Russian government decides to develop Windows alternative

By on October 27, 2010, 3:28 PM
The Russian government is no longer comfortable being dependent on the Windows operating system, and has thus decided to create its own flavor of Linux for internal use. 150 million rubles (3.55 million or nearly $4.89 million) has been put aside for the project. That's a huge amount of money to invest into something that isn't certain (what if Russia gives up and goes back to using Windows 7?).

"We will become independent of Windows ... but it risks becoming an unthinking implantation of Linux [that was probably supposed to be translated as "implementation"]," Russian deputy and computer expert Ilia Ponomarev told the AFP. Nevertheless, he admitted that it will be difficult to create and implement an operating system secure enough for government use, conceding that "the devil is in the details." Those details will be hashed out during a December meeting headed by Vice Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov.

Until the project comes to fruition and Russia actually declares its solution superior to Windows, this won't be a big deal. Even then though, we doubt Microsoft will be particularly worried. The software giant will undoubtedly be unhappy for losing some business, but it won't be a huge blow.





User Comments: 62

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PanicX PanicX, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

Nevertheless, he admitted that it will be difficult to create and implement an operating system secure enough for government use

You mean Russia doesnt trust the NSA's Secure Linux?

Guest said:

Securing a customized Linux distribution should be pretty easy, but teaching all those political heads how to use a rather cryptic OS might not be a walk in the park. They should hire Linus for a political crash course :)

Zoner1501 Zoner1501 said:

This article just begs for some "In Soviet Russia" jokes...Anyways, 5 million USD seems like alot for a creation of an operating system, but I wonder just how much does Microsoft spend on the development of each Windows incarnation?

Emil said:

zoner1501 said:

This article just begs for some "In Soviet Russia" jokes...Anyways, 5 million USD seems like alot for a creation of an operating system, but I wonder just how much does Microsoft spend on the development of each Windows incarnation?

Probably more, but Windows is profitable. Russia's solution would not be sold.

posermobile89 said:

If it works, that would be great. It be harder to get a bug or anything with a fully customized OS. But I have a feeling it's not going to work out for them

UT66 said:

but can it run crysis?

akannitaoheed said:

It makes a lot of sense to have options. If they think windows isn't the best for them and decide to develop their own stuff, good for them. The market place is better with a healthy competition.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I can't even begin to imagine the number of back doors coded into that OS.

What are they going to call it? ??????

PanicX PanicX, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

zoner1501 said:

This article just begs for some "In Soviet Russia" jokes...Anyways, 5 million USD seems like alot for a creation of an operating system, but I wonder just how much does Microsoft spend on the development of each Windows incarnation?

$5 million is a drop in the bucket compared to Microsoft's development costs.

Microsoft is investing $1 billion in Windows Mobile 7 alone ($400 million for advertising)

[link]

The real sting I think is that Microsoft last year started investing $300 million in Russia.

[link]

Though, I wonder if the $5 million is just reallocated from the money Microsoft is giving them.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

(shrugs) They should be able to manage this fine. Just get all those Russian mafia hackers together, lock them in a room and say, "Build us a new OS or it's the Gulag for you!"

neowing said:

It seems to me they want to develop there own version of Operation System, but the time will tell what will they create or not.

TwiztidSef said:

I believe they will run into a real problem when they try to implement this. It takes quite a bit of time training someone in a new OS or program. Plus the switch in accounting and office programs. Just saying that it will most likely cost much more than 5 million in just implementing the system.

Frostback said:

The military and government options alone for this system makes sense for them. They are using this to upgrade their own abilities as a nation. Russia has been getting good money from oil sales the last few years, combining with a desire to increase their technological sophistication.

Back to the bad old days of the Cold War and Russian national pride.

frodough said:

didnt china tried it? and india or korea too? i dont think it's a big concern b/c a country would always try to be less dependent to others. hell if i have the resources to make my own pc and program my own software i would, it would be more fun.

TeamworkGuy2 said:

I say good luck to them.

It would be cool to see a country succeed at something like this and overcome a big industrial giant like M$.

Although the odds are a bit against them, especially if they do not hire experienced programmers and develop a good strategy.

Technochicken Technochicken, TechSpot Paladin, said:

UT66 said:

but can it run crysis?

Since it's linux it might be able to with wine. But I don't imagine the Russian government uses gaming computers.

DryIce said:

While I understand their dislike of Windows, their effort will probably fail catastrophically.

klepto12 klepto12, TechSpot Paladin, said:

lets see they have maybe what less than 1% of what Microsoft puts up for developing an OS and they plan on a simple linux OS to cover the awesomeness of Windows 7 ? maybe the Russian government needs to go back to school because windows is to hard for them.

mtrenal said:

gwailo247 said:

I can't even begin to imagine the number of back doors coded into that OS.

What are they going to call it? окна́?

к€ыша ¿оµ...ала is more like it... making an OS that's not just a Linux knockoff will be hard enough in itself. Making sure that their security can't be compromised? That's another issue.

However, if they were able to create a functioning operating system, I don't think that there would be that much issue with making it secure in a general sense- how many people are going to look and try and find the specific bugs and holes in security for an operating system thats hardly distributed.

Making it secure enough for the military and government, with the number of countries who would love to be able to access Russia's computer network, will be quite a feat.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Hold on to your ushankas, it's "Linuxskaya".....

The Russian government is no longer comfortable being dependent on the Windows operating system, and has thus decided to create its own flavor of Linux for internal use. 150 million rubles (?3.55 million or nearly $4.89 million) has been put aside for the project. That's a huge amount of money to invest into something that isn't certain (what if Russia gives up and goes back to using Windows 7?).

So that amounts to how much for the decompilers, and how much gets siphoned off by the Russian mob?

Then I suppose they'll turn to "Open Office.orgsky too.

IAMTHESTIG said:

Microsoft = 'ого...ульство!!!

Seriously though... I agree, i'm surprised our own government uses Microsoft OS's on some of their mission critical systems. I wouldn't trust using it either to run a country either! The Russian Federation has the right idea, and other countries should follow suite. But at the rate we are moving toward socialism here in the States our government may be doing the same thing!

Still, makes you wonder what they may be trying to hide...

stewi0001 stewi0001 said:

In Russia OS runs you XD jking!

mtrenal said:

Hold on to your ushankas, it's "Linuxskaya".....

Then I suppose they'll turn to "Open Office.orgsky too.

The first remark in response to the doubts about the security of a 5 million dollar OS: "Ze security will keep virus out of machine like ushanka keeps snow from head."

Every time something goes wrong instead of beeps or error messages or blue screens you'll just hear Khruschev's voice, "WE WILL BURY YOU!" as your computer powers off.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

"Honor to labor, comrade"......

Microsoft = 'ого...ульство!!!

Well yes, but is it still abbreviated, "M$".......?

Every time something goes wrong instead of beeps or error messages or blue screens you'll just hear Khruschev's voice, "WE WILL BURY YOU!" as your computer powers off.

Or perhaps you might hear Boris Yeltsin belching from acute vodka overdose, as the machine descends into oblivion.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Wow pretty intense plan.

aj_the_kidd said:

Its a $5m epic fail in the making

ruzveh said:

Why not wait for the chrome OS to come in? Even i am not happy with Windows anymore. Still using my WinXP OS. MS however have made a mess of their own OS to give a different appeal. It is also very poor in hardware implementation like it applies a lot of restrictions & compatibility base on hw. It is also very expensive to own being one of the core thing in a PC. They should realize that not all Indians here are rich or have the purchasing power to buy them unlike US or other developed nations. I hope someone takes a not of this and comes out with the best alternatives and at very affordable price. Hope google does it some day with ability to run all the Win apps on them :)

n00bzZy said:

Just because the Russian government wants to develop an OS, doesn't mean people will actually use it...

Guest said:

Russia never runs out of crysis in one way or another, who needs it on the PC? :)

This whole idea in itself is screaming trouble, and with a 5-minute cool down perdiod :)

medguydan said:

If the russian government would just round up all the spammers/scripters that routinely email ways to "grow your member" and make them work on it, they could have this done within a year. And the idea that 5 million is gonna get this job done securely is supremely laughable.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

If the russian government would just round up all the spammers/scripters that routinely email ways to "grow your member" and make them work on it, they could have this done within a year. And the idea that 5 million is gonna get this job done securely is supremely laughable.
Right, but what about the decompiler?

HaMsTeYr HaMsTeYr said:

hmmm... While its true that when it comes to security, Windows probably gets the most hits, Its going to be pretty hard to top what windows has... Good luck and god speed i suppose.

Recipe7 Recipe7 said:

They probably feel that the US will be using windows to spy on them and pry top secret documents from their government computers. Sounds realistic actually, haha.

highlander84 said:

I think creating it would be easy. Any ***** with some Linux knowledge can create a very secure platform. Teaching everyone to use it will be the problem. Most of that money should be pushed into teaching, not creating.

uttaradhaka said:

Wow, windows is so dominant!! Its monopoly is such that even the Russians have had to rely on it. Even though the cold war is over, you just know that there's still bad blood between these two 'comrades'.

grimm808 said:

In soviet Russia. Crysis runs you~!

Decimae said:

The comments thread seems to get really full of spam:

"In soviet Russia. Crysis runs you~! "

"Its a $5m epic fail in the making "

"Just because the Russian government wants to develop an OS, doesn't mean people will actually use it... "

And these were just the obvious ones. Even though I am part of it, this contest really devalues the comments thread.

Anyway, back on topic. I think of this as a good iniative; using OSS is a good stimulation for OSS. They may even make good upstream changes.

sMILEY4ever said:

?3.55 million ? lol. There are lots of distros to choose from. ?3.55 million for improving and adapting one is a lot.

Razerblade said:

If they get the right developers on this project then this could be good. Problem is getting the operating system up and running without bugs and completely secure could take a long time. Windows 8 will probably be out before this!

Guest said:

Lol... you guys just don't know russian government. I am russian, and trust me, this $5m won't be spent on developing something like OS. The money will be stolen by russian government! That is the idea. The government doesn't need the OS. But the government does need the money.

limpangel limpangel said:

Didn't Cuba decided to replace Windows with a Linux distro about a year ago? Now Russia?

Quote from cnet.com:

The Cuban variant, called Nova, was introduced at a Havana computer conference on "technological sovereignty" and is central to the Cuban government's desire to replace the Microsoft software running most of the island's computers.

Rage_3K_Moiz Rage_3K_Moiz, Sith Lord, said:

Haha Russia's still in the "Die Capitalist!" phase?

jetkami said:

Wait...they have'nt found a way to copy our stealth planes yet so they want to piss us off by ditching M$. Im going to search my house for anything made in Russia and toss it out! Humm....not the Tv, nor the stereo, no not my computer, phone, headsets...not even my Jose Cuervo.

akannitaoheed said:

Am really looking forward to what it would look like, open source or not. Or even if it would be sold out commercially.

It's definitely going to be a fresh look from another end of the world with entirely new concepts.

Guest said:

The Russians are going to give way to Skynet, and eventually terminators, and smart machines will self replicate, and take over the human race.........

Jibberish18 said:

In theory this sounds like a great idea, but I get the feeling that it just won't be as easy or as effective as they'll like it to be. On one hand, if they're developing it specifically for JUST the government branches to use, then I'd assume they'll have to focus on certain features and functionalities because unlike most OS's, they don't have to cater to the masses. On the other hand, there will be development time, bugs, glitches, security, compatibility, politics, money, etc. The list GOES ON. Oh and the budget looks ridiculous.

I'll tell you what, my company uses a website that is specifically catered to less than 20 people to use. Developed by a team of 3-5 people. We've been using it for years and it STILL can use TONS of work and I'll tell you right now we're not all happy with it.

But this is Russia and they DO have talent for working on software just as well as anyone else in the world. Still think it's a bad idea though. And all of this reminds me of the time that DELL's founder got up at The World Economic Forum and asked then President Putin "How can we help" you with your country's IT infrastructure?" and Putin replied "We don't need your help. We are not invalids. We don't have limited mental capacity." Muwahahah! Eat it Michael Dell!

pyari said:

if they failed to do that then "google os" I'm thinking about M$ do they use windows OS on their servers.....

xcelofjkl said:

UT66 said:

but can it run crysis?

Beware the KGB.

Guest said:

All those quoting the cost of $5million usd - and claiming that Russia cannot possibly build an OS for this price; agreed that here in the UK that would just about cover a government website but we must remember that in the US and UK $5million usd does not go far/buy alot. However in Russia that is a lot of money.

From http://www.worldsalaries.org/

United Kingdom Computer Programmer median salary PPP $ 2,996 $ 3,476 Employees, programmers in all industries, 2005. 2,688 pounds 29% 37.0

United States Computer Programmer average salary PPP $ 4,141 $ 4,141 Full-time and part-time employees, 2005. 5,378 dollars 23% 39.4

Russia Airline Pilot average salary PPP $ 2,161 $ 864 Employees, men only, 2004. 27,769 roubles 13% 36.2

* Note i could not find a salary for Russian computer programmer - so i took the highest avg earner of pilot.

Bottom line - if Russia has the drive - it most certainly has the talent and the incredibly resources in manpower available to achieve its goal

thedrelle said:

I'm impressed at how many people feel this is doomed to failure.

If the Russian Government wants to develop a Secure OS, I don't think it will be as catastrophic as everyone believes. Their goals are different from M$'s. They're focused on security and stability, not pandering to the needs & demands of a mass public.

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