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Linux Journal: Raising the Red Flag

Jan 30, 2002, 19:08 (24 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Doc Searls)

"Red Flag looks serious. The Chinese government doesn't just bristle at Microsoft's near-absolute market share of PC operating systems sold in China. It's as uncomfortable with operating systems that are opaque to the core. As a matter of routine, it is the custom of Customs to ask 'what's in there?' And the routine answer from Microsoft is 'none of your business.' To a government concerned with security, that isn't always an acceptable answer.

"So Microsoft doesn't only have a 'piracy' problem in China, it has a transparency problem, as well as a determined foe on the part of the government's own Linux distro. It was a rather smooth chess move by the Chinese government to avoid copyright infringement and 'software piracy' issues by simply promoting an operating system that obviates the issues.

"And there is nothing to stop the government from being a customer of itself. According to Gartner, on December 28, 2001, the Beijing municipal government gave contracts to six local vendors and rejected the seventh. One of the six was Red Flag. The rejected seventh was Microsoft..."

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