back to article Two can play that game: China orders ban on US computers and software

China has ordered all government offices to start ripping out non-Chinese computers and software in order to bolster domestic manufacturers and suppliers. The ban needs to be fully implemented within three years, according to the Financial Times, and could be seen as a response to President Trump's US protectionism that has …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Red Star OS

    I hear the Nork's have an OS ready to go? :-P

    1. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

      China already has one...

      ...https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kylin_(operating_system)

      1. Richard Crossley
        Boffin

        Re: China already has one...

        I'm sure that Kylin is based on BSD (earlier versions) and Linux (later versions) so they will undoubtedly have non-Chinese components.

        1. chopkoski

          Re: China already has one...

          Right you are and Kylin is not Windows. They use it in maybe 50% of all computers in China. Based on Fress BSD they have supposedly hardened it against anything. But I doubt that. The base came out of the West with so much more experience. there are always holes.

          1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

            Re: China already has one...

            Right you are and Kylin is not Windows.

            There's always ReactOS... China could build spyware/malware directly into the OS.

          2. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: China already has one...

            "They [China] use it [Kylin] in maybe 50% of all computers"

            No, they don't. According to market share figures source, Windows is by far the most popular desktop OS in China, with Kylin specifically not even appearing on the charts and Linux in general being at a low level, just like in many other countries. While Kylin is available and stable, it's premature to conclude that it has great popularity in China. With this restriction presumably also applying to using Windows as an OS, that might change soon. However, this restriction only applies to Chinese government, so we'll see whether that extends to the populace at large at some point.

        2. georgezilla

          Re: China already has one...

          " ... so they will undoubtedly have non-Chinese components. ... "

          Components that the U.S. has absolutely no control over. None, Zero. Zip. Nota.

          And they can't keep code that was, is developed by American citizens, companies out of it.

          Because it is not "put" into Linux by them. The code that is written by U.S. sources is simply written and released into the wild. And is then either put in by someone else or not. Which again the U.S. has no control over.

          So China will continue to be free to use any "non-Chinese components".

          1. MacroRodent Silver badge

            Open source (Re: China already has one...)

            It is a fascinating question how will they treat open source code. These typically contain contributions from various countries (for example, the Linux kernel started in Finland, but by now, most of it consists of contributions written elsewhere, China included!).

            On the other hand, by its nature open source code can be inspected and modified in China, so they can have control over it in much the same way as Made In China code.

            1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

              Re: Open source (China already has one...)

              Bit like the way the USA treats other people's oil ...

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: China already has one...

            We installed teleconferencing facilities in our companies cyber operations centres in both the UK and US; within about 5 minutes of turning it on said equipment was detected trying to ping content back to China.

            It is practically impossible to source trusted hardware let alone software in the current market without exorbitant cost.

            Another example we detected, was a USB-recharging vape gizmo. The device was loaded to the teeth with infiltration malware and I dare say the items "low" shelf price was being subsidized by the inevitable theft of data and/or ransomware that would follow.

            Modern computers are miserable affairs. I'll go back to my Amiga, thanks.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: China already has one...

          2022 Year of Linux Confirmed!!!!

          1. phuzz Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: China already has one...

            The year of Linux on the desktop, was last year when Microsoft released Windows Subsystem for Linux for Win10.

    2. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

      Re: Red Star OS

      > I hear the Nork's have an OS ready to go? :-P

      Can't call them "Norks" any more.

      It's sexist.

      1. MyffyW Silver badge

        Re: Red Star OS

        ...It's not so much what you call them, so much as eyes repeatedly straying to them when we're talking.

  2. Amentheist
    Joke

    Love the stock image

    Reminded me of Folder Ross Kemp (image search it, SFW)

  3. Blockchain commentard Silver badge

    And whose to say, a mandated hardware and software backdoor has to be implmented. For the safety of the people, obviously.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well, they can't just let only the Americans tap all the data in the world. That would be unfair too..

      1. Jaybus

        No danger in that. According to Edward Snowden, GCHQ's Tempora system already snoops more data than the NSA.

  4. KittenHuffer Silver badge

    Say it ain't so!

    Please tell me that our favourite manufacturer wouldn't go out and start copying somebody else's idea ...... nah, they'd never do that!

    And I can prove that they aren't, cos they haven't installed a Tweeter-In_Chief!

    1. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Re: Say it ain't so!

      Cheater in Tweet?

      1. BrownishMonstr Bronze badge

        Re: Say it ain't so!

        Cheater in Queef, you say?

    2. veti Silver badge

      Re: Say it ain't so!

      No, China does things differently.

      In the US, it's all about heroes. The individual is sovereign, one person - almost invariably a Man - gets the credit for everything, even though we may all know they have a team of minions doing the actual work.

      In China, everything is collective. Li isn't premier because he's a hero, but because he embodies the collective philosophy, authority and will of the Communist Party. So he doesn't need to tweet personally - his views are reliably reflected by the Communist Youth League (and similar groups) on Weibo.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Say it ain't so!

        The man's name is Xi, not Li. And that's just the first thing you've gotten wrong. He's not somehow managing to represent the entire party, with everyone's views forming a part of policy. He's just the one in control of a large enterprise, similar to the way you describe American politics. Meanwhile, he is a dictator who does not need to concern himself with the views of the people. Most parts of the CCP are expected to (and do) support any decision he and his closest subordinates make, without raising issues of their own. If you still think that the party chooses their leader from some miraculous hive mind, read about how Xi got in power and what happened to those other candidates who were under consideration (hint, it wasn't so much fun for them).

        I'll grant you that the American people are more likely to give credit or blame to the person at the top, while in China credit goes to the party and blame is best left unacknowledged. That doesn't mean either approach is good. With the former, a leader can get the credit for things they had nothing to do with, leading to support they haven't really earned. The latter, however, is a symptom of the destruction of many fundamental rights and is far worse.

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Say it ain't so!

        he embodies the collective philosophy, authority and will of the Communist Party

        And the Communist Party currently has the Mandate of Heaven (although I'm sure that they don't phrase it like that!)

  5. Reg Reader 1

    Brilliant move by the Chinese. Every move Trump makes seems to benefit the Russians or the Chinese, it's a shame that Trump isn't as interested in helping those in the Western Hemisphere and Europe.

    The Chinese never planned on allowing the West more market share than the Chinese required us to have. Now they probably have a reasonable replacement for Windows and all the hardware IP and manufacturing they need to supply their own HUGE market. While we in the West, have given up our IP and ability to manufacture to them; as well as, R&D momentum. All for greed on the Wests' part.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      It's the same thing that happened with the Japanese. America sold far too much IP to Japan back in the 1970s and they proceeded to make better and cheaper products.

      This time around, Japan has also done the same with China that America has. Right now, I would not want to be part of the Great Britain, USA, Japan economic sphere. While still mighty, it is definitely on the decline.

      1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

        We're all doomed

        "Right now, I would not want to be part of the Great Britain, USA, Japan economic sphere"

        Hmm, the UK has fair growth "in spite of Brexit" and the USA has growth is spite of Trump.

        China has maybe 95% of the population living, effectively, as slaves.

        Yep, who'd want to live in the USA? We must ask those migrant caravans what the attraction is...

        1. georgezilla

          Re: We're all doomed

          " ... inspite of Trump ... "

          That is the key phrase. And at least he hasn't broken it. Yet.

          " ... those migrant caravans ... "

          Caravans. Now that's a tricky word.

          Yes there are a number of people in them. But the vast majority are not actually trying to "come" ( and the majority of them are trying to come legally ). But are being aided by a large number of people trying to help them with food, water and safety. A number that ebbs and flows. And simply disappears when it gets here. And the horde ( thousands ) becomes a mere few hundred.

          So words caravan and horde are mostly used to keep the Cult of Trump, the frightened and the racist pumped up. So that the xenophobia can be kept high. And the distractions can hide, cover the rest of the shit that's going on.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: We're all doomed

          > Hmm, the UK has fair growth "in spite of Brexit" and the USA has growth is spite of Trump.

          Whilst there's a good amount of uncertainty around the UK/EU future relationship, at the moment it's largely "business as usual" because Brexit has yet to happen.

          Once it does, then we can say "x happened in spite of / because of Brexit"...

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: We're all doomed

            Not to mention that UK growth has been pretty much stagnant for the last four months according to todays news.

        3. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: We're all doomed

          Much of the population of the West are slaves as well insofar a huge percentage of people are forced to work for a salary that just about supplies their basic food & shelter.

          Unless you have lived in a particular country, you are not in any position to comment on what it is like to live there. You certainly cannot trust media articles to inform you. We have been brainwashed to believe that "democracy" is the only civilised form of government and that any other way of running a country is inferior at best and downright despotic at worst. But Western countries are no more truely democratic than communist countries are truely communist or socialist countries are truely socialist. There are pros and cons in every form of government - and in all cases the politicians always seem to ensure that they are better off than the average citizen.

    2. Oh Homer
      Mushroom

      Re: Brilliant move

      If China really wants to crush Trumps little tantrum, by far the most decisive move would be to implement an immediate ban on all exports to the US.

      America lives and breathes Chinese goods. It would be suffocated in a matter of days.

  6. tiggity Silver badge

    The year of the Linux desktop

    In china at least

    I'm assuming open source OS does not count as being US or whatever and they could just fork their own flavour of Linux and brand it as officially Chinese and then keep an eye on parent distro for bug fixes.

    1. Reg Reader 1

      Re: The year of the Linux desktop

      Or OpenBSD, I think, still hosted out of Canada which allows export of all that good crypto stuff. The "problem" with BSDs and to a much lesser extend Linux is having properly written drivers for the hardware, especially with really new equipment. I'm betting the Chinese Gov could make that happen for any OS they pick.

      1. Paul Herber Silver badge

        BSD

        Beijing Style Desktop

      2. jmch Silver badge

        Re: The year of the Linux desktop

        "The "problem" with BSDs and to a much lesser extend Linux is having properly written drivers for the hardware, especially with really new equipment. I'm betting the Chinese Gov could make that happen for any OS they pick."

        Well, they're going to be controlling the "Chinese-only" hardware too, so that shouldn't be a problem!

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: The year of the Linux desktop

      They already have their own version of Linux, it's called Red Flag, I think. But I think the move is more about the whole infrastructure: now Intel or Qualcomm chips, no MPEG codecs, no embargoed encryption hardware, etc.

      This is a huge amount of work for the Chinese to take on and probably doomed to failure if they tried to do it on their own. Not that they don't have sufficient qualified developers for this, because they probably do, but because it would be a classical withdrawal of key resources from the private sector and state-directed development is rarely on-time and on-target. But they now have a large enough private sector that can probably do most of the work needed: Huawei to turn AOSP into something as good as what Google can provide. But they will also need other countries to be prepared to interoperate.

      This is where the US has probably got it wrong: the Chinese IT market is now comfortably larger than the US one and is now deeply connected to most of Asia and beyond. The US is still the leader when it comes to software but there isn't much left that couldn't be replaced fairly easily. China could easily do everything as open source to gain trust and, just like everyone else does, set up offices outside China for development. Whereas US is not going to get its mass manufacturing capacity back and its sanctions will become less and less effective over time.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Charlie Clark - Re: The year of the Linux desktop

        You will not have to look hard for a few countries that will be glad to interoperate with China. Something tells me US have made the mistake to piss-off too many large countries simultaneously.

        You're not the only one that would love China to fail. Somewhere behind the close doors the Western world establishment is freaking out at the nightmarish perspective that a communist regime is thriving. Looks like all the propaganda about the red danger that has been spread for decades is in danger to become ineffective. But who knows, maybe it's a viable alternative after all and we don't know it.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: @Charlie Clark - The year of the Linux desktop

          The irony is that China is becoming the more reliable trading partner. No one knows when the big orange baby is going to slap tariffs on their trade so they're more or less forced to swallow any principles they may have (and oil and gas companies have never had any in the first place) to deals.

          1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

            Re: @Charlie Clark - The year of the Linux desktop

            "The irony is that China is becoming the more reliable trading partner."

            Tell that to the many small nations who have found that they have sold their soul to China in return for a new airport, wharf or hospital.

            1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
              Facepalm

              Re: @Charlie Clark - The year of the Linux desktop

              Yes, because the US has never stiffed countries for political or economic gain… But I'm not arguing for China, just highlighting how the US's current trade and foreign policy is pushing countries towards it.

        2. veti Silver badge

          Re: @Charlie Clark - The year of the Linux desktop

          Meh. it's still valid to point to the disasters of attempted communism in every state that's tried it. Even China, before they could get to where they are now, had to go through the Great Leap Forward, which is not something any sane person would want for their country.

          And there are still plenty of scary stories about how China treats its population - most prominently, currently, in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, but there are plenty of hardship stories in the heartland too, every now and then one leaks out.

        3. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

          Re: @Charlie Clark - The year of the Linux desktop

          "Looks like all the propaganda about the red danger that has been spread for decades is in danger to become ineffective"

          You are not wrong. Witness all the university students who think socialism works and that political violence is "sometimes justified". I'd love to see their faces as they are dragged into the gulag for protesting for transgender, Uyghur or Tibetan rights. Or even the minimum wage or a fair working week...

          1. batfink Silver badge

            Re: @Charlie Clark - The year of the Linux desktop

            Minimum wage or fair working week? Careful - them's socialist ideals.

        4. jmch Silver badge

          Re: @Charlie Clark - The year of the Linux desktop

          "US have made the mistake to piss-off too many large countries simultaneously."

          Let's start with the bleeding obvious - one of the main reasons of the US's post-war dominance wasn't just it's economy but that it truly was "the land of the free". The economy was simply a consequence of that. Everyone in the world knew you could trade with US and not get stiffed (too much) by the locals. And when one thinks about the level of corruption in US, the incestous relationships between business and government etc... it was already terrible then and worse now, but STILL better than most places in Africa, Latin America, Asia, Middle East and Eastern Europe.

          Other countries are running from US because nobody likes a bully. But they run to China because of money and greed. They would do well to keep in mind that China's "generosity", like the US's before it, only exists to advance it's own interest. Same with Russia, same with every other ex-superpower or superpower-wannabe. And also to keep in mind that a country that has no problem in sending millions of their own citizens to concentration camps to eradicate any vestige of non-conformance to the centrally imposed norms isn't going to bat an eyelid to stab a trading partner in the back if it suits them.

          If you sup with the devil you'd better eat with a long spoon. And be ready to get out when/while you can.

      2. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: The year of the Linux desktop

        You're thinking of Red Star, which is North Korea's official OS. China has a few things, most notably a Linux-based distro called Kylin, but people there are also free to use anything else, including traditional Linux and BSD distributions translated into Chinese. They don't need a government-written OS just to avoid an American-controlled one.

        1. georgezilla

          Re: The year of the Linux desktop

          " ... You're thinking of Red Star ... "

          Nope.

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

          Yes, yes I know it's Wikipedia. But it was at the top of a simple Google search that returned ....

          " ... About 47,800,000 results (0.45 seconds) ... "

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: The year of the Linux desktop

            You might want to read the page you linked. According to that page, Red Flag Linux has been out of support for five years, and, while developed in China in the 2000s, has no link to the Chinese government. Quite unlike Kylin, which is currently supported in its native forms as well as a Ubuntu derivative and, while not officially a government-run project, is written and maintained by a university connected to the military.

      3. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

        Re: The year of the Linux desktop

        "This is where the US has probably got it wrong: the Chinese IT market is now comfortably larger than the US"

        Possibly, but the US sells to the whole world, whereas many parts of the world seem to be getting a bit more wary of China, esp since Winnie the Pooh was banned.

  7. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Typical Chinese

    Just copying original American Ideas

    1. dnicholas
      Coat

      Re: Typical Chinese

      Thank the lord the US has a level headed POTUS who can Make America Great Again without the Chinese...

      I suspect Trump's Twitter tantrums have only accelerated China's plans. China don't need more American IP, they won't need Korean DRAM or NAND at all soon either. POTUS knows what he's doing though. His bigly intellect has allowed him to see through the charade

      1. jgarbo
        Facepalm

        Re: Typical Chinese

        The Great Stable Genius is playing 4D chess with the Chinese. They call it Tiddly-Winks.

        1. macjules Silver badge

          Re: Typical Chinese

          "The Great Stable Genius"

          Is that because he is so used to closing the legal doors once the whores have bolted?

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Typical Chinese

            Well played, sir.

          2. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
            Pint

            Re: Typical Chinese

            Rather well done, cobber. Have one on me ---->

          3. Clunking Fist Bronze badge
            Devil

            Re: Typical Chinese

            "Is that because he is so used to closing the legal doors once the whores have bolted?"

            Better whores and porn stars than underage sex-slaves and impressionable interns, no?

        2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Typical Chinese

          >The Great Stable Genius is playing 4D chess with the Chinese. They call it Tiddly-Winks.

          Don't Americans call it "Freedom checkers" ?

        3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Typical Chinese

          Even if he could play chess, the Chinese would only smile indulgingly because they're playing Go and Mahjong.

      2. georgezilla

        Re: Typical Chinese

        " ... Thank the lord the US has a level headed POTUS ... "

        I'm sorry. I'm an American. And just who is this person of which you speak? Because I don't know anyone like that holding the office.

        Oh wait.

        That was sarcasm.

        Sorry.

      3. Hans 1 Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Typical Chinese

        I think the cause of all the willy-waving is a deeply rooted inferiority complex POTUS has regarding China, I mean, just look at that f*ing wall in China!

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Typical Chinese

      Just copying original American Ideas

      Much like the early US 'copied' (actually - stole outright) British engineering and technical ideas in order to bootstrap their industry.

      Happens every time someone wants to compete with the current leader.

  8. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Intellectual property

    "The US is also stymied because Huawei owns many 5G patents so even choosing other manufacturers would still mean paying to license its IP."

    Why? I mean, in this tit-for-tat charade, why not just say "screw you" to the Chinese IP holders in the same way that the Chinese have been doing to foreign IP for years?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Intellectual property

      Because if you break the IP / patent system for one, you break it for all. You allow some patents to be ignored, the courts would be forced to dismiss other claims, and the whole system of ownership of ideas crumbles to dust.

      1. GiantKiwi

        Re: Intellectual property

        No huge loss there, only in the states can you own an idea without actually having created it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Intellectual property

          You can own a house and charge tenants rent without actually having built it, as well, providing you bought the property fair and square - what was your point?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Intellectual property

            "You can own a house and charge tenants rent without actually having built it, as well, providing you bought the property fair and square - what was your point?"

            You didn't have to pay someone just for having the idea of a house.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @AC - Re: Intellectual property

            His point is you own a house not the idea of a house.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @AC - Intellectual property

              "His point is you own a house not the idea of a house."

              I think the point was, I own a phone, not the idea of a phone, but the price included licence fees for lots of 'ideas', some less obvious than others.

          3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: Intellectual property

            I imagine the OP's point is that under the US system you don't need to have paid the original builder/inventor. You just need to be the first to squat/file. Oh ... and it doesn't need to be a house/creative-idea.

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: Intellectual property

              >I imagine the OP's point is that under the US system you don't need to have paid the original builder/inventor.

              No, to paraphrase Gene Quinn of IPWatchdog and given he is a patent attorney and I'm not going to disagree - under the US system you only need to have had an idea and be able to set it down in "patentese" to get a US patent...

        2. Jaybus

          Re: Intellectual property

          Are you saying that patent rights can only be sold in the US?

      2. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Intellectual property

        "Because if you break the IP / patent system for one, you break it for all. You allow some patents to be ignored, the courts would be forced to dismiss other claims, and the whole system of ownership of ideas crumbles to dust."

        No they wouldn't. You just invalidate all patents from persons/corporations on the Entities List. I don't think courts will be forced to do anything of the sort, but of course IANAL.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @DavCrav - Re: Intellectual property

          And what will compel them to respect the IP/patent system once you declare it is moral to steal theirs just because it's on that entities list ? Do you realize how may patents they will invalidate in return ? I personally don't think China would dislike that very much.

          1. DavCrav Silver badge

            Re: @DavCrav - Intellectual property

            "And what will compel them to respect the IP/patent system once you declare it is moral to steal theirs just because it's on that entities list ? Do you realize how may patents they will invalidate in return ? I personally don't think China would dislike that very much."

            Well, now that is a different point. The original point was that you aren't allowed to invalidate $COMPANY's patents because the US court system would block that. The argument that $COMPANY's government will retaliate is a different statement, that I wasn't denying earlier. I simply stated that I expect there to be no legal obstacles to, for example, voiding Huawei's 5G patents in the US.

        2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Intellectual property

          >No they wouldn't. You just invalidate all patents from persons/corporations on the Entities List.

          The problem is that one tweet can put somebody on the entities list.

          If you were a US bank you thought investment in a Canadian aircraft company or an Argentinian steelworks was safe.

          Suppose next week Korea or Japan annoy him, Samsung and ARM go on the same list.

          If you are a US investor the value of your $Bn in any foreign company could go to $0 tomorrow.

          So why would any foreign company list on the NYSE, or trade in $ ?

          1. Reg Reader 1

            Re: Intellectual property

            If you look at Bannon's rantings and see what Trump is doing it's almost like you can see a pattern. Putin>Bannon>Trump

          2. DavCrav Silver badge

            Re: Intellectual property

            These are all good points, but like the other poster do not address my point. I simply stated that I don't think that there's any US legal problem with doing it. There will be significant other obstacles to it, much the same as any putative Labour government would find out if they actually tried to implement their 'steal foreign-owned companies' policy.

            But I cannot see any theoretical obstacles to invalidating patents belonging to an 'enemy', suitably defined. Seizing patents would be very similar to seizing bank accounts and other property, and would not, in and of itself, precipitate the collapse of the USPTO.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Intellectual property

              "precipitate the collapse of the USPTO."

              Considering the sheer inertia of the USPTO bureaucracy, I suspect we'd not know if that had happened for many, many years. I bit like watching tar drip at room temperature.

          3. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
            Paris Hilton

            Re: Intellectual property

            If American investors are scared of investing in foreign companies, they'll bring their investments home and invest in local companies instead... which will Make America Great Again.

            See, it's a win-win.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Intellectual property

          The Chinese only need to invalidate the copyright on Mickey Mouse and Congress will lube up and bend over!

      3. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

        Re: Intellectual property

        "Because if you break the IP / patent system for one, you break it for all. You allow some patents to be ignored, the courts would be forced to dismiss other claims, and the whole system of ownership of ideas crumbles to dust."

        The US invaded and destroyed Libya, wage an illegal war in Syria, yet we don't consider "international law and diplomacy" to be dust. Might is right: the Chinese may well have to grin and bear it.

    2. love not war

      Re: Intellectual property

      Because US corporations would not let that happen. US corporations may argue frequently in court about who owns a patent and whether a particular patent is valid, but they would not agree with a decision that valid patents can simply be ignored by government fiat.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pure speculation

    My guess is the Chinese will fork ReactOS because:

    * It's free and has source code.

    * "Clone, copy files, publish" can easily remove the history.

    * Have a million developers to keep track of upstream changes by hand.

    * Runs older applications which means no need to buy more licences.

    * Runs on hardware that can be built without overseas oversight.

    Anon,

    Well I live in this neck of the woods.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      https://www.theregister.co.uk/2002/07/19/china_to_build_own_version/

      If they can build bridges in 48 hours and skyscrapers in 2 weeks, writing Windows in 17 years must be a cinch. Any day now they'll be launching a compatible alternative...

      1. Sierpinski
        Holmes

        I bet they're faster at projects they've started than ones they haven't.

  10. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Facepalm

    What a surprise

    Is there anyone at all who didn't see this coming?

    I think now is the time to buy popcorn futures... quickly!

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: What a surprise

      Yes. I can think of one person.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: What a surprise

        And his blond buffoon of a mate. But you can also put the scarecrow aka Corbynoff (to my brother at least but probably others) on the list of clueless numpties who prefer posturing to policy.

        When it comes to industrial policy you really can't trust the Chinese. The problem is that the US are giving many people no choice but to do so.

  11. Brian Miller

    Just say "no" to Windows??

    I remember when Microsoft turned all of the backgrounds black. Because, like, pirated, right? Yes, years back, Microsoft decided that it would be cute to point out who was running an "unlicensed" installation of Windows. And sooooo many screens in the Chinese government wound up with black backgrounds. And they couldn't change that setting for 24 hours.

    This new Chinese move also opens up the question: how are they going to dispose of all the American computers? Sell them, or scrap them out?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Just say "no" to Windows??

      You mean the Chinese-made American computers? If they do take them out and dump them on world markets it's going to make for some interesting effects on prices.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Just say "no" to Windows??

        Exactly. Damn near every single PC in the world was made in China.

      2. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

        Re: Just say "no" to Windows??

        " for some interesting effects on prices."

        Sure, in the market for second-hand computers whose former owner was the State of China...

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Just say "no" to Windows??

      "I remember when Microsoft turned all of the backgrounds black. Because, like, pirated, right?"

      That always amused me because I've always set my Windows wallpaper to be just plain black anyway.

  12. steviebuk Silver badge

    Ah the great orange one...

    ....causes lots of issues. How comes he hasn't banned iPhones yet? Considering they are all built in China. For all anyone knows the Chinese could be controlling the factory so they can implant their own little spy chips. Obviously telling management at the factory, if they so much as whisper what is happening to Apple, they'll disappear from the factory never to return.

    I have no evidence of this but if the tit orange knob thinks Chinese kit is so risky, it is curious that he isn't targeting kit of a massively popular American company, Apple, having its kit made in China. All because Chinese labour is cheaper so they can make a massive return on their massive markup.

    I wonder if when Trump leaves office, he'll be offered work at a donut shaped office called Apple? Hmmm.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Ah the great orange one...

      Apple has US shareholders that are 1) rich and 2) will be made substantially less rich if Apple die.

      But if China were to ban Apple products in China 'for reasons of national security' that wouldn't exactly hurt Huawei

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ah the great orange one...

      Foxconn is Taiwanese, not Chinese. They assemble them in China but do you really believe that China could add a chip to every iPhone without Apple noticing? Yes, I'm sure they don't have anyone on site at Foxconn, or have any way to verify that their exact design is what is getting built.

      If Trump wanted to ban everything Chinese we'd have no high tech products left in the US. Most are assembled in China, and even those that aren't use some Chinese parts, even Samsung who is as close to a vertically integrated phone OEM as there is. No PCs, no TVs, probably no cars as I'll bet even US brands like Ford and GM source their electronics at least partially from China.

      1. genghis_uk Bronze badge

        Re: Ah the great orange one...

        "Foxconn is Taiwanese, not Chinese"

        You may find that if you ask the powers in China, they will tell you Taiwan is Chinese...

        Of course, the Taiwanese may beg to differ but they are a bit outgunned.

        1. Mike007

          Re: Ah the great orange one...

          Of course Taiwan is part of China.

          Now, as for why the legitimate government of China doesn't do something about those rebels occupying their land... well, each of them has a different excuse. I propose they resolve it with rock paper scissors.

          1. Mike007

            Re: Ah the great orange one...

            As someone apparently down-voted that comment, I guess I need to explicitly explain that both governments consider themselves china and both governments consider that their territory is the entire area. It's just that one government controls one part of the country and the other controls the other.

    3. georgezilla

      Re: Ah the great orange one...

      Offered work?

      Hahahahahahahahahah

      He doesn't know what the word means. So actually doing it is out of the question

  13. stiine Silver badge

    This seems to be quite excessive

    But it is one way to prevent another Microsoft software audit.

  14. Palpy

    Mr. Trump has certainly taught the rest of the world...

    ...to be wary of supposedly stable governments.

    I expect that China sees Trump's tariff war accompanied by his shifting and illogical negotiating tactics as a clear sign: China must not count on international suppliers for government-essential hardware or software. Communist China's history includes considerable opposition from Western democracies; China's government may be paranoid, but it is to some degree reasonable paranoia.

    So, on the face of it, moving away from foreign technology is not stupid. The US and UK concern with Huawei is (mostly) the same shoe, just on the other foot. (There is the subject of technology theft too.) But if Windows was a Chinese product, the US military and intelligence agencies would be foolish to use it. (Yes, US military and intelligence agencies use some Linux systems, but I believe that the majority of general-purpose office PCs are Windows.)

    As others mentioned, the snotty part is using a top-down mandate to rebuild a hardware-software ecosystem. I doubt that the top leaders in the Chinese government are any more tech-smart than the average US congressperson. Senator Wyden excepted.

    I expect the process will be harder and take much longer than the leaders of the PRC imagine.

    1. batfink Silver badge

      Re: Mr. Trump has certainly taught the rest of the world...

      Agreed - apart from the tech-smartness of the respective politicians. China's top echelons since the Mao days have traditionally been heavy on the sciences, particularly engineering. Unfortunately that seems to be fading in modern times, and they're turning more into the "professional politician" mould that we see in the West.

      IIRC the USA government is very heavy on lawyers, rather than technicians.

    2. fajensen Silver badge

      Re: Mr. Trump has certainly taught the rest of the world...

      The Donald just blew up a NATO conference https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/08/world/europe/carla-sands-trump-nato.html

      The conference wasn't immediately cancelled, it became cancelled when several of the VIP's were "regrettably unable to attend because of sudden commitments". Now Carla Sands will find that her no doubt busy schedule with the top-tier businesses and organisations drying out, being repacked by 3'rd rate triers and wannabes.

      The US ambassador is no longer a brand that 'the old money' desires to be associated too much with.

  15. karlkarl Silver badge

    Where does all that ripped out kit go?

    Can I have it? XD

    I guess the sad news is that Lenovo is Chinese company, otherwise Ebay would be absolutely flooded with cheap Thinkpads; perfect for BSD/Linux :/

  16. Reginald Onway

    Gee! What about 5G?

    Huawei owns many 5G patents. This 5G thing is not going well at all. Why do we need 5G again?

    As for balkanization of devices, as long as mine works OK I don't care.

  17. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    I can't see this transparent ploy working for long.

    The Chinese can't possibly afford much investment now they are paying all those tariffs on their exports like wot OPOTUS says they are.

    What?

    1. georgezilla

      Re: Bah!

      " ... now they are paying all those tariffs ... "

      Who is paying for those tariffs?

      I think that you are confused.

      1. batfink Silver badge

        Re: Bah!

        That was sarcasm again George. Hang around here long enough and you'll be as good at it as us Right-Pondians :).

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Bah!

          This leftpondian recognized it as satire, but keep in mind that it's very close to being a Poe, so please have some understanding if it confuses some of us. In the US, you hear honest opinions that are similar to that statement.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. martinusher Silver badge

    Irreplaceable software?

    The software that we run on our desktop and mobile devices has become loss leader designed to funnel us into a supplier's software ecosystem so its nothing like as essential as we'd like to believe. If you're an organization -- a government, say -- that has an interest in managing data location and security then "the cloud" has limited appeal unless you own that cloud and its associated software. So losing Android and Windows has limited impact -- its convenient if the devices come with it but not a disaster if they don't.

    Naysayers who live the modern software ecosystems will be horrified by this notion but there's already a non-Google Android ecosystem out there operated by Amazon. Sure, you can side load Google services ("adware"?) on it but its not essential for the devices to work. Same with Windows. Those of us who run Linux desktops lose out on some of the visual appeal of Windows (and the excitement of never quite knowing what this week's update will bring) but for day to day use it works fine. Replacing it is inconvenient but not for a nation of 1.3 billion.

    As for the hardware, I suspect that rather a lot of our current hardware exists for the sole reason that its needed to power the adware ecosystem and the appallingly inefficient software that powers the modern user experience.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Irreplaceable software?

      "the visual appeal of Windows"

      The what?

      The visual appeal of Windows was ended by Windows for Teletubbies (or Fisher Price if you prefer).

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Irreplaceable software?

      "Those of us who run Linux desktops lose out on some of the visual appeal of Windows"

      What? My Linux desktops are much more visually appealing than Windows.

  19. chopkoski

    Michael Dell might due well to read up on what is happening, as he seems to be stymied in the past. There is Spalding's Stealth War, Manthorpe's Claws of the Panda and Hamilton's Silent Invasion. Then, there is the Australian 60 minutes report on the Chinese meddling in the pacific, the Chinese are childish and inane, it is nonetheless an issue:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzCqQKnF9Oo

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      >the Chinese are childish and inane

      I've no doubt that among a nation of 1.3 billion there are more than a handful of 'childish and inane' people but the ones I've interacted with are anything but. They tend to be rather smart and very hard working.

      We're making the same mistake with China that we made with Japan. We used to dismiss Japanese products as inferior knockoffs, products of people good at copying but unable to innovate. Some of their early products like cars and motorcycles were a bit weird to our eyes but they very rapidly improved to the point where I don't think anyone regards Japanese products as lacking quality or innovation these days. So, instead of running down Chinese because they look a bit different or have a different cultural background try to think of them as "like Japan but ten times bigger". The also border Russia, a relatively small nation that has vast physical and intellectual resources. Now you can try the Cold War approach -- "Claws of the Panda" sort of thing -- but I think that's going to be too little, too late. We have a formidable competitor on our hands (and if you know your history you'll know that this isn't a particularly new problem -- read up on the background to the Opium Wars). I suggest we meet them as equals and work our collective tails off to compete with them -- because we really don't have any other choice.

  20. Nifty Silver badge

    For my next party trick, all Australian iron ore shall be removed from Chinese buildings and vehicles within 5 years.

    Popcorn at the ready guys.

  21. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    What about software that runs on the Windows API? Will they be creating their own OS that implements the Windows API? If so, will we be able to buy it?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Why would they bother? If they're going to use Chinese application S/W they'll write it for whatever API they choose for their Chinese OS. I suspect that that might be very Linux-like. Very, very Linux-like.

  22. filthy b'stard

    Dangerous path

    This is a dangerous path to go down. The less two countries trade with each other the more likely they are to go to war.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dangerous path

      A typical "remainer" comment, China just needs to "Get it done" and there will be money all over the place, and a baby boom.

  23. W. Anderson

    John Oates is a little behind the curve in regard having good or factual knowledge of Chinese Software technology.

    Since a significant proportion of Microsoft's Cloud solution is Linux and other Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) based - more than 68% according to public, official statements by Microsoft software executives, and most all of international banking, stock exchanges, Web/networking infrastructure, AI research, Medical research, aerospace and defense research, transportation, et al is Linux and FOSS based, the Chinese are not at any serious disadvantage.

    Linux based laptop and desktop operating system (OS) technology has reached par and even gone substantially beyond Microsoft Windows 10 - to the point that Microsoft has implemented Linux subsystems and even produced the company's own Linux distribution. This is without mentioning ChromeOS that runs Chromebooks with Linux kernel that now powers more than 53% of all USA school systems and is directly available to China, as well as any other country.

    Americans and their British dupes need to get a grip on reality in accepting that Western nations, particularly the USA no longer control the bulk of critical technology industries.

  24. J27 Bronze badge

    Yeah...

    I suspect this will be like a lot of Chinese domestic policies. They'll make a big show of enforcing it for a few days and then everything will go back to how it was before immediately after the cameras leave. China won't really blow the money needed to actually do this, they like to make a big fuss by enacting laws, just to never really enforce them.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hollowing Out Your Competitor's Market By Building One Of Your Own....

    Looking long term (way past any and all Trump administrations), this move provides a platform for the Chinese to develop THEIR OWN:

    - chip industry

    - OS industry

    - application software industry

    .....in addition to their obvious current strenth in network components. As the article points out, this could REDUCE the turnover of American suppliers by $150 billion.

    .....but in the long term, it will also hollow out Western manufacturing, Western universities....and the Western technical knowledge base.

    In a recent TV program, a Chinese government person said that since China has four times the population of the USA, there is no reason why Chinese GDP should not be four times that of the USA.

    Thank you Mr. Trump for helping this Chinese policy choice get implemented sooner rather than later!!!!!

  26. Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change Bronze badge

    How many wrongs?

    My parents used to teach me that two wrongs don't make a right. The fact that Trump's a total arse doesn't make it right for China to do similar.

    Though it does make it at least somewhat understandable, and a lesser-of-evils argument could perhaps be made.

    As for software, China has lots nowadays. Seriously. Home-grown, global open-source, and indeed home-grown open source. In the latter, we've seen a massive catchup in recent years, as the floodgates have opened on Chinese-origin open source projects going global. Assuming they don't go so mad as to deny themselves established, stable platforms like Linux and BSD - with a native Chinese layer on top 'cos ASCII does a poor job with their language[1].

    And I expect all the US "usual suspects" can set up shop in China, too, to protect their market positions.

    [1] I hope that comment doesn't apply to Unicode, and it would be nice to think that modern *X does i18n properly. Maybe the native layer for most things could in principle be as thin as a Chinese-language packaging and installer? But in real life we know much deeper layers proliferate.

  27. razorfishsl Silver badge

    It aint gonna work......

    They have no wafer fabs, how they gonna make the non-US WIFI, CPU ,BTLE chips?

    1. fajensen Silver badge

      And? Being Chinese, and therefore obviously incapable of thinking, and they can't just buy one like us sophisticated folks do?

      Give AMSL (https://www.asml.com/en) some money and they can do you up with a nice container-sized facility, that does 7 nm in volume and pisses off the Yanks, which is not exactly a losing policy any longer! TSMC are in Taiwan, basically China, whether they like it or not!!

      They did buy a couple of Swedish micro-mechanical manufacturers and moved the whole assembly and team to China before the Swedes caught up with the idea that *maybe* it is not a good approach to flog off their best assets to the competition (However, Sweden is neo-liberal lala-land, so, Because Markets! they will stay with the idea and do no action).

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020