Linux Journal: Raising the Red Flag

“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

“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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