Open Source Software: Is the Golden Age Unwinding?

July 1, 2022

I spotted a modest, probably inconsequential, article called “Tech War: China Doubles Down on Domestic Operating Systems to Cut Reliance on Windows, MacOS from the US.” Two thoughts struck me: First, is “Kylinsoft” pronounced “kill them softly”? Second, with Chinese contributions to open source creeping upwards, will the Kylinsoft thrust gut some useful open source software projects. (I suppose I could ask myself, “Gee, perhaps the clean code goes to the Kylinsoft thrust and the poisoned stuff flows into non-China approved repositories?” I am not going to ask that question. Why would a nation state take such a nefarious approach to the free and open community minded approach to code?)

The write up takes the approach that China wants to be free of non-China software. The future is digital; therefore, a free future requires free software Chinese entities can trust. Also, the article uses the word “war” several times. That’s interesting. A software war fought on free and open source software governed by crystal clear rules of the information superhighway.

What entity is nudging Kylinsoft forward? The write up answers the question this way:

Kylinsoft, a subsidiary of state-owned China Electronics Corp, last week joined forces with more than 10 Chinese entities, including the National Industrial Information Security Development Research Centre, to set up an open-source code community.

Probably no big deal, right? Killin’ ‘em softly with love. A swan song?

Stephen E Arnold, July 1, 2022

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