UpFront

Cuzya Hafta, Sometimes

If you have to stay in a Windows environment, you still can save money with Linux. That's the thinking behind Thin Computing's WinConnect, a “Remote Desktop Protocol” that lets you use a generic Linux workstation—even cheap or recycled iron—for Windows 2000 terminal sessions. Thin Computing is at www.thincomputinginc.com.

—Doc Searls

LJ Index—April 2002
  1. Percentage of its enterprise that Plastic Dress-Up (the leading supplier of trophy and award components) has moved to the Linux platform: 80-90

  2. Linux-derived cost savings in dollars on each new enterprise server purchased by Plastic Dress-Up: 30,000

  3. Millions of images in the 1mage document imaging system on one Red Hat Linux server at Plastic Dress-Up: 1

  4. Recovery percentage of its image database after a power outage at Plastic Dress-Up, in spite of a damaged drive partition: 100

  5. Years during which Streptococcus mitis bacteria survived on the Moon between visits from Earthlings: 2.5

  6. Years during which bacteria lived in the brickwork of Peruvian pyramids: 4,800

  7. Years during which bacteria lived in a mastodon corpse: 11,000

  8. Range in millions of years during which bacterial spores survived in amber-trapped bees: 25-40

  9. Age in years of bacteria revived after recovery from a New Mexico mine shaft: 250,000,000

  10. Estimated number of computer viruses in 1990: 200-500

  11. Estimated minimum number of computer viruses in 2000: 50,000

  12. Total number of reported Linux viruses: 1

  13. Cost in billions of dollars in virus damages by September 2001: 10.7

  14. Number of observable domains hosted by 21VIANET.com in Beijing, China: 3

  15. Latest uptime in days of the 21VIANET domain (www.encantata.com.cn) running Apache on Linux: 305

  16. Latest uptime in days of the the two 21VIANET domains running IIS on Windows 2000: 10, 19

Sources

1-4: 1mage (www.1mage.com)

5-9: Panspermia.org

10-11: CKnow.com

12: Librenix.com

13: Computer Economics (www.computereconomics.com)

14-16: Netcraft (www.netcraft.com)

Raising the Red Flag

We all know Big Blue is spending a billion dollars on Linux because a visible hunk of that money is being spent on advertising and promotion.

Less obvious is how the Chinese government, representing more than 1.2 billion people, is expressing its own love of Linux by encouraging adoption of its own distribution: Red Flag Linux.

Red Flag was created in 1999 by the Academy of Science, which is headed by Jiang Mianheng, son of President Jiang Zemin, with financial assistance from the government-owned Shanghai NewMargin Venture Capital.

Red Flag's purpose is to prevent increased domination of the Chinese computer market by Microsoft's Windows operating systems. The best way to do that, as the Chinese government sees it, is to promulgate an already popular alternative with “full transparency in terms of underlying code”, as one commentator described it. They are doing this by encouraging state institutions and state-owned companies to adopt Red Flag Linux.

And that's just one strategy. Another is to avoid copyright infringement and “software piracy” issues by promoting use of software that avoids the issue. Another is by purchasing software from domestic companies that build on Linux rather than Windows.

According to Gartner, the Beijing municipal government gave contracts to six local vendors and rejected the seventh: Microsoft. One of the six was Red Flag.

Not surprisingly, Linux is now showing up in quantity on desktops, at least in retail stores.

On a recent trip to China, I noticed that many of the Intel-compatible PCs for sale in several major department stores had a slightly different appearance than usual, apart from the language differences. I looked closely and realized they were running GNU/Linux

writes Dan Gillmor of the San Jose Mercury News.

—Doc Searls

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