back to article China rallies support for Kylin Linux in war on Windows

China’s efforts to end its reliance on Microsoft Windows got a boost with the launch of the openKylin project. The initiative aims to accelerate development of the country’s home-grown Kylin Linux distro by opening the project up to a broader community of developers, colleges, and universities to contribute code. Launched in …

  1. druck Silver badge
    Joke

    Harsh

    The {RedFlag Linux} org was ultimately dissolved, and the team terminated in 2014.

    Harsh, even for China.

    1. adam 40 Silver badge

      Re: Harsh

      I wonder if the HR department used a "firing" squad?

  2. cosmodrome

    UKUI

    > Ubuntu Kylin User Interface (UKUI) window manager for tablet and convertible devices

    Sounds an awful lot like GNOME3 on Chinese steroids. On the plus side: if it's "like it or go to the camp!" GNOME might finally grow a user base again.

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

      Re: UKUI

      It isn't. It's based on MATE with some added colour.

      https://www.theregister.com/2022/01/07/ubuntu_dde_2110/

      It's all right, but nothing amazing. A Win9x-style desktop with some simplification and flattening, a bit like Win8/10 has.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ChAOSIC thinking?

    I hope it fails since I'm sure its whole reason to exist is to spy on the Chinese people.

    1. jeff_w87

      Re: ChAOSIC thinking?

      I'm not sure Windows is any better with all the "telemetry" it sends back to Microsoft and who knows else. At least with Linux you can examine the source code since it's open source and see if there's anything odd going on there. With Windows you just have to trust Microsoft, which I do less and less with every release of Windows.

      1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

        Re: ChAOSIC thinking?

        Maybe, but at least Microsoft asks first, before ignoring your answer and spying on you anyway. There are rules about these things, you know?

      2. ITMA Bronze badge
        Devil

        Re: ChAOSIC thinking?

        "I'm not sure Windows is any better with all the 'telemetry' it sends back to Microsoft"

        Or as Microsoft think of it - "Tell It To Me!"

      3. binary
        FAIL

        Re: ChAOSIC thinking?

        "At least with Linux you can examine the source code..." Really? I'll bet my left nut that most Linux users are not capable of examining source code.

        Remember, every OS, browser, Android, iPhone, are all built with spying on you in mind regardless of where they are made. Though, I would never ever trust a Chinese Linux even if I had the capability to examine its source code.

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: ChAOSIC thinking?

          I wonder how easy will be to examine THAT source code, and what you risk if you complain about something the Chinese government wanted into it.

          Canonical looks to be another "useful idiot" to help a dictatorship because plain greed. Attlee sending the most advanced jet engines to Stalin didn't teach anything, it looks.

      4. LDS Silver badge

        Re: ChAOSIC thinking?

        Being spied by Microsoft - for how awful it could be - is still far less dangerous that being spied by an authoritarian government with a penchant for "re-education" camps and for jailing opposition.

        And you can still fight that kind of espionage - see GDPR - while fighting Xi Jinping is far harder and dangerous.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @LDS - Re: ChAOSIC thinking?

          Let's be serious. GDPR is only applied within EU and for EU citizens and big tech are actively poking a lot of holes in it. As for US, no protection is needed since big tech are "self-regulating".

          1. ITMA Bronze badge

            Re: @LDS - ChAOSIC thinking?

            "big tech are actively poking a lot of holes in it"

            Not as many as the bloody so-called "regulator", the ICO.

        2. HT7777
          Big Brother

          Re: ChAOSIC thinking?

          I'm curious about what you think China can do to born and bred UK nationals?

          The UK has no extradition treaty with China. The USA on the other hand can whisk UK nationals away on a whim.

          1. Jerp

            Re: ChAOSIC thinking?

            China doesn't need an extradition treaties. They have agents that will go to countries like Canada, Australia, or countries within Europe to get any of their own people that posted anything that the government doesn't agree with on Chinese social media while outside of the country. Often targeting family members within China to get the person to come back to China to be punished.

      5. Julz

        Re: ChAOSIC thinking?

        Well it's a start I guess but given the amount of code that is either statically, dynamically or optimized in or out off you code during it's lifetime I'm not sure examining source code gets you very far.

  4. steelpillow Silver badge
    WTF?

    Kernel kicks

    "optimizations for the latest generation of Intel and AMD processors, where available; support for emerging RISC-V CPUs; development of an x86-to-RISC-V translation layer"

    Why do this on a single distro? Why not just feed your shit back to the main kernel tree?

    And some of it might find a better home in the GCC anyway.

    1. katrinab Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Kernel kicks

      I'm guessing it will eventually, when it is sufficiently stable?

      But I'm guessing it would be sponsored by them, in much the same way that Red Hat sponsors a load of stuff

    2. thames Silver badge

      Re: Kernel kicks

      Every major distro does this. Stuff takes time to get accepted into the mainline kernel, years in some cases, so the distros pick up the required patches from the sources and include them in their distro kernel.

      The optimizations for the latest Intel, AMD, and RISC-V ,models probably come directly from the relevant CPU makers. Eventually these will get mainlined and the distro won't have to do this.

      What is being announced here Is the formation of SIGs (Special Interest Groups) to allow companies who want to sell kit for use with OpenKylin to feed kernal patches and feedback to the Kylin organization. The announcement gives a list of companies who sell things such as laptops or RISC-V chip sets who will be participating. Many of these companies are not Chinese but sell to the Chinese market.

      When distro representatives talk endless about "community engagement", it's the above sort of thing they are talking about.

  5. MajDom

    Every single API call piped through the CCP for approval. I smell some latency.

    1. adam 40 Silver badge

      Readers very downvotey today - I think you're been awarded a Failing Gong.

  6. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Real Issue

    Kylin suffers from the same issue every other Linux distro suffers from (I am a die hard Linux user) is office and business software that is perceived to be just as good or better as that for BaaD. Also, sys admins might need some tools like Active Directory (not a sys admin). In many categories there are very few choices.

    As far as usability, mainstream, desktop Linux distros are just as easy to use a Windows or MacOS.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Real Issue

      The issue of software applications supporting anything other than Windows is a long standing problem, though if China simply slapped a tax/fee on any Windows software I suspect users and/or suppliers might make the effort for multi-platform support.

      Generally speaking, multi-platform software seems to have less stupidity and issues with major OS over-halls in my experience as they have had to ditch the odd OS-specific APIs and approachs to make it multi-platform, and so less technical debt when anyone decided to end support for a specific OS version.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Real Issue

        Usually multi-platform software is ugly to see, uncomfortable to use, and with a fraction of the power and features.

        Especially when you need to support Linux and its abysmal and fragmented support for GUI applications.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Real Issue

        My experience is the precise opposite. Invariably a Java based nightmare with a million different files, DB's, config files, passwords in config files, services, etc.

        Nothing is as compatible as Windows imho. We're currently upgrading our system estate from 2012 R2 (which will have over ten years support) and most applications still work natively on 2019 without any fuss. The ones that didn't simply needed small tweaks to (for example) IIS. It's an astonishingly robust OS for enterprise.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Real Issue

      If an OS is mandated by an authoritarian government, then you have to make do or write what you need. If all the universities are pushed this way, then that's where all the dev work will go. China has a very large home market, they can develop stuff just for their home market and still have a lot of customers. It doesn't have to be all FOSS. As per the article, they've tried this before. I suspect it was a bit half-hearted. They seem a bit more serious this around. And don't forget, China is good at playing the long game.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @John Brown (no body) - Re: Real Issue

        It's not that they're more serious, it's that this time they are really worried. Something tells me right now they're busy taking notes on what is happening to Russia and they don't want to be caught unprepared when their turn will come. Because that day will come. And I'd say sooner rather than later.

      2. patashnik

        Re: Real Issue

        My understanding is that the home market in China, as per most developing countries and East Asia especially, is considerably more oriented towards mobile than desktop - not just for reasons of end user cost, but physical space given the comparatively small square footage typical of the region, as Western expats are often keen to point out.

        It's why the games industry over there is even more mobile oriented than it is nowadays in the West - games consoles, like desktops, generally require external peripherals and thus more cash and space.

        Japan is something of an outlier, natch, given PC gaming continues to be dwarfed by the console market, but I digress. Despite the unwritten rule of Japanese commerce of favouring doing business with native companies over foreign ones, the country similarly continues to seemingly be content enough with MS offerings, to the point of receiving exclusive editions of Windows.

        Why Japan's own homegrown Linux distro, which last I checked was still an active project, doesn't have a significant share of the domestic OS market would be beyond me if not for the fact that I'm sure MS has learnt how to Embrace, Extend and Extinguish in multiple languages and cultures.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Real Issue

      China is big enough and has sufficient motivation to achieve what the city of Munich failed to achieve.

      It would not surprise me if in 20 years' time the version of Linux and associated desktop applications widely used by many outside of China, owes much to Chinese developers....

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Real Issue

        Still, twenty years later they are still at square one. And they still need to rely on a Western-developed OS to achieve something. A large market and a lot of manpower may not help at all if you lack the right motivation and people.

        1. martinusher Silver badge

          Re: Real Issue

          >And they still need to rely on a Western-developed OS to achieve something

          1) A large percentage of the people I've worked with (in California) are Chinese. They tend to be the backbone of "Western-developed" whatever.

          2) There's plenty more where they came from.

          Please stop underestimating the Chinese. We've got this fixation that they're some kind of hive animal that's good at copying but can't develop stuff. (Curiously enough we used to say the same thing about the Japanese....) They're formidable competitors and we need to start thinking of them in these terms, not putative 'enemies'.

          1. Plest Silver badge

            Re: Real Issue

            Well said. I'm not fan of China's rather unpleasant government but to say they simply copy things is plain wrong, and there's a difference between copying and taking something basic, improving it to turn a profit, something the Chinese are shit hot at in lots of areas.

          2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

            Re: Real Issue @martinusher

            Please stop underestimating the Chinese. We've got this fixation that they're some kind of hive animal that's good at copying but can't develop stuff. (Curiously enough we used to say the same thing about the Japanese....) They're formidable competitors and we need to start thinking of them in these terms, not putative 'enemies’. .... martinusher

            That’s an incredibly valuable lesson very few foreigners are able or enabled to learn and make great headway in with almighty success gratefully rewarded and generously awarded great wealth, martinusher.

            Such an intelligence deficit, for that is what it certainly is, renders practically any and all Chinese competition and opposition overwhelmingly disadvantaged and destined/fated to be followers of, rather than leaders in, Long Postmodern Marches akin to Millennium AIdVenturing and Greater IntelAIgent Games Play with New Orderly World Orders Commanding Controls and Controlling Commands.

            There is certainly no widely nor remotely readily available evidence of such a lead from the Wild Wacky West, mired as it is in the attacking of defences of rapidly failing status quos with stagnant and petrified established traditional hierarchical administrations support in order to survive in fields of constant drain and increasing pain ...... which is a really odd path to be following so avidly.

            Such is surely incontrovertible evidence of a lack of true leadership worthy of future support and present sustenance ‽ .

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Real Issue

        "It would not surprise me if in 20 years' time the version of Linux..."

        Linux, and really pretty much all software, both FOSS and proprietary, owe a lot to Chinese developers /today/.

        I lived in Beijing in 2009, and Google, Microsoft, Sun, plenty of others were already getting a lot of code done there.

    4. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

      Re: Real Issue

      Active Directory is likely one of the things that the Chinese government wants to get rid of - an authentication system that is possibly open to scrutiny (thanks to the CLOUD act) that states who works where and for what government agency.

      Plus the added chaos that could come in case of a declaration of war if the US government ordered Microsoft to just shut off all their Chinese users...

      I'd say the Chinese government are probably taking that possibility very seriously, if they're trying to wean the country off Windows.

      1. steelpillow Silver badge
        Megaphone

        Re: Real Issue

        In all the decades it has been around, I never met a geek who thought Active Directory anything other than dangerous garbage. Yet I never met an IT manager who did not believe it came intertwined with the sunshine out of Ballmer's backside.

        Who gives a toss about Windows. The demons to exorcise are Active Directory and Exchange Server. Remove the business foundations and the rest will collapse of its own accord. You hear me, Xi Jinping (or however you want us to spell your name this week)?

  7. BOFH in Training Bronze badge

    Open Source

    Since Linux is open source, presumably whatever work is done for Kylin will presumably be open source.

    There is a chance that whatever code improvements are done may be sent upstream and the rest of the world can benefit.

    And presumably whatever code is sent upstream will be checked for backdoors, bugs, etc (that is standard practice, right?).

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Open Source

      >There is a chance ...

      Perhaps, but don't expect to be able to enforce it...

      I would like to know more about why they switched from FreeBSD to Linux.

      1. Lars Silver badge
        Linux

        Re: Open Source

        "I would like to know more about why they switched from FreeBSD to Linux."

        And why not, they are good at building supercomputers and they all run Linux, not only in China.

        There is so much more energy around Linux not to mention all that small stuff and phones and robots and so forth.

        It sounds almost surprising but if you want one OS to run every possible device on earth or in space it will be Linux.

    2. david 12 Silver badge

      Re: Open Source

      There is a significant open-source engineering industry in China, working on consumer electronics.

      The engineering open-source material is all in Chinese, and that community has not demonstrated any particular inclination to translate it all into English, or to mentor foreigners on how to work with the community.

      The Chinese IP tradition for hundreds of years was that Intellectual Property is open source, with intellectuals supported by government jobs. The tradition was also that the 'Middle Kingdom' encompassed all between the Heavens and the Underworld, and that the Emperor ruled all. It seems a natural state of affairs.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Open IntelAIgent Sourcery

        The engineering open-source material is all in Chinese, and that community has not demonstrated any particular inclination to translate it all into English, or to mentor foreigners on how to work with the community.

        The Chinese IP tradition for hundreds of years was that Intellectual Property is open source, with intellectuals supported by government jobs. The tradition was also that the 'Middle Kingdom' encompassed all between the Heavens and the Underworld, and that the Emperor ruled all. It seems a natural state of affairs. .... david 12

        Thanks for the info and intel, david 12. It provides so many more than just a few with a secure base of understanding for all that is transpiring and unfolding behind the screens of main streaming media in alternative chunnels of communication.

        Virtually Advanced IntelAIgent Operating Systems for both Heavenly Reign and Underworld Empire Rule is the natural state of future affairs and well suited and possibly better booted and probably best rooted in the centuries old Chinese IP tradition in order to ensure the overwhelming advantage which is delivered by failsafe secure secret material transmission/metadatabase transfer.

        And foreigners are simply comprehensively provided with all manner of means to mentor and work with Chinese communities via delivery of sensitive and proprietary IP product in their own foreigner language for translation and transfer/export and exfiltration into Chinese.

        Should the West disagree will there be both at least friendly competition and/or alien opposition for such is an undeniable fact which is also quite easily spun as a fantastic fiction to create phantom paper tiger enemies hell bent on self destruction for systemic vaporisation/annihilation/export and exfiltration, which is surely a certifiable MADness confirmed in such tall story tellers/crazy think tankers/Kool-Aid Drinkers

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Open Source

        >The engineering open-source material is all in Chinese, and that community has not demonstrated any particular inclination to translate it all into English

        From memory, none of the open-source licenses require the use of English, just that source code has to be available...

  8. 3arn0wl

    UT

    They'd do well to take Mark Shuttleworth's idea of a lightweight converging OS that can work on everything (TV, SBC, Laptop, Desktop, Server) :

    - one OS to secure, maintain and develop

    - one OS to write apps for

    - the same features from an app regardless of what it's running on

    - and plug a phone into a screen, and have it turn into a mouse and behave like a windowed computer.

    Makes a lot of sense to me.

    1. Denarius Silver badge

      Re: UT

      One set of bugs to be exploited. OTOH, Zos won't shrink that easily. (If IBM collapse sooner rather than later). QNX already exists, is open source, why reinvent vthe OS? Lastly, keep PS out of TVs. The things are slow enough to start already. It's like valves are back

      1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

        Re: UT

        QNX is not open source.

    2. Neil Barnes Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: UT

      - one OS to secure, maintain and develop

      - one OS to write apps for

      - And in the darkness bind them...

      1. CAPS LOCK

        Exactly. Now listen the Chrisopher Lee reading the poem...

        ...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdhpA2yPu1w

        Extraordinary.

      2. adam 40 Silver badge

        Re: UT

        One token ring to network them all!

    3. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

      Re: UT

      Also,

      - one OS to be out of date and unsupported on your TV

      - one OS to be targeted by all the malware makers

      - one OS to be vulnerable to a zero-day everywhere

      Not sure I like that idea.

  9. itzman

    Perhaps the CCP will develop a shim to allow windows code to run on their Linux.

    The world would thank them for that...

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

Other stories you might like

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022