Ubuntu Becomes State-Sanctioned Operating System in China

By Slav Kandyba , Mar 22, 2013 04:52 PM EDT

The Chinese government has selected Ubuntu, a Linux-based open-source operating system, as the state-sanctioned operating system.

According to an announcement from Canonical and the China Software and Integrated Chip Promotions Centre, which is a part of the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the decision "is part of the Chinese government's five year plan to promote open source software and accelerate the growth of the open source ecosystem within China."

The new version is called Ubuntu Kylin and the first version will be released in April 2013, in conjunction with Ubuntu's global release schedule. Future work will extend beyond the desktop to other platforms.

CSIP, Canonical and the National University of Defense Technology have started the CCN Open Source Innovation Joint Lab in Beijing. The Joint Lab hosts engineers from each organization who will accelerate the development of a China-focused version of Ubuntu for desktop and cloud. 

"CSIP, Canonical and NUDT share the goal of widespread adoption of high quality Linux on personal devices and in the cloud," said Jane Silber, CEO of Canonical. "This collaboration will bring local investment and participation to ensure that the platform is relevant for the Chinese market, and close coordination with the global Ubuntu project ensures that it is familiar to software and hardware vendors, and useful for export products made by Chinese companies as well."

The initial work of the CCN Joint Lab is focused on the development of an enhanced version of the Ubuntu desktop with features specific to the Chinese market.

Ubuntu Kylin goes beyond language localization and includes features and applications that cater to the Chinese market. In the 13.04 release, Chinese input methods and Chinese calendars are supported, there is a new weather indicator, and users can quickly search across the most popular Chinese music services from the Dash.

Future releases will include integration with Baidu maps and leading shopping service Taobao, payment processing for Chinese banks and real-time train and flight information. The Ubuntu Kylin team is cooperating with WPS, the most popular office suite in China.

"The release of Ubuntu Kylin brings the Chinese open source community into the global Ubuntu community," said Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu and Canonical. "With Ubuntu Kylin, China now has its own secure and stable desktop operating system, produced alongside Ubuntu's global community"

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