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Canonical and China Announce Ubuntu Collaboration 171

Posted by samzenpus
from the working-together dept.
First time accepted submitter GovCheese writes "Canonical, the software company that manages and funds Ubuntu, announced that the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology will base their national reference architecture for standard operating systems on Ubuntu, and they will call it Kylin. Arguably China is the largest desktop market and the announcement has important implications. Shuttleworth says, 'The release of Ubuntu Kylin brings the Chinese open source community into the global Ubuntu community.'"
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Canonical and China Announce Ubuntu Collaboration

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  • If we can learn something from the history is that any openness won't work well in China. On the positive side we may see a number of drivers for peripheral devices being developed for Ubuntu. In any case, I wish them good luck.
    • Looks like the foundation for the future of Canonical has been laid. They can partner w/ Beijing, have the government sell Ubuntu in China and give them a few cents of all copies, in return for Beijing outlawing all other OSs. That will make Canonical financially stable, and then they can get into other things as well.
  • Great (Score:5, Funny)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @07:51PM (#43241257)

    So the Chinese like the idea of their official Linux distro coming with a keylogger pre-installed?

    Who would have guessed.

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdotNO@SPAMhackish.org> on Thursday March 21, 2013 @07:52PM (#43241261)

    Waiting for some bright minds in Congress to start holding hearings into whether Communist OSs like Linux are responsible for cyberterrorism.

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      Waiting for some bright minds in Congress to start holding hearings into whether Communist OSs like Linux are responsible for cyberterrorism.

      Yes!... and quickly indict Shuttleworth for high treason: it's clearly high tech terrorism. Better still he and his family must be treated as al-Aulaqi family was; the president has the authority, after all it's a clear and immediate threat.

      • by lexsird (1208192)

        Incoming mysterious drone strikes on Linux developers around the world.

    • Why is it people ascribe *nix (specifically it seems Linux) as Communist software? If anything, in my odd little world it seems more Capitalist than Communist, maybe Socialist; but not Communist. To me it simply seems wrong to say that with Windows I'm running an OS that is installed on physical hardware I FREAKING OWN but I do not 'own' the code to the operating system running on that hardware. Linux is MINE, I can look at it, tweak it, do whatever the hell I want with it; I just do not see how being able
      • by Luckyo (1726890) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @09:17PM (#43242023)

        Because "communism" is what people commonly associate with "enemy" in much of the Western world.

        The actual meaning of the word has been lost long ago in case of general populace, just like other similar politically loaded words such as "freedom", "democracy" and so on.

        • Because "communism" is what people commonly associate with "enemy" in much of the Western world.

          ...in much of the United States of America.
          FTFY

          Sorry for you if you don't get much political choice due to a bipartisan system, split between right-wing and far-right-wing, with more or less similar corporate backing behind both.

          In western Europe, Communists are one of the several available party to vote for, although not the most active one. (Socialists are usually the most active on the left wing)

          In eastern Europe, Communists are a bunch of politicians who try to ride the nostalgia wave with a doubtful pr

          • by Luckyo (1726890)

            In most of Western Europe, "communists" are the "extreme leftist crazies who liked USSR". Communism itself is often considered a hostile ideology of the enemy.
            In most of Eastern Europe, "communists" are "scumbags who helped USSR oppress their country". Of course, much of Eastern Europe isn't generally considered part of the "West".
            In most of Asia that falls under "Western" umbrella, "communists" are the crazies who had to be suppressed so they didn't start shooting wars. Communism itself is often considered

        • by timq (240600)

          Because "communism" is what people commonly associate with "enemy" in much of the Western world.

          This particular association seems far more prevalent in the USA than anywhere else.

          • by Luckyo (1726890)

            True, because USA is generally viewed as the centre of Western world.

            However I can quote you one pretty clear cut example. Here in Finland, we had arguably the best relationship with USSR of all countries that fell under "Western" umbrella, to the point where USSR classified us as "Finland and Warsaw Pact countries" for its trading policies, all while remaining firmly outside all the political wrangling going between NATO and Warsaw Pact.

            In recent parliament election, our Left alliance party (Vasemmistoliit

      • by Shavano (2541114)

        You don't understand Communism. In Communism (not state Socialism like in the USSR but the kind Marx described), the workers own the means of production and control their own productivity. You and your computer are very much like that. Furthermore, Linux belongs to you with respect to how you can use it and modify it and to nobody in the sense that everybody can have as many copies as they want.

        In Capitalism, the means of production belongs to financiers and say what you will and won't do with it.

        • by wichawa (2716799)

          You don't understand Communism..... [rant aout communism]......

          In Capitalism, the means of production belongs to financiers and say what you will and won't do with it.

          You don't understand Capitalism. In Capitalism each agent within the system maintains private ownership over its belongings, and has the freedom to choose its activities within the system.

          Unlike Communism where nobody owns anything, as everybody owns everything. As an agent within such a system, your mobility and means of production are dictated by everyone else.

          • by miletus (552448)
            There is a big difference between belonings and means of production. Under capitalism, very few people own means of production (factories, businesses, etc.) and those who are concentrated in large corporations. And if you think of your computer as a tiny means of production, look how much ownership is slowly being taking away by being locked into platforms and walled gardens. If you have a Chromebook, who owns your data? You or Google?
            • by wichawa (2716799)

              There is a big difference between belonings and means of production.

              My statement clearly marked the differences between the two. Allow me to repeat, word for word.

              First, regarding personal belongings:

              In Capitalism each agent within the system maintains private ownership over its belongings.

              Second, regarding means of production:

              In Capitalism each agent within the system....has the freedom to choose its activities within the system

              The first paragraph of the wikipedia entry for capitalism more or less says the exact same thing, in different words.

              Regarding the rest of your comment:

              Under capitalism, very few people own means of production (factories, businesses, etc.) and those who are concentrated in large corporations.

              This may be true of your capitalist system or the industries within your capitalist system that you are familiar with, but this is not implicit within capitalism. Strong legislative gove

          • by malkavian (9512)

            Yes, I understand Capitalism fairly well.
            Communism, in its truest sense, is the utopia form of society, being very inclusive. The biggest problem with it is human nature, which pretty much ensures that it'll be subverted and exploited. It's what we should be working towards as a species (until something better can be formulated, which it probably will at some point).
            Capitalism is confrontational and warlike, and very exclusive. It's an evolution of the strongest (not necessarily the optimum) under certai

          • by Shavano (2541114)
            No, that is not capitalism.
    • by unixisc (2429386)
      The ultimate Communist OS would be a GPL3 based OS, such as GNU HURD. Not Linux.
  • by inking (2869053) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @07:57PM (#43241333)
    In terms of counterintelligence, a smart move on China's part. Although Canonical is UK based, it's significantly easier to migrate from Ubuntu to any other distro than from Windows or OSX, should the need arise. I'm actually quite surprised that Iran isn't doing the same thing. You don't even need to have backdoors in computers of the individuals you're interested in; those of their families are already a big step ahead.
  • It just keeps getting more bizzare...
  • by RobertinXinyang (1001181) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @08:03PM (#43241391)

    The Chinese government tried pushing Linux in the past, research “Red Flag” Linux. It was a failure. I only saw it once. I happened to be in a shop in Xian and I saw it on a computer. Before I could comment on it the sales man assured me that if I purchased the computer they would put a copy of Windows on it “so it could be useful.”

    As others have commented, Linux is competing with free copies of Windows. Further, it lacks the games that the Chinese want (also free).

    Free as in speech has no ring to the Chinese ear. The issue is broken down to choosing between two flavours of free beer.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      That's generally the case. Windows may not be free in any sense of the word, but the cost of the license is included in the cost of the computer. The only time you ever actually see a price is if you're upgrading or building your own computer.

      • cost of the license is included in the cost of the computer.

        Not where piracy is rampant.

        • by hedwards (940851)

          And your point is? Diamonds are free if you steal them as well, doesn't mean that it's actually free.

          • Normal users in China expect to get a free copy of Windows, so there is no license cost included with the computer. The shop doesn't pay for windows either.

    • by symbolset (646467) * on Thursday March 21, 2013 @08:25PM (#43241613) Homepage Journal
      China has an ARM license now, and several ARM chipset manufacturers. Low power requirements makes this a good fit as their power infrastructure is struggling already. As open source it leaves open the potential for home grown app development. Finally, it is time for China to get off of XP and the modern hardware and software proprietary platforms are not piracy friendly. Going legit opens up export potentials for China. Pretty obvious really.
    • by YokoZar (1232202) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @10:34PM (#43242629)

      The Chinese government tried pushing Linux in the past, research “Red Flag” Linux. It was a failure. I only saw it once. I happened to be in a shop in Xian and I saw it on a computer. Before I could comment on it the sales man assured me that if I purchased the computer they would put a copy of Windows on it “so it could be useful.”

      As others have commented, Linux is competing with free copies of Windows. Further, it lacks the games that the Chinese want (also free).

      Free as in speech has no ring to the Chinese ear. The issue is broken down to choosing between two flavours of free beer.

      You might be surprised to learn that there are already thousands of Ubuntu stores and Kiosks in China, selling laptops with Ubuntu preloaded. China was a natural fit for Canonical because it's already a bigger market for them than the US.

      • Just to ask, where have you seen this? As in, what city and district?

        I was in several computer markets (as you know, "store" does not quite describe the situation in a Chinese building of small shops) last weekend. I saw no linux.

        That is not only in my city; but in the many I visit. If there is an Ubuntu store or Kosk in Shanghai I would like to know where it is, just so I can visit it (I am not in Shanghai; but, it is only a few hours travel away). I will also be in HK next week, near Wan Chi, If there are

        • by YokoZar (1232202)

          Just to ask, where have you seen this? As in, what city and district?

          I was in several computer markets (as you know, "store" does not quite describe the situation in a Chinese building of small shops) last weekend. I saw no linux.

          That is not only in my city; but in the many I visit. If there is an Ubuntu store or Kosk in Shanghai I would like to know where it is, just so I can visit it (I am not in Shanghai; but, it is only a few hours travel away). I will also be in HK next week, near Wan Chi, If there are any in that district I would also be interested.

          I don't know where exactly, and even "thousands" scattered about China isn't particularly common. Admittedly, my information comes from statistics quoted in a presentation (alongside some pictures of the kiosks).

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        You might be surprised to learn that there are already thousands of Ubuntu stores and Kiosks in China, selling laptops with Ubuntu preloaded.

        I would be surprised, all right, given that Canonical has just announced chinese stores. Seems like a typical Chinese inflation of the fact that Dell is selling Ubuntu-loaded laptops in 220 stores in China. 220 becomes thousands!

    • by jellyfoo (2865315) on Friday March 22, 2013 @01:22AM (#43243551)

      As others have commented, Linux is competing with free copies of Windows. Further, it lacks the games that the Chinese want (also free).

      It's extremely frustrating when I see people pirate something when there are free alternatives. One could argue that the free/FOSS alternatives for certain classes of software aren't good enough, but there are enough cases nowadays where the quality of the free stuff is sufficient enough to make this something of a cop-out.

      A Google engineer recently blogged about his experiences in Vietnam and how computer science was taught there (http://neil.fraser.name/news/2013/03/16/ [fraser.name]). The story itself is interesting enough (when it comes to computer science Vietnamese kids kick the ass of American students, to the point where half of the students in one particular grade 11 class could pass the Google interview process), but he mentions this:

      By grade 3 they are learning to how to use Microsoft Windows. Vietnam is a 100% Windows XP monoculture. Probably all with the same serial number. However, given that a copy of Windows costs one month's salary, it's easy to understand.

      Touch-typing is taught using Microsoft Word. As with all their software, it is in English, which adds to the difficulty at that age.

      Linux/LibreOffice is free, and yet still ignored. Obviously they aren't concerned about the BSA breaking down their doors to arrest everyone (yet), but it'd be nice if more countries with limited funds learnt the same basic techniques with more open source software. If you can't even give away your software, then Microsoft clearly have nothing to fear.

      • Microsoft encourage this.

        I was out in India in 2007 and visited an orphanage school. They were teaching photoshop to what looked like 8 year-olds. I spoke to the teacher there (this was in fact before I had any experience of linux myself). He told me how Microsoft officials visited the school and requested the fee for the Windows XP license x the number of pupils. The figure was in the thousands of dollars - probably several times the school's whole budget for the year. Overnight, he wiped all of the c

    • by jandersen (462034)

      The Chinese government tried pushing Linux in the past, research âoeRed Flagâ Linux. It was a failure.

      Red Flag, as far as I remember, is a clone of Redhat; and while Redhat has many good qualities, it is more of a server OS and less of a desktop one. Ubuntu is not a favourite of mine either, but it is certainly bleeding edge, if anything, and wouldn't be at all surprised if this could actually take off with the Chinese. Put on top of that the fact that Linux's multiligual support is in fact superior to Windows'. No, I am quite optimistic about this.

      Further, it lacks the games that the Chinese want (also free).

      I don't know - when I watch my children's use of computer g

      • I don't know - when I watch my children's use of computer games, I can see that they clearly prefer the ones that are free, online and browser based. They seem to work on both Windows, MacOS and Linux.

        They are not free because the developer intended them to be free, or browser based. They are free because they have been cracked and are available for free from numerous websites (on another note, that is part of the reason torrents never really caught on in China, the stuff can be downloaded from normal sites). Just do a search on Baidu; or check tudou.com.

        Yeah right, and they all look the same to you anyway, am I right? You just lost my respect.

        It is easy to cast aside observations that conflict with our values as the product of a mistaken mind; however, take note that I am the person who lives

    • by unixisc (2429386)

      The Chinese government tried pushing Linux in the past, research “Red Flag” Linux. It was a failure. I only saw it once. I happened to be in a shop in Xian and I saw it on a computer. Before I could comment on it the sales man assured me that if I purchased the computer they would put a copy of Windows on it “so it could be useful.”

      As others have commented, Linux is competing with free copies of Windows. Further, it lacks the games that the Chinese want (also free).

      Free as in speech has no ring to the Chinese ear. The issue is broken down to choosing between two flavours of free beer.

      I always wondered what happened to it - Red Flag Linux. Looks like that making OSs wasn't a strong point of the Chinese, even if the source code was available to them.

      So this partnership with Ubuntu makes sense. Also, as symbolset pointed out above, Chinese companies now make ARM based CPUs, and I'd add that they make MIPS based CPUs as well. Computers based on those would be the price kings, and while Ubuntu could easily be ported to run on those, for Windows, even Windows 8, would have an uphill ta

  • Like whatever happened to their RedHat derivative?
  • Kylin it with fire!!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Anyone else remember back in the mid-to-late-1990s when China standardized on OS/2? Everyone just ignored it and installed Windows anyway. Hopefully they'll have better luck this time.

  • by decora (1710862) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @08:22PM (#43241575) Journal

    Red Flag and Qomo have huge followings in China. why are they basing on Ubuntu?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Possibly the difference is Canonical has a superstar jetset personality in front of it who's even been to space.

      I'm not kidding. That'll help getting the crucial first few seconds of foot-in-door attention with mainstream people outside and inside government.

      Also it's (sorta) South African. China is investing massively in Africa, and Africa has never been an Enemy. Together these are good hooks and waay better than from America/Finland and Stallman/Torvalis. Those are no hook at all.

      This is enough, though f

  • I wonder what happened to Red Flag Linux? Red Flag was China's official Linux distro and was supposed to replace Microsoft Windows. Interesting that China is partnering with a U.S. company when they are trying to be independent in all other arenas.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Flag_Linux [wikipedia.org]
  • Pretty smart (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stewsters (1406737) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @08:31PM (#43241671)
    This is actually a pretty good move for China. China can't trust all the signed binaries from Microsoft , especially after the Microsoft certificates were used to sign the flame malware. With all the cyber-saber-rattling in Washington, its possible they could do the same thing to China with a Chinese Language patch. This way at lest you can compile the source yourself and check for weird additions.

    In exchange for this, Ubuntu should become a lot more popular in a country that is currently producing the most volume of Unix systems. For us Linux users, it means that more drivers will be available before release, and they will continue to manufacture motherboards that don't require us to secure boot into Windows 8. I just hope any espionage China uses on its own people doesn't get committed back into the Ubuntu repo.
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @10:17PM (#43242495)

      It is not the big secret people think it is. Many institutions, including research universities, have a copy. They have a program specially for governments, the Government Security Program.

      I mean do you really think the NSA, one of the most institutionally paranoid places there is, would allow Windows to be used if they couldn't audit it? Not hardly.

      MS's page on that kind of thing is here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/sharedsource/default.aspx [microsoft.com]

      So if China wants it, I'm sure they have it. I think this is more of a "We have to have our own thing since China Strong!" and crap like that. China seems to have ego issues about not having home grown stuff (they aren't they only country that does) and wants to have their own everything. However turns out they aren't always equipped to develop it from scratch, so they often start with something else.

      Similar to their "Loongson" microprocessor. It was to be a Chinese CPU, home grown and all that. In actuality they ripped off, and then later licensed, the MIPS architecture and it is a MIPS64 based chip running at 1GHz on a 65nm process.

      This sounds similar. "Hey we want an OS, but writing one from scratch is a ton of work and we don't really have enough of the skillset around to do it well. So let's get a Linux distro to start on, and then make it our 'own'."

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Squiggle (8721)

        Does anyone compile their own Windows? If you don't compile it then the source code that you see is just for show.

        Hm, I am curious if orgs like the NSA do compile the source and compare their binary to the official one, they wouldn't have a licence to distribute if the binaries differed, but if they were identical that seems pretty safe. If you're serious about security you compile and distribute your own version of the software yourself.

  • by Mister Liberty (769145) on Thursday March 21, 2013 @08:55PM (#43241851)

    After all, 60% of the name Kylin has the word Linux shining through.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 21, 2013 @09:15PM (#43242005)

    From using Chinese websites I thought their reference OS is Windows XP with MSIE 6. Try getting any Chinese banking or e-payment systems work on a non MSIE browser...good luck!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Wonder how the BOC (Bank of China) USB Dongle will work

  • ... and I'd rate every single comment higher than at the moment. Just saying.
  • Why Ubuntu would even care to target mobile phones makes a lot of sense now. This could give Ubuntu an unfair advantage over Android.
  • Where's the announcement from China? Canonical has a long history of bullshit announcements that some big vendor is going to use their product. They've made that claim in the past for both Asus and Dell. In both cases, the Canonical product never appeared on those platforms, or was a very minor niche announcement.

    I'm not finding any announcement about this on China government sites. However, the Ministry of Information Industry Software and Integrated Circuit Promotion Center [csip.org.cn] is listed by Microsoft as a

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Asus offers the X201E notebook with Ubuntu installed.
      Dell offers the Poweredge 12G servers with Ubuntu.
      Niche, perhaps, but not bullshit.

  • With Cannocal's latest move to intergrating online shopping into Unity, it just makes sense to partner with the government of the country who makes all this stuff in the first place.

    In other news, new installs of pirate copies of windows have fallen 50% worldwide.

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