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china sez no to NT5 aka W2000


Chinese fly Red Flag with ban on
                      By David Rennie in Beijing

                      CHINA is to ban its vast bureaucracy from using
                      Microsoft's forthcoming Windows 2000 software in favour
                      of a home-grown system known as "Red Flag".

                      The official Yangcheng Evening News said the policy
                      would save billions of pounds, and represent a triumph of
                      self-reliance comparable to the development of China's
                      first atomic bomb. "The country's important government
                      ministries will not permit the use of Microsoft Windows
                      2000 on their computers," the paper said, citing senior
                      officials. Instead, they would use the "Red Flag" Chinese
                      operating system based on the rival "Linux" platform.

                      Older versions of Windows currently dominate the
                      burgeoning computer industry in China, though few of the
                      millions of copies sold earn a single cent for the company's
                      founder, Bill Gates. Chinese state-backed software experts
                      have alleged that Windows contains a secret "back door"
                      allowing data to flow to Microsoft when a computer is
                      logged on to the Internet, jeopardising government security.

                      Officials at the Ministry of Information Industry said a
                      formal ban was unlikely in the near future. An official said
                      yesterday: "But the government is advocating that users buy
                      domestic software." The reports are a fresh public
                      relations problem for Microsoft as it attempts to turn a
                      profit in the China market, which is marked by alternating
                      hero-worship of Mr Gates and outbreaks of prickly

                      Microsoft has poured resources into China. But the
                      company has also made enemies by launching legal actions
                      against some of the countless firms that steal its software.
                      Up to 90 per cent of software used in China is pirated,
                      including much of the programming used by government

                      Mr Gates is said by local Microsoft executives to have
                      sanctioned one innovative solution, agreeing to pose for
                      photographs with senior Chinese managers who sign a
                      belated software licensing agreement at $1 million
                      (600,000) a time. For all such efforts, Microsoft's China
                      managing director abruptly quit the firm last year, accusing
                      Mr Gates of failing to understand or respect local

                      Wu Shihong later maintained that Microsoft had forced
                      local firms to steal its products by setting its prices too
                      high. Ms Wu's Western colleagues recall her as a fiery
                      patriot who held an emotional company protest meeting
                      after Nato's bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade.
                      In China she has become a heroine.