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China's Government Unveils 'China Operating System' To Great Skepticism 223

Posted by Soulskill
from the search-many-of-your-favorite-words dept.
redletterdave writes "The government of China is not too fond of foreign mobile operating systems like iOS and Android, so the country cooked up its own homegrown solution: A Linux-based, open-source operating system called the COS, or China Operating System. But consumers have every right to be skeptical; China is using the recent NSA scandal in the U.S. to push its own product. A government-approved mobile operating system, especially in China of all places, reeks of its own backdoor exploits for governmental spying."
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China's Government Unveils 'China Operating System' To Great Skepticism

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  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Friday January 17, 2014 @03:51PM (#45990259)

    Can't wait to have a look at it. We know there will be backdoors and other goodies in it. Should be absolutely amazing to see what it monitors, how it does so, whom it calls home to, and so on. Let's see what China considers an ideal piece of software.

    I think this will be a powerfully interesting piece of software to study. We'll learn a lot from it, I'll bet.

  • Eh. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday January 17, 2014 @03:52PM (#45990267) Journal
    I'm skeptical of this system because it is at least the second (after 'Red Flag', possibly more of them than that, certainly a lot more if you count 'nationalist linux forks' generally, rather than just Chinese ones), and past attempts havent exactly set the world on fire with their success.

    More generally, though, I'm skeptical largely because (at the present time) you basically have to shop like Richard Stallman (and possibly even harder than he does, if some TAO-level group has designs on you) to have a chance in hell to even see all the security-relevant software/firmware that goes into your system in anything other than a mixture of OSS components, proprietary userspace applications, and firmware blobs (often doing not-even-a-debugger-knows-what on the various totally undocumented application-specific processors hanging off various busses). So long as that's the case, even if your OS is FOSS and you've audited the hell out of it (odds are you haven't) and you have a robust security model designed to keep applications in check (obligatory XKCD [], odds are that it will all come to nothing because your lowballing vendor has a BSP full of proprietary shit, your GPU vendor won't offer anything but a binary blob unless you abduct the entire Board's families and threaten to return them one slice at a time, and you don't have a clue what various surprisingly punchy microcontrollers and very-low-end ARM cores attached to dangerously useful (and mostly unexamined) busses are doing in their own memory spaces.

    If Team China manages to solve these problems(especially acute in cellphones because the cellular baseband which makes wifi interfaces look like GNU-paradise by comparison in terms of openness and robustness), then I'll be damn interested, no matter how much their 'yet another shitty fork of something that they could have just audited' linux-derivate OS bores me. If they don't manage to solve them, or don't even bother, that this is just some balance-of-trade enthusiast crying into his beer about Android's ubiquity in the Chinese smartphone market, who cares?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 17, 2014 @04:29PM (#45990715)

    But, they DO affect you. People wonder why the economy gets into crunches, jobs go away, and if there are jobs, it is barista level or minimum wage. So, that country on the other side of the world you rather have spy on you has its citizens working, getting free college, while you and your friends are trying to compete for minimum wage scraps.

    Look at the US solar industry. China came in, slurped critical manufacturing plans, ran out... six months later, panels were coming onto US shores for cheaper than the rare earth cost. Congress did nothing (although when Harley was in trouble, they made sure that anything anywhere near an imported bike was extremely taxed as punishment. Maybe Harley is far more critical to US national security than energy independence, but what do I know.)

    So, go and laugh, cheer on people who make China and Russia stronger, and US/European interests weaker. It is only your job, your future, and your kids' hope of a future that you will lose. If you want your daughters and sons to be treated like Roma when they have to emigrate to another country to survive, then be my guest. I prefer to have the country I live in retain a sustainable economy, so my kids don't have to emigrate as refugees like my ancestors did from Germany.

  • Re:As opposed to (Score:5, Interesting)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Friday January 17, 2014 @04:30PM (#45990739)

    As opposed to an operating system created by an American corporation, which reeks of its own backdoor exploits for governmental spying.

    As opposed to an operating system created by a [somewhere you don't live] corporation, which reeks of...

    I think we're getting mired in our own nationalism instead of looking objectively at the facts. Mandarin and Spanish are both spoken more in the world than English. And China has billions of people. We only have millions. Why, exactly, doesn't it make sense for them to develop their own operating system? We're getting stuck on this circle-jerk about the NSA, privacy, etc., but the argument being made here is primarily economic, not political. And economically, it makes sense; The only question on my mind is... why did it take them so long to start?

  • by TiggertheMad (556308) on Friday January 17, 2014 @06:50PM (#45992545) Homepage Journal
    I was about to say, this would be a perfect OS for use in the USA, because the NSA will be completely locked out. Sure, the politburo would know all about your applesauce cupcakes recipe, but that's the price of freedom from domestic oppression, right?

    But then I got to thinking, a few years back there was a NIX branch that the NSA created or approved that was hardened out of the box, presumably to be used internal to the NSA and other alphabet soup groups. One would think that they wouldn't be crazy enough to backdoor their own system, so this might be a wonderfully secure system to keep the NSA fucks off your box...

Forty two.