Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Posts Tagged / China

  • Aug 08 / 2014
  • 14

The Good Times Roll… Unless You’re Heavily Into Wintel

For months (years?) Wintel has been up-beat about prospects for recovery, if only this or that happens. We are now into heavy replacement of XP and this is all they can do:

I think it’s time we all accepted reality. Wintel is a dead horse. It may be massive but it is starting to rot. Stop beating it. There’s just no reason to pay premium prices for legacy hardware/software when there are smaller and cheaper choices that do the job.

  • Aug 06 / 2014
  • 0

China Seems Headed For Government-Approved FLOSS

Hmmm… After banning “8″ the government of China is going after Apple’s stuff.“the list of banned Apple products include the iPad, iPad Mini, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and half a dozen other items, all of which were left off of a final government procurement list distributed in July” While I agree with this move (software patents, backdoors, etc.) it’s a bit strange to have any government ban software or products containing them. Most governments let the markets decide. With non-Free software, that doesn’t work very well, but it is surprising that the government most enamoured of that other OS would make such a public change of course. Why didn’t they do this a decade ago? I guess it takes a couple of five-year plans to figure this stuff out. It’s still a puzzle why something that is a threat to national security is only a threat to national security on the government’s computers…

Better late than never.

See China Issues Ban On iPad, MacBook Pro, And Other Apple Products For Government Use.

  • Jul 28 / 2014
  • 8

Snakes sometimes strangle prey. Maybe dragons do too.

China is a huge emerging market in IT but there are huge stresses building between China and the outside world with IT being crucial.
China has been accused of cyber-warfare and has accused the USA with the same. The NSA has been flushed out as spying on the whole world so China is not alone in resenting that. Check out some news from China. I would not be surprised to see a move to FLOSS and home-grown distros of GNU/Linux in the offing:

  • “Microsoft has confirmed that officials from China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce – the body responsible for enforcing business laws – have visited some of its offices.” See BBC News – China regulators visit Microsoft offices
  • “Kingsoft Co Ltd, a Beijing-based software firm, aims to sell more than 70 percent of its office software through government purchase deals this year after reports said Microsoft’s Office suite had been abandoned by State-level organizations.” See IT vendors in search of new business code
  • “China, too, is stepping up its security protection against US surveillance. In May it announced that the Central Government Procurement Center had mandated all “desktops, laptops and tablet PCs purchased by central State organizations must be installed with OS other than Windows 8″. The Chinese media have painted Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Google, Yahoo and other IT giants as pawns of the US National Security Agency, claiming that foreign technology service providers such as Google and Apple can become cybersecurity threats to Chinese users.” See Cyber cold war likely to continue
  • “The government’s rising fears over information safety may further cut the market share for overseas software enterprises in government procurement, a major profit source for global giants including Microsoft, Adobe and Oracle, analysts said on Monday. “ See Move to domestic software pressures foreign companies
  • “Analysts argued cutting loose with China in smartphone design and manufacturing does not benefit Microsoft, as it aims to become a mobile company similar to Google Inc.
    China is the biggest phone market in the world, it is important to understand the local requirements for Microsoft’s future product development”
    See Fears mount over Microsoft job losses
  • Jun 05 / 2014
  • 28


There are more details on the rationale for banning “8″ in the Chinese government.
“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”

  • M$ won’t open the code to the Chinese
  • The Chinese have determined the OS allows M$ good access to users’ information, a security threat to the Chinese government
  • The Chinese are aware that M$ is required to cooperate on spying with the USAian government

The big takeaway is that China is serious about having it’s own OS, probably a GNU/Linux OS they can trust. Goodbye XP. Hello GNU/Linux.

“7″? The cost of migrating to GNU/Linux will be less for the Chinese than migrating to “7″ because M$ will want to be paid…

See prime time TV coverage from China: WINDOWS 8 SUSPENSION IN CHINA.

  • May 20 / 2014
  • 9

China Officially Gets Off The Wintel Treadmill

I have long advocated that everyone get off the Wintel treadmill. “China has announced that it will forbid the use of the Windows 8 operating system (OS) in new government computers, a move to ensure computer security after the shutdown of Windows XP.
All desktops, laptops and tablet PCs to be purchased by central state organs must be installed with OS other than Windows 8, according to an online statement by the Central Government Procurement Center.”
Now, one of M$’s most loyal customers, the government of China, has seen the light. Depending on M$ for IT leaves them in the lurch with the death of XP. It is just silly to replace perfectly good computers just to change the OS. Unfortunately, instead of a huge rollout of GNU/Linux they are just tweaking the procurement policy but it’s a start.

See China excludes Windows 8 from government computers – Xinhua.

  • Apr 22 / 2014
  • 13

Intel Desperately Struggles To Maintain Relevance Against ARM

Intel, despite Moore’s Law advantages, and serious price-cutting, still has difficulty competing against ARM.“Intel is currently offering its dual-core Atom Z2520 for 7-inch models and Atom 3735G for 8-inch ones, while MediaTek is mainly pushing solutions such as 8382 for the white-box tablet market, the sources said.
Intel’s 7-inch tablet solution is currently priced at about US$20 and the 7.85-inch one around US$27. With a LTE module, which raises the overall cost by about US$20, a 7-inch Intel-based white-box tablet currently has an ex-factory price of about US$50, the sources detailed.
A 3G white-box tablet using MediaTek’s solution has a competitive ex-factory price of US$39.9, the sources added.”
They even have ASUS going exclusively with Intel thanks to huge discounts.

OEMs are paying attention. They will demand similar sharp price-cuts for desktop/notebook PCs and M$’s price will stick out like a sore thumb. GNU/Linux, here we come…

See Intel, MediaTek become favorites in China white-box tablet industry.

  • Feb 05 / 2014
  • 3

China Picks Sides In The OS Wars

China has really warped web-stats. Despite being a hive of technological activity it is still an emerging market and for whatever reasons clung to the use of illegal copies of XP for far too long. That’s changing slowly but surely.

  • 7.59% went to “7″
  • 1.33% went to iOS
  • 1.74% went to “8″, and
  • 0.8% went to “8.1″

According to StatCounter, in February, 2013, XP had 57.53% share of page-views in China. In January, 2014, the share had dropped to 44.39%. That’s not wonderful but it surely beats staying flat or rising… The question in my mind is where that 13.14% share went.

Month Android/Linux GNU/Linux TOOS
2013-Feb 4.78% 0.18% 89.33%
2014-Jan 6.77% 0.82% 86.19%
Change (PP) 1.99% +0.64% -3.14%
Annual Growth Rate 41.6% 355% -3.5%

That accounts for 11.46%. Most of the rest went to Android/Linux, 1.99%, and GNU/Linux, 0.64%. The rest is mostly noise, like ME actually gaining a bit… The share of Android/Linux for January was 6.77% and GNU/Linux, 0.82%. That’s a big improvement.

I’ll take that. ;-) If this continues a while, the Wintel monopoly will be just a memory very soon.

What does this mean? Well, because that other OS is usually bundled with a PC, it means ~10% of legacy PCs in China were retired. The interesting bit is that ~2.5% were replaced with */Linux devices. That’s consistent with that other OS having no traction with small cheap computers and Android/Linux thriving there. I assume a good share of the XP machines are being converted to GNU/Linux and some GNU/Linux machines are being bought retail. It’s all good.

See StatCounter, Top 8 Desktop, Mobile and Tablet OS

  • Oct 15 / 2013
  • 11

Preloaded GNU/Linux systems

Serdar Yegulalp of Computerworld has a nice article that surveys available suppliers of GNU/Linux PCs but then, mysteriously, fails to find the gold-mines:
“Buying a preload is the costliest option, and cost-effective only in that in some cases you’re purchasing support for a custom-built kernel for the system. But it also goes a long way towards guaranteeing that the entire system — Linux distribution, drivers, hardware and all — works well as one complete system.”

Preloaded Linux systems: Weighing the options.

e.g. If you are in South America, Positivo and several other OEMs will sell you GNU/Linux preloaded with no premium at all as will Dell in China…
e.g. Philco brand has two GNU/Linux machines that are cheaper than “8″ and altogether they sell 13 notebook models with that other OS and 18 with GNU/Linux.
e.g. SpaceBr sell the majority of their Desktops with GNU/Linux and good prices. In the best-sellers list, there are 8 GNU/Linux desktops before the first “8″ shows up and the machine with “8″ sells for a much higher price.

e.g shows Dell’s latest product, a 14″ Inspiron for ¥ 4999 (US $819.33). A similarly equipped and discounted XPS notebook on is $850

So, while Dell and others mess with USAian consumers, the rest of the world is enjoying reasonably priced GNU/Linux machines.

  • Sep 06 / 2013
  • 4

Ascent of Ubuntu GNU/Linux

It does pay to have salesmen, especially those who sell software cheaply to OEMs…“Dell are to more than double the number of its Chinese retail stores stocking Ubuntu-loaded laptops, Canonical has announced. “

see Dell To Expand Ubuntu Retail Presence in China.

Dell and Ubuntu GNU/Linux are a marriage made on Earth where Wintel is struggling to stay out from under dust on retail shelves. There are buyers, but only at very low prices. OEMs who pay M$ a huge licensing fee are squeezed. With GNU/Linux costing ~$0, Dell can ship it for peanuts and increase its margin. China has no qualms about GNU/Linux so that is where Dell is pumping them out.

It’s all good. It used to be that RedHat and IBM were pushing GNU/Linux on the desktop but now they mostly roll for businesses. Dell putting Ubuntu GNU/Linux on retail shelves in China could mean huge growth for GNU/Linux. Thanks Canonical and Dell. You are doing good business while making the world a better place.

  • Jul 01 / 2013
  • 11
Linux in Education, Teaching, technology

Thailand Orders 1.2 Million Android/Linux Tablet Computers

“China’s Shenzhen Yitoa Intelligent Control and Thai firm Supreme Distribution will provide the tablets, the Education Ministry said in a statement, as the government rolls out its plan to equip 13 million pupils with the handheld devices by the end of next year."Each tablet costs between US$63 and US$93," it said adding the Chinese firm will supply 800,000 tablets to grade 1 (seven to eight-years-old), while the local company will provide more than 425,000 of the devices to seventh graders (13-years-olds).About 850,000 Chinese-made devices have already been distributed, in what the government describes as the world’s largest handout of the devices for education.”

see Thailand orders 1.2 million tablet computers for pupils

Android/Linux customized with local language and a simple layout of the GUI for young children has been working well to bridge the digital divide in Thailand. Since the goal is to equip as many students as possible with small cheap computers to aid education, that other OS need not apply.

  • May 17 / 2013
  • 2

China Smartphone Market Going Flat Out

“the pace of inventory build-ups have been unable to catch up with the growth in demand for smartphones in China and other emerging markets, said the sources, noting that overall shipments of smartphones by China-based makers for domestic and overseas sales have skyrocketed to 30 million units a month recently compared to 20 million units in the first quarter of 2013.”
see China market: Several smartphone components in short supply

Eat your heart out, Wintel… While you have negative growth in shipments, stuff with Android/Linux on ARM is maxed out, limited by supplies of components to growth over 100% per quarter.

  • Apr 30 / 2013
  • 4

China Is Its Own PC Market

Not only does China make most of the PCs on Earth, it also consumes more than any other nation, 69 million in 2012, and in unique ways:

  • each pair of segments commerce/consumer and desktop/notebook are 50:50,
  • the preferred size of notebook is 14 inches (70%) while most of the world chooses 14 inch less than 30% of the time, and
  • more than 50% of PCs ship with no OS, even less for desktops, while most of the world consumes 90% of PCs with an OS bundled.

China Becomes World’s Leading PC Market in 2012

Some of these characteristics are no doubt because China is still a rapidly growing market for IT but some derive from frugality and energy of the society. No one in China assumes a free lunch. No one assumes it is OK to waste resources.

Whatever the causes, China is in a special situation as far as migrating to GNU/Linux. They use a high proportion of M$’s OS but can easily migrate to GNU/Linux because of the low rate of attachment. It’s just a matter of choosing GNU/Linux to install. That’s in the hands of the consumer or business, not M$ and its “partners”. They also know more than other nations the cost of M$’s OS.