back to article China’s preferred Linux distro trumpets Arm benchmark results

KylinOS, the Linux distribution that China’s government has encouraged to become a national OS for desktops and services, has pointed out that it’s clocked up a Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC) benchmark running on Huawei’s Arm silicon. China doesn’t like being dependent on big western technology firms, so …

  1. Mark192 Bronze badge

    Remember when China just made the cheap crap?

    For our tech manufacturers to survive, large-scale strategic government investment needed to start years ago.

    Instead we blew our money on Iraq, Afghanistan and a "we'll wait until it becomes a big problem" approach to COVID-19.

    1. seven of five Silver badge

      > Remember when China just made the cheap crap?

      Just like Japan and Korea.

      Lessons learned. Or maybe not.

      1. Lomax
        Stop

        > Just like Japan and Korea.

        With one small difference: both those countries are democracies. Which means we did not have to subvert the electoral process, reduce worker's rights, curtail freedom of speech, restrict access to information, or introduce draconian mass surveillance, in order to compete effectively with them. How can we compete with China?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Ahhh American crony Capitalism. Don't worry, you're half way there!

          1. Lomax
            Facepalm

            Me: It's difficult to avoid becoming more totalitarian when in open competition with a totalitarian state.

            AC: Wrong; you're already half way there!

            Me: ...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Maybe you should read your post again, and then mine. You asked how to compete with that totaliarism. I said you're already half way there.

              Not once did I say you were wrong, I said you won't have to worry for too long as you're already half way there so then you'll be able to compete on the level playing field you seem to be bemoaning.

              I hope your're facepalming to your mirror.

              1. Lomax

                So you agreed with my post? For some reason I got a different impression. My apologies!

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  YES! :-)

                  No problem!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Lomax - You surely are joking.

          Aren't you ?

        3. jgarbo

          Democracies?

          Both Japan and South Korea are authoritarian vassals of the US, itself a fascist state whose "elections" are rigged. That doesn't let China off the hook, though its village, county, provincial, and national elections are democratic, ie people vote for candidates, but then neither are the US and its two servants paragons of virtue. Do more research.

        4. Lomax
          Alert

          Q.E.D.

          https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-riteaid-software/

          > Cathy Langley, Rite Aid’s vice president of asset protection, said earlier this year that facial recognition – which she referred to as “feature matching” – resulted in less violence and organized crime in the company’s stores.

          > Some security experts said any program with connections to China was troubling because it could open the door to aggressive surveillance in the United States more typical of an autocratic state.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        And Taiwan too...

        1. Lomax

          > And Taiwan too...

          Which is also a democracy...

          1. Warm Braw Silver badge

            It is now: martial law only ended in 1987. South Korea arguably didn't become a genuine democracy until a decade later. Their economic development largely predated their democratic reforms. Japan's democracy goes back further, but it was a choice that was imposed from outside and I'm not sure the self-imposed Japanese work ethic is something western democracies would willingly embrace.

            The problem with China is not so much its present lack of democracy but its speed and direction of travel coupled with its growing exercise of military power.

            1. Lomax

              >SWOOOSH<

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              It doesn't help when trump refuses to share his toys.

              1. myithingwontcharge

                >It doesn't help when trump refuses to share his toys.

                This is exactly what's caused the global rush for independent tech. It couldn't have helped more.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  That's what I said. He was talking about their independent tech being a problem.

                  If indeed it is a problem, as I said, it's a problem not helped by Trump banning everything, which indeed has fueled their rush to indepentent tech.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              @Warm Braw - I would add an argument to that.

              In my opinion what keeps the Western democracies awake at night is the uncomfortable truth that China is a successful communist country. They were supposed to be bankrupt, a glaring example of failure, something we could point at and show to our Western masses how bad they could get if...

              Instead of that, a fairly advanced technologically society, with a huge number of people raised from poverty in the past five decades.

              Yes, there are drawbacks, a government who doesn't like to be contradicted and who hates dissent. But is the US government a poster child of democratic virtues ? The rate of imprisonment per 100000 people is 5 times higher in US, a little bit embarrassing for a justice system that prides itself as being independent of political will and free against any intervention. I've just read an aye-opening article at :

              https://www.chicagoreporter.com/chicago-police-department-arrest-api-shutdown-is-its-own-kind-of-cover-up/ . How far is this from China ?

              You talk of exercise of military power yet it is not China who sends their aircraft carriers close to US international waters. And it was the Chinese embassy in Belgrade that got bombed by US-led coalition and not the other way around.

              After having spent the first half of my life under a communist regime myself, I've learned a few things about both systems and I believe I am entitled to an opinion as much as anyone else on this forum.

              1. To Mars in Man Bras!
                FAIL

                Re: @Warm Braw - I would add an argument to that.

                >>..In my opinion what keeps the Western democracies awake at night is the uncomfortable truth that China is a successful communist country...

                That's because China is too big and makes too much 'stuff' we need, for the normal US strategy to work. Namely:

                * $BadCountry adopts form of government US doesn't approve of

                * US imposes sanctions on $BadCountry and/or blockades

                * US bullies all its lickspittle allies into doing likewise

                * $BadCountry's economy disintegrates and people starve

                * US points at state of $BadCountry' economy and says [Nelson Muntz voice] "Ha! Ha! $BadCountry-ism doesn't work. Look at the state of their economy. They can't even feed their own people!"

                Which leaves at least this reporter asking; "If the US is so confident that $BadCountry-ism doesn't work. why don't they just leave it to fall apart by itself, instead of forcing the issue, forcing their lickspittle allies to tag along and generally ramping up the antagonism against someone, somewhere in the world ALL the fucking time?"

                What is it about the psyche of the USA, that you have always got to have an enemy?

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  @To Mars in Man Bras! - Re: @Warm Braw - I would add an argument to that.

                  To answer your question,

                  War is good for business. - Ferengi Rule of Acquisition number 34

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "large-scale strategic government investment"

      So... China goes Capitalist, we go Communist. Interesting plan :)

      1. Col_Panek

        We're trending fascist. We'll see what happens next election. Both choices are bad.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "So... China goes Capitalist, we go Communist. Interesting plan :)"

        Not sure where they are heading, but watching US news and seeing Govt officials, Reps and Sens defending Trumps U turns and contradictions has been fun viewing recently. In particular the way they will defend the party at all costs, logic be damned. Likewise the voxpops with the "common people" attacking or defending Trump. (It goers both ways, but Trump is the incumbent) It's horrifically and stringently partisan that the party members will support and defend the party even when it goes against all common sense and logic.

        I'm not sure if the Dems are as bad, but it's become more and more obvious over the last 3.5 years that anyone who disagrees with the party and more specifically, in the case of the GOP, disagrees with Trump, that's pretty much a job if not career ending stance to take. It's all very reminiscent of communist or fascist party methods.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Same here with Cummings. E. G. The mental gymnastics when he broke lockdown for his 'eyetest'

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "watching US news and seeing Govt officials, Reps and Sens defending Trumps U turns and contradictions has been fun viewing recently. In particular the way they will defend the party at all costs, logic be damned."

          They have to. When Republican legislators are openly critical of Trump, they tend to be punished by loyal Trump voters during subsequent Republican primary elections, often failing to advance to the general election. It has happened enough times that the remaining legislators critical of him have learned to keep quiet if they want to keep their jobs.

  2. JassMan

    Remind me

    Why did our Conservative government decide that control of processor design wasn't a strategic asset? After so many false starts of this being the year of the Linux Desktop, it will now be coming quicker than a lot of people would like.

    I for one will be replacing the linux provided but once China has total control of the PC design from hardware upwards how will we know we have installed a new OS and not have an underlying boot loader telling us there are no invisible partitions, no hidden processing cores watching our every keystroke, no trojans bypassing our firewall when the Chinese want to make the worlds biggest bot array.

    1. MarBru

      Re: Remind me

      What is there to stop any other Gov/multy-corporation or equivalent agency that can extend control from firmwares to higher process layer from doing the same?

      This is the age we live in.

      Rother than resist and avoid it is probably better to develop counter-tools.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Remind me

      You mean ARM? The Government did not create ARM, nor did they invest in it. Why should they get to decide who it gets sold to?

      If China takes over, it's because we have become lazy and stupid. Not because there was some God-given knowledge that we allowed them to buy.

      1. Reg Reader 1

        Re: Remind me

        I agree with your sentiment, but...I don't think we in the west have become lazy and stupid on purpose. There's been cuts to educational spending since the early 1980s, at the least, and corporate owned politicians made it easy to move work to lower cost areas. This is laissez-faire (free market) capitalism at work.

      2. dharmOS

        Re: another closed system with no upgrade path

        Some industries have restrictions as to who can buy controlling shares etc placed by the UK Government. These are often Defence companies and are not primarily owned by the Govt either (British Aerospace, Chobham, Rolls-Royce). The pity is that ARM and Imagination Technologies should also have been on that strategic list.

        Instead ARM went to Softbank in Japan and IMGtec went to a Chinese-owned consortium. Even European supercomputer efforts hinged on ARM as the European CPU ISA of choice, which may now pivot to RISC-V. Now ARM is "Japanese" and the fastest supercomputer is the Fugaku A64FX.

        We have no industrial strategy. As this pandemic demonstrates, services-based economy only gets you so far...

      3. Zolko

        Re: Remind me

        The Government did not create ARM, nor did they invest in it

        but the government did invest in the schools and universities that produced the master minds that later created ARM. So the government can have legitimate concerns about what happens with its (indirect) investments.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Remind me

          "So the government can have legitimate concerns about what happens with its (indirect) investments. "

          Ahahaha. Good one.

          Oh, you are being serious?

      4. JassMan

        Re: Remind me

        Yes I do mean ARM. Our government could have decided that chip design was a national asset and blocked the sale. ARM was a effectively an open source design that all manufacturers were happy to pay around 50p on licencing costs for ARM to continue developing. We are now in the situation where the design is under the control of the Chinese government. If we are worried about Huawei and 5G we should be far more worried about the market being flooded With high powered phone chipsets being sold as desktops but totally controlled by a government who have no qualms about monitoring their own population for no financial gain. The opportunity to clean out the bank accounts of the rest of the world once they decide the time is right, is a very strong incentive for them to sell powerful PCs at below cost.

        I have a number of Chinese friends and they are all very nice people. However, not one of them would choose to return their homeland and live in a country where you can't even trust your neighbour, never mind those in control.

        1. mark l 2 Silver badge

          Re: Remind me

          How is ARM (which is owned by Softbank a Japanese consortium) under the control of the Chinese government?

          The ARM based kit the Chinese government are using for these benchmarks comes from Huawei which is just a has a license to product chips to ARM's design. Neither Huawei or the Chinese government have any influence to put backdoors into ARM designs which can still be manufactured by other ARM licenser such as Broadcom, Samsung, Qualcomm etc. Who i assume their engineers have enough knowledge about processor design to spot deliberate backdoors in ARM core designs anyway.

          If the Huawei chips do have some backdoor mandated by the Chinese government, it will be discovered eventually. Very clever people are probably probing and poking at their kit right now looking for such things.

          1. JassMan

            Re: Remind me

            https://www.caixinglobal.com/2020-06-11/softbanks-arm-ltd-says-china-ceo-fired-for-serious-irregularities-101565410.html

            Yes the parent group is owned by the Japanese but I believe that ARM China is a semi autonymous company. Something that many of the people who keep downvoting me seem to have conveniently forgotten. All chips licenced by chinese companies are designed in one of the ARM China design centres in Beijing, Shanghai or Shenzen. If the Chinese gov doesn't have any influence in those centres then the downvoters must be living in an alternate reality where Beijing has granted independence to HongKong

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Remind me

          @JassMan

          >Our government could have decided that chip design was a national asset.

          Madness and/or Communism.

          >ARM was a effectively an open source design

          Utterly false.

          >We are now in the situation where the design is under the control of the Chinese government

          Downright lie. Deary-me.

          >With high powered phone chipsets being sold as desktops but totally controlled by a government who have no qualms about monitoring their own population for no financial gain

          Do you suggest we ban these chipsets you mention from coming in from the USA then?

          >I have a number of Chinese friends and they are all very nice people

          Suuuuuure you do.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Remind me

          >>Yes I do mean ARM. Our government could have decided that chip design was a national asset and blocked the sale.

          How would that have happened? Arm don't design chips so the sales would have gone ahead anyway. You might as well have said, "Our government could have decided that brewing beer was a national asset and blocked the sale."

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Remind me

            "Arm don't design chips"

            Don't they? I thought that was the point of ARM. They design the chips then license the designs out.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Remind me

              >Don't they?

              No, they do not. People who don't understand the semiconductor industry may think they do, but they do not. Arm is, for the most part, and when talking about processor cores, a soft IP provider.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Remind me

                <2 thumbs down>

                There are two people who do not understand Arm's products right there!

                A processor core, or any other IP, supplied in the form of HDL code is NOT a "chip design". You can't just cut 'n' paste it into an SoC chip layout.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @JassMan - Re: Remind me

          Yes, but there's more than a billion Chinese that have no problem living there and they seem to trust their neighbor.

      5. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Vasten_the_Barelegged

      Re: Remind me

      > there are no invisible partitions, no hidden processing cores watching our every keystroke, no trojans bypassing our firewall when the Chinese want to make the worlds biggest bot array.

      The discussion is about KylinOS, not Windows.

      1. JassMan

        Re: Remind me

        My argument is that once everything from hardware to a modified version of the OS, is controlled by a dictatorship, the possibility to wreak havok far exceeds anything M$haft could have dreamed of. Who knows how much "telemetry" MS capture. That is just for financial gain. How much more would a goverment want? Even the UK government would like to see everything we look at on the internet, and they would if they could have their magic backdoor to HTTPS. They just don't think big enough to grab all the data from a device over which they can control the hardware and software before it gets encrypted.

        1. Inkey

          Re: Remind me

          @jassman

          Oh so like apple or any phone that uses arm ip ... or any western oligarchy, goverment department that,s "defending" your "freedom"... oh wait if we do it its capitalisim .... and we should demonise the chinese because they do it better ....

          Merkia is in a massive hole to the chinese and instead of diplomacy they send the war machine to defend their egregious and greedy short commings

          Some one here once remarked that the world is run by fuckwits ..and now i understand why ...

    4. JassMan

      Re: Remind me

      Replying to myself here since it appears that some readers didn't realise that I was being facaetios in not stating explicitly that ARM holdings should havebeen treated as strategically important to national security. I also didn't realise that so many would have forgotten that ARM China is semi-independant of ARM as owned by Softbank who we all know are Japanese.

      For those who seem to have forgotten, ARM Chima is only 49% owned by Softbank. The rest is owned by China Investment Corporation, the State owned sovereign wealth fund.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @JassMan - Re: Remind me

      Are you talking about Intel Management Engine here ?

    6. oiseau Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Remind me

      ... how will we know we have installed a new OS and not have an underlying boot loader telling us there are no invisible partitions, no hidden processing cores watching our every keystroke, no trojans bypassing our firewall ...

      Hmm ...

      Probably the very same way we knew about the Intel Management Engine (ME), that autonomous subsystem incorporated by Intel in most if not all their chipsets since 2008.

      Yes, that one.

      The one you that runs without your knowledge even with the PC shut down and which you cannot turn off or remove without terminally bricking your rig.

      O.

      1. Lomax
        Boffin

        Re: Remind me

        Intel Management Engine can be neutered, though the procedure is not for the faint of heart:

        https://github.com/corna/me_cleaner/wiki/How-does-it-work?

        In particular, this will disable the ME's network stack, which should make it pretty useless as a backdoor.

    7. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: Remind me

      with the way the China communist government treats their own people, it will be a hard sell to the rest of the world that there is no secret "management engine" type of hidden security hole built right in. it's the same reason why people aren't trusting them for 5G.

      I'd also like to know whether or not they are ACTUALLY COMPLYING WITH THE GPL for their own Linux version...

  3. jake Silver badge

    That's China for you ...

    ... always resorting to strong ARM tactics.

  4. IJD

    The problem we have competing with China is explained by what happened in the USA...

    The USA became dominant in semiconductors (and other high-tech areas) by investing huge amounts in fundamental R&D and having a lot of skilled scientists and engineers working on technology, and then a spending a lot more money and having a lot of creative engineers designing on hardware based on it. The fundamental R&D has now largely disappeared because it's expensive and doesn't deliver short-term profits, and most of the engineering talent has moved from hardware into software (or services, or apps...) because it delivers more profits (and higher salaries) more quickly. It's why places like Bell Labs and the other big research centres that used to drive technology are no more.

    Meanwhile places like China are pouring huge amounts of money (and talent and engineers) into both R&D and technology/hardware development because a) they've got the money b) they see it as essential to China's future success c) they're not so obsessed with stock prices and short-term profits. Yes they're still behind in several areas (especially process technology) but are catching up fast, and spending money like it's going out of fashion to do so. When I talked to someone from Huawei a few years back, they were planning to expand R&D resources by hiring 16000 new graduates that year alone...

    So the sad truth is that losing our technology lead is basically down to short-termism and obsession with the next quarter's stock price, coupled with the fact that software/services is a faster way to make more money than hardware and fundamental technology -- ignoring the fact that software needs hardware to run on and communicate through, somebody else can do that, it takes too long and doesn't make enough money. Having your technology businesses dominated by the desire to make lots of money as fast as possible to pump up the stock price goes directly against what is needed to stay as a technological leader, especially in expensive areas like semiconductors.

    Blaming China for this is looking in the wrong direction, the damage is basically self-inflicted by Western business strategy... :-(

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm not sure that it's true that China is pouring large amounts of money into things. Like everyone else, they make their investment decisions as they see appropriate. It's not like we don't get stories of VCs throwing money at all kinds of weird stuff in the West.

      The main difference is that if you work hard (and obey crazy laws) in China, you will get a noticeable improvement in your quality of life. In the West it's kind of the other way around: the harder you work, the more you miss out.

    2. Kernel

      " It's why places like Bell Labs and the other big research centres that used to drive technology are no more."

      Bell Labs is most certainly still there, doing research and driving technology development - but it's known as 'Nokia Bell Labs' now days.

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