back to article Chinese, Russian, tech giants join global open source efforts

Notable tech companies from China and Russia are taking strides into the heart of the global technology community. Aliyun, the cloud computing offshoot of Business-to-business tat bazaar Alibaba, has become an Advisory Board member of the Xen Project, maker of the popular (if frequently-perforated) open source Xen hypervisor …

  1. thames

    It goes the other way, too.

    "Alibaba and Yandex joining these open source efforts confounds their home nations' occasionally-expressed intentions to build technology ecosystems less dependent on US companies."

    Xen originated in the UK (although XenSource was later bought by Citrix), and OpenBSD is based in Canada (in Calgary - nearly neighbours to Trevor Pott in Edmonton). Fast rising web server Nginx is Russian.

    I'm not sure how any of this "confounds" any intentions of becoming less dependent on US companies. If anything, it aids it in that Russian and Chinese companies can compete more directly with US companies in their domestic markets and abroad on a more even playing field, because they now have a voice in major open source projects - projects which are worked on by people from around the world by the way.

    Russian programmers are already involved in many open source projects. The Chinese are the ones who have been strangely absent thus far. If Chinese programmers get more involved in major projects, then I suspect that this will help provide Chinese companies with more influence in the direction those projects take.

    I know there are many flaws in the Alexa rankings, but if we look at them anyway, of the top 25 global web sites, 6 are owned by Chinese companies, and 2 are owned by Russian companies. The rest are American, with not a single EU company anywhere to be seen in the top 25. I would say that the Russians and the Chinese seem to be doing very well in adapting to new technology, and the world already looks a lot less American dominated when viewed from where they're standing.

    1. Nick Kew

      Re: It goes the other way, too.

      I disagree that Chinese programmers have been absent so far. Yes, they're underrepresented in comparison to China's population, but I think that's not least because the English language is a barrier to most of them (other than ex-pats) fully participating in development communities. We (mostly) don't even see theirs: if we looked we'd see gobbledegook!

      I've had some slight exposure to both Russian and Chinese open-source communities (where of course the language barrier works the other way) and found them extremely welcoming. Some musings on engaging with Russian and Chinese dev communities on my blog here.

  2. Teiwaz Silver badge
    Coat

    BSD Licence

    I'm kind of surprised any country aiming to replace their dependence on an OS produced by a major US company haven't considered short-cutting the effort by using a BSD licensed base.

    coat, 'cause there must be something I've overlooked...

    1. JLV Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: BSD Licence

      Agree.

      Speaking of which, has anybody volunteered to go to North Korea and make sure they are publishing back all the Red Star source code, as per GPL? Maybe have a serious chit-chat with the Young Leader about compliance?

      Just, be careful and excuse yourself with a headache if he wants to the take the opportunity to show you his AA gun collection outside. Or his laser sharks.

      I know, bad taste. My coat is waiting as well.

  3. David Pollard

    Sign on the NHS?

    Recently I received an e-mail from my GP surgery containing two attachments; the first, RTF, to suggest visiting for a check-up and the second, PDF, a short questionnaire. The sizes of these short documents were 425k and 820k respectively. The first shrinks to 25k in Libre Office. Though disk space isn't all that critical and bandwidth is fairly cheap, it can't be good practice to be so profligate.

    Maybe the British government could help here, perhaps by allocating a small percentage of the NHS IT budget to open source projects. Along with obvious benefit to the NHS there would also be spin-off from involvement with international developments.

    One can but hope.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Sign on the NHS?

      "The sizes of these short documents were 425k and 820k respectively. The first shrinks to 25k in Libre Office."

      Even in the IT industry it's not unusual to get email attachments of documents with photos embedded with an attached scale command making the document huge because no one seems to realise that scaling an image to size and thus making the file size much smaller is not the same as telling the document to store the original image and simply display it as if it has been scaled. Yes, I'm looking at staff where I work who really ought to know better!

  4. Chris King Silver badge

    This is hardly news...

    Microsoft are a Gold-level ($25K-50K) contributor to the OpenBSD foundation:

    http://www.openbsdfoundation.org/contributors.html

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