This is Russia you are talking about. The country which historically has been more institutionally paranoid than any other, not always without justification.
But yes, their primary motivation will be to stop Redmond and the USA government from spying on the Russian government. It's obviously become too hard for them to work out what Windows is up to, for them to continue using it as a channel for dis-informing Washington.
'In my circle of friends it's been the year of Linux on the desktop (laptop rather) for years now. I don't really care about the rest of the world :)'
Microsoft must be shitting themselves. Not
What's the percentage of Linux usage on the desktop again? What's the chances it'll rise to 1.5% before the decade is out?
"What's the percentage of Linux usage on the desktop again? What's the chances it'll rise to 1.5% before the decade is out?"
Depends how you define "desktop" and Linux. If you mean on the actual physical desk, then the slump in PC sales and the massive influx of Android tablets over recent years, often multiple tablets in a family replacing a single family PC, then maybe sooner than you think :-)
17 Mints later and it's still the year of the rat.
Been stuck in a time warp? Belated happy new year, it's been the Year of the Monkey for five days now...
However, you may be right, the next year of the rat (2020) may be the year of hte Linux desktop, as it is also the year Win7 goes EoL...
[Glass filled with a Chinese beverage appropriate for celebrating the new year.]
"It's like a wife seeing her husband with another woman – he can swear an oath afterward, but the trust is lost," Klimenko was quoted as saying.
So France will not be ditching Windows for Linux then?
On a more serious note, I can see Russia developing a state-sponsored bespoke Linux distro. They could call it Rodinux.
With their own snooping software that phones the Kremlin, not Redmond...
So you are a small British manufacturing something exportable that involves a few minor trade secrets. Who would you prefer to be grabbing all your data?
1. The USA
5. Brazil (but you'll have to learn Portuguese first)
6. Most of the above.
"although Munich has since switchted back, because TCO was more expensive than Windows ISTR."
Care to post a ref. to that ! AFAIK that is nonsense
Latest I could find : http://news.softpedia.com/news/german-city-that-replaced-windows-with-linux-to-ditch-latest-windows-xp-2000-pcs-499160.shtml
Only partially related to spyware.
As a result of the sanctions regime Microsoft cannot sell Windows, services and support to the Russian government. This would have had little effect in the days of 95-2000 and up to XP or thereabouts as you could power it up without the net. From Vista/7 onwards the "need to be on the net" functionality is so pervasive that it is practically impossible to have a PC which does not phone home (this is the only spyware relationship here). From there on it is license violation and mandatory lockdown by MSFT. If it does not do that for all cases where it has determined that a PC is used in a setting disallowed by USA sanctions it is looking at BN size fines.
So it looks like they definitely remote-bricked enough PCs to get the Russians p*ssed. In theory, it will make both sides put their money where their mouth is. Russia to actually develop its economy and local industry (as proclaimed by Putin) and MSFT not doing business with sanctions entities.
In practice, I would not be so sure. It is quite likely that the sanctions will be worked around via a thrid party laundry mechanism the same way as they were circumvented for Iran using Chinese resellers.
What does Windows 7 do that requires phoning home? LAN adaptor icon, device and printer icons, notify MS of crashes and display resolutions, CEIP, Windows Defender, Windows Update. All of which can be turned off except LAN adaptor and there's probably a registry hack for that.
Not counting the recent telemetry updates which can be blocked.
>Not counting the recent telemetry updates which can be blocked for the time being
And that's where I have a problem with what MS is doing. If they asked the user if they wanted to install the telemetry features and left it at that, it would be fine - an unwanted feature for me, but that's ok. My problem is their shovelling it down my throat as if they own my PC and have a right to the telemetry and random documents of mine. I don't have much to hide, but I don't want that shift in the paradigm regarding who controls my PC.
All fine if you are a sys admin, or a big IT team for roll outs.
But, for the average computer literate user, the problem is knowing what snooping software is installed, or planned to be installed in a future auto update.
The Xbox One is a prime example..... the camera always on and transmitting - in your own home... always on!!
Probably one of the contributing reasons why it's launch was a flop, once this fact became highlighted.
Their proffered solution was to unplug the camera each time you switched off.
What the hell is going on there?
What does Windows 7 do that requires phoning home?
You missed the point.
If it calls home as apart of Windows Update. If it does this using a serial number or source IP address which Microsoft does not like they brick it. In fact, they started doing it with Windows XP. I happen to have an Eastern European pirated XP SP3 build on a CD somewhere which I use to demonstrate it to "unbelievers". You install it, it works fine. You run Windows Update and it gets bricked. You initially get the "this is pirated, buy windows warnings", then it stops functioning altogether.
Far from it. I have an instance of Win 7 Pro running in VirtualBox (on a Linux host) for the odd occasion when I want to run old Win games. It has no internet connectivity - at all - and no updates. Everything is completely dead and disabled, including as many Windows "features" as possible that can be turned off without actually breaking the system. It is stable and very fast.
Win 7 is a perfectly good OS, provided you keep it well away from its makers and NEVER let it anywhere near the internet. If I ever need anything for it from the internet or from MS, this will be filtered through the Linux host first.
I do not disagree with your comments about WINDOWS 'above' W7,BUT! on what basis do you claim the same for W7?
It's NOT only O.S software that is capable of hacking one's system, it's also 'hardware'.
It was just a few years ago that it was expected that chip controllers,CPU's RAM et'c would have data redirect built into them.
That is perhaps more worrying,not just for computers,but all hardware controlled digitally.
It also ties in with the USA & UK gov's anti-terrorist STASI-like policies of ISP injection policies or retention by the ISP's.
But why bother with the public debate on such policies when the hardware is already capable of delivering the goods?
>But why bother with the public debate on such policies when the hardware is already capable of delivering the goods?
It's called "disinformation."
It even seeped into the article itself. Eg: "It should probably be noted that Microsoft itself isn't exactly best buddies with the US intelligence community either these days."
Of course the author is aware that U$/M$'s little PR exercise (which M$ is INEVITABLY ultimately going to "win") has NOTHING to do with "the US intelligence community" and that national police services are not intelligence agencies.
Of course we've heard of government bodies looking to ditch Windows time and again for the last 20-odd years, and it always flopped – mostly at planning stages, though China did seem to give it an honest try a few years back.
However, this time around the main impediment to adopting Linux is gone: with Office 365, it's possible to read and edit the odd MS Office file in Linux over the web, while new documents could be created using a FOSS tool like LibreOffice.
Unless of course it's all a feint to wriggle out some extra volume discounts from the Beast*... Again.
* Remember when El Reg would affectionately refer to MS as "the Beast"?
Why Russia might want to break use of Microsoft products, I came up with these possibilities
1) concern that stuff (state secrets, commercial secrets, Putin's secrets) will go via Microsoft to US state and its allies
2) not wanting to pay for it
3) money leaving country is bad for Russian finances
4) dependency on potentially unfriendly country
5) home-grown O/S path could be sold (forced) onto Russia's allies
6) cocking a snoot at US/"The West"
7) one of Putin's political enemies handles Microsoft licencing in the CIS
8) make Russia - as supporter of Open Source - look like "the good guy" in Open vs Closed argument
but you'd need a Kremlinologist to rank the probabilities.
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Sanctions never stopped the Russians in the days of Communism. The number of VAX'en and PDP's that popped out of the woodwork post 1989 was huge.
But they (sanctions) did enable the yanks to play dirty with their non-US resellers. Remember Systime: http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1986/feb/25/systime-plc
If security really had been a consideration then Moscow would never have started using Windows in the first place. In the days of the KGB, when it said nyet to something you didn't touch it unless you wanted to find out what the inside of Kremlin cell looked like up close.
Seems that Moscow is not so concerned about security that using Microsoft products becomes an issue. I do acknowledge that all this cloud malarkey and constant online transaction has become a security issue and that is why Moscow is now drawing the line. The bit about cheating and loss of trust is just a jab for old time's sake.
If that is the case, then Microsoft can promise all the discounts it wants, Moscow will move to Linux and nothing will stop that.
The bit about cheating and loss of trust is just a jab for old time's sake.
I'm not so sure about the "old time's sake" part. It might be, or it might be that they've picked up on the feelings of the IT people world-wide. I can't remember the last time I read an article on MS where the comments haven't been laden with "lost my trust", etc.
> Microsoft have become oppressive and dictatorial of late : I imagine the Kremlin doesn't like the competition.
Of late ? Of late !? Of late !?!?
Steve Jobs was credited with having a reality distortion field tucked in his pocket, trotted out whenever Apple wanted to present some "new" and amazing technology -- but that was nothing compared to Microsoft's mysterious ability to wipe everyone's minds of the capacity to perceive or remember Microsoft's perpetual skullduggery and heavy-handedness.
Microsoft's perpetual skullduggery and heavy-handedness.
Hmmm you may have a point there.
The thing is - in the past it has been possible for ordinary folk to just get on with their pc-fondling oblivious to Microsoft's darker side - that being reserved for screwing business and their opposition.
Now they've exposed their shark's teeth to all of us with GWX and their 'Your PC now belongs to us' attitude with Windows 10. We've been bluntly relegated from 'Customer' to 'Livestock' in their eyes, so screw 'em.
The only problem is, at the current pace, the year of Linux on the desktop will come and go before ReactOS reaches production-level usability and stability. Yes, they have something that runs and looks like a windows desktop from far enough. No, it's nowhere near a complete, functional OS.
Are you kidding? ReactOS is *only* 10-12 years away from functional Win-XP compatibility...
Of course, ROS should have gotten a group of corporations to throw moey and resources behind it back in 2011, about the time they seriously started considering the impending EOL for XP. For a fraction of what they're going to spend migrating to MSW7, 8.x or (ugh) W10, they could have had a usable drop-in replacement that THEY could exert control on. But the MBAs running companies these days are brain-dead.
Then again, isn't saying "MBA" and "brain-dead" redundant anyway?
If I were a power with a history of conflict with a foreign power, I sure as hell wouldn't be using software produced by their companies to run my administration. Not even if they offered to provide a full audit of the code.
I'm kind of surprised its taken so long for Russia to move really.
Exactly. Just like ditching iOS devices (last year?), this move away from proprietary and increasingly cloud-centric software comes as no surprise at all, except for the rather late realisation. It's a sensible decision, because let's face it: if US agencies wanted the data on Russia that was hoovered by Apple, Google, M$ et all, they would get it. This is quite easily labelled as "in the interest of national security," hence nobody is going to stop that from happening silently.
Other governments, even if they allign themselves closer to the West than the East, should quite frankly do the same.
> > I'm surprised it took them so long
> > If I were a power with a history of conflict with a foreign power, I sure as hell wouldn't be using software produced by their companies to run my administration. Not even if they offered to provide a full audit of the code.
> > I'm kind of surprised its taken so long for Russia to move really.
> They've just completed the reverse engineering of Windows 10...
And it will work almost as well, too.
Unless Russia goes to the Norks or develop their own, IIRC with the demise of Mandriva there's not a single commercially supported Linux distro not based out of the USA or UK. SuSE is apparently now British and we have our own sanctions due to Litvenko though the Russians don't appear to have noticed britannia stomping her foot.
there's not a single commercially supported Linux distro not based out of the USA or UK
Also, there's not a single commercially supported Windows edition not based out of the USA.
I can hire someone to perform development work on the Linux OS as soon as their notice period.
How do I hire someone to develop the Windows OS?
I can hire someone to perform development work on the Linux OS as soon as their notice period.
i) Not if they are American or British and sanctions are in place
ii) Not on any installation of Oracle, MySQL, MongoDB, Libreoffice or Openoffice or any Apache foundation project with Sanctions in place
iii) With sanctions in place as the FSF is headquartered in the USA, any distro is probably legally termed as being exported from the US if it contains the kernel source or otherwise.
Not that I agree with any of the above being "right", but the point was that there exists no commercial distro outside of the USA or UK which is a point of failure, regardless of the software ownership or author, sanctions could result in a legal blockade.
@Philip Clarke - "Not if they are American or British and sanctions are in place"
So, err, why would the Russians government want to hire Americans or Brits? They could just, you know, hire Russians. There's loads of Russian software developers already in Russia. There's a number of Russian Linux distros already in existence, so there's definitely people there with the requisite experience. I'm struggling to see why this would be a problem.
"Not on any installation of Oracle, MySQL, MongoDB, Libreoffice or Openoffice or any Apache foundation project with Sanctions in place"
Oracle DB is probably in the same boat as MS products. As for MySQL, MongoDB, Libreoffice, etc., US "sanctions" would be irrelevant in Russia, and the Russians can decide for themselves how to apply their own counter-sanctions. I'm really struggling to see what the problem would be here.
"With sanctions in place as the FSF is headquartered in the USA, any distro is probably legally termed as being exported from the US if it contains the kernel source or otherwise."
Er, and? I'm pretty sure the Russians could compile their own kernel without phoning up Richard Stallman personally (not that the FSF is exactly involved in the kernel much anyway beyond providing the compiler).
As I said, there are already Linux distros in existence in Russia. It's not exactly rocket science, which by the way is something the Russians do on their own as well. All that is happening here is that the Russian government will be using Linux, and either hiring their own support staff or letting tenders to Russian companies to do the support. They're already supporting an IT infrastructure which handles the government of a country with the population of the UK, France, and the Netherlands combined. Supporting a Linux distro is not going to be a major problem.
I won't be surprised to see this happen. The only thing holding them back up to this point will have been the lack of high level support for pushing through the actual change through the government IT system. If the backing is there from the top however, it will happen.
I've been through the equivalent of this at the corporate level when one large multinational buys up another one and declares that their new acquisition must comply with the new corporate standards. What, your rat's nest of Lotus 123 spreadsheet macros won't work with MS Excell? Not my problem, they're your spreadsheets, so they're your problem. Deal with it.
I will expect to see the Chinese doing the same before too long, by the way.
Er, and? I'm pretty sure the Russians could compile their own kernel
You fail to see the point. If the USA did apply their sanctions equally across the board then the Russians could not download the kernel, their distribution would be shipping only Nginx and MariaDB as everything else is "exported" from the USA. The USA could insist that all soviet ip's be blocked by Apache, FSF, RedHat, Oracle, GitHub.
This is not something I am in agreement with, but a legal fact. Do you remember when encryption could not be exported? I don't recall anyone being prosecuted but the principle applies.
Not that this would all be a bad thing at all, Tianhe got some bread new processors and China got some new chips and fabs after Xeons were banned, and if the UK were to apply the same to ARM designs then they'd be a whole host of new cpu designs.
@ Philip Clarke
You've assumed that the US is willing to take huge measures to enforce a blockade of data against an entire country.
Oddly you've missed the entire point of the internet.
It is not worth it to the western entities attempting to bully russia to play whackamole on that scale.
We live in a world where the great firewall exists, but the USA doesn't need to implement such draconian measures, merely issue an injunction against the companies based there within to not export, they only require one ip address to prosecute. There is no need to go after Russia, only the companies based in the US.
IIRC the sanctions against Iran and Cuba held without lifting an electronic finger. Yes, I am aware that there is "smuggling", but the American administration showed that it was willing to shoot itself in the foot when it banned Xeon's to China and gave them a reason to build their own fabs and upgrade Tianhe.
And quite frankly I'm in favour of moving the software out of the USA and having non-USA based companies providing enterprise level support because that's what is needed when a government shifts to Linux, and these multiple thumbs down my posts are receiving do not address that this is a reality and by being headquartered in the USA, open source is subject to sanctions and limited in its ability to provision enterprise level support.
I'm hoping the actions of the USA will move the HQ's outside of her borders and spawn support in countries like the Ukraine that have no end of talented programmers.
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"You fail to see the point. If the USA did apply their sanctions equally across the board then the Russians could not download the kernel, their distribution would be shipping only Nginx and MariaDB as everything else is "exported" from the USA. The USA could insist that all soviet ip's be blocked by Apache, FSF, RedHat, Oracle, GitHub."
I'm not sure how US sanctions against Russia would stop Russians downloading from mirrors not in the USA or how US sanctions could stop or block Russian access to mirrors in 3rd party countries not subject to sanctions
Because the mirrors are allowed to mirror a US headquartered site, so the US based company is breaking the sanctions and the executives can be prosecuted for wilful infringement or accessories after the fact.
The legal reality is that the USA has open source distro and any software company over a barrel. Hence my belief that it would be better to move the HQ's out of the USA and for there to be an enterprise level support system in place outside of the jurisdiction.
It's nigh on impossible to stop software distribution but the USA now has leverage over the distros and software companies, and as yet there has not been an example of a single company to provide overall linux support that is not based in the USA. In this thread no company has been found despite the international knowledge base.
So the Russians are going to adopt Linux for government use, I'd have thought that any cyrillic based entrepreneurs would be jumping for joy as they'll be support contracts up for grabs. Wish I were one, instead of getting thumbed down for pointing out the obvious.
@Philip Clarke - "Do you remember when encryption could not be exported?:
Yes I do. I remember that the US became a backwater for encryption development as companies in the rest of the world were freed from competition with American companies. Today, the overwhelming majority of encryption products come from companies outside of the US. If you have followed the IT news in the past few days, you would have seen articles on this.
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ROSA (aka ROSA CJSC), probably. Founded in 2010. From the company website: "ROSA is a major contributor to the National Software Platform Project started by the Russian government to build various FOSS solutions for government use. Meanwhile, ROSA products are open to the world market."
ALT Linux has been around longer. "ALT Linux was founded in 2001 by a merge of two large Russian free software projects. By the year 2009 it became a large organization developing and deploying free software, writing documentation and technical literature, supporting users, and developing custom products."
So the Russians probably won't go to Canonical for a Ubuntu spin, as did the Chinese.
Problem is often in the details -- that crucial Ministry of Spuds and Vodka software package written for DOS, or whatever.
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What would you prefer as a head of state - to have computers that continuously transfer all content and records of all your activities to unspecified servers in the US, whether you want it or not or would you rather prefer to deploy computers that do precisely as you please?
What would you prefer as a private person - to have a computer that reports all your interactions to uspecified servers in your country and any other country intrested in your life or have a machine that provides at least a basic level of freedom from unwarranted on-line search?
Saying that you have nothing to hide is like being a person with a complete speach impairment communicating that he is not really interested in the freedom of speech. We really should be.
Putting the political issues between USA and Russia (which is enevitably going to spill over to Microsoft if it wants to do business in Russia), they took a perfectly good, if not excellent operating system, and wrecked it. They wobbled with Windows Vista but managed to get firmly back on track with Windows 7, which, remains a great OS IMO.
Then they fucked the whole thing up with Windows 8, and doubled down with Windows 10.
They did it to themselves.
I currently run Win7, which will be my last MS OS. I'm dual booting with Linux Mint. It's taking a lot of getting used to, but it seems to do pretty much everything I need/want to do.
Soo many comments here, great! Love Linux!Let me have an old joke about Russians, please. :)
How do you know the Russian Government is spying on you?You have an extra wardrobe in your room. ;)
Well this is a pretty old, at lest 30+ years old joke, I'm sure old fellas here like myself knew this already.
Regarding to the article: Mac has been really taking over Windows places very much.In a business meeting you barely saw Windows laptop anymore.I could risk to say that, it's a bit "no way hose" now-days, cause if you can't afford a "meeting" laptop for a grand, then how you will afford the stable position for years in any business.It's like the proper suit for the interview, I guess...
Windows and M$ are finished.
No state should use Windows and pay for being spied on and finally - dictators first - are learning this lesson.
With joy I note that dictators and more and more democracies are busting the criminal organization M$.
Let's hope it's finished soon so we can bury and forget it like a bad taste in your mouth.
"Windows and M$ are finished."
I'm sure this unbridled optimism has appeared in the comments section of pretty much every Windows article in El Reg since comments began. Microsoft's share price is currently at it's highest point since 2000, and the second highest point ever, so you may want to factor that into your thinking.
"No state should use Windows and pay for being spied on and finally - dictators first - are learning this lesson."
Microsoft's approach to Windows is far from ideal, and yes, there are the same concerns over privacy we're seeing with all the major players. Still, instead you're celebrating Putin commandeering the arguably world's greatest open source project and perverting it? If you seriously think he's going to be a good software citizen, you are delusional.
"Let's hope it's finished soon so we can bury and forget it like a bad taste in your mouth."
You might want to invest in some mouthwash for the short and medium term at least. Sure, there are examples of desktop adoption in public bodies governments and schools; with one obvious exception I'm prepared to bet you a tenner that the number of companies in say, the FTSE 500 using Linux as a standard desktop is zero or in the very low single digits.
Things have improved over the years, but every time I hear people evangelise for Linux on the mainstream desktop, suggestions for how companies will crowbar it into compatibility with existing, sometimes legacy and invariably Windows-orientated architectures are conspicuously absent, because having to address reality bursts the bubble every time.
Companies invest large sums of money in infrastructure and line of business applications and invariably seek to squeeze as long a service life as they can from those products; for better or worse Microsoft products are in with the foundations. It will take a lot more than wishful thinking to change that.
You're not required to use it, you can use whatever you want. I get fed up after a long day of battling Windows OS and Office issues, errors like "Something went wrong", "Your PC can perform better", the infuriating network diagnostics that come up whenever you mistype a share name, the way Windows must always display big, blocky icons in your printers and network shares view, regardless of what settings you want to use, the constant marketing in Windows 8 and 10, etc. Plug a mouse into a Windows box and "Installing device driver" grinds away for minutes. Plug one into a Linux box and it just works. Same with a flash drive. And Linux isn't constantly trying to be convenient at the cost of usability.
It's nice to come home, kick off my shoes, and boot up an OS that just works with no nagging or hand holding. When it updates itself, it's not a long grind of installing updates, rebooting, maybe rebooting again, and possibly "reverting changes". True, Windows has some brilliant integration, such as SharePoint, Active Directory permissions, etc. (when they work) But by and large with every new release, it feels more gimmicky and less polished. Maybe Windows is just a child of the corporate blight of pushing deadlines, playing "CYA", and miscommunication, but it doesn't seem to be improving.
Linux has some ways to go yet to be ready for many corporate environs. Windows' central management features such as group policies and AD are really kind of brilliant. But with every new release of Win and Office, I think the frustration level of users and IT folks is pushing us a little closer to the year of the Linux desktop.
Put all the cynical reasons aside for a minute at the very least look how much money Russia will save and have more control over the software. Think about it a country being reliant on another is not safe any more and open to all sorts issues not just for Russia.
Besides modern Linux gives us all a choice most did not have before.
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