Red Flag Linux... national pride... more reliable... cheaper... these are
some of the keywords emerging from BBC TV ClickOnline's current program
which focuses on GNU/Linux in China, apart from other issues.
It was telecast on Saturday 21 Sept at 1200 IST (and next coming up on
Sunday 22 Sept at 1600 IST and Tues 24 Sept at 1300 IST). An interesting
programme, though as is typical of television, it only skims the surface of
the issue. (You've guessed my biases when it comes to reading, radio and TV)
"If you haven't heard of Linux, it does the same things as Windows. But
unlike Windows (its code is freely available)." That's approximately how BBC
introduces GNU/Linux. Many Free/Libre and Open Source Software enthusiasts
might cringe to hear their favourite OS being compared to Windoze.
But the programme makes the point that there are many reasons for a growing
number (even if still a small segment of total computer users) opting for
GNU/Linux in China. It's cheaper, more reliable, there are questions of
national pride (building software indigenously), China's strategy of
adopting and adapting, security flaws, and even suspicion of secret
backdoors in closed-source proprietory software....
Perhaps the progamme could have mentioned that the international journal of
the Free Software Foundation is today published from China... If
interested, contact hongfeng(a)gnu.org
This programme also has an interesting debate on the usual question: can
China compete with Indian software... Do we have to see everything in terms
of competition? Louisa Liu agrees that this needn't be so.
On an offtopic subject, one learnt of a very interesting plan to teach
Internet and computing to the elderly -- the oldest student being 85. Maybe
we too could think of similar approaches. Why not? A good way of fighting
both the digital and age-bias all in one. --FN
PS: If you'd like to suggest future topics for programs to BBC, write in to
Frederick Noronha * Freelance Journalist * Goa * India 832.409490 / 409783
* GNU-LINUX http://linuxinindia.pitas.com
Email fred(a)bytesforall.org * Mobile +9822 122436 (Goa) * Saligao Goa India
Writing with a difference... on what makes *the* difference