back to article Chinese State media uses new release of local Linux to troll Trump

China’s national cut of Linux – KylinOS - has emerged in a major new release and one of its important new functions is a symbol of the nation’s ability to get ahead despite US trade bans. “Galaxy Kylin Advanced Server Operating System V10” emerged last week with support for locally-designed chips using the MIPS, SPARCv9 and …

  1. iced.lemonade

    Then the surveillance of the citizen's digital activities will be down to the OS level - combined with the password law enacted this year, the state can mandate what you can set as the root/user password of your linux box.

    Next move will be a state-regulated bios and state-provided firmwire updates which, combined with state-issued linux distribution, will reflect the amount of control the state want at any given moment.

    Why would anyone side with china on their digital policy which erode the citizen's privacy beyond the bedrock is beyond me.

    From hong kong, where the freedom and rights is quickly aligning to the standard of the mainland.

    1. TheIO

      It's not really Linux

      It's Windows CCP. Easy to joke about SlurpOS but Microsoft ain't anywhere near as bad as Xinnie the Pooh.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: It's not really Linux

        No, it's Linux and its developers are giving the Chinese the code they need to enforce the party's rule. More or less like UK gave Stalin the jet engines he needed to power the MiG 15 and 17, and URSS couldn't develop on its own....

        Sometimes being open is being idiot (as in "useful idiots").

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: It's not really Linux

          Linux doesn't have inbuilt slurp so nobody's giving them anything.

        2. Lars Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: It's not really Linux

          "More or less like UK gave Stalin the jet engines".

          That is indeed a more or less simplified view of facts as they were sold to the Russians.

          We copy and learn and eventually it's always open. As the Germans invented the internal combustion engine one could of course claim they gave it for free to the British enabling them to build the Merlin engine, that is, if one was very silly.

          The British gave the Whittle engine to the Americans however.

          This is a nice and old video of that occasion.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y76qd68M1-M&t=19s

          However the Whittle engine was not axial flow like the Junkers Jumo 004 the first successful axial compressor turbojet engine, the mother of the modern jet engine.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhf8eQn97qE&t=40s

          Some more about the MiG 15:

          "The Germans had been unable to develop turbojets with thrust over 1,130 kilograms-force (11,100 N; 2,500 lbf) running at the time of the surrender in May 1945, which limited the performance of immediate Soviet postwar jet aircraft designs. They did inherit the technology of the advanced axial-compressor Junkers 012 and BMW 018 engines, in the class of the later Rolls-Royce Avon, that were some years ahead of the then currently available British Rolls-Royce Nene engine. The Soviet aviation minister Mikhail Khrunichev and aircraft designer A. S. Yakovlev suggested to Premier Joseph Stalin that the USSR buy the conservative but fully developed Nene engines from Rolls-Royce...."

          ------

          "At the end of World War II, the Soviets seized many of the assets of Germany's aircraft industry. The MiG team studied these plans, prototypes and documents, particularly swept-wing research and designs, even going so far as to produce a flying testbed in 1945 to investigate swept-wing design concepts as the piston-engined "pusher"-layout, MiG-8 Utka (Russian for "duck", from its tail-first canard design). The swept wing later proved to have a decisive performance advantage over straight-winged jet fighters when it was introduced into combat over Korea.

          The design that emerged had a mid-mounted 35-degree swept wing with a slight anhedral and a tailplane mounted up on the swept tail. Western analysts noted that it strongly resembled Kurt Tank's Focke-Wulf Ta 183, a later design than the Me 262 that never progressed beyond the design stage [2]. While the majority of Focke-Wulf engineers (in particular, Hans Multhopp, who led the Ta 183 development team) were captured by Western armies, the Soviets did capture plans and wind-tunnel models for the Ta 183.[5][better source needed] The MiG-15 bore a much stronger likeness[according to whom?] to the Ta 183 than the American F-86 Sabre, which also incorporated German research."-

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikoyan-Gurevich_MiG-15

          The Chinese gave us powder and I doubt they could have prevented it from becoming free and open.

          We invent and copy and learn and improve stuff.

          1. martinusher Silver badge

            Re: It's not really Linux

            It also could be said that all modern liquid fuel rocket technolgoy stems from the work done for the V2.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The US digital policy isn't exactly great on citizen's privacy, either, so what's to be done about it?

      1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

        Selfhost.

        Upstream Linux, and major distributions, have explicit goals to be open and support privacy. Of course, it is always possible that various nation states have compromised parts, but at least I am confident that any compromises discovered will be openly announced, addressed and quickly removed.

        I have no such confidence in cloud services. So I don't use cloud services for important personal data (such as email, contacts, calendar, personal files, etc). I selfhost such things (for example using Owncloud/Nextcloud and by running my own email server). And I only use cloud storage for encrypted data (such as backups) or non-confidential files (such as my media library).

        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          Re: Selfhosting a la Graham Cobb

          One major debilitating downside to that self help, GC, is that others who may be able to help with your fervent interests, or whom you are able to help, are kept in the dark about your wishes and/or programs, and that leaves one somewhat isolated in a world of one's own making rather than being able to be engaged in any number of other worlds too.

          Nothing to fear, nothing to hide ...... is something quite important to fully understand at such levels of paranoia/personal security, methinks.

          1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

            Re: Selfhosting a la Graham Cobb

            Hmm... replying to AMFM1... not sure what that says about my sanity...

            I am on plenty of mailing lists, use several fora to interact with others with similar interests, and even open-source the code I write, and publish it on GitHub. However, none of that is personal or private information.

            However, it is true that I do not use social media -- I have never had a facebook or twitter account and will not be getting one.

      2. Anonymous Coward
    3. martinusher Silver badge

      >From hong kong, where the freedom and rights is quickly aligning to the standard of the mainland.

      If you tried to do a fraction of the stuff that NGOs and the like try to do in places like Hong Kong in the US you'd end up in serious trouble. This whole 'freedom and democracy' thing is becoming a worn cliche becuase it really only applies to societies plutocrats and their ilk have the freedom to pillage economies and buy governments. Chinese people have the same sorts of rights as we have in the US to buy and hold property, start businesses and live their lives -- obviously its not exactly the same because we are different countries and cultures -- but they are not free to riot and destroy others' property, to subvert government and generally collude with foreign powers to undermine the government.

      >china on their digital policy which erode the citizen's privacy beyond the bedrock....

      I'd guess you hadn't been paying attention to what has been standard practice in our societies for years. The UK was an early adopter for widespread suveillance of the population with ubiqutous CCTV being just one obvious manifestation of this. Communication interception has been the norm for 40-50 years or more -- look at the work of Duncan Campbell, for example. Its a bit of a masterstroke to be able to convince people that they live in absolute freedom but the truth is that the West, and especially the UK, is as tightly sewn up, digitally speaking, as China. (Its just that they're the second generation....)

  2. revenant
    Unhappy

    "... the genesis of Kylin dates back to the turn of the century"

    It's depressing when a phrase like that makes you automatically think of the 1900s. Age - who wants it?

    1. Greybearded old scrote
      Joke

      Re: "... the genesis of Kylin dates back to the turn of the century"

      Well compared to the alternative...

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Coat

      Re: "... the genesis of Kylin dates back to the turn of the century"

      I used to think Doctor Watson was incredibly old (and fictional of course). Because he'd begin a Sherlock Holmes story with, "it was in the year of 82 that myself and Holmes encountered the problem of the politician the lighthouse and the trained cormorant."

      And now of course I find myself saying to "young people", "well of course that happened back in 95..." A time before they were born, but worse, in a different century - and full horror of horrors a previous millennium!

      Of course it was back in '66 that I remember fighting that bastard Norman the Conqueror at Hastings. It was funny how the place was already called Battle, before we started fighting over it. Talk about nominative determinism. I had a tenner on them winning with Harold, so it was one in the eye for him when he had to pay out...

  3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    What we really need to know is whether they've fought off that wicked capitalist attempt to undermine the world's computing systems, systemd?

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Devil

      Are you sure SystemSubstanceD isn't a Chinese project in the first place?

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        EternalBlue was a US project after all.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google Translate at its best...

    It looks like ElReg used it to translate from Chinese, and they really shouldn't, it sucks at it.

    "银河" is not "galaxy", it's specifically the Milky Way, as was properly used in the China Daily article linked in the article (which is odd, didn't they read it? And then, didn't they trust the China Daily translation?).

    Not a big deal in that case, fortunately :)

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: Google Translate at its best...

      Maybe the register just have different chocolate preferences to you?

      My Mother was adamant that I couldn't eat a Milky Way before dinner without it ruining my appetite, despite my statement that the advert was very specific that this was fine.

      Oddly since becoming an adult Mum has told me several times that, despite my expressed cynicism, something on an advert must be true, because they're not allowed to lie. So why wouldn't you let me eat that Milky Way then!

      1. Dr_N Silver badge

        Re: Google Translate at its best...

        And to confuse things even further, Milky Bar is know as Galak in France.

        1. Louis Schreurs Bronze badge

          Re: Google Translate at its best...

          It must be Galakcy, mustn't it?

          1. Dr_N Silver badge

            Re: Google Translate at its best...

            Oum, I don't know...

        2. Ivan Headache

          Re: Google Translate at its best...

          Ah, but.....

          Milky Bar and Milky Way are two different chocolate bars

          At least they were when the Milky Bar Kid rode into town.

      2. Sanguma Bronze badge
        Happy

        Re: Google Translate at its best...

        indigestion - you'd never believe the moans a young lad trying to digest 100 000 000 000 stars and failing, makes!!!

    2. Richard Tobin

      Re: Google Translate at its best...

      "Galaxy" can refer specifically to the Milky Way - it comes from the Greek "galaxios" meaning "milky". It's only in the last hundred years that we have known that there are other similar structures (though it was conjectured before).

  5. mark l 2 Silver badge

    If Trump is re-elected in November so the on going trade war between the US and China continues, then maybe next year could be the year of Linux on the desktop for those in China? As who known whether MS can avoid the sanctions and continue to supply to Huawei or maybe the Chinese government will mandate companies to start to use KylinOS over Windows.

    1. Primus Secundus Tertius

      The city of Munich (a.k.a. München) spent 15 years trying and failing to replace Windows & MSOffice with Linux & OpenOffice. Let's see whether China can manage it, perhaps with Kylinos and Kingsoft Office.

      I did try out Kingsoft Office, and it is clearly designed to support the Chinese language.

      1. Lars Silver badge
        Linux

        The city of Munich used Linux for many years but it become very political from the very start. Ballmer met with Munich several times trying to stop them, but failed. Then the boss at Munich was replaced with a pro Windows guy and things changed. I don'i know about the situation today.

        I claimed the person at China Daily is "new" to Linux because if you know Linux you know all top500 supercomputers run Linux and you would mention users like Alibaba, Google, Facebook, Twitter and the rest. Linux is put on a hell of a lot of devices in China from toys to robots and what not. And I doubt their new fighter jets are using Windows. The processor they develop was from the beginning developed using Linux.

        More than 20 years ago IBM sold mainframes running Linux for their postal services.

        In short China is a Linux super user more than perhaps any other country, and why not if not on the desktop perhaps.

        MS Windows was never good for both the embedded space and supercomputers and anything in between.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Lars - I remember

          To manifest his royal displeasure Steve Ballmer even threw some chairs upside-down in a fit of rage.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        spent 15 years trying and failing being out-politiced to replace Windows & MSOffice with Linux & OpenOffice

        FTFY

        Bear in mind that with the growth of "smart" whatever things it's getting to the point where many households would find it easier to go Microsoft-free than Linux-free.

  6. Lars Silver badge
    Happy

    OS has not led the world.

    I wouldn't say that about Unix or Linux today and it's fairly obvious this China Daily person is very new to Linux and probably writing it on Windows.

  7. karlkarl Silver badge

    I am a little jealous. Privacy concerns aside, just getting people away from Windows will do wonders for productivity.

  8. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    For whenever Source for the Goose is Sauce from the Gander

    Does the West [any Five Eyes member at least] do a Chinese language newspaper in a similar style to a China Daily/Global Times?

    1. Jaybus

      Re: For whenever Source for the Goose is Sauce from the Gander

      There are millions of Chinese Americans, so of course there are. Major newspapers in the US are World Journal, Sing Tao Jih Pao, Ming Pao, and The China Press. Also some politically slanted papers, International Daily News (pro-mainland), The Epoch Times (Falun Gong religious movement), and many more.

  9. DS999

    So 2021 will finally be the year of Linux on the Desktop!

    * In China only

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: So 2021 will finally be the year of Linux on the Desktop!

      The year of Linux on the Desktop must have been about 2005 for me. In part it succeeded SCO on the desktop..

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: So 2021 will finally be the year of Linux on the Desktop!

      It doesn't bother me if China creates a new Linux distro. In fact, it's kinda cool. The more the merrier!

      Question: how does this compare to CentOS or a commercial distro like Red Hat Enterprise? Quality, features, support, customization... anything?

      AND... will it REMAIN 100% compliant with GPL? [I fear they will try to 'sneak in' spyware or require it be installed on computers inside of China... or for ANYONE they directly do business with OUTSIDE of China!]

      1. thames

        Re: So 2021 will finally be the year of Linux on the Desktop!

        Kylin isn't so much a specific OS as it is a name encompassing a variety of operating systems supporting the goal of having an independent technology base in China.

        The original Kylin OS was a server OS based on FreeBSD, but it didn't see much adoption outside of the academic environment, and on a few high security government projects.

        They then switched to Linux, which has been much more successful. Various news reports say that Kylin has a 90% market share in the government market in China, although this may possibly refer to just servers and not desktops. Dell says that close to half of the computers they sell in China ship with Kylin.

        From what I have been able to discover, the server version seems to be an RPM based distro. It would make sense if it were based off Centos for compatibility reasons given the type of market, but I don't have any definite information on that.

        The "Galaxy" Kylin Linux version may be something different again, with heavy customisation for cloud, security, and supercomputing applications.

        The desktop version of Kylin is based on Ubuntu, with a Mate desktop. They've done extensive work to improve Chinese language support. The default app choices are oriented towards the cloud, media, and e-commerce services which are most popular in China.

        The Kylin project was puttering along slowly until a few years ago when the escalating trade wars with the US made the Chinese realise that they can't afford to leave themselves vulnerable to the US like this. As a result there has been a big push to get all US based software out of important applications in China, and so Kylin has apparently seen a big rise in its use. Certainly if I were operating a business in China it's what I would be using, given the risks presented by using US tech.

        India are going down the same road, with a big push to get foreign tech out of critical roles. That includes US tech as well as Chinese by the way. If the Indians don't have their own official Linux distro already, I expect to see one before very long.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So 2021 will finally be the year of Linux on the Desktop!

          "India are going down the same road, with a big push to get foreign tech out of critical roles."

          I for one will laugh uproariously if that happens. That would then make 2 billion of the world's population (and the rest of us who've long been carrying the torch) using desktop Linux, and I imagine that it will also act as a real turning point in terms of increasing numbers of Linux software developers (both user applications as well as the OS itself). [1]

          If I were Micros~1, I'd be starting to get worried. India, China (and presumably also Africa, is Mark Shuttleworth still involved in projects trying to bring Linux and computing education to the townships [2]?) are the next markets that they would be hoping to expand into, but if it turns out that the duvet is about to be pulled over to the other side of the bed...

          [1] although judging from the terrifying number of idiot noob and "please kindly be writing this code with great urgency for me" questions from wet behind the ears "developers" with Indian-sounding names on Q&A forums, perhaps there is still quite some way to go yet?

          [2] vaguely conscious that this may be a loaded term: meant in the sense of historically disadvantaged communities, nothing perjorative.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @AC - Re: So 2021 will finally be the year of Linux on the Desktop!

            Add Russia and Iran to your list and review your figures upward.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @bombastic bob - Re: So 2021 will finally be the year of Linux on the Desktop!

        Of course, my friend Bob, it will remain GPL compliant because they're not stupid and they will install spyware as it pleases them. They will ship all computers with a proprietary boot loader (a variety of Secure Boot will be handy for that purpose) and they will dictate what will run on the PC. Google has shown the world how it is done: encrypted proprietary boot loader, open source Linux kernel GPL compliant and proprietary DRM software. Google can sleep safe and sound knowing Android is under their control.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @DS999 - Re: So 2021 will finally be the year of Linux on the Desktop!

      Did anyone prevent you from using Linux ?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Finally, they've been making noises for so long about shifting to Linux, which is a no-brainer when you have the resources the Chinese government has,

  11. ST Silver badge
    Devil

    The OS also supports x86 CPUs flowing from the AMD’s joint venture in China ...

    Rearry?

    And here I was thinking that x86 on Linux is supported by default because... errr... x86 and x86_64 are some of primary architectures supported by Linux? And booting and running Linux on an AMD chip has been supported for... two decades?

    I must have been mishtaken.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: The OS also supports x86 CPUs flowing from the AMD’s joint venture in China ...

      well, historically Linux was an x86 "UNIX clone" of sorts, back in the beginning, except that the kernel was a full re-write with gnu tools in the userland. Other archs were added as computer systems developed further. The BSDs were early on the multi-arch stuff, seeing as the x86 port was "just another arch" for BSDs and UNIX in general. But Linux was traditionally x86, and thankfully started including other archs early on to power all of those embedded devices!

      In My Bombastic Opinion, Linux development may have directly led to the release of BSD 4.2 (and emergence of FreeBSD, OpenBSD, etc.) shortly after. All good!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @bob - Re: The OS also supports x86 CPUs flowing from the AMD’s joint venture in China

        Linux was created by PC people who wanted to play with Unix while BSD was created by Unix people who wanted to play with a PC.

      2. ST Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: The OS also supports x86 CPUs flowing from the AMD’s joint venture in China ...

        > [ ... ] Linux development may have directly led to the release of BSD 4.2 [ ... ]

        It's the other way around.

        The Design and Implementation of the 4.3 BSD UNIX Operating System was first published in 1991. Also known as The Devil Book.

        AT&T then sued UCal Berkeley and BSD. And that stalled the development of BSD until AT&T and UCal Berkeley settled out-of-court in 1994. After the settlement, the BSD's split.

        Linus' original post about Linux is here, dated August 26, 1991.

        1. Sanguma Bronze badge

          Re: The OS also supports x86 CPUs flowing from the AMD’s joint venture in China ...

          4.2BSD arrived some time during the eighties. 4.3BSD arrived during the late eighties and 4.4BSD arrived around the time of the AT&T vs BSD Inc lawsuit - the earliest CDROMs of 4.4BSD were 4.4BSD Lite, with some of the files removed because of their indeterminate status - they were the ones AT&T was suing about.

          The *BSD Unix lineages first appeared on the x86 architecture during Bill Jolitz's porting of 4.3BSD to the 386: DDJ published a series of articles by Bill Jolitz on the porting process, procedure, whatnot. I'm unsure which came first - the FreeBSD project, or the NetBSD project, but both were spun off from the 386BSD project when Bill Jolitz wasn't able to incorporate a series of patches for 386BSD quickly enough. OpenBSD came along much later.

        2. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: The OS also supports x86 CPUs flowing from the AMD’s joint venture in China ...

          interesting. thanks.

          some of these details are difficult to find in the various timelines published all over the place.

      3. naive

        Re: The OS also supports x86 CPUs flowing from the AMD’s joint venture in China ...

        I clearly recall working in the second half of the 80's with 32 bit BSD 4.2 on DEC VAX and MC68K based SUN 3/50 with SunOS 3 after working for years with AT&T Unix v7 on 16 bit DEC pdp11 model 70.

        Unix on Intel did not appear before Andrew S. Tanenbaum released Minix in 1987 while Linus Torvalds released Linux in 1992 having used Minix as platform to develop it.

        The timeline pictured in your reply could have benefited from googling Unix timeline.

        1. ST Silver badge

          Re: The OS also supports x86 CPUs flowing from the AMD’s joint venture in China ...

          > Unix on Intel did not appear before Andrew S. Tanenbaum released Minix in 1987

          That's not true.

          The Sun 386i Workstation was officially launched in April 1988, having been under development for more than a year prior to that date, independently of Tanenbaum's book and Minix. It ran SunOS 4.0, which was a derivative of BSD.

          On a slightly different train of thought, Bill Jolitz's port of 4.3BSD to i386 was released in early 1992. It was called, at first, 386BSD, later became FreeBSD.

          1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

            Re: The OS also supports x86 CPUs flowing from the AMD’s joint venture in China ...

            Microsoft Xenix was early 80s, wasn't it ?

            1. Lars Silver badge
              Happy

              Re: The OS also supports x86 CPUs flowing from the AMD’s joint venture in China ...

              Reading the Wikipedia on Xenix is like seeing history flying by.

              A few things from it.

              "In 1987, SCO ported XENIX to the 386 processor, a 32-bit chip, after securing knowledge from Microsoft insiders that Microsoft was no longer developing XENIX".

              .....

              "Microsoft, which expected that UNIX would be its operating system of the future when personal computers became powerful enough,[4] purchased a license for Version 7 UNIX from AT&T in 1978,".

              ....

              "Microsoft hopes that XENIX will become the preferred choice for software production and exchange", the company stated in 1981.[8] Microsoft referred to its own MS-DOS as its "single-user, single-tasking operating system",[33] and advised customers that wanted multiuser or multitasking support to buy XENIX.

              Sadly Gates got greedy and created the first and largest IT catastrophe in history so far - Windows.

              1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

                Re: The OS also supports x86 CPUs flowing from the AMD’s joint venture in China ...

                Largest, surely. But the first ?

                There must have been IT catastrophes before that. And Gates was never the first at anything .. even MS-DOS was bought in.

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