Whose XP-problem is China?

Gregg Keizer at Computerworld thinks China has a huge XP-problem:
“in China, where XP remains king, 72.1% of the country’s computers relied on the soon-to-retire operating system last month, or nearly three out of every four systems. In any XP doomsday scenario, that means China is in a position four times more precarious than the U.S.”

see China has a massive Windows XP problem.

China has a lot of PCs but not as many as USA so far, so the numbers don’t compare straight up. A lot of Chinese share PCs, for instance in Internet cafes. Still, a lot of working PCs are going to have problems when updates cease. Since many are illegal copies that may already have happened. That’s not the real problem. The real problem is that hundreds of millions of working PCs are not going to be scrapped simply because the OS no longer works on them. China is not going to send $10billion to M$ to get “7” or “8” going next year. “8” won’t even boot on most PCs. “7” will be a pain for lots of older hardware.

No. The problem is M$’s. Hundreds of millions of Chinese PCs are going to be installed with GNU/Linux next year. China has the software ready. China has the manpower. In Mao’s time, they could have issued an edict and made it happen in a few days. These days, it might take a month, but it will happen. What won’t happen is junking that many PCs in a single year. Even if they were junked, some thousands of entrepreneurs would jump on them and resell them with GNU/Linux. You know that will happen. These are not worn out PCs. It’s the OS that’s worn out.

The catastrophe of 2014 will not be to China’s IT but M$’s market-share. In a few months, China will have more GNU/Linux-running legacy PCs than the whole rest of the world and M$ will lose hundreds of millions of current users forever.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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12 Responses to Whose XP-problem is China?

  1. oiaohm says:

    ram exactly also take note of what the local avoid using. Yes the locals know to avoid using particular atms for anything other than balance checks.

  2. ram says:

    I suggest that if you want to be sure what OS people in China are using that you go there. Perhaps on a business trip. Stay a while, look around.

    I saw plenty Linux, little XP, no 8.

  3. oiaohm says:

    ver6330w Yonah that one must have been there for a while. Interesting point is that terminal is meant to be removed from operations for a very good reason. Its note counter under counts when giving out cash. So running with XP screen up could have been decide by staff to prevent poor users from getting ripped off. Yes you can find bank of china old terminals because the version number is printed on the front. Bigger 6330 this number newer the terminal. Current first digit is 8. That picture is about 5 year old terminal due for end of life itself. Yonah if using bank of china terminal and you want to get your cash pick something with at least a 7 on the front.

    I should have been more exact the XP bank of china has left is all in officially end of life hardware. You might get a year as they clean up there obsolete terminals. Since the last XP stuff they have is on defective hardware.

    In fact being a 6330 you can fairly much bet is a XP sp1 or XP no service pack.

    “I doubt the PC in the KTV club was using a Loonsoon (SIC) processor.”
    Stupid as it sounds some of the karaoke licensing software(ie the one that allows pay your fees for song usage) only runs on Loonsoon Linux or x86 Windows. Welcome to fun. So yes that is even setting up karaoke in Australia do you run into this. x86 PC run Windows or don’t have music license in some cases.

    It all turns out who you license your songs from what OS and what CPU you have to use. The cheapest per song so the most profit is if you go Loonsoon Linux. Its also the most unstable due to audio parts of Linux not being as well tested on that combination.

  4. Yonah wrote, “Bank of China Self-Service Terminal. The bank’s service program must have crashed, leaving the Windows XP desktop visible.”

    Crashed. You don’t say… Is that SP2? Is that some time-wasting game running? Sad. I hope you suggested they convert to GNU/Linux to solve those problems. Bank of China switched to GNU/Linux on the back end years ago… They migrated from SCOG UNIX OS. In 2009, reportedly one had to use XP to access on-line banking there. Not even Vista would work.

    China does manufacture banking machines that run GNU/Linux or that other OS. Someone must buy them…

  5. Yonah says:

    Well, my Wi-Fi bending adversary, I doubt the PC in the KTV club was using a Loonsoon (SIC) processor. Don’t assume Chinese always eat their own dog food.

    I haven’t had a chance to see an ATM machine boot-up here, but here’s a picture I took just a few days ago of a Bank of China Self-Service Terminal. The bank’s service program must have crashed, leaving the Windows XP desktop visible.


    Oh, and PIzza Hut is using point of sale PCs running Windows 2000. Again, something I saw with my own eyes, not Googled or lifted off a Wikipedia article.

    Since a large majority of Windows XP machines here are pirated, they have pretty much been on their own for awhile now. Though I am steadily seeing more instances of Windows 7 and I’ve seen Windows 8 at several large retailers, sans the touchscreen, unfortunately.

  6. oiaohm says:

    End of Life of a OS in fact has a very strict pattern.

    1 to 3 years before end of life majority of hardware makers cease making drivers for the platform. 1 year after end of life large percentage delete the drivers. So April 8, 2015 it become problematic to reinstall existing hardware running XP.

    Financial institutions some will cut support at April 8 2014 some will cut support at April 8 2015. History with windows 9x and its unique network stack tells you changing useragent/browser will not be enough.

    This has every odds of being a full blockade in 2015. Network packets from XP and 2003 have a unique signature 2003 end of life is 14/07/2015 at this point there is no OS current out there that should be generating packets that contain particular errors.

    Vista and 7 have rewritten network stack. So different packet signature. Yes XP/2003 and before machines can be fire-walled out of access a website. Yonah the last time this was possible was the end of life of Windows ME. Where the complete 9x line of OS’s could be targeted by a filter that was July 11, 2006/2007. Of course most people did not notice because most people had moved off of the 9x OS’s by that point.

    End of life of XP is not the o my god I am in hell. Its the 12 month latter end of life of 2003 when financial institutions will be able to bring down the hammer blocking access to everything prior to that.

    Before you say use like OSfuscate there is a problem Windows 2003 and XP last OS’s to go end of life that contain bsdi bsd/os signature in packets sent. Yes you might be able to trick a filter to think you are Windows Vista without service pack or Freebsd 6.x or older. Problem is those are also EOL operating systems. Only things XP and 2003 can pretend to be are EOL that should not be allowed to perform banking or each other. So once XP and 2003 EOL you are screwed to keep on using them for financial.

    There are a stack of solid points that happen. Of course question becomes how much do banks get transactions performed by 2003. If they don’t get many there might be no reason not to put the filter straight up when XP ends. This filtering is based on packet construction done by the OS. So changing the application on the OS does not change the problem. Sending data into tor also does not change problem.

    Its been a very long time since packet filtering has been an option to kill off a OS. The last group being 9x. Of course by then there were not enough 9x left to be a problem. End of life of XP/2003 threatens to be a far large mess.

  7. Yonah wrote, “300 million Chinese people using Android? Possibly. Using GNU/Linux on their PC? Not a chance.”

    So, you have a number?

    When XP is no longer supported, malware will have a free ride disabling all those PCs eventually. Which OS are XPer more comfortable with, “7”, “8” or GNU/Linux. There’s a reason they’re running XP. It works for them. When it stops they will find GNU/Linux familiar.

  8. oiaohm says:

    Yonah lot of ATM and other items as well in China are Linux.
    Where do you bank if you have an account china its all Linux Yonah. ATM, Web Interface in Bank terminals.

    Some of the quirks in some of those Karaoke machines in china come from the combination of Loongson processor and Linux.

    The volume of Linux usage in China has been creeping up. There is a chance that XP could be done in the same way 9x was here in Australia. Yes attempt to perform a bank transaction in Australia using a windows 9x machine you will be refused access. Even trying windows 2000 now you will have trouble.

    The banks of china are not dependant on XP. So can stop support for it at any time.

    Welcome to the nasty world of end of life. The OS might keep on working but financial institutions stop doing business with it.

    Anyone who says OS end of life is not a problem is a complete idiot who does not know how the world works. OS end of life is enforced by the financial systems of the world.

    Now maybe all those people in china move to doing their banking on Android. Ok I don’t see this lasting. At some point financial systems are going to take offence at android for lack of updating.

    As the old saying goes follow the money. The means to move money tells a huge story.

  9. Yonah says:

    After 4 years, I finally saw my first live sighting of a PC running Linux in the wild. I was at a KTV (Karaoke TV) club and one of the staff had to come in and reboot the computer that runs the touchscreen music menu. These things are always sluggish and a little quirky, but this one happened to lock-up completely. Go figure.

    Regardless of what grandiose visions you have of Mao’s capabilities when he was still around, any official edict in today’s China would be largely ignored. Chinese people usually do what they want regardless of any laws, regulations, or decrees to the contrary. From the Chinese perspective, the expiration of Windows XP isn’t really a problem. They’ll just continue to use it. Current PCs are sold with a mixture of Windows XP, 7, and 8, both legitimate and pirated copies.

    I read a Slashdot comment from a guy that says he went to a Linux users group in Shanghai a few years ago. More than half the group was made up of white foreigners. No surprise. 300 million Chinese people using Android? Possibly. Using GNU/Linux on their PC? Not a chance.

  10. Gonzalo says:

    They already have more than one “national” distro. It’s time to embrace them!

  11. dougman says:

    Their will be both a mixture of pirated Windows 7 and Linux deployed.

    The smart people, will just move to Linux and not worry about pirating or malware.

    Linux is SMART IT.

  12. ram says:

    My impression was the vast majority of Chinese computers are running LInux, specifically “Red Flag” Linux. I suspect ComputerWorld does not consider Linux machines as “PC’s”. Still, the fact remains, there are more Linux users in China than the USA has people!

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