By Alexandra Burlacu | Mar 23, 2013 09:30 AM EDT
Canonical, the company behind the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution, is working with the Chinese government to deliver a standard operating system for the nation.
The company says it is working alongside the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to deliver a suitable version of Ubuntu to China. The operating system will be called Ubuntu Kylin and will likely launch in April as China's national, state-endorsed operating system.
According to Canonical, Ubuntu Kylin is part of a broader strategy in the country, as China seeks to increase the adoption of open-source initiatives. China's ministry reportedly considered several Linux distributions for this role and ultimately chose Ubuntu.
"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," Canonical CEO Jane Silber explains in a press release.
"The release of Ubuntu Kylin brings the Chinese open source community into the global Ubuntu community," adds 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. Ubuntu combines proven technology with a mature ecosystem and strong OEM and ISV partners, and this initiative allows the Joint Lab to bring those strengths to China across the full range of platforms: desktop, server, cloud, tablet and phone."
The Chinese government made no public comments regarding the software so far, but its underlying intentions are already raising several questions. The BBC, for instance, points out that the move to endorse the Ubuntu OS could in fact mask an attempt by the Chinese government to push consumers away from Western software such as Windows and OS X and shift them instead to something state-controlled.
The first iteration of Ubuntu Kylin will reportedly not sport huge differences compared to standard forms of the operating system. China's ministry, however, plans to bundle endorsed services such as its popular Baidu search engine and Taobao shopping service into the platform in subsequent iterations.
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