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posted by janrinok on Tuesday May 20 2014, @06:25PM   Printer-friendly
from the commonsense-or-tit-for-tat? dept.

ZDnet is reporting that China has banned Windows 8 from government PCs. According to Chinese news agency Xinhua, China doesn't want another Windows XP support debacle to deal with, so it's banned Windows 8 from government machines.

In a brief statement on China's Central Government Procurement Centre's website about a particular class of energy-saving products [page in Chinese], the agency noted that new government computers are forbidden from having Windows 8 installed. As Reuters notes, it's not clear how the ban on Windows 8 is related to the use of energy-savings products.

So, fellow Soylenters, is this "payback" (as the article seems to hint), or is this an "it's about time" move by the largest PC market in the world? Either way this will affect Microsoft's business going forward, and possibly new PC sales in China as the current XP hardware is repurposed with Linux rather than being replaced.

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Russia Plans to Dump Some American CPUs for Homegrown Technology 33 comments

Announced shortly after the 1 year anniversary of the first revelations by Eric Snowden that American spy agencies have their fingers in everything, the Russian government will be funding a project to build a custom microprocessor. Codenamed Baikal (after the lake with Earth's largest volume of fresh water), it will be built around an ARM Cortex A57, a 64-bit architecture running at 2GHz. No core count or other details are available. First deliveries are expected in 2015.

The ARM architecture aligns with Vladimir Putin's goal, announced in 2010, to move all government computers onto Linux. It also comes in the wake of another large country's recent barring of some American technology in favor of a homegrown Linux distro.

Update: China Will Upgrade All Gov't PCs to Linux by 2020 47 comments

The Inquirer reports

The Red State, which earlier this year denounced Microsoft Windows 8 as a spyware tool on the lunchtime news, has been developing its own flavour of Linux, based in part on an earlier attempt based on Ubuntu, called Kylin.

'NeoKylin', as the OS is understood to be called, is already due to appear on a range of Dell machines manufactured for the Chinese market.

It has now been confirmed that Professor Ni Guangnan of the Chinese Academy of Engineering has designed a rollout programme that has been passed by the government and will see [the operating system on] all government servers, mainframes, and individual machines being replaced.

The plan is to replace Windows-powered machines at a rate of 15 percent per year, give or take 10 percent, over five years.

"We call this a de-Windowsifying movement," Ni told Chinese site[1] [Google cache]

[1] That page is a 500 for me.

Chinese OS Expected to Debut in October
China Bans Windows 8 From Government PCs?

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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Entropy on Tuesday May 20 2014, @06:29PM

    by Entropy (4228) on Tuesday May 20 2014, @06:29PM (#45689)

    So why is it surprising China would ban it from government pcs? Lets face it--everyone knows Windows 8 is terrible. Almost every company I work with has banned it from being used on any PCs in favor of Windows 7 Professional.

    W7Pro is the new business standard for quite some time.. It should be called XP v2. Everything Microsoft does with W8 is just going to weaken it's monopoly further.

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20 2014, @07:38PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20 2014, @07:38PM (#45706)

        >> "W7Pro is the new business standard for quite some time.. It should be called XP v2"

      I'm a die-hard XP user and have played in-depth with all NT6 variants, Win7Pro IS NOT XP v2;

      the fabulous minimalist customizable classic view of 'explorer.exe' and its desktop shell were removed; Microsoft chose to give XP users no choice to continue having that style of interface, NOPE it was just too much effort to add an option for reverting to this at 'Control Panel'.

      Win7Pro Explorer basically stares at power-users in the face and say's "If you don't like how I look then bad luck buddy"

      Would you like to hide the 'search bar' so you can have more width for the 'address bar'?.....Win7Pro Explorer stares at you in the face and say's "sorry buddy I can't help you."

      If you don't like auto-arrange when you drag files into it, Win7Pro Explorer stares at you in the face and say's "can't help you, try searching Google for some hack/answer"

      If you don't like full-row-select when you inside it, Win7Pro Explorer stares at you in the face and say's "can't help you, try searching Google for some hack/answer".

      MICROSOFT'S CURRENT GUI DESIGNS are stupid dumb-fuck bloated eye-candy shit and waste ridiculous amounts of vertical space; this would not be so bad if display monitors having "16:12" or "4:3" were still easily available, but this is not the case, the standard desktop display monitor these days has very little vertical space yet companies like Microsoft choose to ignore this issue

      CHINA is doing the absolute best thing for their long-term future here and I wish them all the best.

      Win7Pro, Win8Pro (or whatever the fuck you call it) and all other NT6 variants are are nothing more than developmental attempts to lock the next wave of computer users in to the next phase of USA oligarchical corporate global domination.

      Fuck Microsoft and Fuck their NSA and MAFIAA and GOV buddies.

      • (Score: 1) by arslan on Wednesday May 21 2014, @03:01AM

        by arslan (3462) on Wednesday May 21 2014, @03:01AM (#45813)

        Want to do xxx in Win8 Metro?.... Win7Pro Explorer stares at you in the face and say's "That's right buddy, I'm looking all sexy now eh?"

        Win7pro is definitely close to winxp v2 than it is win8 alpha, but yea if you want to be pedantic winxp is much better if you don't need 64bit.

      • (Score: 1) by meisterister on Wednesday May 21 2014, @06:54AM

        by meisterister (949) on Wednesday May 21 2014, @06:54AM (#45850) Journal

        If you want something based on NT 6 which is close to XP, then the best you'll get is likely Vista with classic shell. On newish hardware, Vista really isn't that bad, plus it has a control panel that can be configured to be pretty close to xp/2000's icon view.

        (May or may not have been) Posted from my K6-2, Athlon XP, or Pentium I/II/III.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by dotdotdot on Tuesday May 20 2014, @07:40PM

    by dotdotdot (858) on Tuesday May 20 2014, @07:40PM (#45707)
    According to this [] article "price was the major concern."

    "Windows 8 was way too expensive to be installed in our offices. The centre had been negotiating with Microsoft, but we failed to reach a consensus on price," said the staff member who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Horse With Stripes on Tuesday May 20 2014, @07:59PM

      by Horse With Stripes (577) on Tuesday May 20 2014, @07:59PM (#45712)

      Of course it's going to be too expensive if every computer needs to pay for the OS. A significant percentage of the XP installs in China were not legitimate purchases. Microsoft is now trying to collect on them on the back end by charging for XP updates or selling them Win 8 ... and who can blame them?

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20 2014, @07:56PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20 2014, @07:56PM (#45710)

    The only surprise should be that it took them this long to make the move.
    Germany banned M$ products last year. []

    MSFT is in the habit of voluntarily handing over specifics on backdoors to NSA.[1]
       Microsoft[...]provides intelligence agencies with information about bugs in its popular software before it publicly releases a fix, [] according to two people familiar with the process
    [...]this type of early alert allowed the U.S. to exploit vulnerabilities in software sold to foreign governments, according to two U.S. officials

    [1] I've always thought that this was an unwritten part of M$ getting out of their consent decree [] (orig) []--even after they had repeatedly violated the terms. [] (orig)[2] []

    [2] You're looking for the part starting with III. Prohibited Conduct and ending with IV. Compliance and Enforcement Procedures.
    It's a VERY long section.

    -- gewg_

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Horse With Stripes on Tuesday May 20 2014, @08:03PM

      by Horse With Stripes (577) on Tuesday May 20 2014, @08:03PM (#45715)

      If China was doing this because of the MS/NSA connections then they would be trumpeting it from the rooftops. That would be pure gold anti-American PR, and China wouldn't waste that opportunity. This is about saving money, pure and simple ... and maybe so they can tout national pride when they claim they forked Linux for their people.

      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20 2014, @08:46PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20 2014, @08:46PM (#45725)

        This is about saving money

        If that was the case, they could continue to use XP **as-is**.
        It will, of course, be pwned in short order.
        It is therefore clear that this decision is, in all its forms, about security.

        China knows that MICROS~1 products are extremely insecure.
        They **proved** it in 2012 when they pwned the Windoze boxes in the Google China operation.
        Following that, (the year before Germany did) Google banned Windoze. [] (orig) []
        If a Google employee needs MICROS~1's platform to validate an app he's building, use of Windoze requires permission from the highest levels of management. [] (orig) []

        -- gewg_

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by tangomargarine on Tuesday May 20 2014, @08:00PM

    by tangomargarine (667) on Tuesday May 20 2014, @08:00PM (#45713) 2&cid=34961010 []

    [Ballmer Says 90% of Chinese Users Pirate Software]

    Should have said (Score:2, Insightful)
    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Friday January 21, 2011 @06:36PM (#34961010)

    Chairman Hu should have replied simply:

    "We understand your concerns. However, the Chinese people feel that intellectual property belongs to the people as a whole. It is fundamental to our way of life. As such it is nearly impossible to convince them to pay for something that they truly believe should be free. There are only two solutions. The first is that Microsoft secure their software in such a way that it can not be copied with your express consent. This option has been shown over several decades to be impossible. The second is the approach I shall take... We can not train our entire law enforcement system to distinguish all the varieties of Microsoft software and its current DRM status, but we do not want you to feel like we are steeling from you. Instead, effective immediately, Microsoft software will be illegal in the Peoples Republic of China. All traffic to your websites will be blocked. All mention of your companies name on our search engines will be gone (Google has assured us this will not be a problem.) Any version of any Microsoft product found on any citizens computer will be intermediately deleted and replaced with an open source equivalent on the spot. We hope that this small gesture will stem the tide of revenues Microsoft has been losing to Chinese thieves over the years."

    "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
    • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Tuesday May 20 2014, @08:19PM

      by HiThere (866) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 20 2014, @08:19PM (#45719) Journal

      When that was originally published, it would not have been a viable answer. Now it would, except for certain specialized uses.

      Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
    • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Tuesday May 20 2014, @08:47PM

      by kaszz (4211) on Tuesday May 20 2014, @08:47PM (#45726) Journal

      The Chinese government could simply claim that Microsoft got their market dominance through predatory practices and is misusing their trust for spying, thus needs to be swept aside. An excellent opportunity to execute now when XP is EOL by Microsoft and the feature Win8 is EOL by the Chinese government.

      It's both the license, the outrageous hardware requirements and the lock in liability that costs big time.

  • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Tuesday May 20 2014, @09:04PM

    by Hairyfeet (75) <{bassbeast1968} {at} {}> on Tuesday May 20 2014, @09:04PM (#45732) Journal

    The Chinese have eyes and have seen that Win 8 has bombed, and so has Win 8.1, so using either OS makes absolutely no sense because like Vista they will be forgotten when the "next Win 7" comes out which from the looks of it will be Win 9. Most likely once they see that Win 9 is a LTS version of Windows like Win 7 they'll switch to that, just as I switched all my business customers to Win 7 and ignored 8 and 8.1. When you know an OS is gonna bomb there really is no point in using it and everybody knows 8/8.1 is Vista the second coming.

    ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
    • (Score: 2) by juggs on Wednesday May 21 2014, @12:50AM

      by juggs (63) on Wednesday May 21 2014, @12:50AM (#45764) Journal

      Having just gone through the process of moving my septuagenarian parents from an ancient XP driven Pentium 4 to a new Win 8.1 driven i5 laptop I will now say Win 8.1 isn't actually ~that~ bad.

      It was pretty horrific process mind. Straight out of the box the laptop had a vanilla non-updated Win 8.1 installation on it - now that was a smorgasbord of bad UI design. e.g. Those full screen Apps that take over with not even a vague hint of how to get out of them.

      I spent the best part of a day installing updates (I lost track of how many reboots that required) and then the big April 2014 roll-up update (I think MS dubbed it "Update 1") became available. Once that was installed it felt like using a different OS entirely. e.g. Now those full screen apps can have minimise / close buttons, they also play nicely with the Desktop. Also plain stupid things such as the Shut Down button being pretty much undiscoverable were fixed.

      Post Update 1 it is also quite easy to completely ignore that the Start screen and associated Apps exist at all - with prefer Desktop etc.

      All in all, I would say it is now useable.

      In the end I did install the Start button component of Classic Shell as the folks were still looking bewildered. Rumour has it MS will be bringing back a full on Start button and menu option back with Update 2 in August. I guess they've realised they dropped a bollock or underestimated how many proper desktop style users are still out there :)

      Things that still need work and gotchas:
      1. The MS Mail application no longer has support for the POP3 protocol. Sure it's archaic and insecure, but even in 2014 there are still some mail systems that ~only~ offer POP3. Thunderbird took care of that niggle and familiarising someone used to Outlook Express is simple.

      2. The MS Backup replacement "File History" is quite frankly shite where more than one user account exists on the machine. To use it would require setting it up for each user in turn, each user would need to manage their own backups and it is hard coded to only backup a subset of a user's home directory (sorry folder). I can see where they are trying to go with it (Apple's Time Machine anyone?), but it just fails to be useful in anything but the most simple of PC setups.
      I gave up on that after a very short time and fell back on my favourite backup utility - Unison ( Simply created an 'admin' account and setup a Unison batch job to backup all the user directories to an external drive. It even has previous file version retention capability baked in if so desired.

      It's interesting watching the OS market transition from just selling an OS to what I think of as the "inkjet model" - sure the OS is cheap or free, but it's going to lock you into many years of a locked in overpriced marketplace.

      I think all the main OS providers are shooting themselves in the foot by trying to produce that 'one OS to rule them all'. It's just not going to work going forward. For sure there is a massive call for touch friendly, big iconed interfaces suited for 'phones and tablets but it simply does not intersect with desktop users' requirements. I can envisage a future where OS providers have to dual stream their offerings - one for consumption devices and one for production devices. Trying to roll both up into one OS will result in both being debilitated (I believe this is where we are now) or a massively bloated and complex OS install that essentially is 2 OSs in 1.

      • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Wednesday May 21 2014, @01:18AM

        by Hairyfeet (75) <{bassbeast1968} {at} {}> on Wednesday May 21 2014, @01:18AM (#45773) Journal

        But what does 8.1 give your parents that Win 7 don't? I converted my parents to Win 7 and they are happy as clams, its good good security, runs well, its a truly rock solid OS. When dad's laptop died he was in rehab getting physical therapy and decided he couldn't wait so sent my cousin to staples to go get him one...all they had was Windows 8. by the time i got there he was soooo pissed off he said, completely serious mind you as dad does NOT joke about such things, to "take this sumbitch and run over it with the truck!".

        Any system you buy now with Win 7 will easily last until Win 7 goes EOL in 2020 and by then they will have either put out another decent LTS version of Windows or gone out of business so either way its good. Hell my dad's desktop is from 2008 and I have ZERO doubt it'll last until 2020 and with it being a quad it'l have cycles to spare, same with the formerly Win 8 i3 laptop which is now purring Win 7, so why take a badly designed OS that will be swept under the rug like Vista? Everyone talks about crap like Start8 but I tried ALL of them and it does NOT give you all of the shell back, instead its more like those Win 7 skins for XP where it looks at first glance like the real deal but once you start using it? you find out its all talk and no walk.

        So why should the Chinese do any different than pretty much every business and just skip the 8/8.1 debacle? Its gonna be tossed like Vista, YOU know this, I know this, we all know this, so why take an OS that will have zero fucks given once Win 9 hits gold?

        ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
        • (Score: 2) by juggs on Wednesday May 21 2014, @02:27AM

          by juggs (63) on Wednesday May 21 2014, @02:27AM (#45794) Journal

          [quote]But what does 8.1 give your parents that Win 7 don't?[/quote]

          A system that gets mainstream support until Jan 2018 and Extended to Jan 2023.

          Compared to Win 7 - mainstream Jan 2015 and Extended to Jan 2020.

          With my tweaks and MS updates practically the thing may as well be running Win 7 as I excised TIFKAM cancer from it.

          Something needed to be done as they were running EOL XP, so waiting for Win 9 was not an option. In that situation - what to suggest? Plonk them down in front of an Ubuntu Unity interface, Gnome 3, Mac OS.... just what?

          All of those would have the same WTF factor as the Win 8.1 interface.

          Sure, I pondered whether something like Mint MATE or Cinnamon would work for them - but the gaggle of MS Works derived database stuff they had accumulated just wouldn't transition to Libre or OpenOffice without days of wrangling. (I tried).

          They locked in over a decade ago, so the best I can do is offer mitigation and make transitions as painless and infrequent as possible. Such is life beyond idealism. I hope your business clients pay you well for stitching them into a reduced frequency update cadence you can charge them for.

          • (Score: 2) by juggs on Wednesday May 21 2014, @02:29AM

            by juggs (63) on Wednesday May 21 2014, @02:29AM (#45795) Journal

            meh - I meant increased frequency

            It's all relative

          • (Score: 1) by Hairyfeet on Wednesday May 21 2014, @03:27AM

            by Hairyfeet (75) <{bassbeast1968} {at} {}> on Wednesday May 21 2014, @03:27AM (#45822) Journal

            Do you HONESTLY think that PC is gonna last until then? if you bought mainstream i seriously doubt it, they squeeze every penny they can so the PSUs often go and take the boards with them. Then there is the HDDs, which frankly QC has gone out the window the past few years, oh and better keep an eye on the fans as well, had both dells and HPs in the shop that nearly fried thanks to their "nearly silent" fans silently crapping out.

            The only reason I'm sure my family will have their PCs in 2020 is that I built them and used quality parts throughout, I have crapped through 3 OEMs at the shop in the same period as this one I'm typing on at the house and it has enough CPU cycles to spare that i never really stress the system.

            As for what I'd suggest? if you aren't willing to spend an hour or two building (which is insanely easy, my boys built their first PCs at 11 and 12) then I'd have either got them a "No OS Systemmax Special" at Tiger if they wanted a desktop or if they wanted a laptop get them one with pro on it so you could use your downgrade rights. i have done the downgrades several times for customers and it couldn't be easier, just download the ISO straight from MSFT and use the key they give you. You don't even have to burn the disc, just use passcape ISO Burner to turn any 4GB flash stick into a Win 7 USB and you're golden.

            And I'll get hate from the FOSS faction for pointing out their leader has no clothes but look up "the hairyfeet challenge" to see why using Linux would be a BAD IDEA unless you are willing to come over and deal with the mess that happens come forced upgrade time. After giving the hairyfeet challenge to the top 7 "user friendly" distros on distrowatch frankly I'd rather spend forever trapped with WinVista than ever deal with that house of cards ever again, at least with Vista you can apply security updates without boning the wireless.

            But mark my words, while Win 7 will continue to be supported thanks to all the corps using it Win 8 will become another Vista when Win 9 comes out.

            ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
      • (Score: 1) by arslan on Wednesday May 21 2014, @03:07AM

        by arslan (3462) on Wednesday May 21 2014, @03:07AM (#45814)

        Wow... sounds like.. linux..

        Apple seems to be doing a good job so far, the transition to app store and command center which looks like an IOS device isn't that bad yet... I still startup with my classic desktop by default. Maybe it isn't the end goal that's the problem, but the execution. Apple is slowly retraining their end users, whilst MS just downright imposes.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by DECbot on Tuesday May 20 2014, @10:53PM

    by DECbot (832) on Tuesday May 20 2014, @10:53PM (#45742) Journal

    I wish my government would ban windows from my work PC. Actually, I don't care if my government does or doesn't ban windows. If the Austrian government could ban windows from their country, then windows support would dry up in my company and I wouldn't have to have windows on my work computer.

    That would make me smile all day.

    cats~$ sudo chown -R us /home/base