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Chinese government bans Windows 8.1

Chinese government bans Windows 8.1

The Chinese government has banned Windows 8.1 from being purchased for governmental systems, concentrating instead on home-brew Linux derivatives.

The Chinese government has announced that its agencies will be forbidden from upgrading their ageing and end-of-life Windows XP systems to Windows 8.1, banning Microsoft's latest operating system in the name of security.

According to local news agency Xinhua, the now EOL Windows XP operating system boasts a 70 per cent market share in China and is installed on the majority of governmental systems. With no more support from Microsoft, the Chinese government is looking to upgrade - but it won't be jumping to Microsoft's latest and greatest, with Windows 8.1 having been added to an official ban list over Microsoft's - natural - plans to withdraw support in the coming years as part of its regular upgrade cycle.

Instead, the Chinese government is claimed to be pressuring its agencies to concentrate on home-brew operating systems based on the Linux kernel and GNU utilities, which will be given a rolling-upgrade cycle that ensures they never need a formal 'upgrade' nor are ever left end-of-life. The use of locally-developed software based on popular open-source projects will also help boost China's national security in the wake of revelations from whistleblower Edward Snowden that the US routinely weakens cryptographic utilities and plants back doors in commercial products.

Microsoft has indicated that the exclusion of Windows 8 and its successor Windows 8.1 from official governmental bidding came as a surprise, but that it will continue to work with the Chinese government to find a solution. 'We have been and will continue to provide Windows 7 to government customers,' the company claimed in a statement to press. 'At the same time we are working on the Windows 8 evaluation with relevant government agencies.'

With a population of nearly 1.4 billion people, China is a massive market. The country does, however, suffer from an incredibly high rate of piracy: estimates from the anti-piracy Business Software Alliance (BSA) suggested a high of 92 per cent in 2003, dropping to a still-high 77 per cent in 2012 - meaning nearly four out of every five software packages used in the country were unlicensed.

15 Comments

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loftie 21st May 2014, 12:32 Quote
Quote:
the now EOL Windows XP operatign system boasts


:)
Nexxo 21st May 2014, 12:56 Quote
Oh, noes! What will Microsoft do when they lose their largest market of pirated Microsoft software?
Icy EyeG 21st May 2014, 13:00 Quote
Well, if Linux is officially supported in China form now on, the piracy rates for software (at least in the OS side) will decrease dramatically. And that's good news, right?
theshadow2001 21st May 2014, 19:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Oh, noes! What will Microsoft do when they lose their largest market of pirated Microsoft software?

Yes because I'm sure ms and everyone else don’t give a hoot about monetising the 23% available market share of paying customers
Cthippo 21st May 2014, 20:40 Quote
25% of 1.4 billion is a market the size of the US market.
IvanIvanovich 21st May 2014, 20:54 Quote
As far as government goes... it's probably more a case of not wanting to use an OS with NSA backdoor. Instead they will use a homerolled linux so they can be sure it's 'secure'.
theshadow2001 21st May 2014, 20:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by IvanIvanovich
As far as government goes... it's probably more a case of not wanting to use an OS with NSA backdoor. Instead they will use a homerolled linux so they can be sure it's 'secure'.

Yup makes sense. It's what I would do if I ran a government.
War-Rasta 21st May 2014, 23:43 Quote
Linux is only banned from government PCs but it can still be used on home and private business PCs. This will certainly increase the popularity of Linux in China since a lot of people that work in the government will be using it and therefore will get to know it which might have not happened otherwise (wich makes Linux users like me glad) but it certainly won't kill Windows in China.
Stanley Tweedle 22nd May 2014, 11:29 Quote
No surprise really. I watched a TED documentary about the NSA threat and how a number of countries are fighting back and using an open-source OS is part of that strategy. Linux isn't as fast or well optimised as windows 8 but it has other advantages I guess. I have come to respect linux over the past year even though I don't personally use it at the moment.
Icy EyeG 22nd May 2014, 21:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stanley Tweedle
Linux isn't as fast or well optimised as windows 8 but it has other advantages I guess.

Linux in general is faster than Windows (but you can't really compare it like that, because it varies with the desktop environment). As for optimization part, what do you mean?
forum_user 22nd May 2014, 21:22 Quote
If I were a .gov I would be doing the same.
Anfield 22nd May 2014, 22:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Oh, noes! What will Microsoft do when they lose their largest market of pirated Microsoft software?

They'll be in big trouble.

Let me explain the current situation:

Schools have to teach kids how to use Windows because that is what their future employers use.

Employers have to use Windows as kids leaving school only know how to use Windows.

It's a vicious circle from which there can be no escape and Microsoft makes billions on the back of it.

However if a country as large as China forces a break in that circle then it has the potential to open up the Desktop PC OS market to non Microsoft products.
Icy EyeG 23rd May 2014, 00:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anfield

It's a vicious circle from which there can be no escape and Microsoft makes billions on the back of it.

Here in Portugal is actually quite funny, because public schools make a point of teaching Windows, Office and Photoshop, etc. to kids, but they can't afford licenses. So, not only they install pirated versions in computers at school, they give copies to the students to install at home.
And no one can be bothered to change the school program to include Ubuntu, Libreoffice, GIMP, etc. because it would break that circle you are talking about.

Imagine me, teaching my younger relatives to use GIMP because they shouldn't pirate software in one Summer, and when school starts they call me and say, "Hey, I can't use GIMP at school, we have to use Photoshop, but the teacher gave us Photoshop Portable, so it's all good!". Turns out it was a pirated version packaged with Thinstall.
Snips 23rd May 2014, 01:13 Quote
The problem here lies is that Microsoft make more money from the Netherlands than it does from China due to the massive piracy issue over there.

As many more informed Linux users will tell you, it's not any more secure than a protected Microsoft OS but it's clearly more to do with the Chinese government wanting greater control of code that Microsoft are until now not willing to hand over.
IvanIvanovich 23rd May 2014, 01:23 Quote
As far as piracy goes... clearly they are selling it for too high a price. IF they were really serious they would sell it for cheaper/give away for free ad supported 'starter' type editions for regions with extremely low income levels and high piracy. Even if it's not the latest version of Windows... like they could give away a billion Vista starter license. It's still a supported version so can get hotfixes and they have made all the money they are ever going to off Vista by this point.
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