Canonical Teams With China to Create National OS

On Thursday, Canonical said that it has formed an alliance with the China Software and Integrated Chip Promotions Center (CSIP) which is part of the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MII). This alliance has created a new reference architecture based on Ubuntu that will become the standard operating system in China.

"[CISP] has selected Canonical’s Ubuntu as the basis for that reference architecture in order to provide a flexible, open, widely-used and standardized operating system," the company said. "The announcement 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."

Canonical also said it has teamed up with CSIP and the National University of Defense Technology (NUDT) to create the CCN Open Source Innovation Joint Lab in Beijing. The company said that this lab will pool engineers from each organization to accelerate the development of China's Ubuntu-based Windows killer for the desktop and cloud.

Called Ubuntu Kylin, this localized OS will provide features and applications that cater to the Chinese market. As of v13.04, the platform will sport Chinese input methods, Chinese calendars, and a local weather indicator. Users will also be able to quickly scan through most popular Chinese music services directly from the Dash. Future Kylin releases will include integration with Baidu maps, Taobao shopping support, payment processing for Chinese banks, and more.

"The Ubuntu Kylin team is cooperating with WPS, the most popular office suite in China, and is creating photo editing and system management tools which could be incorporated into other flavors of Ubuntu worldwide," the company said.

The first version of Ubuntu Kylin is expected to be released in April 2013 in conjunction with Ubuntu’s global release schedule. Future work will extend beyond the desktop to other platforms, Canonical said.

Despite facing problems with piracy raging in China, this announcement will likely kick Microsoft right where it hurts: in the wallet. Because Ubuntu Kylin is backed by the government, local desktop and laptop makers will likely be forced to use this new Ubuntu variant whether they want to or not. It will be one more step in shutting out the Western influence.

Even more, the "other platforms" description clearly points to smartphones and tablets, a sector where Google currently reigns in China. Switching over to the localized Ubuntu Kylin could cause a ripple effect across the globe as reduced ad revenue generated from a lack of Android usage per device causes Google to change strategies.

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  • kensingtron
    Why go to such an effort, China already has a free operating system called Windows.
  • manofchalk
    On one hand, it could rapidly promote Linux software development as now China (a very large population, therefore large amounts of money) will largely be running Linux machines. So everyone will now have to start developing for Linux of they want this market.
    On the other, its a government instigated and created OS. The Great Firewall of China could now be extended into the desktop quite easily with this kind of control.
  • house70
    It makes sense, since Ubuntu for smartphones is already finished, launched and matured.

    Oh, wait....

    As far as Windows taking a hit, it could have happened for as long as Ubuntu (and Linux-based OSes) have been out there. Nothing beats free, right? I use Ubuntu on some of my systems, I would switch in a heartbeat to it as my one-and-only OS, but there is this "slight" compatibility problem for a bunch of applications, not to mention gaming support being still in it's infancy. Searching the web for a compatible version of an application, then searching what repositories to add (and how), getting the packages and finally installing them is not exactly what general populace is looking for in an OS.
  • zdzichu
    What happened to RedFlag Linux?
  • acyuta
    The cyberterrorism experts cannot even create their own OS. As a recent post to be restated.. they have a free OS called windows and why this need.

    I am sure that the OS will be made compulsory for all Chinese and allow the cyberterrorists to snoop on their own `citizens' in a manner never seen before.
  • A Bad Day
    kensingtronWhy go to such an effort, China already has a free operating system called Windows.
    But the Chinese government wants even better spying on its citizens. MS isn't allowed to do that by US laws and the Western publicity.

    One CPU (hardware spying and blocking).

    One OS (software spying and blocking).

    Eventually, One GPU, RAM, HDD, and mobo?

    Hm, unless if China continues to pour large amount of money into such venture, those One systems maybe vulnerable to hacking as a system with 1 billion users is going to be an irresistible target.
  • A Bad Day
    EDIT: And if the CPU has hardware monitoring, what if someone managed to hijack the data feed (through software disguising or a hardware flaw) and use the CPU for their own usage?
  • Fulgurant
    Score one for totalitarianism.
  • mydrrin
    I would say this is partly to do with the requirements it agreed to crack down on piracy. Options to crack down hard on people who pirate Widows would be unpopular when people make little money to afford it. This allowed China to give people an option instead, maybe give a warning and the person switches to Ubuntu. See the win for China? They also don't need to send money to the US, strengthening their economy.

    Expect to see a high level of blowback from this. I will give this an expected high level of chance of a trade war on other things, aggressive use of tariffs on other goods until this changes. Not sure if China will be strong enough to withstand the pain as the screws get tightened. Could be a turning point of Chinese/American relations as China will turn away from the US market. See how the chess match plays out.
  • nebun
    A Bad DayEDIT: And if the CPU has hardware monitoring, what if someone managed to hijack the data feed (through software disguising or a hardware flaw) and use the CPU for their own usage?it's already happening....its called spyware and crapware...mostly on smartphones