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Former Second Largest Linux Distributor Red Flag Software Has Shut Down 92

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the linux-defeats-linux dept.
cold fjord writes with news that Red Flag Software, makers of China's Red Hat derivative Red Flag Linux, has halted operations. From the article: "Once the world's second-largest Linux distributor, Red Flag Software has shuttered reportedly due to mismanagement and after owing employees months in unpaid wages. China's state-funded answer to global software giants like Microsoft ... filed for liquidation over the weekend and terminated all employee contracts. Set up in late-1999 amid the dot-com boom, Red Flag was touted as an alternative to Windows ... It thrived in the early days, inking deals with partners such as Oracle and Dell which products were certified to support and shipped with Red Flag Software. The Beijing-based vendor was primarily funded by the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Software Research, and later received additional funding from state-owned Shanghai NewMargin Venture Capital and the Ministry of Information Industry's VC arm ... 'A lack of brand awareness and sustained investments, coupled with the rise of rivals including Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SuSE Linux Enterprise, led to its downfall,' Eric Peng, Beijing-based research manager with IDC, said ... Peng noted that, during its hey days, Red Flag had enjoyed high adoption among government agencies, state-owned organizations, and schools.""
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Former Second Largest Linux Distributor Red Flag Software Has Shut Down

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Red Devil will be released in Q3 2014.

  • by denisbergeron (197036) <DenisBergeron.yahoo@com> on Monday February 17, 2014 @08:22PM (#46271883)

    I will bet on China bankruptcy. It's sad for the Linux branding, but all other big name in the Linux world are well.

    The question, is how much this is a lead to other China gouvernment owned business that are going that route in the near future, and how much these will affect the economics partner of the China gvtm ?

    • by Lisias (447563)

      Not necessarily China bankruptcy.

      You see, State funded companies are funded while it's interesting for the State that that company exists, and sorely abandoned in the exact millisecond that it's not interesting anymore.

      States have a almost infinite source of resources, and just don't mind prosaic little things as lost of revenue, financial losses or any other "capitalistic buzz words".

      Something happened that made a Linux based company less attractive that some other solution.

      • Perhaps Red Flag Linux steps down because China Operating System (COS) [slashdot.org] aims to replace it?
        • That's for mobile devices. I'm not sure that would be suitable for all uses.

          • by nukenerd (172703)

            That's [China Operating System] for mobile devices. I'm not sure that would be suitable for all uses.

            Like Windows 8 you mean?

            I had also assumed that COS was the way China was going. I didn't realise that Red Flag Linux was still around, it suprised me.

          • That's the point, nobody cares about PC operating systems any more, now it's all about the compute power you can hold in your hand.

            • Desktops and servers won't be going away anytime soon. The power and utility differential is too great. Handheld devices are gaining, but they are a long way from being a universal replacement for desktops let alone servers.

              • Desktops and servers won't be going away anytime soon.

                True, but desktops are becoming more like typewriters and servers are becoming more like delivery trucks. Consumers tend not to own either.

              • by manu0601 (2221348)
                But the same OS can run handhelds, desktop and servers. NetBSD [netbsd.org] or Linux fits all.
      • Not necessarily China bankruptcy.

        China isn't bankrupt, but it is appears to be heading for economic trouble. It has been building for some time, and there are multiple areas of concern.

        • by RogueyWon (735973)

          Yes... in so far as we can get any real idea of what's going on in China's economy, they appear to be heading for a crash at least on the kind of scale of what the West went through in 2008.

          And the really interesting questions that will raise aren't primarily economic, but rather social and political. A few decades of the one-child policy combined with improving life-expectancy has meant that they have an aging population crisis in the pipeline (and starting to materialize) which makes Japan's look tame. Th

          • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

            Considering that they are the largest holder of US Treasury's, a meltdown like you describe would impact the US and most of Europe.

            • by RogueyWon (735973)

              The financial shocks would be felt in every corner of the world. The impacts on Europe and the US would be significant, but are tricky to predict. What's much easier to predict are the impacts of those areas of Africa and South America where China is now the main overseas investor.

              Total collapse.

              • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

                The financial shocks would be felt in every corner of the world. The impacts on Europe and the US would be significant, but are tricky to predict. What's much easier to predict are the impacts of those areas of Africa and South America where China is now the main overseas investor.

                Total collapse.

                China is the main investor for the US, too. They hold the majority of US Treasuries and could cripple the US without ever firing a shot. All they have to do is unload their Treasuries they've been purchasing. If they did that all at once, the US dollar would be worth about $0.22 compared to its current value. If they did that, gas would cost $17/gallon, eggs around $8/dozen and a loaf of bread about $10. Even if the dollar only deflated to $0.50 that would be $7 for gas, $4 for eggs and $5 for bread.

                Suc

      • The problem was it didn't generate enough cash flow to pay off the Party Members. They probably figured out it was cheaper to just pirate MS software.

      • Lisias wrote :-

        State funded companies are funded while it's interesting for the State that that company exists, and sorely abandoned in the exact millisecond that it's not interesting anymore.

        Funny, I have always heard that as an "advantage" of capitalism - that investors would move their money elsewhere the moment it was no longer in their interest to keep it with a losing company. It is usually phrased in terms like "private capital is quick on its feet / nimble / flexible".

    • North Korea too has a distro - called Red Star Linux. Wonder how they are doing?
  • Wow, I've never even heard of it!
  • by bobbied (2522392) on Monday February 17, 2014 @08:30PM (#46271963)

    All is well with the world.

    In other news, Russian investors take over SCO Unix, and Microsoft *still* has no comment.

    • by unixisc (2429386)
      Actually, China could easily have bought SCO/UnXIS/Xinuos/whatever it is they're calling it these days, and SVRV would have been theirs. Remove all English, put in all Mandarin, add Linux VMs to it, and then call it COS and run it.
      • by bobbied (2522392)

        Why bother with SCO? In China you just compile Linux and distribute it in binary form calling it your own. = PROFIT

        If you are smart you remove all the license references, but that actually involves reading English (and other languages) so why bother?

  • Corrupt company in a corrupt country succumbs to the free market. I'm shocked...just shocked, I say.

    Slow news week?

    • Re:Corruption (Score:5, Insightful)

      by phoebe (196531) on Monday February 17, 2014 @08:40PM (#46272041)
      I'd like a technical post mortem and a list of contributions that Red Flag Linux has made to the community. There is surprise that a company running so long with state sponsorship has relatively few staff compared with Red Hat in a country of lower wages, and similarly has produced less original content than its neighbour Sun Wah Linux.
      • "has produced less original content than its neighbour Sun Wah Linux"

        I always preferred "Wang Chung Linux" but to each their own ...
      • I'd like a technical post mortem and a list of contributions that Red Flag Linux has made to the community.

        That is a very interesting question. I wonder if they hesitated to contribute out of security concerns, or the language barrier, or maybe they considered their distribution as a key hub that other people should have been looking to.

        I wonder if they had publicly accessible sources? I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't - security through state secrets and all.

        • I wonder if they had publicly accessible sources? I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't - security through state secrets and all.

          They still do [redflag-linux.com]. (Sorry to disappoint you.)

      • ... has produced less original content than its neighbour Sun Wah Linux.

        That's no surprise since he was very likely the most-recorded artist of the 20th Century.

        And if you play Pleiades backwards on your PC, it'll offer to install Yggdrasil.

  • Red Flag always seemed to be a joke to me. I am not aware of anyone in my social circle that has used their products, much less put any Red Flag systems into production. Were any major software projects or code contributions even driven by Red Flag? Even the name Red Flag just sucks, it sounds like a Chinese nationalistic shanzhai version of Redhat. The marketing genius who came up with that one should just go jump off a building. Maybe black hole software would have been a better name, because that's

    • Re:What a Joke (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417) on Monday February 17, 2014 @09:14PM (#46272325)

      My guess is that neither you nor anyone in your circle uses Baidu either. There's lots of tools, services, programs and OSs that are quite popular in China and virtually unknown outside of it.

      For example, did you ever hear about Tencent QQ [wikipedia.org]. I have to admit, I have not until just recently, and it's apparently the second largest "virtual community" [wikipedia.org] right behind Facebook.

      It's just an East Asia "thing", apparently. Not very popular over here in the West. So I wouldn't quite yet dump an OS just 'cause I never heard about it, it might be very popular elsewhere.

      And China is one hell of a big market!

      • The problem for Red Flag Linux is that the chinese market prefers Windows XP.
      • by diakka (2281)

        Well, not to be rude, but you're guess couldn't be more wrong. I never said that I hadn't heard of them, in fact, I have been aware of their existence for many years, but as far as I know, Red Flag never saw success anywhere near that of QQ or Baidu, and I almost never heard it mentioned among my Chinese Linux using associates, of which I have quite a few. Granted, none of them work in government, but still, unless I'm a statistical anomaly, it's pretty good evidence that my assessment of Red Flag as a jo

      • Yes, I have heard of QQ, in fact, it is running on my computer right now. I use it for daily chat with, and to pass files to, co-workers. However, I only ever saw red flag linux once. I was in a shop in Xian and I happened to see ti. i was looking at it because I was so surprised to actually see red flag.

        A salesman came over and the first thing he said was "If you buy it we will put windows on it for you." In over eight years in China, that was the only time I ever saw red flag. Everyone uses pirated copies

      • I have been in China ten years and had a QQ account shortly after I arrived. I use Baidu regularly. I'm also on Weibo and Weixin (Wechat). I have seen a lot of linux geeks doing their thing.

        I have yet to see a Red Flag installation. Everyone uses the same linuxes as we use in the West. I have also seen people who do not speak a word of English but know how to read enough to install a system. From what I can gather, Red Flag is something that Westerners like to jabber on about because it's the only c

      • s/East Asia/China/
      • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

        And China is one hell of a big market!

        Not only that, but it is far behind the rest of the world, at least first world countries, in computerizing. Many areas are just now getting electricity. Just think what an opportunity it would be to provide an operating system to a market that isn't locked into Microsoft.

        The problem with the West, is they often misunderstand and underestimate the rest of the world until it is too late.

        • The problem of the West, and here I can't help but put the biggest blame on the US, maybe because they just have the most opportunities to fuck up, is that they don't give a fuck about some country's culture. We (westies) come into some country and act as if our way of life is the only way people WANT to live, ignoring that the population there already has a culture and, at least as important, values. Values that may not be the same we have.

          One of our big things is "self fulfillment". We want to be a specia

          • Du Leh Lo Mo.

            I understand enough Cantonese for an American.

            Also Rusky:

            Yob Toyo Mat.

            • Yob Tebya Mat.

              Yeesh, the youth of today. Digging up corpses 'cause they can't get a girlfriend but can't conjugate nor transliterate...

              • So I've been telling people to fuck their dead mothers?

                Even better!

              • Nope, that should be 'tvoyu'---2nd person singular plural possessive, accusative case, feminine.

                Unless you're telling your own mother to fuck off, that is. ('Tyebya' is the 2nd person singular accusative.)

  • When a government sponsored production with government-aided distribution in a country with a market of over a billion people fails,

    mismanagement might be a smallish understatement.

    I don't like to bandy about terms like inept or corrupt, bit there it is.

  • I have been using Linux since an early Slackware dist and have probably tried 8-10 variants in the years since. I never heard of Red Flag Linux; not once; not even a tiny once.

    They needed more cowbell or something. All CS courses should have an MBA in a weekend course. Generally I rail at the MBA mentality but there are a few useful takeaways in a business course (just shouldn't be the 4 years of psychopathic indoctrination).
    • I'd heard of it, but hadn't seen much about it in the news, and I admit I probably never spent much time looking for info.

      It turns out that Slashdot has had a couple of stories on it before, and it has been mentioned in some others. Examples (one posted by CdrTaco even):

      IBM's Interest in Red Flag Linux [slashdot.org]
      Red Flag Linux Distributor Joins OSDL [slashdot.org]

      China has a home grown MIPs type CPU that they planned to use in some systems, and Red Flag was supposed to be one of the key OS suppliers.

      I wonder what will happen to t

    • by Dynedain (141758)

      Then you weren't paying attention. It was all over Slashdot when they launched.

      Granted, it's marketed to users *inside* the Great Firewall, so you at least have that excuse.

    • Oh, I first heard of it years ago, and even have some ISOs lurking around on a spare drive somewhere.

      Never have had a spare machine to try it out on at the same time I had time and inclination, and I never could get it to install in a VM (I tried Qemu and VirtualBox).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @04:51AM (#46274123)

    " Peng noted that, during its hey days, Red Flag had enjoyed high adoption among government agencies, state-owned organizations, and schools.""

    As someone who has lived in China for 8 years I can tell you that's complete bullshit. They may have been told to use such software, but nobody actually used it. I have never seen it used anywhere in China. 99% of computers in China are pirated Windows XP or Windows 7... end of story.

  • Peng noted that, during its hey days, Red Flag had enjoyed high adoption among government agencies, state-owned organizations, and schools.

    Lots and lots of unpatched servers waiting to be exploited from now on (unless they migrate to a supported platform).
  • Red Flag was tied to the Chinese government. Other than others tied to said government, who would want to run an "Open" OS from a government with policies of censorship (not to mention spying etc)?

  • So I understand that lots of stuffs are being copied and developed upon by many Chinese companies.... They copied these things BMW 7-series car: http://www.chilloutpoint.com/s... [chilloutpoint.com] Boeing aircraft: http://gizmodo.com/boing-474-t... [gizmodo.com] and many more... But they didn't even have the decency to come up with a name? They have to derive Red Flag from RedHat... WTF???
    • You've not looked at a Chinese flag [wikipedia.org] lately, I'm guessing?

      The Chinese word for "red" (hóng ) also means "favourite", "popular", "bonus", and "revolutionary". The colour itself is associated with expansion, coming into bloom, energy, and good fortune.

      It's also traditional in China to give people presents of money in red envelopes on occasions such as birthdays and weddings.

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