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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 VincenzoRomano ( 881055 ) on Friday January 23, 2009 @12:51PM (#26576163) Homepage Journal
    EU politiacians don't understand (or don't want to) the importance, the strategy and the economics of an EU-wide open-source policy!
    Private interests are more important by far!
  • But will they (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 23, 2009 @12:53PM (#26576207)

    adhere to the GPL and return their changes back to the community?

  • by f1vlad ( 1253784 ) Works for Slashdot on Friday January 23, 2009 @12:55PM (#26576267) Homepage Journal
    Lol, I wish it was called Lenix :) that would be cool.
  • by argent ( 18001 ) <peter&slashdot,2006,taronga,com> on Friday January 23, 2009 @01:03PM (#26576443) Homepage Journal

    Looks like President Medvedev of Russia [] and President Obama of the United States [] have something in common.

  • Iran [] has already created a National Operating System saying that it shortens time to train younger researchers.

    For me I just hope to be able to juggle [] in Russia one day.

  • by Teancum ( 67324 ) <robert_horning AT netzero DOT net> on Friday January 23, 2009 @01:51PM (#26577371) Homepage Journal

    I can totally see why Russia would want to have this happen... at least their own distro for use internally within the Russian government.

    • Developers - By directly sponsoring a complete distro, they have their own developers who are both actively engaged within the greater Linux community, know the kernel cold (there certainly are Russian programmers who can be and are even now developing software currently in the kernel), and have their loyalties to the Russian society even if not directly to the Russian government. This means Russia has the developer base to keep up with the rest of the world in a critical area.
    • Security - If there is anybody paranoid about security, I don't know who is worse than the Russian government. The only way to have a genuinely secure operating system is to review each and every line of code that goes into that OS by somebody both with the skills necessary to properly evaluate the software, and the loyalty to the organization necessary to fix things that seem out of place. See also the above point, which is even more critical here.
    • Meeting local needs - by having a group that is embedded within the Russian culture that certainly is not a part of the Silicon Valley culture, they have a much better grasp of what is needed for their own local society. While working with Cyrillic characters isn't that much different from Latin characters, this is but one situation where local support is desperately needed. Interfacing with older Soviet systems is certainly an issue as well... I can only imagine some of the compatibility issues that would have to be worked out there.
    • National pride - There is also a little bit of national pride on the line here as well. Having something "made in Russia" is powerfully attractive for a number of reasons... at the very least to show that your country is able to keep up with the best and the brightest on the planet. Of all the reasons I've listed, this really is the least significant, but the one most head-smacking obvious and ultimately the one that would best sell to a legislative body that has to pay for any significant expenses to get this project going. I certainly doubt that Russian citizens are going to be upset with a modest expense being directed in this fashion through their tax dollars.

    A top to bottom review of the Linux kernel from another group of developers with a completely different interests, backgrounds, and motivations than other major contributors to Linux would also be a very good thing for the development of Linux as a whole. I wish Russia the best on getting this accomplished, and I hope that their success is huge.

    It isn't like the American government doesn't do this too. The NSA (National Security Agency... aka the USA cyber spys) has their own distro for most of the reasons I've listed above, and has nearly continuous recruitment going on at college campuses for CS graduates. The Red Flag distro (Chinese) is another national distro that has been done for more than just pressuring Microsoft into lowering the price of Windows.

    Frankly, I see Microsoft's involvement here as a red herring and something to ignore for this discussion.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 23, 2009 @02:01PM (#26577559)

    Open source is people working for common good by producing something that is available for anyone to use as they need it. It is very much communism.

    The only reason why it is used as a negative argument (only in USA as far as I know) is that the propaganda there seems to make people automatically do the connection "The ideology equals all the wrongs that the governments committed while trying to achieve it"...

    But it is neither propaganda or joke that open source fits very well to the idea of communism. The only partial exception is companies that code it for financial gain. However, any coder producing something for the community and to boost their ego is exactly how the communism was supposed to work.

  • Turkey has Pardus (Score:2, Interesting)

    by 9gezegen ( 824655 ) on Friday January 23, 2009 @02:02PM (#26577571)
    Pardus is a linux distribution developed by Turkish National Science Foundation. It uses its own packaging system and recently government gave money to add support for more languages. It is gaining more market in Turkey by the way, as some state offices are migrating to it. []
  • by Baldrson ( 78598 ) * on Friday January 23, 2009 @02:07PM (#26577691) Homepage Journal
    The Russian plan will base its efforts on Linux

    This is disappointing given that Russian strength is in mathematics due to the same phenomenon that drove their launch vehicles to exceptional performance:

    A lag in micro electronics development.

    Basically, Russians had to be more intelligent with their algorithms than the West due to their inferior hardware. This puts them in a position to be superior software architects who should not be taking their lead from the West -- not even from Finland as much as I respect Linux.

  • by anothy ( 83176 ) on Friday January 23, 2009 @02:09PM (#26577741) Homepage
    doesn't anyone realize that reinventing the wheel is sometimes a good thing? Goodyear does it all the time, makes millions on the results, and for good reason: they're solving different problems. if you need to get to the corner store and back, sure, what they've been producing for decades will do you, but if you're driving an Formula1, or IndyCar, or military HMMV, you have different constraints and want different results.

    sure, they could take some existing distro and package good cyrillic fonts and some customized skins and admin utilities. but what would that do for their local software industry? how would that make them significant to the rest of the world?
  • 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...

    I don't understand where you get this idea. Copyright at its most fundamental level is a legal enforcement of proper attribution. Don't claim to be somebody who you are not, and certainly don't assert that you wrote something or made something when you had absolutely nothing to do with it in the first place.

    Are there abuses of copyright? Absolutely! Many of the major media distributors (RIAA members, MPAA members, ASCAP members, and members of other similar groups) assert and claim rights they simply don't have, or in a few cases are able to get political mussel to get laws changed in their favor that don't make sense. Just look at DAT (Digital Audio Tape) and see how the recording industry ruined a perfectly find and indeed useful technology through boneheaded legislation.

    Protecting the actual artists, composers, writers, producers and filmmakers through copyright for a limited time is for me something very useful, and something that I personally depend upon for my very livelihood. The problem comes when limited time == forever, and the rights of those who have purchased or received a creative work are trampled to death and declared non-existent. Among those include the right to use the work of art as you please, to be able to enjoy and share that work with others, and to review and express your opinion about that work of art.

    Copyright law sets limits about what these right might be, and establishes a way to provide incentives that date back to the 18th Century and earlier. Unfortunately, many of those drafting copyright legislation today are not familiar with nor understand the problems that happened in the 18th Century that led to current copyright laws in the first place.

  • Re:In Soviet russia (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dwiget001 ( 1073738 ) on Friday January 23, 2009 @03:37PM (#26579265)

    Well, you do not know much about Russia to say such a thing.

    I have been there, twice.

    Despite the former U.S.S.R. breaking up, where did all those good Communist Party people go after the break up?

    That's right, right back into government or the semi-private sector.

    Nothing really changed in Russia after the break up. Sure, some loosening of things related to property rights and similar things.

    Witness Putin's rise to power, former KGB, assassinations of journalists, etc. Same old, same old.

    There may not be the "Soviet" name on things, but it's the same thing, different name and it is getting progressively worse there.

    Russia could be a great super power *if* the Soviet brand of doing things was not so pervasive and entrenched.

  • Re:In Soviet russia (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Neeperando ( 1270890 ) on Friday January 23, 2009 @04:06PM (#26579699)

    I spent some time in Russia, although I have not been overly studious about Russian history. My understanding is that, during communism there were no goods in the stores. Now, there are plenty of goods, but no one can afford to buy them.

    I also get the impression that your average Russian has no desire to do the kinds of things that Americans would see as necessary to help the economy (start a small business, take risks, etc), because of the assumption, which is fair given the last 1000 years or so, that someone will just come in and take it all away and/or destroy it.

    Of course, these are just the impressions of a stupid American who only understands the Russian Soul to the extent it can be taught in a language class, and didn't take much Russian history. I could be way off.

  • by b0bby ( 201198 ) on Friday January 23, 2009 @06:17PM (#26581921)

    For example, America doesn't have any energy production to speak of.

    Actually, the US is 70% or more self-sufficient in overall energy - see: []

  • Re:In Soviet russia (Score:4, Interesting)

    by davester666 ( 731373 ) on Friday January 23, 2009 @06:26PM (#26582069) Journal

    It sounds more like "make a big public showing that they are working on switching to license, then wait for the Microsoft Rep to show up 15 minutes later and offer much larger discounts on MS products"...

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