While you would think that China, with its restrictive web and seeming dislike of personal freedoms, would be all about locked down operating systems, it’s not. In fact, it’s such a fan of Linux, that the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, is teaming up with British firm Canonical, to develop a version of Linux, specifically for China.
Known as Kylin, the distro will support Chinese characters and will link up with Chinese web services, for banking, music streaming and local mapping. It’s suggested by Wired that Kylin will be launched in April this year.
There are several reasons that China is gaga for Linux though. It’s had an open source “Software Promotion Union” since 2004, which has Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth as an advisor of the group, as well as Tim Yeaton, CEO of open source management at Black Duck Software.
Of course China has had its own version of Linux known as “Red Flag” since 2011 and has been promoting open source software as part of government operations for quite a few years, but Kylin could take it to a new level.
Perhaps with its love of copying, Chinese authorities simply prefer something they can use freely without Microsoft attempting to stick its nose in – and without paying large licensing fees.
KitGuru Says: Anything that advances open software usage within China has got to be a good thing. While a lot of the country’s citizens know how to get around government surveillance and blockages, the more open source is promoted, it feels like China itself is becoming more open – something that can only be good for the East/West global economic rivalry that’s been brewing for the past decade or two.