09 February 2009

Fedora as Basis of Russia's Operating System?

An interesting conversation took place recently:

Несколько дней назад в Минкомсвязи России прошла встреча с участием главы Минкомсвязи РФ И.О.Щёголева и директора европейского подразделения, вице-президента корпорации Red Hat Вернера Кноблиха. В ходе встречи было объявлено, что развитие свободного программного обеспечения в России – одно из главных направлений работы Министерства.

[Via Google Translate: A few days ago in Minkomsvyazi Russia held a meeting with the head of the Russian Federation Minkomsvyazi IO Schegolev and Director of the European division, vice-president of the corporation Red Hat Werner Knobliha.During the meeting it was announced that the development of free software in Russia - one of the main directions of the Ministry.]

It's good news that Red Hat has had the opportunity to talk to senior government officials about open source - in this case, at the ministry of communications - but what's much more important are the specifics mentioned in the story:

На встрече обсуждался широкий круг вопросов, касающихся развития рынка свободного программного обеспечения (СПО) и его практического применения в действующих системах. Отдельно отмечена важность создания российского сообщества разработчиков Russian Fedora, которое может послужить одним из шагов навстречу создания отечественной операционной системы. Министр отметил: «Мы считаем, что интеллектуальный потенциал российских специалистов таков, что в России можно вести не только сборку, но и полноценную разработку кода».

[The meeting discussed a wide range of issues related to market development of free software (ACT) and its practical applications in existing systems. Separately, the importance of establishing a Russian community of developers Russian Fedora, which could serve as a step toward the creation of the domestic operating system. The Minister noted: «We believe that the intellectual potential of Russian experts is that Russia can not only build, but a full-fledged development of the code».]

This seems to be a reference to the call for an independent Russian operating system, based on GNU/Linux, that I wrote about last month. The suggestion in the above post is that a step towards such an operating system would be establishing a Russian Fedora project, which would then allow Russian coders to contribute on a much larger scale than hitherto.

The fact that these talks have taken place is an indication that the idea of a national operating system for Russia - dismissed by some as fanciful - is under serious consideration. Let's hope Red Hat responded positively to the overtures.

(NB: For fast updates on this and similar stories, you can also follow me on Twitter at glynmoody.)

18 comments:

Roger Lancefield said...

To be called, presumably, Ushanka?

glyn moody said...

Ha! Nice.

Jonas said...

Well we all know that Windows is crap OS and we all know that something has to be done to make for malware, viruses, spyware, worms... We also know that there ain't single viruse, malware, spyware or worm for Gnu/Linux or OpenSolaris.

So for heavens sake why won't atleast smart russians, who have been such a long time genious mathematics and programmers, make a breakthroug out from this hell made by Microsoft?

Let's make it together. Let's talk to people that they finally start to try Linux-distros like Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, KDE, etc... Millions of people have tried it successfully and over 80% of them have not come back to Windows anymore. Let's start to spend money - and kick out Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

I wish the Russians well to break out of their dependency on Microsoft products. There are some smart people over there. But it needs more than intelligence. It takes determination and a well though-out plan or the conversion may collapse like so many wishful dreams.

Troy said...

I don't see this on any of your other blogs, but Russia's education system has already been transitioning to linux.
After several months of going through distributions they narrowed it down to two releases. One is based off Alt Linux, the other is based off Scientific Linux, which is a recompiled Red Hat Linux.
Since at least some major part of their educational system is going to be running a distro that is compatible with Red Hat, I think creating a distro based on Fedora is the next logical step. And a good step too.

glyn moody said...

Thanks for the links.

I wrote about ALT Linux:

http://opendotdotdot.blogspot.com/2007/10/to-russia-with-love.html

but not about the other.

Anonymous said...

So it is not the Russian operating system but Finnish operating system (Linux was started from Finland by Linus Torvalds). If you do now know, the Linux kernel is the operating system. GNU/Linux is the development platform (OS + development tools and libraries) and Fedora is software system (OS + applications and libraries).

So it is Russian software system, one distribution of Linux Operating System to be added to the list.

Anonymous said...

From my understanding, the Ministry is looking also at OpenSolaris. There is a groundswell of support from the academic and engineering community, and Red Hat is seen as too self-interested in driving its own products. I doubt the Russian government would allow themselves to be locked into Red Hat.

exelens said...

Fedora is realy sux!

We =) have some distr fedora based - tedora and ASP linux... Is realy sux

Виталий Лопатин (Vitls) said...

Aha! Yet another dumn Linux Distro.
Let's build Bolivial, Rwanda or some else.

glyn moody said...

Open Solaris would be an interesting option. Not sure how practical, though.

glyn moody said...

Or maybe one for the world...

Anonymous said...

Terrible idea. A federally mandated port of a Fedora kernel? What?!

I'm sure there are localizations out there for Russian among other languages (Ubuntu default distro alone has over a dozen languages supported, don't remember all of em). This deal with a federally mandated distro smells of socialism (government control anyone?) - ironic considering Russian history.

It reminds me of the "Red Flag" Chinese OS disguised under the "taking power away from an evil American corporation" banner.


Russians are going commie :P

glyn moody said...

Even terrible ideas can be realised sometimes...

Anonymous said...

Don't get me wrong, I am all up for having a localized version of every OS - afterall, why the hell not? As long as they are capable of talking to each other, it doesn't matter what language the shell uses.

However, I disagree with potential control that the Russian gov't could impose on the system. Not to sound paranoid, but Big Brother comes to mind.

If people want to depart away from any product (M$ in this case) and enough of them get together, they will create great software governed by the users as Open Source software has traditionally come to be, but this Russian top-down approach (gov't decides what to do, people follow through) disagrees with my ideals to the core. Private enterprise is the way things should be (and are) innovated and not through a government initiative.

glyn moody said...

Sadly, your fears are precisely why the project may well go ahead.

Anonymous said...

rpm -Uvh Red_US-hacka.x64.rpm ... lol

Anonymous said...

Pure business. It does not give any sense, just a pure business of Red Hat.