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Linux to be Official OS of People's Republic of China 648

Cy Guy writes "YAHOO UK is reporting that the People's Republic of China will be naming Linux as its "Official Operating System". The story is repeated with more details and notes that government officials are "enthusiastic about the community ethos behind the open source community." The story also links the announcement to the recent deal with Graphon Corp for Linux Server-based computing software. " I dunno how I feel about this. I think having a state bird is silly enough.
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Linux to be Official OS of People's Republic of China

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  • Shouldn't the icon for this be a little tux rampant on a red background?

    JUST KIDDING...! Sheesh! :-)
  • A match made in heaven. The power of the common folk creating a superior OS. Let the capitalist pigs die the slow death while they use MicroSloth's products. Maybe what we need here is a revolution similar to China. Look at the progress they've made in 50 years. A country of peasants to one of the few superpowers.
  • Well, Linux is kind of a communist OS.. but this may be something good for Linux. Imagine, a country of 1 billion people.. 1 billion potential linux users and developpers.. now if they only started to forbid Microsoft OS-ses..
  • of course they do this right after the US feds declare war on M$...
  • by jblackman ( 72186 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @03:05PM (#1543893) Homepage
    I can just see it now. Microsoft strikes a deal with India to become their official operating system.

    "Windows is the OS of choice for the world's largest democracy.
    Linux ...isn't."

    God help us if Pakistan signs a deal with Macintosh.

  • "A country of peasants to one of the few superpowers."

    A mink enjoys none of the benefits of the fur coat.
  • It would be interesting to know if any of Linux's development is being done in China currently.

    Regardless, as various countries become more wired, hacker culture is going to become much more diverse.

    Sometimes I shudder to think about what is going to happen to my employability when countries like China and India (which has the worlds largest english-speaking population) come online.
  • And do they really believe in Open Source or will they try to ignore GPL?

    Seriously, though, I've been expecting this for the last few months, as a logical progression. And as a necessary prerequisite for Linux growth.

  • And he's wearing a cap with a red star
  • by Plasmic ( 26063 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @03:08PM (#1543899)
    Someone refresh my memory.. what's the official sound card of the People's Republic of China?
  • by elfbabe ( 99631 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @03:08PM (#1543900)
    ...that Linux could seem VERY communist if you were in the right mindset. (IE, if you were a chinese official) After all, Linux was made through the cooperation of many, many individuals who were not out to profit hugely, it's available at about 1/10 the price of Win98, and it works really well. However, I don't think that having an official OS for a country made up largely of oppressed peasants makes very much sense. They should stick to national animals.

  • However the official distribution is Chinux

  • by Anonymous Coward
    -Having a state 'embrace' Linux i a lot better than hving a corporation embrace Linux!

    no matter what state! (-if you have any belief in mankind)

    way to go!

  • by Malor ( 3658 )
    I don't do much programming, so my opinion doesn't count for much -- but if it were my code, I'd put a specific exclusion in the license, specifically disallowing the Chinese government any rights to use my code. I'd probably do some research and also exclude some other governments that are abusive of human rights, like Indonesia.

    Not like it would stop any of them from actually using it, mind you, but I would feel better about it.

    I wonder if I would include the US Government in that list of abusive countries? Frankly, the fact that the thought even crosses my mind is a bit sad. :(

  • It's rather ironic that Linux is a 'free' OS, and as people will tell you, the 'free' means 'freedom.' China, however, is an oppressive country; wouldn't they choose Microsoft? But then again, their whole country would fall apart, and what would they do then?
    Chris Hagar
  • Lets say that China starts backing linux, and even throws government programmers at future kernels. Could this not put the US Government in a precarious position? The US may not want to use Linux in government computers if it is programmed by China because of possible security holes.

    That could be very bad for the Linux community.

  • by Ripp ( 17047 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @03:10PM (#1543906) Journal
    Like the subject says, imagine me going "Hrm..." with a concerned frown.

    Is this good? Well, *scratches head*, well, yeah, kinda, I guess....

    From a PR standpoint, does anyone else here see the potential for "others" (wink-nudge*cough*) to use this against our beloved penguin?

    "Linux is the official OS of the communist-run monolith of China....do you *really* want to use an OS officially sactioned by the largest communist regime in the world? Use *our* OS instead....we're 'made in America.' yadda yadda"

    Don't laugh.

    On the other hand, this could be good for China itself. Since A. It don't cost nuthin, and B. Runs on older machines quite well, it could introduce "modern computing" into some of the more remote areas, and create a new interest in technology in places where the year is still (for all intensive purps.) 1936 or earlier.

    AND, on top of that, an active involvement in an open exchange of ideas such as Linux and open source could open a lot of people's eyes to what the rest of the world is doing, rather than what Chairman whosit says is going on.

    Does anyone else think it's strange that this comes soon after this LinuxOne crud? That's my seed for the conspiracy theorists.

  • by Chemical Serenity ( 1324 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @03:11PM (#1543908) Homepage Journal
    I don't see this as being a good thing for Linux in certain sectors.

    There's a lot of people out there who think (sometimes unfairly) that communism is the Worst Possible Thing® on the planet. The last thing we need is to be pidgeonholed, as a community, as communists to the last code pig and riot grrl... particularly in this point in time where Linux is getting real momentum and the possibility of substantial numbers of people making a decent living off of linux solutions is reaching a much wider population.

    While I applaud the Chinese government for making what I personally feel as The Right Choice (IMO, no government anywhere should be tied to any one company for any one service or product, no matter how big the company is), I think the timing could have been a bit better (like, say, a year from now).

    I wonder if France is getting any closer to OSS OSes as standard. Wouldn't it be nice if Canada and the US did something similar.

    rickf@transpect.SPAM-B-GONE.net (remove the SPAM-B-GONE bit)

  • China is a country known for infringement of various copyright violations (music CD's, software). So, they think it is a good idea to support an OS that promotes free distribution. It's better than backing Windows and then getting busted for illegal copies.
  • by TheKodiak ( 79167 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @03:11PM (#1543910) Homepage
    I find it ironic that Linux succeeds because it operates in a sphere where the chief pitfall of Communism is a non-issue. Linux is from each according to his ability, to all according to their desires - Linux is an inherently abundant product. The fact that I get just as much Linux as Linus does doesn't bother Linus because I'm not taking any Linux away from him. (Well, at least, I hope it doesn't bother Linus.)
  • Linux is open-source so the entire linux community could scrutinize whatever China put out...
  • by TheKodiak ( 79167 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @03:22PM (#1543932) Homepage
    The word "Endorsement" keeps getting used in comments, here.

    If we view this as analogous to selecting a State Bird, then it's not really an endorsement - the United States of America, in selecting the bald eagle as its State Bird, is not saying, "Bald eagles are really cool - you should all go out and get one."

    On the other hand, making a firm commitment to using Linux and only Linux for all govt operations is a strong endorsement, no matter how "evil" those operations might be. Sure, it's possible that some of their evil might rub off on our operating system, but I don't think ANYONE will mistake the relationship for one of causation. A good tool is a good tool. I'm sure the Hammer is the official Hand Tool for Driving Nails into Wood of China, but that doesn't say anything about Hammers except that they're most excellent.
  • CJK - China/Japan/Korea - now, the governments of 2 out of 3 have officially endorsed Linux. Hmm, that just leaves Japan. Now, this is *good* for governments in general - why should they be spending their citizen's tax dollars on software that costs money? When there is better software that can be had for free?
  • I can't believe this ridiculous comment got moderated up.

    Linux is open source, remember? The idea of China slipping security holes in the backdoor is pretty silly when we have a peer review process built into the system (and any security-conscious agency will definitely do a security audit before using Linux on any critical network). The chance that China will slip backdoors into Linux is about the same as the chance that Microsoft will slip backdoors into Emacs.

    Moderators: do this thread a favor and moderate the parent comment back down.

  • That's not what communism is about, but it IS admittedly what has resulted in the pisspoor implementations of communism as practiced by the soviets, chinese, cubans et alia.

    The Linux development model is probably closer to true communist ideals (as laid down by Marx and co.) than anything else I can think of in this world.

    rickf@transpect.SPAM-B-GONE.net (remove the SPAM-B-GONE bit)

  • by the phantom ( 107624 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @03:30PM (#1543953) Homepage
    Yes, the People's Republic is an oppressive society, but the government that runs it knows what it is doing this time. Linux is the OS of choice.

    It is free in a country where money is important.

    It runs on old machines in a country where industry and computing are not on par with much of the rest of the world.

    For the PR, Linux is ideal. There is great flexibility and power inherint in the OS and it can communicate with other systems fairly easily (i.e. Mac, Windoze, etc.).

    In terms of public relations for China and good spin control, Linux is also ideal. The OS is developed by many often scattered strangers in often remote places. It is a community effort. "A People's OS for a People's Republic."

    For the Linux community outside of China, on the other hand, this could be bad. In the United States and in much of the rest of the world, we still fear the "red bastards" and every thing even slightly smelling of communism is seen as taboo and evil. Linux as an OS may be tainted by communism.

    Of course, die hard Linux users will never go away, but convincing other people to use Linux (read: the US Gov.) may grow more difficult. Though it is a good, stable OS, it may be killed by paranoid politicians crying "commies! commies!" ("wolf! wolf!").

    And then of course, it is hard to truely feel good about making the Chinese government more effecient in its ability to oppress the masses (even with an OS from the masses).

    And the Chinux mascot should be tux in red, instead of black.

    Da Zdrastvui Revolutsia!!! Da Zdrastvui Lenin!!! Da Zdrastvui TUX!!!!!!!!

  • Unfortunately, there is nothing in the GPL to prevent use by oppressive, non-democratic regimes. Back in the day, the League for Programming Freedom concerned itself with banning possible military use of free software. Somehow that concern faded away with the Cold War, and own the LPF is known exclusively for opposing software patents. Perhaps it is time to bring back the restriction "This software may not be used for any military means" and add "nor may it be used by non-democratic governments." Yes, I know the definition is hairy, but I'm sure the U.N. or a similar institution publishes ewll-justified ratings of who is democratic and who isn't. Do any of you international politics experts out there (there must be some!) care to comment? Oxblood Ruffin, are you there?

    Vovida, OS VoIP
    Beer recipe: free! #Source
    Cold pints: $2 #Product

  • No, it isn't.

    Communism is about a classless society where people work together, knowing each other, and pool their products. From there, they share out the products as required. IE: "You didn't produce much this week, Billy, but you are ill. Here's some extra medicine from the more well off"

    The problem is that the governents setup to aid this change from city/town urban capitalism to town/village communism is/was either
    1) founded by people under the guise of communism (a good method) so that they could gain power from the ignorant masses (maybe Mao and/or his succesors), and so will never let them truly be communist or
    2) Becomes drunk on power/corrupt and does not relinquish control like they were supposed to (Stalin's Russia, etc).

    Communism is great in theory for the same reasons that capitalism is great in theory. In reality, you have to deal with corrupt [communist leaders | politicials | bankers | businessmen]. Canada is a good example of a balance between capitalism (enconomy) and socialism (health care, welfare). There are some abuses, of course, but I'd rather have a safety net than not.

    I just hope that the business men in the US and other "free" countries (where they define free as not communist, as opposed to true free speech [Columbine witch hunt]) have not been as much impacted by you by the Pro-US FUD of the past 40ish years ("Now, Billy, fight that Red menace!").

    (I'd rant more about how I hate discrimination and prejudice, but this is as OT as I like to get -- and I think most of you understand this already)
  • by jccq ( 113245 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @03:38PM (#1543969) Homepage
    About human rights! there are certain things that are absolutly impossible to regular diplomacy, like punishing countries that are absolutly untouchable under the political/economical point of view (china, but also US afterall). I personally would put a statement in next kernel releases something like : Not legal to be used by governamental agencies of countries that do not comply to the declaration of human rights according to .. bla bla. Of course they wouldnt care. Of course we'd make a point. As a shareware programmer i am seriously thinking of doing something like that. (Against death penalty in the US) but i think it would seriously damage my sales :)
  • I think I've realized why so few of these comments, and the whole "Stallman is a Communist!" take on everything, make so little sense to me.

    I see China, and the old USSR, as playing for a sports team whose mascot was "The Communists". Just like the failure of the Dallas Cowboys is not an indictment of the rustic way of life, the failure of China and the USSR to support or even treat humanely their citizens is not a reflection of the evil of Communism. AFAIK, there are "Democratic", "Capitalist" countries which abuse their citizens and have miserable standards of living. Sure, Communism isn't the beer of choice in the United States, or in many other regions, but it is no more to be feared and loathed than Heineken.
  • "Enthusiasm for Linux is coming from the very highest level of the Government in China,"

    Ehm, excuse me, but I hardly believe that top politicians have an idea of what an operating system is, let alone being able to make an educated evaluation of the superiority of Linux over, say, NT or Solaris.

    Imagine Clinton, Chirac, Blair, Schroeder talking about 'their favourite OS' - an amusing thought. Of course I see the advantage for a country like China of having a free, reliable OS that comes with no trap doors included and can even run on older hardware. As the decision maker of such an isolated country that is not in close relations to the US (to put it mildly) I wouldn't trust any 'NT server, Chinese version', tested, modified and approved of by the NSA. Wherever you want to go today, we're looking over your shoulder ;-)
  • Dude, "the Chinese consumer" can't even afford a computer. Only the rich (i.e. the party apparatchiks) will even be able to make this choice.

    Vovida, OS VoIP
    Beer recipe: free! #Source
    Cold pints: $2 #Product

  • Linux and the broader free software movement already bridge the gaps between modern governmental philosophies. It is part socialist, part communist, part capitalist, and part anarchist. The movement accepts contributions according to the ability of the people. The means of production (CVS repositories, network links, web sites) are owned by the people. The people are free to make closed software if they want, and can sell the free software for as much as they choose. Finally, everybody gets as much free software as they want, without limit.

    If you observe the free software community long enough, you can see that its trajectory will allow it to break all historical bounds of government, law, and power. Information will be free. Encryption will be widespread. Intellectual property will not be hoarded. Multinational corporations will not hold power over nations.

    Get ready.

  • Woh Duh Monitor Way Sa Ma Lan Sah?

    (translation) Why is my monitor blue?
  • by Yohahn ( 8680 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @03:48PM (#1543984)
    How hypocritical would you be if you decided to say Linux is free, except to people in China...
    It's just like they have free speach.. except to speak out against the government. If you're going to lead by example, you have to do it the whole way.

    At least they have some value for community. They have a long way to go to learn about treating the individual right. What a great oppertunity to learn from each other. Perhaps they will learn that the free software community is made up of highly individualistic folk, and begin to learn the values of this.

    Perhaps we can learn some things about how to work together, they've got 20% of the worlds population, I believe.. it must be excrutiatingly hard to keep any kinda government together there.

    Human rights... They have more blatent problems.. we mask ours in a economic system, and revisionist history. There are plenty of oppressed people in the US. And don't even begin to respond without looking into the plight of Native americans (although with casino's they might finally win the longest war of attricion there ever was! :) ).

    This does not make them innoscent, they need to work to allow basic human rights. But just cause we use money to confuse our system of oppressing people, doesn't really leave us guilt free either.

    Eastern Europe has been trying to become more capitalist in the last decade and the people there are suffering horribly. Perhaps it is time that we started trying to find something more moderate, and thinking creatively to solve these problems.

    Working together in a common goal is a first start, but just like when working with SUN or IBM or AOL we press hard on the License issues.. when we work with the Chineese, we need to press hard on human rights. When working with them we need to take into account how each project will add or take away from that plight. Don't help put down people, but work together to help each other.

    (a bit idealistic.. but if no one trys, we won't even approach our ideals.. it's too easy to cheat and be cynical.. so get over that)

  • I was actually kinda intrigued by Communist Chinese history, because of a bunch of Maoists I knew who insisted that China had the closest thing we could see to the One True Communism.

    So I read up on it a bit. Read about the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. Apparently Mao et al sent everyone with even vague intellectual pretentions out into the countryside to farm beets, while they selected their new leaders based largely on their degree of fanaticism. This had predictably rotten results, widely acknowledged by pretty much everyone outside of the central government itself.

    The cold truth is that private trade is a lot like a cockroach - it will survive in even the worst conditions, just a bit mutilated, because trade and exchange are basic human needs. You can have a much better society by just liberating those impulses and letting them fly. If you try and suppress them, as has been tried in Russia and China, all sorts of ugly things happen. Thus, stuff like the Cultural Revolution in China and grain shortages in Russia.

    So no, I would certainly argue that letting capitalism take its course in China would have made things work significantly better than they do now. The Chinese economic recovery of recent years is mainly due to the increasing permissiveness regarding private exchange and property.


  • Perhaps Linux is attractive to the PRC for the same reasons it might attract many developing countries: its low cost, a source base to tailor a system for a non-english interface, freedom to modify without dealing with a (from their point of view) foreign concern in obtaining licenses, etc. If this article is true, it really shouldn't surprise us.
  • by JoeBuck ( 7947 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @03:54PM (#1543991) Homepage

    Actually, I'm sure that China has been thinking about the very same question, in reverse. They can't see the source to Windows, and for all they know, the NSA has put back doors into every Chinese-language version of Windows. (Those of you who think that the NSA doesn't do this kind of thing, please read this link [counterpane.com]).

    That is, the Chinese know that they can't trust Windows. But the Chinese can't sneak hacks into Linux either, since they have to provide source code and it has to pass review by Linus and the other kernel hackers.

  • This is one arms race we can win hands-down. ;)

    Vovida, OS VoIP
    Beer recipe: free! #Source
    Cold pints: $2 #Product

  • The fact is that regardless of weather this makes Linux a "communist OS" or any other such crap is irrelevant. Microsoft wanted this. IBM Wanted this. Sun, Apple and everyone else who makes any kind of OS wanted this.

    They wanted it so badly that MS was flying senior executives over to china to sip tea with government officials.

    They wanted it because for MS or any other per seat licensing OS vendor this means a massive amount of cash inflow. China is the only place in the world where a single committee can decide to spend a few billion dollars on MS Windows and Office and put a 50% boost on Billy's earnings. Yes that means 100,000,000 desktops but China will have that eventually.

    Having them go with Linux hurts all those vendors badly. As for Linux's part in all this, the chinese government actually doesn't have any provisions for Patents and Copyrights are only of limited value there. They can and probably will set up a "contribute to open source" institute.

    The chinese government wields enormous power. They can legislate Mandatory Abortions. If they say Windows is a second class OS... That is law for 1/5 of Earth.

  • by tenchiken ( 22661 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @04:03PM (#1544017)
    Hmm... This could raise some interesting problems... What if they don't abide by the GPL? Whose going to enforce it.......

    I can just see it now... Richard Stallman and the Chinese government.... In a cold war over the GPL...

    Think about the rhetoric...

    Yes... In world war one you had entageling alliances... World War II was a fight between the patriotic americans and th evil germans. World War III: The GPL war.

    (Wow.... I just got into my head the image of RMS with a nuke.... that was.... scary....)
  • by Tony Shepps ( 333 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @04:04PM (#1544018) Homepage
    In 1998, Gates praised Chinese piracy:

    "As long as they are going to steal software we want them to steal ours."

    Then, March of this year:

    We are a very global company, and we've made huge investments in some of these developing markets. Over 4 million PCs a year are sold in China. Now, we don't make so much revenue off of those PCs, because of the software piracy there. If we could raise the money we get per PC in China to be even half of what it is in the United States, that would be hundreds of millions of dollars for us. And so as piracy goes down, as that market grows, it's going to be a fantastic thing, and that's what justifies the attention we put in there, and those levels of investment.

    Clearly Gates had a seat-of-the-pants plan on China... allow the piracy to continue, and then call them on it and make them pay. The monkey wrench of Linux in China could mean the loss of more revenues for MS than almost any other single event.

  • I am very disgusted and I find this very ironic, so here is my list of new mottos for Linux in China:

    7. Linux will now be called Maonix
    6. Linux - the only software we can't pirate!

    5. The only thing open about us is our souce code

    4. Our operating systems are freer than our people

    3. We put the Red in Red Hat

    2. Our Linux is not made in prison camps

    1. Use Linux - or your family will never see you again!
  • The point was that China wouldn't be able to sneak things into the main kernel tree. They might have their own internal kernels, but if they wanted to distribute something, the source would have to be there.
  • The amazing things about this announcement is that that Bill Gates -- acting disturbingly like a head of state -- has met with Chinese leaders at least four times in the last six years. This is more times than Clinton has met with the Chinese; leading some wags to think that American-Chinese policy is being decided in Washington...Redmond Washington.

    You would think that with that kind of one-on-one personal attention, Microsoft would not have to endure these kind of announcments.


  • Give me a break, I have a hard time believing anyone is retarded enough to insinuate that the largest (and most successful, depending on your definition of) communist country in the world doesn't have internet access.

    Now for it's people, that would make sense, which is sad but true.

    Did anyone else consider the fact that because Linux's source is open it will allow their Govt to insert monitoring and identification code into firewalls to monitor network access?

    Personally I think if anyone is giong to violate the GPL, it's going to be a large country that doesn't wish to agree to it. (Like the US or China, both of which have some startlingly parallel laws)


  • Firstly, a comment on the political side of things....

    It's not that China is a Communist country any more that makes it a "bad" place - after all, in an ideal world, where people aren't selfish and greedy, Socialism/Communism is an ideologically sound social structure (note I said social, NOT political. It is our weaknesses as humans that require the political side of Communism and Socialism to become the driving force in a country which embraces these idealologies. And no, I'm not a Marxist - I just happen to have my eyes open politically, and I also studied revolutionary and political theory).

    As another poster mentioned, China is one of the few remaining "superpowers" - but at what cost? China has a well known reputation for supression of individual thought, by force when necessary (do we all remember the footage of a lone student standing in front of a line of tanks in Tienamin (sp) Square?).

    China is now the "bad guy" as such, not because they are one of the few remaining Communist countries, but because of their shocking supression of what the western world considers to be basic human rights and priviledges.

    But this is all off topic. Is China's adoption of Linux as "The State's Official Operating System" a bad thing?

    For the Affirmative: Do you really believe that China will honour the GPL? Do you think that Chinese programmers, payed by the Chinese government, will release all that they develop, along with source code, and will give credit to developers of code they used to build their programs? Can you see the Chinese Intelligence Agency (what ever they might be called) releasing the code to the programs they have written to crack encoded messages, because the GPL says they should, after they used other people's code to assist them in their efforts?

    For the Negative: Just because it's now the "official" OS, this doesn't mean that Linux hasn't been used up until this point. Acknowledging their use of Linux (while I suppose those still stuck in the Cold War mindset could use this against Linux) can only help to raise the profile of Linux, and give it more credibility (the decision to use Linux for ALL relevant systems in a government as large as the Chinese government is can't have been a small, or ill-informed decision). This will also bring a whole new group of programmers into contact with Linux, and hopefully will lead to new advancements in application and kernel programming (after all, for kernel inclusion, Linus and team still have to approve the code, so the chance of something "naughty" slipping through is very low).

    Over all? I don't know. I really don't. I don't think it really does any harm, since whether or not it's official, there's a very good chance that it's being used anyway.
  • I doubt it. Say what you will about the Chinese government, but they aren't stupid. They wouldn't dare do something like that concerning an OS which supposedly goes along with their own ethos so well.

    Whatever top-secret security-related stuff they do will probably be implemented as applications and/or daemons, separate from the OS, for precisely that reason. They do have an image to uphold, and violating the license of an OS which they've embraced as following their own ideals is rather counterproductive for that image.
  • I would agree that private trade is impossible to wipe out, and its probably not a good idea to try. However, since capitalism has never been allowed to run its course in any country, anywhere, at any time, (and for excellent reasons) I doubt that it would have done much for China.

    The kind of mass socialisation that happened was probably necessary - the poverty of China in 1949 would never have been relieved by private investment. When a nation with natural wealth and ample human resources lives in abject poverty, socialism becomes equally hard to wipe out, and just as ill-advised to try.

    Taiwan, for example, under roughly the same conditions in 1949, nationalised vast amounts property, subsidised and controlled large segments of its economy, and had as little political freedom as the PRC. We called it a capitalist nation, but it was more socialist in the early days than Cuba. Hong Kong and Singapore undertook large state-funded and controlled industrial development projects and price supports in the post war era. These economies had markets, true, but for the most part so did China - local trade was always present. And for the most part, those countries started with much greater levels of economic development and higher levels of direct foreign investment, relative to the sizes of their economies. A non-communist China could never have acquired that level of investment in that time, nor could it have developped on its own without taking just that kind of control of its industries.

    It's hard to find a country with comparable circumstances and comparable improvements in standards of living that didn't resort to some form of political control of the economy. I can't think of any.

    As a philosophy, Maoism leaves me cold. Even the Bolsheviks had better sense. The "One True Communism" thing is for the soft-headed. China would likely have been better for skipping the "Cultural Revolution" altogether. China probably would have been better off under a politically more liberal system, but economically, I have to question how much better they could have done, given the circumstances and information available.

    Perhaps a more liberal regime for farmers in the pre-1978 era would have helped - although the contrary case could be made that modern agriculture would not have spread in China without state control, and modern agriculture is what keeps China from starving. A willingness to close inefficient industries might have helped, but given the unemployment that results, its hardly surprising that they didn't. But that's all speculation. The record in economic growth still heavily favours the communists.
  • I'm inclined to believe that Judge Jacksons 207 pages have crossed the ocean. No time to rejoice. However bad M$ may have behaved, that really isn't the issue. Neither is communism. The Chinese sense of community and their propensity for pragmatism have historical roots. And, OSS is a very practical approach to crafting computing solutions - for any government, library system, educational institute, etc., to use. The business case grows stronger by the hour!

    The vast majority of Americans have been either brain-washed through advertising by M$, are sharing in the profits through retirement mutual funds, throw money at most of their problems (especially if thinking is required!), have used Windoze for so long it is the best choice for them, or all/most of the above. This is not the case around the rest of the world.;-)

    From a political perspective, it looks like the Chinese were just trying to beat the French.

    I predict MinneSOta, will declare Linux as its official OS before Vermont does.

    Character is most often discovered over time.
  • Linux its now an OS for Commies, by Commies :). I miss the 80's. Michael Jantzen ^_^
  • by harmonica ( 29841 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @04:31PM (#1544061)
    That contradicts the open source definition as given by Bruce Perens.

    There is a commented version in the book "Open Sources" on p. 82, point 6.
    No discrimination against persons or groups. He gives the example of an abortion clinic and an anti-abortion organization, and I think he's totally right there. Once you start restricting organizations and people, where will you draw the line?

    The very interesting book can be read online and even downloaded from oreilly.com. Or you could just buy a copy! ;-) Here's the URL of the chapter I talked about: http://www.oreilly.com/ catalog/opensources/book/perens.html [oreilly.com].
  • mmm, both Maoism and Stalinism have obviously caused an incredible amount of deaths, but has Communism?...I'm not so sure about that one. When I'm in a whimsical mood I suspect that future generations will refer to this period in China's history as "The Mao Dynasty", with nary a reference to the Communist ideologies the emperors of this dynasty purported to hold.
  • Official operating system of 25% of the world's population ..... suck on that Billy boy :-)
  • by FireReaper ( 11087 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @04:46PM (#1544076)
    Hey all,

    I keep seeing posts like China's involvement in Linux is bad. China runs over students with tanks. China doesn't observe human rights. Etc. etc.

    What one country does is their perogative.

    However. You want that country to change? You want them to "improve" and see things your way? Great. By choosing Linux as an OS, doesn't that simply bring more of other cultures into China? Doesn't this bring information to a country which so many consider to be locked down?

    What better way to liberate a people than by giving them information from the world?

    But politics aside, China's involvement with Linux will be a good thing. While not every Chinese citizen has a computer, they can all think. Most of them if given half a chance at education are extremely talented and are inclined to mental manipulation of information and concepts. What new advancements could be gained by such exposure of a high quality OS to an additional few hundred million to billions of minds?

    The goal of Linux was to be the OS which dominates the world, yes? If so, then doesn't this represent a major milestone? The cooperation and adoption of Linux by one of the world's largest countries?

    It is a good thing for Linux. The recognition of the value of an OS by a country's government will have impact with the companies and software institutions of the world as in order to do business with China, they will have to run Linux compatible software.

    This is a major step up for the Linux community and a day when the Linux community see's an influx of a new band of programmers and contributers as well as new ideas and cultural mores.

    It is a chance for us as a community to show our good graces and not be shown as selfish egotists who are prejudiced against brilliant minds for the faults of a few in power in their country.

    Just because the leaders of a country committed acts which we consider to be heinous does not mean that the people in China supported such an act.

    Remember, it was a Chinese student who was killed fighting for Chinese rights. Killed by people in power in China who feared what? The flow of information. The flow of new ideas.

    What is Linux? The embodiment of new ideas, of free information.

    This is a good thing for both China and Linux.

    - Wing
    - Reap the fires of the soul.
    - Harvest the passion of life.

  • PR can be bad as well as china being a communist country with a total lack of respect for human rights. Shame really, I would like to have seen the great wall. But I will be damned if I step foot in a place like that - running over and shooting demonstrating students.

    Buddha knows, I try not to, but I really hate ignorant, ill informed, self-righteous prats.

    Three words: Kent State Massacre.
  • by drivers ( 45076 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @05:10PM (#1544095)
    I'll tell you why China likes Linux:

    MS decries China piracy [cnet.com]

    To quote:
    Piracy has twice in the last two years brought China and the U.S. to the brink of a multibillion dollar trade war.
  • by Chemical Serenity ( 1324 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @05:18PM (#1544102) Homepage Journal

    I smell another AnonCow who hasn't been paying attention.

    China is built around communist ideas, and considers itself (as does most everyone else) a communist state ie: a 'Peoples Republic'. In reality, it's barely communist in its actions... more like a despotic police state which is unsucessfully trying to hold back encroaching consumerism. Socialism, however, is alive (and well? depends on who you ask) in Canada, Norway, France and a whack of other places. Even the US has its socialist leanings (FDR's welfare state, for example). I think it was FDR. Wasn't it?

    McCarthyism has *not* past. "Commie" is such an ingrained word in the psyche of baby-boomer and Gen-X american residents that it'll take another 2 generations before the intolerance has finally worn off, mostly based on the death of those individuals! If you think McCarthyism is dead, just take a read at some of the posts on this very same forum, which is supposed to have a higher average IQ than Joeseph Guntotin Merican. Ask your daddy what his opinion on 'Commies' is, and see what kind of rederick is spewed. Ask your grandaddy, assuming he didn't die in Korea or something fighting the... now, what nation was that again? I forget...

    Personally, I've never found a problem with the idea of communist or socialist concepts, and thus have no need to 'get over' anything. I'm lucky enough to be a relatively young Canadian born citizen which never had to deal with a national stigma of lame congressional witch-hunts. My fear is that Linux will suffer stigma from those same intolerant individuals that made those congressional hearings a reality. (This is totally avoiding the conspiracy theorists' view that the hearings were mostly just pure anti-semitism cloaked in an 'acceptable' form for that day, of course)

    Communism does seem very fair, very egalitarian, very nice in theory. Of course, what with people being greedy by nature (hard to defeat millenia of genetic imperative to cover your own ass) the implementation of tenable communist/socialist states have generally sucked hard ass. The fact that is HAS sucked in the past has cast a pall over anyone or anything associated with it, and I fear that it'll cast a pall over Linux too. I dearly hope to be proven false.

    rickf@transpect.SPAM-B-GONE.net (remove the SPAM-B-GONE bit)

  • by delmoi ( 26744 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @05:18PM (#1544103) Homepage
    It wasn't a joke, it was real (though spelled incorectly via Pin Yin)
    Woh = Wo~ = "Me" or "I"

    Woh Duh = Wo~.de = "mine"

    Monitor = "Monitor"

    Way = Wai~ = "what"

    Sa Ma = sem/.me = "reason"

    Lan Sha = Lan~si\ = "Blue"

    Literaly "My monitor, for what reason blue?"

    I'm not exactly sure about the spelling of Lan~si\, also I've marked the four tones with ascii characters. rising is "/" as in "guo/", "contry". Falling is "\" as in "shi\", "is". The 3rd tone, the 'up-down' one is marked with the tildie "~", as in Mai~, "beautifull, sexy". And the 4th tone is a hyphen '-' as in "fei-", fly.

    "Wo~ shi\ mei~guo/ ren/" = "I'm an american"
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • 1 Billion People Can't Be Wrong (TM)!
  • > God help us if Pakistan signs a deal with Macintosh.

    That should be ALLAH help us, infidel.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Actually, this Webslacker's Mandarin was at most half correct. Webslacker's sentence has following errors:

    Webslacker: Woh Duh Monitor Way Sa Ma Lan Sah?

    1. Webslacker was not using standard Mandarin pronunciations. The correct way to put the pinyin as follows:

    Wo3 de5 Monitor wei2 she2 me5 lan2 se4?

    2. 'Monitor' is not Chinese. Chinese for 'monitor' is 'xian3 shi4 qi4'.

    3. The grammar of the sentence is wrong. Simply put, Webslacker's translation sounded like a Chinese dub of Yoda's speech. Correct way to speak 'Why is my monitor blue?' in Chinese is follows:

    Wei2 she2 me5 wo3 de5 xian3 shi4 qi4 shi4 lan2 se4?

    For those without proper browser, the UCS-2 codes for the sentence as follows:

    U+70BA U+751A U+9EBC U+6211 U+7684 U+986F U+793A U+5668 U+662F U+85CD U+8272 U+003F

    Chinese Characters and culture [http://www.zhongwen.com/ [zhongwen.com]]
    Unihan Database [http://charts.unicode.org/ [unicode.org]]

  • by roystgnr ( 4015 ) <roystgnr&ticam,utexas,edu> on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @05:27PM (#1544113) Homepage
    Ok, I haven't read most of the comments yet, but I am worried that I'll see a number of the "Communism is fundamentally evil!" or "Linux isn't Communist! Don't say that!" comments that might be expected from the heavily libertarian Slashdotter demographic.

    I'd just like to point out that one of the ways I get a kick out of Linux is considering this little paradox: Linux development is communist, libertarian, and successful. It's rare enough that you see two of adjectives applied to the same concept, much less all three.

    Think about it:

    Linux *is* a communist-developed OS, in the Marxist sense of the word, "from each according to his ability, to each according to his means". Every Linux developer who can improve the operating system in some way does so, not in proportion to how much he's getting paid to do it or because he's being ordered by the government to do it, but because he has the ability to do it. Every Linux user who needs features that the operating system and related software can provide gets those features, not in proportion to how much they've paid or because they've been doled out some limited feature set by a bureaucracy, but because they can freely download whatever they need.

    Linux is a libertarian OS, too. The development may be communist, but not Stalinist communist - the top developers like Linus and Alan are followed not because they wield any political or economic power to enforce what they say, but because they've proved themselves extraordinarily capable in the past, and so people voluntarily listen to them. You have the freedom to choose your software from a number of competing vendors, to extend and modify it yourself, or to apply other people's modifications whether or not they have official approval. What few restrictions there are come from voluntary software licenses decided by the software authors.

    It's kind of cool, when you think about it. In a system where the economics of scarcity are non-existant (the marginal cost of copying software is trivial), communism actually seems to work, and works without using force or coercion on anyone who takes part in it. At a time when most totalitarian communist countries are spectacular failures, it's kind of cool to see a voluntarily communistic system work.

    Who knows, maybe when nanotech is cheap and the production of a material item is a matter of feeding enough matter and electricity into your properly programmed Seed, open source economics might play a big factor in the physical economy too.

  • Soon, all there will be left is Senator Slade Gorton...( R Washington ). the only person left in the world still running Windows.

    Meanwhile, after they uphold Genome Patents, Bill Gates will be supplying all the prescription drugs in the world.


  • Linux is the biggest socialistic effort ever. Love it or hate it, that's the way it is. Even if not one person in china uses linux they have gotten their point across. It is a model for the people but not necessarily the way the country operates. They don't consider themselves communists but socialists, same as the ussr was. Communist countries pull these publicity stunts all the time because they can say, "hey, look at us, we are doing the right thing." Instead, they are doing the exact opposite (As far as most people are concerned, I try to be somewhat tolerant). Ah, the ironies of communism...
  • It's a heck of a lot easier to set up extemporaneous networks, write encryption and steganographic software, and raise general havoc with *nix than with Windows or Macs. Try creating a neighborhood network with serial ports and slash wire using MSWindows or MacOS...

    The powers-that-be may live to regret adopting Linux (if indeed they have, and this isn't just ZDNET's overeager newsmongering). It will ultimately prove far more corrosive to entrenched power than Billy's Mandarin-speaking dancing paperclips ever would have been.

  • "The best necessary" [...] So it is not surprising that they would "officially" adopt an OS that is inexpensive, utilitarian, and not ostentatious or bloated.

    So you're saying they won't be using E as their wm.

  • Some Chinese government officials may be mistaken, but free software isn't [completely] about communism. It's about anarchy. It's about freedom of information and communications. It's about true equality, where corporations can compete, but are only successful if they can do a better job than non-commercial organizations of cooperating people. It's a system without a central authority, although where it provides the most efficiency local dictators rule by popular consent.

    In the world of free software, there's no room for national boundaries, corporate trade secrets, powerful governments, restricted information, or dictatorial regimes.

    Rather than showing the Chinese people that we blame them for a government in which they have no say, let's invite them to participate in our world of [relative] freedom. Don't crititice the PRC regime; spread our culture (ours, not American/European pop culture) and ideas, because they will bring a greater benefit to the Chinese than making a point that we're going to limit who can use our supposedly-free software.

    (I'm sure someone will shoot me down for the cultural imperialism in that last paragraph. :)

  • I don't quite think that using redneck in your title says much for your cause. I'm not meaning this as flameage at all but it definatly negates your point by using the term as well. I happen to be a southerner and while I didn't take offense enough to take up arms I still found it kind of lame considering the tone of your post.
    "We hope you find fun and laughter in the new millenium" - Top half of fastfood gamepiece
  • If the Chinese use Linux to improve the performance of their intercontinental ballistic missiles, don't they have to release the diffs as a patch to the standard kernel? I can't wait for the modifications to surface at Freshmeat...

    linux-kaboom.2.4.12-ac8.tar.gz : Linux kernel patch for the Long March IV strategic ICBM. Contributed by Lt. Shi Wong, General Tso and Capt. Ying-Yang; with patches by Alan Cox. Special thanks go to Loral Corp. of the USA.
  • I didn't say it was doing a good job of keeping its image up. You forget, the Chinese government doesn't percieve itself as we see it. I abhor what they do as much as you do.

    But the fact remains, they see themselves as great protectors of the people (never mind that it's not really true; they have nothing to act on but their own perception of reality, however twisted). The GPL is likewise meant as a protector of the people, something the Chinese government appears to recognize. Since the two seem to agree at least on the issues which the GPL covers, I don't think China will attempt to undermine it.
  • Linux is of course _very_ communist; decentralised, everyone is socially equal, the worker has all the power, the individual can never become more important than the group (GPL) etc.

    A better question would be how communist is _china_? I would personally say not very. I really wouldn't call any system that smacks of stalinism truly communism, especially a bastard half-capitalism like the current system in China.

    Of course, Linux still depends on individual rights to a degree unheard of in the current chineese system. While the individual cannot place himself above the group-- he cannot take the work of the group and propetarize it-- the individual is in the end the most important part of the system, and he has total and complete control over his own setup in every way. The individual has complete freedom over what way he gives back to the community, if at all. But since by helping himself and improving the code of his own system, he helps the community as a whole, the individual gives freely.
    Basically GNU/Linux is a communism that _works_.

  • Geez; I did some bad wors choices this time (I'm rather surprised it didn't cost me any Karma as of yet).

    Yep, you're right; China's government seems to have little regard for human rights, if indeed it has any at all. The last time I read the GPL, however, it didn't seem to cover anything about what people generally consider to be human rights. And the Chinese government seems to agree with the GPL on those issues which the GPL covers. Therefore, I seriously doubt that China will attempt to undermine the GPL; governments don't tend to hurt stuff they like (unless they don't already have it, in which case they'll go so far as to destroy it while trying to obtain it, but that's not the situation here).
  • Finally, someone with the insight to use those two words to describe linux.

    Another communist aspect of linux is the *complete* lack of property involved. Nobody has ownership of any aspect of the OS, including any intellectual aspects. OSS (GPL) is just about the only truly free useful human product on the planet.

    open source economics might play a big factor in the physical economy too

    Let's all hope we see this day before we destroy our world trying to get richer with globalization, at the expense of workers, the environment, human rights, etc.........

  • Freedom people, Freedom. Most definitely because of this I urge everyone to refer to GNU and GNU/Linux as FREE software. With free software you have all the freedoms to use, modify, and redistribute. This means freedom to all users. If we deny China these rights, no matter how horrid their government, the software no longer is free then.

    But, hear this! Communism (in every implementation we know of) and dictatorships rely on censorship and controlling all forms of communication to keep in power. Does GNU or GNU/Linux bear ANY resemblance to this!!! If anything the GNU operating system and derivatives are in complete opposition to what we think communism is.

    This will not bring down GNU/Linux by any degree. Perhaps some will see this as some mark of tyranny on GNU or Linux. But I see the opposite happening. Perhaps. Just perhaps, a little bit of freedom will rub off in China. With source code, perhaps someone will modify. Perhaps someone will get educated and use this software in ways their government never thought possible. Perhaps, by some slim chance, it will be GNU/Linux that will help, in some slim way, to take some power from the government back to the oppressed people. Perhaps GNU/Linux can democratize China like it has democratized all of us!

    This should make all the free software developers feel good. The internet is a much bigger place now.

    Linux? That's GNU/Linux [gnu.org] to you mister!
  • by patSPLAT ( 14441 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @06:53PM (#1544235) Homepage
    a country made up largely of oppressed peasants

    Did you know that the minimum wage in the United States is lower than the poverty line? Don't be so cavaliar about other countries problems, the United States has plenty of dirty laundry. And it's not just about our companies being just too damn competitive (that durn Microsoft).

    I respond this way because I have close friends from China. It's a lot like the US. There are alot of good people, and a suspicious government.

    Did you know that the New York Police Department had been cited by Amnesty International for Human Rights Violations? Did you ever hear of the US engineering the military coup of a democratically elected socialist in Chile? Or how about Mai Lai? Incidently, name the only nation to use a nuclear weapon on civilians? Yep that's right, good old clean faced US of A.

    Get over the nationalist crap spoonfed into you -- if you don't trust the media to tell you a straight story regarding computer OS's, what makes you think that you'll get a clear picture of more politically sensitive stories.

    Quoting Mark Twain (via Utah Phillips): "Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it."

  • by Wah ( 30840 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @06:56PM (#1544240) Homepage Journal
    and this is why communism (in this sense) works, is the nature of the product. Infinite supply means you can be very altruistic and the many can indeed benefit from the hard work of the few. However it must be reiterated that communism does not work for models with limited supply, as humans on the whole are WAY too selfish and lazy.
  • Yes Yes YES YES!!!!!

    Remember this is FREE software! With the free exchange of ideas, information, and source code, China's Government made a big mistake with GNU/Linux. The Information Age is bad for Communism. But they don't understand it, do they? It is like magic to them. Poof! Break a code. Poof! More rapid communication. I wish all the Chinese geeks the best of luck liberating information and perhaps something much greater.

    Boy! We are playing in a much larger ball park now!

    Linux? That's GNU/Linux [gnu.org] to you mister!
  • Greetings,

    Okay, it's obvious that zero cost, AND simultaneously not stepping on anyone's toes (through copyright violations) is a very high up reason for something like this.

    On the other hand, this lets us do something we (as a technical community) haven't ever had the opportunity to do: Translate the technical vision of FREEDOM into a real-world political vision.

    Linux isn't about communism vs. democracy vs. socialism vs. capitalism... It's about individual freedom to see, change, adapt, learn, and grow. It puts power into the hands of anyone who uses it, and lets them use that power to grow.

    To hell with the 'public relations' portion of this. This is an unparalled opportunity for the Linux community to spread the REAL underlying beliefs of Linux to the people of one of the larger oppressive countries in the world.

    The freedoms involved are so deeply embedded in the code, in the approach, in the system, and structure of Linux, that they will infect anyone who gets their hands into the system. Which could suddenly be a BILLION people.

    I believe in these freedoms, and I believe that if we encourage an action like this, that it will become a catalyst for true social change. Not tomorrow, not in a decade maybe, but over the next quarter century, Linux could free a populace.

    Isn't that worth believing in, hoping for, and maybe even fighting for? There's never been an opportunity like this, if it's true. Reach out with both hands and grasp at it!

  • by Wah ( 30840 )
    But, unfortunately, this is NOT a good thing for Linux.

    Why, please tell me how those horrible howling Chinese will taint your Linux. One of the things that drew me in was the total lack of PR needed to convince people that linux is a Good Thing. All the relations came from the public but that is a different beast. It stands on its own and it's only attitudes like this that will hurt.

    How can anyone possible be negative about what are commonly referred to as repressed peasants embracing something as mind-expanding as an open-source OS? Even with national filters, some (out of a billion people there have to be a few) hardcore geeks who figure out how to get around it and show their friends. IWTBF, and so do people who figure out they aren't.
  • from each according to his ability, to each according to his means


    I even used the preview button on that one, damn it...
  • I didn't say the Chinese people thought their government was protecting the people's best interest. That isn't even important (especially not to the Chinese government); what matters is what the people in the government think about it, and the most hard-line (and even more than a few of the moderates) are likely to believe this. Remember that in any political arena, most people do have at least some genuine belief in their platform.
  • Next thing we'll see is an anti-Microsoft gathering in Tianamen square.

  • A corollary seems to be that Communism works whenever the marginal cost if extra goods are low. Probably the biggest flaw in Marx's reasoning was that the working class would act selflessly towards other workers and only oppose "the capitalist regime." Marx missed the point that greed motivates the workers in the first place. Linux works under a communist system of development precisely because it requires no resources to create extra copies beyond the initial investment.

    Strangely enough, it's the greed based motivation of capitalism that makes the development model work. If a developer really _wants_ a feature, they'll put it in for themselves. Sure they're helping others, but first and foremost they're helping themselves. Open Source development helps developers help themselves. In some sense, Open Source development is the best mix of capitalism and communism. People have both the motivation to improve the product (capitalist) and the resources required to do so (communist).

  • by NovaX ( 37364 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @08:23PM (#1544317)
    Perhaps not. Marx doesn't spend much time on what exactly the ruling body, the government, will be in a communist society. He says first will come the revolution, then a "prolotariate dictatorship" (the majority ruling over the minority - the bourgeosie), and then when this becomes unneeded communism will form. It sounds close to a system where there is no government, but social order by pure morals. As Marx doesn't go in depth into what communism is, but more on his ideas of history and capitalism, communism has been easily critisized for not giving any incentive (except 'for the party') to work.

    If you really wanted to compare the GPL and communist ideals / society, you could claim a few things.

    1) As the GPL makes work owned by the workers, not the capitalists, the capitalists are forced to contribute back to use the code. This means the workers are in control.

    2) The GPL advocates itself most effectively by claiming it is morally better than closed source (ie, BSD advocates are far less MS-bashers than GPL advocates). The overall goal of the programmer becomes ego, and thus strives for the community. This is just like striving for the 'party,' where the most cheered individuals are considered the most dedicated.

    3) The GPL, like communism, does not mean freedom! In actuallity, it restricts freedom or has the potential to restrict freedom. If you don't understand this, read 1984 which shows a communist society (by all definitions, although one could argue whether the workers 'rule'), which is oppressive.
  • Looks like this isn't true afterall. How could a government declare an official OS anyway?

    ESR proclaims [linuxtoday.com] how glad the Linux community is that China didn't really pick us. Read some of the follow-ups, they range from why an oppressive nation like China is bad for an open source OS to why a greedy corporate driven nation like the US is bad for an OS OS. Personally I think the more people using and contributing to Linux, the better. When you have a great idea, and you have the ability to make it happen, differences pale in comparison to the good you are doing. Developing something like Linux has always transcended geographical, political and monetary differences.

  • by jilles ( 20976 ) on Wednesday November 10, 1999 @09:44PM (#1544356) Homepage
    What most americans don't seem to realize is that they live in a society where information is controlled by the big media corporations. In the recent 'war' in bosnia, iraque and kosovo, CNN wasn't exactly critical, they broadcasted pretty much anything the US army threw at them.

    I'm not saying that the situation is the same as in china but I'm simply stating that you are not as free as you would like to think. Your government is pretty successful in manipulating the publics opinion. You're free to think whatever you want, the government simply tries to influence what you want by spreading their version of the truth through the media.

    As for linux becoming the official OS of a communist country, I'm not surpised. The OSS model is sort of communistic itself and since it works very well it is good publicity for communism in general. Also the chinese will probably appreciate the fact that they won't be accused of illegal copying of software if they use OSS software.
  • Oh come on, that's bs. Yeah, yer right about the US, the government is a bit shady, and to be honest, I don't really know who's in charge here. Maybe I'm better off not knowing[ha]. But please... No offence to you or any of your friends(whatever their nationality). But modern China is a sheisty place to be. For god's sake, They broke up a peaceful student demonstration by rolling in tanks, and arresting anyone that would stand still long enough and killing those that wouldn't. And after it's over, what do they do? They make it a fuckin parking lot. And on the 10th anniversary, what do they do? They roll out the tanks again...Yeah, just to remind everyone what happens. There are still people in prison for that demonstration.... no trial [or maybe a mock trial].

    Yeah, the US is a fat, lumbering beast of a beaurocracy. Yeah, people are shafted everyday by the Gov. But not like in China. No sir, I don't think I'll ever go back there. Not until there are some changes.

  • This is SO ironic.

    China, the repressor of human rights, liberties, and free speech, and the one who cracks down, restricts and censors internet usage....China is mandating Linux?...Finland I can see, but China?...
    • Those that want to make noise about Linux=Communism would do so anyway. It would be just as easy to turn this around and say that Western ideas of freedom and individualism are invading Chinese with the help of Linux. Getting a good OS in the hands of millions of Chinese will only make for a more secure world order, IMHO.

    I wish I had moderator points right now. This is the best Comment I've read on this subject.

    Well, I'll lend my +1 bonus to see if it helps attract it any attention...

  • Communism on it self wasn't a bad idea, it's major flaw, according to me, is that it rules out things like greed and selfishness which of course doesn't work in practice since every person on this planet is in principle selfish and will ultimately favor his/her own interests above the common interest. It's exactly those things that converted the newly formed communistic states earlier this century in ordinary dictatorship. The communistic idealism is used as a tool to repress the people of those states. The motivations for the communistic revolution were not evil, the result of it was.
  • > There is something wrong with communism.


    > It doesn't work period.

    Right. Or at least, it has never been demonstrated as working in a self-sufficient society.

    > There is no way supply and demand can be
    > regulated by the government. That is why
    > capitalism works and communism doesn't.

    No, that is why marked economy works, and planned economy doesn't. Planned economy is not equivalent to communism.

    > There is no way a society can work efficiently
    > while being ruled by a government which makes
    > every decision for you.

    True, but irrelevant.

    > In the US you can read what you want.

    Mostly true, but irrelevant.

    > Yes they are regulated, but the media in the US
    > is free to say what they want (unless national
    > security).

    Or involves sex.

    > In China you would be massacred for speaking
    > out against the government and I'm sure the
    > same goes for any other communist country.

    There has never been a communist country. Good arguments can be made for the claim that there cannot be a communist country.

  • any "proof" I have is logical not concrete, but since this is /. it should suffice. We're sticking to theory and definitions, so I'll try to back up my simple 4 (thanks, mods)

    from www.m-w.com [m-w.com]

    socialsim: 1 : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods also b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state

    communism: 1 a : a theory advocating elimination of private property b : a system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed

    Even from these it's very easy to see that the situation in Sweden is based on socialism (gov't control) vs communism (everything is owned by everyone). So your counter example is flawed.

    Communism is Marx's ideal society (you should know this considering your nick) with socialism as a type of half-way point. Ideal societies rarely work in real life (I just said rarely cause it might have happened somewhere). Luckily we have a strange situation resulting from a feature of software (i.e. basically infinite supply) that makes it suited perfectly to the type of entirely altruistic ideals (and therefore socially unworkable) of communism. "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." Thanks to the collected hackers of the world who contributed their ability, I am fully able to service my need, so I give thanks to the collected hackers of the world who contibuted their ability.

  • Actually, from my understanding was that Orwell was anti-Communist, and communism is indead different from socialism. The symbol for Big Brother is a take off of Stallin. At the time of writing communist Russia and facist Germany (Hitler) two big concerns. He takes a good chunk from both, actually. I just remember being told a few times it was to show communism can be an anti-utopia.. but then with the prols kept in submission, I your probably right that it isn't.
  • I've a hamster that chases cats. Maybe it eats eagles, too. Want to do the experiment?
  • This concept is also present in Ian M. Banks's Culture novels

    Indeed, I particularly enjoyed the Culture adage "Money is a sign of poverty," i.e. the concept that any society which still used money had scarcity, and was (by comparison to the Culture) impoverished.

    A libertarianesque form of communism was practiced briefly in Spain earlier this century by collectives organized around small communities and groups with commen interests, with surprising success -- even able to compete very effectively against capitalist competitors in the (at the time) mixed economy. They were briefly co-opted by the government, then legislation brutally out of existence. Just a little historical footnote that communism did work, briefly, even amidst scarcity.

    I suspect capitalism's success lies more in its good fortune to be the economic system of DEMOCRATIC societies, whereas totalitarianism doomed marxism from the start. The dichotomies which threatened to destroy capitalism (e.g unregulated free markets leading to monopolies and wildly erratic economic and market upheavals) were dealt with through legislation due to feedback of public discontent through democratic channels, while communism's dichotomies (such as the egalitarian notion "to each according to their needs" being subsumed by the elitist power structure which formed to collect and dispense goods) had no avenue for self correction beneath the autocrats and party apparatchik, and thus remained unaddressed (despites Gorbochov's 11th hour efforts) until communism's ultimate collapse.
  • Keeping this as a discussion of software in general and Linux in particular (other threads have diverged...)

    However, it occurs to me that basing your argument on the innate selfishness and laziness of humans on the whole is somewhat dubious.

    this of course includes the situation of "given the chance to be so" without fear of loss of a continuing supply of food, shelter, and Oprah.

    There is enough of this trait in humans (because of their animal roots) to make economies based on the strengths of the few impractical and ultimately unworkable. But that is given the "real world" where supply is limited and labor is finite. Enough labor is given out of the goodness of hearts and the need to be able to do THIS, that when multiplied by the peculiarly unworldly qualities of software, a workable situation is acheived and mankind as a whole (as far as software is concerned) can flourish.

    So yes, I think the developement of Linux is very much like an idealized Communist community commune .com, but I also believe that such a community (at this point in human history) can only live long and prosper through the Internet. Techs like nanotech *might* change things, but think about nanotech + IP and you know it will take awhile, if ever.

    That being said, the scenario of hackers all around the world, working hard into the wee hours of the morning, all without any hope of renumeration, would have appeared to me, had someone ten years ago put it to me, to be only slightly less implausible.

    Implausible perhaps, but in retrospect it seems rather logical, given the peculiar aspects of the involved parties (and a good sign that someday we might really be so alturistic as to mine for the benefit of a fresh kernel. I know some people here would spend a day in hell for USB and DVD :-).
  • Quickly rereading this thread will help you understand that this...

    What is important is that you somehow assume that communism must be an ideal society, whereas capitalism must not.

    is the first mention of capitalism. You're reading in too much when you see the word Communism and think Anti-Capitalism. I live very comfortably off the knowledge in my head (doing things I enjoy) in America and I love it. I think capitalism works *better* than communism as a basis for social structure because it plays on our innate desire to have to a better life for ourselves and our children

    However, like communism, it is not workable in the extremes because, well, very few things work in the extremes. Build an incredibly strong tall building that doesn't bend with the wind and you'll see what I mean.

    That being said, I've never been to Sweden and don't know much about it, other than a tendency for tech and buxom blond lasses, which rather makes me want to visit and deal with any type of government the Swedes have found appropriate.

  • Sorry, had to run to class and made a booboo. Should have reread. :)

    On the differences between socialism and communism, socialism does not reject capitalism. Fourierian socialism, from my understanding, tries to create incentives for work (which communism doesn't have) and yet keep exploitation as small as possible. John Stuart Mill says that the best form of society is the one that makes the majority happy. Socialism seems to work towards that goal, while other forms entirely neglect the happiness of a group or a set of groups.

    For now, in my opinion I see socialism as communism that (at least to some degree) works. Communism has fundalmental flaws, and the various socialist schemes each try to solve some, or all of these.
  • The issue with GPL is that you need to distribute or make available the source to your changes whenever yout distribute your software to someone else. If the PRC's government makes proprietary modifications to Linux and only deploys it within the governement, they have absolutely no reason to share it with the world. None.

    Nowhere in the GPL does it say you need to share all of your development work with the world if you happen to use a GPL'd work as a starting point. The GPL kicks in the moment you try to redistribute your work, since you can't redistribute a modified GPL'd work unless you make the source available for the modified work.

    The GPL really is about freedom, including the freedom to take the source and do whatever the hell you want with it behind closed doors. The only requirement the GPL makes is that you must extend the same freedoms to others that were extended to you if you choose to distribute your work. I doubt we're going to see a PRC Linux Distribution anytime soon.


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