Russia planning a Windows Rival

The Russian government have now confirmed that they are planning on developing a national software system that will be based solely on the Linux operating system. The reasoning behind this move seems to be to try and improve security, lower costs and lessen the country's dependency on Microsoft.

They will not just be making use of any Linux distribution, but instead they are planning to use the $4.9 million investment to create their own operating system based on Linux and will use it across all government departments. In October 2007, Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev announced a scheme to replace Microsoft with Linux in universities to help them save money. Although that scheme was due to fully start this year, the government is still allowing universities to choose which operating systems to use.

Russian deputy Ilia Ponomarev confirmed the move to AFP by stating that "We will become independent of Windows.” In theory, if Russia went ahead with this move, they could easily recoup their costs quite quickly by ending their Windows licenses.

Russia would not be the first country/government to make suggestions for dropping Windows and replacing it with Linux. In June this year, the UK government highlighted the possibility of switching to Linux as part of their cost cutting exercise to reduce the country's debt, though nothing has so far come of it. The UK also signed a deal way back in 2003 to take a look at Sun's open source systems in regard to making use of them in the future. This also had no outcome.

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Uhmm “In October 2007, Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev announced a scheme to replace Microsoft with Linux in universities to help them save money.” Medvedev was never a prime minster.

So NOT news; in fact, a good many of the Linux distributions to come out as of late are partially or completely backed by governments. (In a rather surprising case of Magnetic Iron(y), Security-Enhanced Linux' biggest contributor is the United States government; specifically, the National Security Agency.)

Governments all over the world (especially in non-English-speaking nations) don't feel that an operating system largely manufactured and sourced outside their borders is in their best interests, and especially when it has the elephant's share of their local marketplace. However, the same could be said for anything else from onions to olive oil.

The power of the superior Russian mind..when brought to bear in a fully-focused effort to take Linux to the next level..will soon provide..first the Russians and then the world with a legitimate alternative to the FBI-CIA-"backdoor"-infested Windows operating systems!...Don't worry all you lame..bandwidth-hogging gamers...Windows is all ball-less nerds will ever require(as they sit home on Friday nights playing with themselves and their friends).

thadumas said,
The power of the superior Russian mind..when brought to bear in a fully-focused effort to take Linux to the next level..will soon provide..first the Russians and then the world with a legitimate alternative to the FBI-CIA-"backdoor"-infested Windows operating systems!...Don't worry all you lame..bandwidth-hogging gamers...Windows is all ball-less nerds will ever require(as they sit home on Friday nights playing with themselves and their friends).

Put down the tinfoil hat, fella.

If anything, I'd worry more about (surprisingly) *Linux distributions* (and especially that creature called *Security-Enhanced Linux*), considering that the military (specifically the National Security Agency) is the biggest contributor of code and content.

China's already done this with asianux linux and red flag linux. Both are quite cool but take bloody AGES to download at a pathetic 8KBps.

To clear things out. Western press is very poor on translations. It's not about Windows rival. It's about making single linux distro for governmental needs instead of many.

It would be easier if they just installed ubuntu instead of wasting money making their own.

I'm not a linux user, but most linux threads I've seen praise ubuntu.

stablemist said,
It would be easier if they just installed ubuntu instead of wasting money making their own.

I'm not a linux user, but most linux threads I've seen praise ubuntu.

I run Ubuntu, and it's pretty straight forward and supports quite a lot of hardware out of the box. I run it on 3 different machines in my house and it was pretty much like installing Windows 7 complete with a guified installer. I've never even had to use a command line unless I just felt like it. I agree and think they should at least start with something that's actively developed/supported such as Ubuntu if they're going to do something like this. No reason to reinvent the wheel.

stablemist said,
It would be easier if they just installed ubuntu instead of wasting money making their own.

They probably want a security hardened version for government systems. They'll still base it on debian or other, but will compile a hardened kernel.

Oh Russia will run into alot of problems with security but hey thats Linux, just a moon with huge crates and holes through it but most can be patched but, what ever, Russia will be throwing vodka bottles at there machines soon enought

It will be interesting to see what they come up with for the user land portion of the system and if they will mod the kernel at all.

Regression_88 said,
Here come the patent infringement suits....
Its an operating system.. you cant call a patent on an OS if you design one yourself.. OS is a term for something. Its like trying to call a patent on a dinner plate lol..

amon91 said,
So why don't you just roll out Ubuntu... or Fedora... or RedHat... or SUSE... Why make your own?
Because they can sell it in replace of buying all those windows licenses for every computer in the mother land

Lets push aside the fan aspect of Linux Vs. Windows here and take a step back and actually look at this.

I believe this is a very nice idea.. Its a road that needs to be explored even if its the Russians taking that first step in doing so. Also understand when they say it'll be based off of Linux I don't think they mean they're going to take a current Linux Kernel chop it up and use it in an OS they design.. I believe they're going to construct their own kernel and linux os based on the fundamentals that linux has. In Windows you have a C:\ Drive, in linux you have $Home.. That sort of aspect.. So I don't think the mention of Linux Distros should be listed just yet.

For those of you that say good luck please lessen your mind set as windows being "gods".. Windows has had over 20 years to get where they are now in the OS world.. Shall I remind you of how pathetic Windows ME was.. Sure the Russians might have a bumpy road but give them time and see what they can offer in the future for a decent OS

Morphine-X said,
Sure the Russians might have a bumpy road but give them time and see what they can offer in the future for a decent OS

It's always a race between time and money. Given 20 years and every computer scientist educated in Russia working on the project, I believe they would have a commercially viable Linux based system.

Maybe Microsoft will offer a discount when they come crawling back. Gonna be expensive teaching everyone in the government to use a computer again.

Benjy91 said,
Maybe Microsoft will offer a discount when they come crawling back. Gonna be expensive teaching everyone in the government to use a computer again.

What, point and click?. People already know how to point and click, no need to relearn anything.

Benjy91 said,
Maybe Microsoft will offer a discount when they come crawling back. Gonna be expensive teaching everyone in the government to use a computer again.

Really? Maybe IT will need to be retrained, but just about everyone I know that isn't a computer nerd (i mean enthusiast) needs step-by-step instructions on how to do just about everything for their computer, anyway. People don't need anymore training in Linux than they need in Mac or Windows.

Benjy91 said,
Maybe Microsoft will offer a discount when they come crawling back. Gonna be expensive teaching everyone in the government to use a computer again.

We europeans like using GNU/Linux, so it's not hard for us Besides, they probably saw the prospect of upgrading to windows 7 and the office ribbon so horrifying and expensive that GNU/Linux seemed like a ray of sunshine in comparison.

After the Chinese government had spoken of embracing Linux years ago because of security concerns, cost concerns. Some small local, town and city governments in Europe, and the United States herself were mulling over the same idea because of cost concerns. This was well before Google's inception and their cloud computing offerings were adopted anywhere. Microsoft has lobbied to destroy these efforts while waving their Linux patents in the air wherever in the world that these ideas would surface. Nothing new here, competition in a free market economy is a wonderful prospect. It helps to lower costs, and it spurs innovation. Microsoft dislikes competition. Apple, Linux, Google, Microsoft are not holy entities. They will always be assailed, and this is because of their relevance, not their irrelevance. There are some that would call others trolls, simply because they have a difference of opinion, if you disagree with someone else's opinion why not just counter with an INTELLIGENT argument? You would get equal time to speak, and also a lot more respect if your position had more gravity.

Wow..and I thought the Apple trolls were bad. Linux trolls >> Apple trolls...or are they one and the same?

I think that it makes sense to adopt an open source platform that home-grown programmers to build off of. I think that breaking away from an *American* corporation is more the crux of the matter.

TechGuyPA said,
so now we will have
- Ubuntu
- Mint

and soon to have Vodka Linux

\

AHAHAHA Its funny because you said "Vodka" and Russians like Vod---wait, no, that wasn't really funny.

They will not just be making use of any Linux distribution, but instead they are planning to use the $4.9 million investment to create their own operating system based on Linux and will use it across all government departments.

and that's what this all about. they just came up with yet another excuse to split the money with little to no effort. and that's why people here tend to avoid paying taxes, because they "spend" it on bulls**t that no one even needs.

In other news, Russian missiles accidentally launched during kernel panic.

We all have about 20 min to say goodbye to our loved ones.

PeterTHX said,
In other news, Russian missiles accidentally launched during a windows blue screen of death.

Fixed that for you.

Id love to see some decent competition out there. Some great file manipulation and management along with a easily customisable ui that didn't force glowing buttons on intelligent people people.

Unfortunately its based on Linux so probably not going to hold my breath.

Orange Battery said,
Id love to see some decent competition out there. Some great file manipulation and management along with a easily customisable ui that didn't force glowing buttons on intelligent people people.

Unfortunately its based on Linux so probably not going to hold my breath.


The thing is, even if you happen to be Linux fan chances are that you'll never actually see this mysterious "russian OS".

C_Guy said,
Yeah, because Microsoft put a gun to Russia's head and said "buy".

They may as well be with their proprietary lock-in and inflation busting license price rises.

This is probably just saber-rattling going on here: recently Microsoft granted free Windows licenses to all non-profit organizations in Russia to prevent illegal search-and-seizures of political organizations that disagree with the current Russian government. The basis of the searches was based on the non-profits using "pirated" Windows operating systems.

always linux...... can't anyone come up with new ideas? Our OS development seems to of stalled at linux, no one is coming up with new OS's anymore

neufuse said,
always linux...... can't anyone come up with new ideas? Our OS development seems to of stalled at linux, no one is coming up with new OS's anymore

The problem I guess is applications. Say you build this awesome operating system, to start with no one would use it as it doesn't have any applications they want. Then no one wants to build anything for it because no one is using it. I guess they start with linux as it has atleast a handful of nifty applications.

neufuse said,
always linux...... can't anyone come up with new ideas? Our OS development seems to of stalled at linux, no one is coming up with new OS's anymore

Even microsoft has developed new non windows operating systems.

neufuse said,
always linux...... can't anyone come up with new ideas? Our OS development seems to of stalled at linux, no one is coming up with new OS's anymore

It's because if you decide to reinvent the wheel, and put some excellent developers behind the project, it'll still take you something like a decade to get it as secure and mature as Linux or Windows is today. And that's counting that it has been attacked by virus writers, and worked on as a production system for all this time too, and not just developed in a computer lab.

So that would be an ENORMOUS investement of doubtful advantages (after 5-10 years of development time to get it to where Linux or Windows is today - where are these operating systems then?), and the risk of balooning costs during the project's lifetime is huge.

This is why iOS is based on the OS X kernel, for example, or Windows Phone 7 on a hybrid Windows CE 6 / Compact 7 kernel. You simply don't want to start over.

neufuse said,
always linux...... can't anyone come up with new ideas? Our OS development seems to of stalled at linux, no one is coming up with new OS's anymore

Except that each GNU Linux OS is different. Different tools, environments, graphics, etc. Certainly more diversity than windows.

Ambroos said,
Oh Russia, you so funny. As long as users prefer Windows, they don't really have a choice anyway.

What? This is for government departments.

Ambroos said,
Oh Russia, you so funny. As long as users prefer Windows, they don't really have a choice anyway.

Keep telling yourself that. It's a known fact that usage trends by businesses bleeds back into home usage.

recursive said,
No matter how hard they try it will never have as many security holes as windows.

yeah the holes in the russian linux will actually be "state security features" to monitor uncomplient citizens

Deviate_X said,

yeah the holes in the russian linux will actually be "state security features" to monitor uncomplient citizens

Like the backdoors in windows that the US government has?

user1337 said,
$ 4.9 mil. investment.^^ lol

How many Windows licenses could you buy with that money?


Around 6?

user1337 said,
$ 4.9 mil. investment.^^ lol

How many Windows licenses could you buy with that money?

Roughly 20,000. 5mil divided by $250 for Windows 7 Pro Retail.

techbeck said,
Roughly 20,000. 5mil divided by $250 for Windows 7 Pro Retail.

Lets not forget the cost of Server Licenses and CALs for said server. Even with Volume Licensing, 4.9M wouldn't buy that many systems, server or desktop.

Licensing fees have always been a sticky point between the enterprise and Microsoft. I have seen countless companies claim to make the switch to a Linux OS.

Developing a new one based on linux will be interesting. Since MS spend more than that on marketing for new products, I hope they can pay talented people to churn out something that will actually be usable for them.

On the other hand, it takes time to develop and build an OS behind close doors, and then build all the corresponding applications to run your country.

I predict they will give up after the initial investment is spent, while they are still years away from what would pass as a 'National Software System'.

Good luck though. Maybe some of those linux lovers who actively work in the community could loan some of their sleepless nights helping the Russians, instead of playing video games and whatever else they occupy there time with.

Tech Star said,

Why would the government by buying retail?

I dont live in Russia so I dont know. I was just giving the costs of retail which would be the worst case and if they are upgrading existing PCs...but anyway...

Retail = 20k copies at $250 each
OEM = 34k copies at $140 a piece.
Volume Licensing = Not sure on this one ATM.

Tech Star said,

Why would the government by buying retail?

If they're anything like the U.S. government, they're slaves to the market and are quick to sign contracts, so they usually pay more than retail for pretty much everything.

dotf said,

Lets not forget the cost of Server Licenses and CALs for said server. Even with Volume Licensing, 4.9M wouldn't buy that many systems, server or desktop.

Two words: "thin client".

Regression_88 said,
Two words: "thin client".

Like what? Linux desktop with citrix or vnc or something for apps running on the server?
You still need server licenses and CALs.
So, depending on the MS product they're looking to replace, it could actually save them money over time, considering they probably don't pay employees as well as the rest of the developed world.

Otherwise you are screwing MS out of their money and possibly violating license agreements.

dotf said,

Like what? Linux desktop with citrix or vnc or something for apps running on the server?
You still need server licenses and CALs.
So, depending on the MS product they're looking to replace, it could actually save them money over time, considering they probably don't pay employees as well as the rest of the developed world.

Otherwise you are screwing MS out of their money and possibly violating license agreements.


I got 4 letters for ya: "LTSP". No licenses or CALs or any of that crap required.

CoMMo said,

If they're anything like the U.S. government, they're slaves to the market and are quick to sign contracts, so they usually pay more than retail for pretty much everything.

I work for a school. It's about 50 bucks a copy.

SharpGreen said,
I got 4 letters for ya: "LTSP". No licenses or CALs or any of that crap required.

Yeah but you're forgoing the use of microsoft technologies. Thus, the licensing is still there, rendering your little abbreviated technology, moot.

user1337 said,
$ 4.9 mil. investment.^^ lol
How many Windows licenses could you buy with that money?

Russia is a big country. They will no doubt save a vast amount of money eliminating microsoft software. Now it's time for the UK, US, and other countries to start seriously evaluating GNU/Linux to reduce costs.

CarlMS said,
Russia, you stupid.

Quite the opposite. Eliminating a reliance on microsoft is great for costs, freedom, security, and productivity.

ahhell said,
With FSB approved backdoors!!

Great success!


Hahaha

That said, didn't the CIA have backdoors in Windows as well?

Edited by .Neo, Oct 27 2010, 8:45pm :

.Neo said,

Hahaha

That said, didn't the CIA have backdoors in Windows as well?


Yes, and everybody knows they use those for corporate espionage.

Russia has the skills to make this work, and I don't think they'd be too worried about stealing IP to do so.

acnpt said,
Russia has the skills to make this work, and I don't think they'd be too worried about stealing IP to do so.

It's rarely a good idea to take an OS with proven security and then throw some of it away just to make it your own. It took Linux several years of hardcore usage in the wild to get it where it is today. Any serious programmer will think carefully before reinventing wheels. Especially wheels related to security. If the goal is to improve security, at least.

Northgrove said,

It's rarely a good idea to take an OS with proven security and then throw some of it away just to make it your own.

They wont be throwing it away, they are making their own distro, probably based on debian or something. This is how FOSS works. There are also hardened kernel builds which cater to things such as this.
Northgrove said,

It took Linux several years of hardcore usage in the wild to get it where it is today. Any serious programmer will think carefully before reinventing wheels. Especially wheels related to security. If the goal is to improve security, at least.

Who said they were reinventing the wheel? Linux is just the kernel, GNU and all the other FOSS software out there wont be rewriten just for russia. GNU/Linux is much more secure than windows, so I can understand their motivations.

acnpt said,
and I don't think they'd be too worried about stealing IP to do so.

What IP? Europe doesn't have draconian software patents like the US.

HeLGeN-X said,
i just wanna throw in one more lol in here. just read they are basing it off linux. lol!

What's wrong with Linux?

wolftail said,

What's wrong with Linux?

Nothing just the 20 Bazillion Distro's that have been made for it err make that 20 Bazillion and 1

warwagon said,

Nothing just the 20 Bazillion Distro's that have been made for it err make that 20 Bazillion and 1

This is an advantage, not a disadvantage, no restrictions.

Murloc said,

This is an advantage, not a disadvantage, no restrictions.

True but it's to the point that when someone tries to make a competitive operating system using linux which amounts to just another distro, no one cares. The consensus is always ya ya ya , been there done that.

warwagon said,

Nothing just the 20 Bazillion Distro's that have been made for it err make that 20 Bazillion and 1

Yea, there's thousands of them, but the good thing is that a Unix binary will execute on all Linux distributions, Unix, BSD, Solaris, etc. That and 90% of the Linux distros I've seen have a package manager that automatically updates your software, kind of like Apple's App. store they're shipping out with the next version of OSX.

Murloc said,

This is an advantage, not a disadvantage, no restrictions.

Right, whcih is why Linux is such a great, popular, and Windows-marketshare destroying operating system, right?

LiquidSolstice said,

Right, whcih is why Linux is such a great, popular, and Windows-marketshare destroying operating system, right?

Good marketing does not equal a good product.

And in further news, there's a difference between marketing and marketshare.

High marketshare, in a free market, is a pretty good measure of a product's success.

C_Guy said,
And in further news, there's a difference between marketing and marketshare.

High marketshare, in a free market, is a pretty good measure of a product's success.

Yes, but if a product is marketed well and pushed enough by a loud enough voice, people will buy it or use it out of ignorance or habit. Why do you think Internet Explorer still has a majority market share? It's not because it's a good browser; it's because the majority of users just want "the internet" and IE came pre-installed on their Windows computer, so they don't worry about looking for an alternative such as Firefox, Opera or Chrome. Linux's main obstacle is not the Windows operating system, it's getting people to realize that it even exists.

LiquidSolstice said,

Right, whcih is why Linux is such a great, popular, and Windows-marketshare destroying operating system, right?

In any situation that requires performance, yes.

wolftail said,

What's wrong with Linux?

Would you really like a technical list?

Start with monolithic kernel and its dependencies and then work on to the UNIX model it employs.

In contrast, even as crappy as you think Windows is, it is a client/server kernel model that ends up being more efficient and is a full object based OS design instead of the generic pipe/textual UNIX model.

The Windows model is due for the next generation, but as it stands today in Windows7, it is about 3 or 4 generations beyond the kernel and UNIX model of Linux.

There are reasons why people study and design OS models and kernels, and for people to be using concepts that were relegated to obsolete in 1990 is simply amazing.

(PS this also goes for OS X and its outdated model, which is only about 1 generation ahead of Linux.)

CoMMo said,

Yes, but if a product is marketed well and pushed enough by a loud enough voice, people will buy it or use it out of ignorance or habit. Why do you think Internet Explorer still has a majority market share? It's not because it's a good browser; it's because the majority of users just want "the internet" and IE came pre-installed on their Windows computer, so they don't worry about looking for an alternative such as Firefox, Opera or Chrome. Linux's main obstacle is not the Windows operating system, it's getting people to realize that it even exists.

Based on that kind of logic and most everyone else's opinion that I know, why do you think Firefox is as popular as it is. It's NOT because it's any better, that's for sure, but because so many people have spoken loudly and often of it.

I do kind of have to agree with, "Oh boy, not another Linux distro though!!"

CoMMo said,

Good marketing does not equal a good product.

Oh? Maybe you should tell that to Ubuntu and Canonical, what with all the "new Linux" branding they've been pushing on 10.10, maybe someday hardware manufacturers will actually provide them with proper drivers, rather than forcing users to use hacked up home-coded crap.

Murloc said,

In any situation that requires performance, yes.

Are you nuts? Let me spell the word out for you. D-R-I-V-E-R-S. Yes, yes, "linux is soooo much better for a server and LOOKIT WHAT COMPIZ CAN DO OMG NUTS!". If I hear that excuse again I'm going to puke.

C_Guy said,
High marketshare, in a free market

There is no free market. Capitalism inevitably leads to monopolies, cartels, price fixing, and anti-competitive practises, none of which equate to freedom. The government further promotes this by enacting copyright and patent legislation. Microsoft is the epitome of why capitalism hurts the consumer.

HeLGeN-X said,
i just wanna throw in one more lol in here. just read they are basing it off linux. lol!

Just like brazil, india, china, and many more countries around the world. No one wants microsoft's non standards compliant proprietary lockin, not to mention the huge costs of windows licenses,

LiquidSolstice said,

Are you nuts? Let me spell the word out for you. D-R-I-V-E-R-S. Yes, yes, "linux is soooo much better for a server and LOOKIT WHAT COMPIZ CAN DO OMG NUTS!". If I hear that excuse again I'm going to puke.

What are you talking about? I am not talking about consumers, I simply don't care about D-R-I-V-E-R-S for your graphics card and I have no clue what you are talking about with compiz, why would you even need a user interface in a high performance environment??