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Chinese, Russian, tech giants join global open source efforts

Technology independence looks distant as Xen and OpenBSD welcome new pals

Notable tech companies from China and Russia are taking strides into the heart of the global technology community.

Aliyun, the cloud computing offshoot of Business-to-business tat bazaar Alibaba, has become an Advisory Board member of the Xen Project, maker of the popular (if frequently-perforated) open source Xen hypervisor.

The Xen project says Aliuyn “has been contributing vulnerability fixes to the project for some time.”

Xen Project Advisory Board members have the right to “propose and vote upon changes and additions to Xen Project test and validation infrastructure” and enjoy access to project leaders and the chance “to share technical and marketing priorities, and endorse new strategies for the project.” Financial contributions aren't required.

The benefits of joining the board can be understood if one considers that ARM-CPUs-for-servers aspirant Cavium in June 2014. When Xen 4.5 debuted in January 2015, Cavium was a major contributor and the project's code played nicely with its Thunder line of processors.

Citrix, Google, CA, AWS, Oracle, Intel, Rackspace, ARM, NetApp, AMD and the Linux Foundation also enjoy seats on the board.

Alibaba's ascension to the board reflects its use of Xen at scale for its e-commerce and cloud computing operations. The company doubtless has much to share with other members and with the Xen-using populace in general.

Over at the OpenBSD foundation, meanwhile, someone's had to go to the bank to deposit a cheque from Russia's top online concern Yandex, which has signed up as a silver supporter. That level of sponsorship means Yandex has handed over between US$10k and $25k .

Yandex is a Google analog: its search engine dominates Russia's market and it also operates email and maps services, offers a browser and makes its dough from advertising.

Alibaba and Yandex joining these open source efforts confounds their home nations' occasionally-expressed intentions to build technology ecosystems less dependent on US companies. Both China and Russia have cited post-Snowden security concerns as the reason they're keen to rely on indigenous technologies. With their tech giants now participating in global efforts alongside US entities, technological isolation looks rather harder to achieve. ®

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