Okay, I hate to be a Negative Ned here, but I'm firmly in the "trust but verify" camp when it comes to Microsoft and open source. Yes, a new CEO and other changes may be helping Microsoft to adjust to living in an open source world. But change never comes easy or fast in such a large organization, so I think the jury is still out on whether or not Microsoft has really changed for the better when it comes to open source software.
Also, I've never forgotten the company's "embrace, extend, extinguish" strategy that they used in the past to destroy competitive software products. That alone is reason enough to keep a wary eye on Microsoft's involvement with any open source project. Perhaps the company really has changed, but maybe it hasn't. I think it bears watching for at least another few years to see if enduring change has really set in or not.
China has stepped up its war on Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system with a report in state-backed media that questions the security of the software.
In a one and a half minute segment aired on China's CCTV television channel, journalists reported that the Chinese government is concerned by the security of the Windows 8 software and is increasing efforts to develop its own rival system.
"Microsoft would no longer open its Windows 8 source code to the Chinese government, however the security scheme of the Windows 8 operating system is designed to provide better access for Microsoft to users' database. For China it's a big challenge for our cybersecurity," said Yang Min, a professor at China's Fudan University, through a translator.
"Your identity, account, contact book, phone numbers, all this data can be put together for big data analysis," explains another academic, Ni Guangnam. "The US has a law that requires anyone that has this data to report to the government. The data might be a good way for the US to monitor other countries."
This report follows the Chinese government banning Windows 8 from a chunk of its public sector PCs in late-May.
In March 2013, El Reg reported that Canonical had partnered with various Chinese government agencies to develop and support a Linux distribution named Ubuntu Kylin for the country. Given this television segment, we imagine installations of that OS are about to increase.
The history of Linux in China is chequered. Android is doing extremely well there, even if it tends to be varieties that are more or less independent from Google (no bad thing.) But on the desktop, GNU/Linux has had a pretty disastrous showing. That's strange, because you would think that the Chinese authorities would jump at the chance to adopt a free operating system that was independent of the US, and which could be inspected for NSA backdoors even before the current Snowden leaks showed why that would be a good idea.
With Windows 8 now banned from being installed on Chinese government computers, domestic operating system (OS) developers are itching for a niche in the world's biggest PC market.
The country's relatively large OS developers, including China Standard Software Co. and NFS China among others, have fresh opportunities, but their products face long and tough tests.
Windows 8 was banned from all desktops, laptops and tablet PCs purchased by central state organs last week. The announcement made by the Central Government Procurement Center did not make clear whether other Windows products were prohibited as well.
When Windows 8 was first released many people were shocked and even horrified by the garish Metro interface. Some even left Windows for Linux or shifted back to Windows 7. Now you can experience some of the...er...magic of the Metro interface in the Blue Pup distro (a Puppy Linux spin), according to LinuxInsider.
Now that Valve has made the In-Home Steaming feature available to everyone who is using Steam, you might ask yourself if it's of any use for the majority of the Linux players, but that's not the most important question. This seemingly unimportant feature has much broader implications and it might be the game changer in the competition between Windows and Linux.
After this week having carried out benchmarks showing Intel's Windows 8.1 OpenGL driver is outperforming their open-source Linux driver but NVIDIA's driver on Ubuntu Linux is commonly faster than Windows 8.1, the time has come to benchmark several different AMD Radeon graphics cards under Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and Windows 8.1 Pro x64 with all available updates and each OS using the latest Catalyst 14.4 driver.
Individuals and businesses migrate to Linux for a variety of reasons. Some do it for cost efficiency. Others make the computing change for the greater flexibility open source software provides.
Either way, leaving behind an existing computing system is not impossible. Deploying Linux desktop or server takes planning and resources, but that is what any business implementation takes.
The reasons for pushing users away from Microsoft in both desktop and server deployments are different for each customer. One of the recurring migration drivers is constant threat of Microsoft license fee increases. Another is the demand for community-sponsored support in lieu of corporate proprietary solutions, according to Tomas Zubov, CEO of IceWarp.
Chinese OS developers are thrilled at news of the ban on Windows 8 by the central government, as the decision presents an opportunity to seize market share in the future, Xinhua news said on Thursday.
"Domestic OSes are already an alternative to Windows in terms of security, and also easy to use", the agency continued. This is a result of over a decade of investment in research and development by Chinese developers. A number of domestic OSes are currently available, and some can be downloaded free of charge. Usage of Chinese OSes will help reduce the costs for local computer manufacturers and end-users.
This email is just a short acknowledgement of your request.
Off to that good start, I naturally looked forward to receiving the requested materials by 24 April, which is when by law the Cabinet Office was obliged to reply fully. Since nothing had come through by that time, I sent off another quick email:
I was wondering what was happening with my FOI request that I made a month ago: will you be able to send me the information soon, please?
As you can see, that was nearly a month ago, and I have still not received the full reply, which means that the Cabinet Office is now really late. And that, in its turn, probably means that there is obviously something very interesting regarding open standards and Microsoft, which the Cabinet Office is reluctant to let me see. Time for another email reminding them of their legal obligations, I think....