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Chinese Gov't Pushing Linux In Rural China With Subsidies 127

Posted by timothy
from the stamp-of-approval dept.
nerdyH writes "The Chinese government's 'Go Rural' program offers subsidies up to 13 percent for rural residents who purchase approved nettops or netbooks. The systems come with a version of Red Flag Linux built on the Moblin stack. Along with Internet access, the software is said to provide apps for crop and livestock management, farm production marketing, remote office access/automation, and even online tour and hotel booking systems. Of course, Windows dominates the China market, and if traditional patterns hold, about 30 percent of these subsidized systems could ultimately wind up re-installed with Windows."
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Chinese Gov't Pushing Linux In Rural China With Subsidies

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  • by Shadowruni (929010) on Friday October 23, 2009 @02:02AM (#29843135) Journal
    Seriously, where do people get these numbers? My thing about this is this. We know many small companies don't pay for their software HERE in the states (one of my biggest challenges as a small biz IT consultant/freelancer). We also know that Chinese piracy is considered an art form in some places. Taken together, the market share statement makes little sense. How can you know what the share is, if you've no legit data? One other thing, to someone who NEVER USED a computer and just want web, email, and simple things like YouTube or word processing(most people don't use even a tenth the total capabilities of Word or Excel). They will see nothing special about Windows, Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD as they all can do that with no real issue. Let me preface this with, I'm writing this on my Ubuntu powered notebook, that's authed against my 2008 AD that also auths my kid's Gallery running on another Linux server. Most people will cry, "But those other OSes have hardware issues please help us", and I'll whisper, "No." .... and then remember that these machines came with Linux and thus should already work fine since it's 2009 and not 1999.
  • by Jurily (900488) <jurily@gm a i l.com> on Friday October 23, 2009 @02:10AM (#29843167)

    What percentage of the Windows PCs in China are running a licensed copy of Windows?

    If Hungary can be used as a base of estimate, I'd say somewhere between 0 and 1.

    We just don't give a shit about your licencing issues. I'm not even sure fair use doesn't cover it for personal use, and I have certainly never seen anyone who didn't run a business and cared. And for the people who do, it's just a drop in the bucket in case of an audit (tax evasion is a national sport here: the alternative is bankruptcy).

  • by imrehg (1187617) on Friday October 23, 2009 @02:10AM (#29843173)
    This can be a very useful thing, if they keep their legal responsibilities according to GPL: They have to distribute the source code for it as well. Thus it should be much easier to spot every code that does not really belong there and aimed at spying on/restric/keeping in line the population.... as well as fixing these if one needs to. There's a future project for an NGO....
  • Re:13 percent? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tftp (111690) on Friday October 23, 2009 @02:18AM (#29843193) Homepage

    I'm not quite sure what value to assign to an oppressive government's software either

    Assign a lot of value and you won't be wrong. Apple's iPhone is a shining example of a computer that doesn't allow execution of anything that is not approved by authorities. China, with all its oppression, is not there yet. Now look at Apple's profits.

  • Re:13 percent? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rolfwind (528248) on Friday October 23, 2009 @03:06AM (#29843351)

    Assign a lot of value and you won't be wrong. Apple's iPhone is a shining example of a computer that doesn't allow execution of anything that is not approved by authorities. China, with all its oppression, is not there yet. Now look at Apple's profits.

    That is the problem with geeks. They see the iPhone, they step back, and they compare it's features to that of a netbook, notebook, or a full-blown desktop computer and start bitching about what they can't do with the device.

    The general public does no such thing. For most people, the iPhone is their introduction to a smartphone, and they compare it to their previous phone, something like a Razr. Which also can be called a computer, except for its thinness, was pretty retarded in capabilities. When they compare the iPhone to the Razr, there is no contest. This device suddenly does what 90% everything they do on the computer, but fits in their pocket and is actually more capable at somethings and their are apps they never even thought of because it's just doesn't make sense on a PC. The App Store is perfect for them, because they'll likely get no malware through it, and it overall "just works". If not, they can take it to a friendly "genius" at the Apple store that will fix it for them.

    The geek, otoh, wonders if it can run linux, compares it to a computer, and inevitably complains about the restrictions that the PC doesn't present. The geeks are necessary and oftentimes beneficial for greater humanity, but their viewpoint on what is good vs what is bad does not necessarily translate into the viewpoint of the masses, and therefore what will be and what won't be market success.

    Now, if the future iPhone is on the way to becoming a Star Trek like computer and capabilities, with perfect voice recognitions and the capability to project big-enough holograms in lieu of screens, where-upon most people won't have a notebook/desktop anymore, the particular criticism of the closed eco-system becomes more biting.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday October 23, 2009 @06:24AM (#29844041) Journal

    Learning to speak English well is difficult. Most native speakers can't do it, and writing it is even harder. The spelling, grammar, and punctuation rules are inherited not just from several different languages, but from at least three distinct language families. The advantage English has is that the language contains a lot of redundancy (which advocates of the Saphir-Wharf hypothesis believe encourages flexibly thought, but I digress) which means that it is very easy to speak English badly, but comprehensibly.

    Compare it to another popular world language, like Spanish (or Portuguese) and you'll see something that is a lot easier to learn. A few years ago I came across a study in relative difficulty of learning languages. It ranked all of the world's major languages on a difficulty scale, measuring things like regularity and similarity to other languages. This gave every language two scores, one an absolute difficulty and one a difficulty for people already familiar with some other language. English consistently ranked as one of the most difficult (although it wasn't the most difficult), both in absolute terms and relative to other languages. I can't find a reference to the study at the moment, but if someone else can then please post it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 23, 2009 @06:44AM (#29844115)

    Copyright is a government grant anyway as is private property (they can just take it), so this isn't a problem.

    Compared to the restrictions the chinese populate work under, not having the source code to Linux rates REAL low down.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday October 23, 2009 @07:55AM (#29844465) Journal
    "If you're going to be a software counterfeiter, then please copy and illegally use Microsoft products. The above plea isn't from a posting on a hacker forum. Rather, it's how Microsoft business group president Jeff Raikes feels about software counterfeiters. "If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else," Raikes said.

    From here [informationweek.com].

    Ballmer might also have said something to that effect, though I didn't see it. The logic is pretty obvious. Pirates cost MS little or nothing(directly, that is, "lost sales" claims can give you just about any number you want) and the tendency to keep using whatever you are already using is quite strong with complex IT systems. Far better to simply have to tighten the licensing screws later, rather than try to push wholesale migration from somebody else' platform later.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 23, 2009 @07:59AM (#29844481)

    I'm here in Shanghai right now.
    Just got ADSL hooked up through China Telecom.
    Unfortunately I couldn't get the ADSL to initialize, even though I had 2 different routers (both types suggested by the tech), 2 different linux boxes and windows server 2000 running their provided client.

    The tech used his XP laptop to kick start the ADSL. It ran for a day and then I totally lost connection.
    After getting the 4th phone number I got a hold of a higher tech guy.
    Apparently you have to use a windows XP box to initiate the DSL because they're using some MS specific stuff in PPPOE. His claim was "linux doesn't support this". Apparently nothing else does either. I think I have a workaround in place, it's been working for a few days but I don't think I can ever shut down the modem or the router.

    Point being, they have to take their infrastructure seriously if they even want to begin supporting anything else.

  • by sam0737 (648914) <sam AT chowchi DOT com> on Friday October 23, 2009 @08:29AM (#29844697)
    I bet 50% of the machine (or resources) will end up in official's hands, instead of farmers. And then their kids and relatives definitely needs Windows to run whatsoever software.

    The most popular IM in China, QQ, only has client for windows. Well, Pidgin also support the basic of the protocol, but lacking a whole lot of features, and I doubt how many people know Pidgin.

    The online banking requires the use of Windows software (although it's an IE wrapper) to do transaction/wire-transfer. The web accessible version is a strip-down which allows query only.

    The debit/credit card here usually support a local network called YinLian, optionally along with Visa/Master, and local e-commence usually go through the local payment network. Each bank requires to built a Internet payment gateway for that, and the interface of the payment gateway of most banks require the use of Active-X.

    So for a computer to be useful in China, you really need Windows and Internet Explorer.

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