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China Open Source Operating Systems Windows Linux

China Looks To Linux As Windows Alternative 222

Posted by Soulskill
from the going-for-a-billion dept.
Bismillah (993337) writes "Once again, after the Red Flag Linux effort that petered out this year, China is considering Linux to sort out its pressing Windows XP issue. The Windows 8 ban by China's government procurement agency and promises of official support may help."
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China Looks To Linux As Windows Alternative

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  • Re:Finally! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot@ w o r f.net> on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @04:04PM (#47102105)

    The days of the Personal Computer is gone, the Desktop is now a serious Business workstation, reserved for the likes of Engineers, Programmers, Architects, and Finance. Where you need to do a fair amount of processing, isolated from a server so you don't need to share.

    No, we still have the days of the PC.

    The difference is, we don't need one PC per family member anymore. One PC per family would satisfy most families around - techies will probably go with one PC per adult.

    And we're seeing it where PCs are basically stagnating, sitting in the corner unused while tablets and smartphones serve as the daily use model for most people. For the odd task that they don't satisfy, the PC is there.

    But I don't see the PC fading like the mainframe. First, mainframes were relegated to special data centers and owned by a few. Whereas most families (at least the ones that matter) have 2 or more PCs - one for mom, one for dad, one for the kids, etc. And that model will change to probably one for everyone to use when they need it - e.g., school work.

    The PC still has its uses, but the need for everyone to have their own "personal" one over sharing one has dropped significantly.

  • by KiloByte (825081) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @04:13PM (#47102181)

    Somehow, Nazis got a press so bad even Wolfenstein won't show a swastika, yet we have hammer&sickle proudly displayed on major government parades, Stalin and Lenin widely worshipped, and so on. It's scary how investing in some propaganda can whitewash even the most murderous ideology in world's history.

  • Re:Finally! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mlts (1038732) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @04:23PM (#47102271)

    Linux as a desktop instead of Windows can bring some advantages. However, China has some problems to be solved:

    1: Windows has one big advantage -- Active Directory and GPOs. It is relatively easy to manage tens of thousands of desktops with the tools provided. Yes, one can use Puppet, Chef, etc... but Windows's GPO provisioning is still ahead and the expertise is available almost anywhere to deploy this.

    2: F/OSS alternatives to AD and Exchange that are scalable. This means a mail server that probably sits on top of PostgreSQL or MariaDB and uses that for its main mailbox engine, with full replication, hub/edge nodes, the ability to send out SMTP externally, but keep things in the DB internally, backups, restores, different mailbox replicas in different geographic locations, etc. Exchange handles so much communication, and is pretty much the only game in town for large scale messaging except for Notes. Google Apps doesn't count in this instance.

    3: An easy mechanism to push out patches, check logs, ensure policies are set, healthchecks, etc. Again, standard fare in the Microsoft world, but not often used on the UNIX side. Similar to #1. There are tools for this, but Windows has all of this built in.

    4: Better/universal file sharing permissions. All UNIX variants have additions past user/group/other, but there will need to be better UI tools to allow a group in one domain access, but disallow people in another domain access (due to separation of duty), and have that go down the directory structure. Again, doable, not not as seamless as in Windows.

    5: File-based cryptography. We have BitLocker and such, but UNIX doesn't really have a file-level encryption protocol like EFS that encrypts on a user/file granularity. One can use CFS/EncFS and mount directories, or TrueCrypt and mount volumes, but there isn't anything that one can select a file, encrypt it, and have it only accessible to a set of users/groups in AD/LDAP.

    6: Enterprise level recoverability. LUKS is a good encryption protocol, but part of a large scale desktop need is being able to store recovery keys, similar to how BitLocker keys are stashed in AD. This isn't impossible, but would need some programming to do on a large scale.

    None of these are major hurdles, but because UNIX tends to be a server or appliance OS, there hasn't been as much a focus on a desktop infrastructure compared to the Windows ecosystem, since the NIS/NIS+ days at Sun.

    In a way, I hope China can solve these problems, as it would mean some action in the desktop arena, a place that has been stagnant for decades now.

  • Re:Finally! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mlts (1038732) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @04:36PM (#47102379)

    The "desktop PC" is sort of morphing into a server or a media hub. It won't go away because tablets, e-readers, and smartphones are great media consumption devices, but for media production, there isn't anything that is going to replace the role of a decent monitor, large desktop hard drive, keyboard, and pointing device. It might be a tablet in a dock, but the role of a desktop in a home isn't going to vanish anytime soon.

  • Deja Vu (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ikhider (2837593) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @04:36PM (#47102381)
    I thought this was a Slashdot story from years ago when China was supposed to ditch Windows...so here we are again and China still has no viable homegrown distro. I thought years ago they phased out Windows and used GNU/Linux. Not so. I know a Chinese insider who tells me that the Government handed out bales of cash to develop a GNU/Linux distro of their own and all Red Flag Linux is, is Fedora with a some Catonese/Mandarin. It was a scam of public funds. They really did not develop their own GNU/Linux distro properly. was interested because, in a racist way, I thought--wow, Asians doing GNU/Linux, it must be AWESOME and kick the other distro's ass. Asians are hard working and fastidious and the distro will intall without a hitch and it will be great. Not really. One of the issues with investing in China when it comes to business are corrupt officials and lack of accountability. In China, you pay off the right people, you do what you want--until you get caught and are made an example of for the press. Linus Torvalds mentioned something about how GNU/Linux could not really come out of places like India and China as the peole are far too concerned about trying to survive, and Linux is something that came about 'just for fun'.
  • by timeOday (582209) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @04:52PM (#47102499)
    "Somehow?" The difference is: Hitler lost the war and Stalin won it. He was very popular with most of the people he was oppressing during his own lifetime. Political prisoners in Siberia would write letters to him asking for help, sincerely believing that if only he knew what was going on... Not sure what to draw from this, except the idea we were given as kids that Chinese and Russians secretly envy us and can't wait to throw off their shackles are mostly baloney. And that people really love leaders that make them feel strong.

Whatever is not nailed down is mine. Whatever I can pry up is not nailed down. -- Collis P. Huntingdon, railroad tycoon

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