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Re: China Government Shows Interest in Open Source

__/ [ Rex Ballard ] on Thursday 18 May 2006 17:45 \__

> It's great to see this effort, but the article makes it look like
> China's support of Open Source is a new development.

I thought the same thing when I read this. There is plenty of prior evidence
to show that the Chinese government was all along interested in Linux. They
recently (as in a few months back) set up some Linux labs, for the sake of
testing, if I recall correctly.

> China has been a major adopter of Open Source for almost a decade.
> They initially used Turbo Linux, later they created Red Flag Linux.
> This distribution contained most of the popular applications, but
> included prompts and documentation in Mandarin, Contonese, and English.
> It became a good way to learn english and to market directly to the
> United States.
> Millions of computers were distributed with Red Flag Linux
> preinstalled, many were PCs discarded by US corporations.  Some of them
> were captured by recyclers and shipped, others were lease returns which
> were returned to their manufacturers then shipped to China.

I believe that the Municator ($149 Linux box) runs Red Flag Linux as well.
This could become a big hit. Something tells me that not only the Chinese
use Red Flag Linux. Perhaps it serves plenty of re-usable components.

> Microsoft was so frustrated by this massive explosion of Linux in China
> that they started offering Windows for the equivalent of 75 cents.  The
> irony is that when the realized that they could recover most of the
> "loss" buy having something produced in China that could be sold in the
> United States.  Eventually, Microsoft worked out a series of deals with
> Chinese companies and ended up with the X-Box.

The only reason why Linux has never been adopted with open arms by _all_ in
China is piracy. They have extensive CD wallets not only with Windows and
Office, but also software that runs on Windows only. Free software doesn't
appeal to people in a country where software licenses policing is very weak
(almost inexistent). That said, the same story holds true in other
countries, eastern Europe included.

Microsoft have recently begun loading that revolver, preparing to shoot
itself in the foot. Bill Gates intends to fight piracy in China and this
will drive people away to Linux as if they have just witness the plague.

> Basically, 3 Windows licenses pays for 1 X-box, which can be sold in
> the United States for almost $300 each.

Best wishes,


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