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Chinese Gov't Pushing Linux In Rural China With Subsidies 127

nerdyH writes "The Chinese government's 'Go Rural' program offers subsidies up to 13 percent for rural residents who purchase approved nettops or netbooks. The systems come with a version of Red Flag Linux built on the Moblin stack. Along with Internet access, the software is said to provide apps for crop and livestock management, farm production marketing, remote office access/automation, and even online tour and hotel booking systems. Of course, Windows dominates the China market, and if traditional patterns hold, about 30 percent of these subsidized systems could ultimately wind up re-installed with Windows."
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Chinese Gov't Pushing Linux In Rural China With Subsidies

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  • by tftp ( 111690 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @02:08AM (#29843157) Homepage

    someone can buy one of these and "repurpose" it to a non-legal copy of Windows, ending up with a 13% + (the price of Windows on the same machine) savings.

    It's something that only a geek would do; and even if a geek does this, it doesn't matter. There aren't too many geeks in rural China, and it could be that there is more software available for Red Flag Linux in those remote areas than for Windows. Why? Because warez, even on CDs, need to be delivered and sold, and they need to be localized, and they need to be pre-cracked, and everything should work so that a rice farmer can just plug it in and use. But how many warez are like that? But RFL software can be distributed by the government, legally of course, and there is already so much of it that you need some advice on what to use (which one out of hundred text editors, for example?) IMO, a farmer would be better off getting a cheaper computer *and* a supported OS + applications. There is even no viable reason for a farmer to need Windows. You or me may need Windows to run some specific apps; but what apps a farmer needs? A Web browser, mostly. If there is no Internet link then he needs OpenOffice and a printer. His children need some programming language (which Linux distributions are not short of.) And perhaps a few thousand ebooks in the local language. Windows doesn't come with most of that, except the browser (and the browser is IE, to make things worse.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 23, 2009 @02:26AM (#29843233)

    As an American living in China, I believe that people in rural China, as well as the elderly, could really surprise many westerners. For example, it is very common for the elderly here to trade stocks as a hobby, and community English classes are often full of retired people who are eager to learn, and who race to raise their hands when it is time for questions. Many people here really value knowledge and love to learn, and they are very often not the youngest, most educated, or most privileged.
    I often wish that English and Chinese were not among the most difficult languages to learn, because it would be a much more interesting world if Chinese culture was more open to us.

  • by dwater ( 72834 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @05:13AM (#29843785)

    > It's something that only a geek would do

    In my experience, there are plenty of geeks in PRC, rural or otherwise. People would just take it to their nearest one who is likely making a nice profit from providing the service.

"Pull the wool over your own eyes!" -- J.R. "Bob" Dobbs