01.06.10

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China Given Another Reason to Abandon Proprietary Software — $2,200,000,000 Lawsuit

Posted in Asia, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Ubuntu, Windows at 11:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: China may no longer be able to use proprietary software from the United States without paying, which is great news for GNU/Linux and other Free software

LAST WEEK we wrote about Ylmf OS, which is a Ubuntu-based Windows XP clone that we mentioned later on in this post and also this morning. Here is some new coverage.

Ubuntu Linux Clone Looks Like Windows XP

[...]

Now, the next logical question: Do businesses and consumers want an Ubuntu Linux release that essentially looks and feels like Windows XP?

Hmmm… In The VAR Guy’s own home his kids already move seamlessly between Windows XP, Mac OS X and Canonical’s more traditional Ubuntu user interface. The “myth” that desktop Linux has a difficult learning curve is just that… a myth.

And besides, it doesn’t sound like Ylmf OS is pushing beyond China anytime soon. Still… you never can tell how software will potentially go viral across the web.

Microsoft is pressuring China and hinders its use of proprietary software, but Microsoft is not alone. China has just been sued with a price tag of over $2 billion for copyright violation. It used proprietary software against the law, just like Microsoft China [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

An American company has filed a $2.2bn (£1.4bn) lawsuit in the US accusing Beijing of stealing lines of code from its internet filtering software.

There is Free (as in Freedom) filtering software that they can use, but the intent may be considered malicious. Maybe this pressure from West will further push China towards Free software.

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4 Comments

  1. Yuhong Bao said,

    January 7, 2010 at 1:55 am

    Gravatar

    “There is Free (as in Freedom) filtering software that they can use, but the intent may be considered malicious.”
    Internet censorship would probably be off-topic for BN anyway.

  2. Robotron 2084 said,

    January 7, 2010 at 2:21 am

    Gravatar

    Lawsuits like the ones mentioned above only affect the Chinese government or select businesses within China. Ordinary Chinese people pay no mind to these and have little reason to switch to an OS (even with WINE) that doesn’t run much of the software they currently use today.

    Lawsuit or not, few will feel pressured to do anything at all. Even if the government decreed, “You must only use Free Software”, people here would ignore it and continue to use whatever they felt like. There are many, many laws here, but as one of my Chinese friends explained to me, “If we followed all the laws we’d never get anything done!”

  3. satipera said,

    January 7, 2010 at 5:35 am

    Gravatar

    @robotron

    This does not detract from the fact that the more Microsoft presses it’s presently constituted legal rights; the more pressure there is to move away from it’s high priced and substandard monoculture. Microsoft has used the law as it has used other levers, only when it thinks it is in it’s interest. It is not as if Microsoft believes that upholding law is a good thing in it’s own right. Charging the businesses and making the costs as hidden as possible to the end user has only slowed down the inevitable.

    Robotron 2084 Reply:

    The pressure you say exists isn’t going to put a squeeze on the people of China to change operating systems, that was the point of my post. Nothing here is going to change as a result of this lawsuit. As powerful as the government in China may seem to be, this country is still swayed by the motion of 1.3 billion people. In some ways, that makes me more nervous.

    You’ll be hard pressed to find any company, or dare I say any people, that truly obey the law because they feel it’s a “good thing”. If companies were interested in doing “good things” we wouldn’t need safety regulations or laws to protect workers rights. Companies would just abide by these values out of a sense of self-endowed morality. But this is the real world, and it just doesn’t work like that.

    If you want to criticizes Microsoft for violation of some laws, so be it, but only pointing the finger at one company and then claiming that said violations have “doomed” that company is naive at best.

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