back to article Beijing wants to level up China's software industry, with an emphasis on FOSS

China's software industry is underperforming internationally and needs to lean into open source technology to improve, the nation's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) on Tuesday. "Software is the soul of a new generation of information technology, the foundation of digital economic development, and the key …

  1. SolarDesalination

    Deepin

    I suspect this will lead to the promotion of Deepin OS as well as one of those communities. Looking at the Deepin Linux Chinese forums, there are about 30 new topics being posted a day. I just hope they upstream any improvements into Linux proper.

    Worldwide adoption of open source software for everyone's benefit could really be helped by Chinese developers adding hundreds of thousands of more minds to it. The west just need to be accepting of the incoming translation issues and patience with cultural differences.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Deepin

      .... and lots of malware

    2. LDS Silver badge

      "patience with cultural differences"

      They don't worry me much. The political ones do.

      Let's see if FOSS will be full of "useful idiots" or not. China bets on finding enough.

    3. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: Deepin

      I'm currently attending a Postgres online conference. I was surprise to see Huawei on the list of contributors. Surprised that this hasn't been picked up in government quarters.

  2. AMBxx Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Wow!

    >> just doesn't value software or intellectual property.

    I wonder who they blame for that!!

  3. steelpillow Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    "open source communities with international influence."

    Why do they need "international influence"? Historically China has followed the traditional route of ripping off Western F/LOSS, only to learn the hard way that if you want support you gotta play open too. Now they want to push back the other way, but what's in it for them? What exactly do they anticipate pushing back into the international codebase? Chinese language support? Their bugs, for us to fix? Great Firewall subservience? Cisco-style backdoors (one Huawei or another)? Maybe to sell support services back to us?

    Still, if international influence means that Pinyin inline comments are unacceptable and have to be translated into intelligible English, the whole exercise might end up a tad subversive. Interesting times.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: "open source communities with international influence."

      >Now they want to push back the other way, but what's in it for them?

      Putting the tech leadership boot on the other foot...

      China has the ability to become the leading contributor to open source and thus takeover open source projects. The west will, in its usual way, simply grab 'free' open source because its cheaper than build-it-yourself, failing to see that in so doing they are killing the capacity in the west to meaningfully contribute to the either the progression or maintenance of open source...

      Those kernel modes you need to support Intel's CPU clusters might get sidelined in favour of Huawei's...

  4. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Spies

    The Ministry is also concerned about international competitiveness, and suggests deeper international exchanges

    According to Chinese security law, every Chinese citizen can be asked to spy on behalf of CPC. They cannot refuse.

    Good luck with that.

  5. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

    Wikipedia:

    Communism...is a philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose goal is...a socioeconomic order structured upon the ideas of common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state

    It's funny. Open source is almost the perfect embodiment of communism in the software sphere. And yet it's failed to take root in China. Draw your own conclusions.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      "Open source is almost the perfect embodiment of communism"

      Just, like any communist party in СССР or PRC, it paved the way and enabled a few ginormous authoritarian entities and highly privileged individuals - in this case corporations like Google or Facebook, that probably couldn't exist without that. That says communism is a deeply flawed ideology leading always to the exact opposite of what it advocates.

      1. steelpillow Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: "Open source is almost the perfect embodiment of communism"

        Communism is just a religion like any other. Nor is it the only Godless religion - Buddhism got there first (Is pure Taoism also Godless? Did it beat Buddhism to the table? Don't ask me!)

        1. martinusher Silver badge

          Re: "Open source is almost the perfect embodiment of communism"

          Communism isn't a religion, its a political and economic philosophy. It does share one trait with religion in that its founders and early adherents were driven by idealism, "the brotherhood of man" sort of thing, but that idealism gets rapidly tempered by practical experience. (We hope.)

          The Chinese have always demonstrated this practical streak, starting in the 1920s when Chinese communists split from Russian communists because the Russian ideology built around the primacy of the industrial proletariat wasn't suitable to the Chinese experience or culture.

          The danger that communism presents to us, "the West", isn't that its some kind of nefarious war-like cult bent on World Domination but rather that its inherently more efficient and productive than our economic system. This might sound a bit odd given the failure of central planning in the USSR but that was once again a consequence of idealism -- early communists were enthusiastic adopters of scientific management ("Taylorism"), or as we know it today "the tyranny of the spreadsheet".

          Incidentally, don't just assume Chinese people can't write code. I've worked with far too many of them that are very competent programmers and engineers. (....and there are a lot of them.....)

          1. LDS Silver badge

            "more efficient and productive than our economic system"

            ROTFL!!!

            Even China had to adopt capitalism - albeit with a strong control from the ruling party - to get out from the swamp Mao put it in.

      2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: "Open source is almost the perfect embodiment of communism"

        "...it paved the way and enabled a few ginormous authoritarian entities and highly privileged individuals - in this case corporations like Google or Facebook..."

        I didn't think it through that far. (I was too busy laughing at "communist" China not being able to make real-world communism work.) But I think that's a significant parallel.

    2. Snake Silver badge

      RE: communism

      The joke is that modern China does not represent "communism" in any form or function; Western societies have been so indoctrinated into considering China "communist" that [we] can't see the reality.

      You can't be "communist" with a stock market, privately-owned businesses and for-sale real estate. The closest political construct you can consider China's current form is a reduced form of fascism - a state-controlled mixed economy with single-party imposed rule and suppression of views which may question this (such as religious repression).

      I wish educated individuals would stop using "communist", it only empowers the authoritarians in our own system as they draw black-and-white conclusions to indoctrinate [our own] mindless zealots.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        "educated individuals would stop using "communist""

        Oh well, you should tell that to those ruling the Communist Party in China. As long as they call themselves communists, why should we call them with another name?

        Fascism and Communism has always been two faces of the same coin. Not surprisingly, Mussolini came from the Socialist Party where he was a prominent leader (the Communist Party in Italy didn't exist until 1921, when the Socialist Party fractured under Russian diktat).

        They are both ways to obtain power - the "ideology" can always be adjusted to the wishes of the "dear leader". Just like Mussolini did - you know very little about it, Fascism went from its socialists roots to be a "reactionary party" to obtain power and then back when it lost it. Don't study history on Wikipedia...

  6. trevorde Silver badge

    New ad campaign

    They just need to run some ads like this:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-54505841

  7. Barry Rueger

    Too much anti-China rhetoric

    Wow. El Reg is sounding more and more like a red-neck American mob, droning endlessly about Commies and looking for reds under every bed.

    I love my Huawei phone. It's great tech, and I don't for a moment think it's any more or less secure than any other Android phone.

    And China has embraced mobile tech in ways the Google and Facebook can only dream of.

    Please El Reg, can you rein in the sino-phobic rants?

    1. Dagg

      Re: Too much anti-China rhetoric

      rein in the sino-phobic rants

      Maybe after china stops trying to destroy the Australian economy...

      My personal experience, once a bully always a bully!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Too much anti-China rhetoric

      Love the people, respect the work ethic, beware the politics and power.

    3. reGOTCHA

      Re: Too much anti-China rhetoric

      You're entitled to love anything. But let's be rational together, if your phone has a Huawei/Xiaomi modified OS is less secure and private than other Android phones, it has the unintentional problems other android phones have, plus the intentional ones added on top. This is just how it is, it has been documented many times over, the blocklists, the trigger word lists, remote installation capabilities, the persistent ping home of system apps and other not documented but assumed to exist because they are in the law the companies are subject to. This is just how it is, it's a sad reality but the reality.

      And don't tell me your data going to Google and Facebook is the same as going to some CCCP owned data center. These are two very different levels of bad.

  8. thejoelr

    I found a list of Alibaba OSS software a while back

    I don't know much about Chinese software or OSS, but I did run into this list a while back and found it interesting: https://awesomeopensource.com/projects/alibaba

  9. Daniel von Asmuth

    How much software does China need?

    North-Korea, India, and Russia all have software developers to spare.

  10. HildyJ Silver badge
    Boffin

    Bubble Burst

    China is already massively involved in FOSS without any hint of malicious coding. Linus doesn't appear to have a problem with them.

    According to the Kernel Patch Statistics database, Chinese developers ranked 4th in number of submissions by country (behind unknown, America, and Germany, with the UK in fifth).

    https://www.remword.com/kps_result/all_whole_country.html

    According to an arXiv study of GitHub, of the top 10k projects (based on number of stars/likes) China has the second most projects (far behind America but more than double the UK which was third.

    https://arxiv.org/pdf/1805.01342.pdf

    As far as companies, Huawei has been among the top 10 contributors for some time. I'd love to see Alibaba added to the list.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bubble Burst

      Speaking of Github

      https://www.theregister.com/2015/03/27/github_under_fire_from_weaponized_great_firewall/

      Of course there are plenty of sincere and helpful coders living under the domain of the CCP who are doing it for the love of contributing something helpful.

      That's not the entire picture though. One can be aware without being miserably paranoid or nasty.

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