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Government Software Linux News

Russia To Develop a National Operating System 374

Elektroschock writes "According to Russian media, the Russian Government is going to develop a National Operating System (Google translation; Russian original) to lower its dependencies on foreign software technology licensing. The Russian plan will base its efforts on Linux and expects a worldwide impact. Microsoft is also involved in the roundtable process that led to the recommendation. The Chinese government successfully lowered its Microsoft licensing costs through an early investment in a national Linux distribution. I wonder if other large markets, such as the European Union, will also develop their own Linux distributions or join in the Russian initiative."
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Russia To Develop a National Operating System

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  • by rpjs ( 126615 ) on Friday January 23, 2009 @12:50PM (#26576119)

    ...installed by the FSB or whatever it is the KGB is calling itself these days, honest tovarishch.

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Friday January 23, 2009 @01:00PM (#26576397) Homepage

    It matters at least on the surface. The "big deal" is being a member of the WTO. You can't be a player in the WTO if you are branded as a thief. The other kids won't want to play with you!

    But, just as Ernie Ball, moving away from Microsoft is a good plan and illustrates perfectly now they are not as necessary as people think. But invariably, people are lured into taking the "easy" path... not changing and settling for a lower price and incentive to stay. "Lower price" is not the only incentive, of course... but officially, lower price is the incentive.

  • by ds_job ( 896062 ) on Friday January 23, 2009 @01:02PM (#26576421)
    ... but spend money on developing an operating system. Can they not just save all the hassle and choose Red Hat / Ubuntu / Debian / SlackWare / Mandriva / anything else at []?

    Seems like reinventing the wheel here.

  • It's about time! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MarkEst1973 ( 769601 ) on Friday January 23, 2009 @01:03PM (#26576427)
    Why any country would voluntarily base their national security on imported, closed-source, non-free software is beyond my reasoning. If a country wants to control its infrastructure, it must use free software. Same goes for us computers users, too, of course, but the stakes are much higher for a sovereign nation.
  • by Ralph Spoilsport ( 673134 ) on Friday January 23, 2009 @01:05PM (#26576471) Journal
    I doubt the EU would join the russian initiative as I am betting dollars for donuts the Russian .gov will insist on some kind of funky back door.

    I also doubt that the EU will develop their own as the specification dev. will get atuck in some subcommittee for 5 years, and only result in recommendations for the main committee to consider the review for implementation pending EU ministry approval, which will come from the findings of some other subcommittee blah blah blah...

    My guess is the Russians will make a national OS, and it will be wired directly into Putin's brain.

    The EU will sit around and do nothing for a very long time, and then when TSHTF, they'll hire some Germans to work 24/7 for a month and it will be awesome, if austere.

    The USA, will continue with its Free Market Religion, and will be passed by, because the rest of the world figured out it doesn't always work.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 23, 2009 @01:07PM (#26576513)

    Open Source IS communism
    Thats why its sooo popular.
    Communism dont only have bad sides!

  • by Mateo_LeFou ( 859634 ) on Friday January 23, 2009 @01:13PM (#26576617) Homepage
    Copyright etc. is a form of planned economy: "Ppl won't create the *correct number of books/movies/etc. unless the government 'incentivizes' the production thereof by enforcing the creators' exclusive rights to copy/modify/etc." *where "correct" is determined by said government...
  • Re:But will they (Score:3, Insightful)

    by VincenzoRomano ( 881055 ) on Friday January 23, 2009 @01:16PM (#26576675) Homepage Journal
    They should, but hardly they will.
    And even so, who will enforce GPL in that country?
  • by JSBiff ( 87824 ) on Friday January 23, 2009 @01:23PM (#26576803) Journal

    Seriously, not being dependent on foreign companies for critical national technological infrastructure is in the strategic national interests of every nation on earth. If you are a foreign nation, how do you know that the OS you are getting from $OS_Vendor doesn't have 'wiretaps', back-doors, remote kill switches, or other secrets in the software which $OS_Vendor, or the nation to which $OS_Vendor is based out of, can use to cripple you? Another problem is, that $OS_Vendor could simply stop providing you with necessary patches to update known problems and vulnerabilities in the OS.

    One possible solution would be, if you are using a closed-source vendor, to require that vendor to provide the government with buildable source code, which could be reviewed by your own Computer Scientists, then built by your government, and distributed throughout the nation. This also allows your developers to provide your nation with patches and support if you are cut off from support from $OS_Vendor. That is not true Open-Source, but that is still, effectively, a "National Operating System". Open Source is one step better though, because you have, potentially, a lot larger base of people that are reviewing the code. That whole Eric Raymond thing to the effect that with sufficiently many eyes, all bugs are shallow.

    Just saying that some foreign leader that is not well liked has something in common with another leader is sort of mis-leading, because there will often be many things in common between good leaders and bad leaders - what's important often isn't the similarities, but the differences.

  • by zappepcs ( 820751 ) on Friday January 23, 2009 @01:28PM (#26576905) Journal

    ....You can't be a player in the WTO if you are branded as a thief. The other kids won't want to play with you!

    I think this statement sums up the WTO fantastically well. It's a club for schoolkids, pretending to be important. They are all thieves, but you don't want ALL of the rest of them calling you a thief. As long as it's only one or two of them, you're ok.

    Johnny trades me marbles at a good deal because I have a good supply of bubble gum that he likes. Sure, I trade it to other kids too, but I need the marbles so Johnny and I trade on the side. I think the playground is a great analogy for the WTO.

  • by TeXMaster ( 593524 ) on Friday January 23, 2009 @01:36PM (#26577043)

    communism or socialism?

    Communism is (a form of) socialism (the converse being obviously not true).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 23, 2009 @01:54PM (#26577431)

    Which, of course, is why they slapped MS with such a big fine...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 23, 2009 @02:28PM (#26578057)

    The EU politicians just depend on lobbyists to gather information.

    Guess who helps the most lobbyists "provide" information to the EU parlamentarians?

    I wonder if other large markets, such as the European Union, will [...] join in the Russian initiative.

    No, half the EU depends on Russia for gas the way the US depend on the middle east, only we cannot invade them.
    Every year arround Newyear Russia stops delivering gas, so the EU learns not to depend on Russia for anything. Certainly not for an OS that has access to all of the EU's important data.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 23, 2009 @02:34PM (#26578189)

    And there won't be *any* backdoors installed by the FSB or whatever it is the KGB is calling itself these days, honest tovarishch.

    Of course there won't.

    If they need information from your computer systems they'll break in and steal it. If you were foolish enough to encrypt it they'll ask you for the passwords. If you've come to your senses you'll give them the passwords. If you're still being foolish you'll soon discover why you don't want to ever fuck around with the KGB or the FSB or whatever they're calling themselves these days. They actually do the sort of shit that crazy people claim goes on in Guantanamo.

  • by Risen888 ( 306092 ) on Friday January 23, 2009 @02:35PM (#26578197)

    Do you think countries that don't have their own automobile, airplane, computer, food industry are sacrificing some weird notion of security?

    Hell yes. For example, America doesn't have any energy production to speak of. As we've seen in grisly detail on the 6:00 news, there's a price to pay. Many African nations don't grow their own food, and instead are dependent on American aid. There's a price to pay. We don't make our own electronics here in America anymore, and instead are dependent on cheap Chinese crap. The real bill on that hasn't arrived yet, but you can bet your dumb anonymous ass that there's gonna be a price.

    Please read up on basic economics.

    "Basic economics" got us into this damn mess.

  • by zombie_monkey ( 1036404 ) on Friday January 23, 2009 @03:12PM (#26578853)
    This is the first time I have laughed at a Yakov Smirnov style joke. Truly, now that Obama is president the world is a better place.
  • by Znork ( 31774 ) on Friday January 23, 2009 @03:40PM (#26579281)

    I don't understand where you get this idea.

    From the actual effects and the specific implementation of copyright law that we have? The GP's assertion isn't that far from reality.

    Copyright at its most fundamental level is a legal enforcement of proper attribution... and certainly don't assert that you wrote something or made something

    You don't need to go further than to ghost writers or works for hire to ascertain that proper attribution is at best a secondary consideration, if any consideration at all. It's certainly not a fundamental aspect that the designers of copyright law have had as a priority.

    Protecting the actual artists, composers, writers, producers and filmmakers through copyright

    Personally, were I designing copyright law, I'd prioritize proper attribution and monetary incentive directly to the creators designed to maximize productive output (and there are many ways to do that).

    But that's never been what copyright law was all about. Originally the purpose was to protect the Crowns influence and the profit of the friends of the Crown from cheap printers in Scotland, and the only reason authors got jack was that the laws would otherwise have been very hard to pass. Handing authors an incentive was simply political expediency and marketing; the creators have historically always been in a bargaining position without much power anyway, so giving them whatever pittance they could negotiate as an alternative to unpublished starvation was never seen as much of a problem.

    Copyright is a monopoly right, not to serve creators, but to serve those with the financial resources to exploit creators. It's a monopoly right to serve businessmen and to allow the exercise of control. Like all government granted monopolies it fosters a co-dependence between capital and state, to the detritement of everyone else.

    Had copyright law ever been about the creators it would have been formulated to ensure the author got a cut of every book or product sold, and let the publishers battle it out in the free market. The very design and effects of the laws belies the claim that they're intended for the benefit of the creators.

  • Planned Features (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Neeperando ( 1270890 ) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:48PM (#26580475)
    Let's just hope that RusOS operates a little better than Russia itself. Otherwise:

    -The menus will contain every feature ever planned for RusOS, but none of the ones that are actually implemented.
    -During times of heavy load, the scheduler will block all processes from using the CPU, to prevent deadlock.
    -Users of RusOS will frequently and loudly proclaim how horrible it is, and will angrily chastise you if you agree with them.

  • by davester666 ( 731373 ) on Friday January 23, 2009 @11:58PM (#26585191) Journal

    1. Microsoft is that desperate to retain seats. It costs way more for them to get the seat back later, than to give them a bigger discount now.
    2. In Russia, a dollar saved by a gov't department is a dollar put into the head of that department's wallet.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.