RealTime IT News

China Gets a Linux Boost

The world's most populous country is set to become another center of gravity for the Linux universe.

Members of Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) -- home to Linux founder Linus Torvalds -- announced on Wednesday the establishment of its first office in China in the city of Beijing. The goal is use the office as a hub in the Asia-Pacific region to further Linux adoption and advocacy. Beaverton, Ore.-based OSDL also has facilities elsewhere in the U.S and Japan. The effort has the backing of the Chinese Ministry of Information Industry (MII) and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST).

"China is a leader in embracing Linux," said Stuart Cohen, CEO of OSDL in a statement. "The government is promoting Linux, a vibrant local software industry is blossoming around Linux, and the world's leading IT firms are investing heavily to deliver Linux-based computing solutions to Chinese customers. OSDL is committed to helping all of these groups to advance Linux in China."

Not that it comes as a surprise to anyone in the Linux community, but analyst firm IDC forecasts the market for Linux in China is growing at a faster rate than any other operating system including Microsoft Windows.

"Although the Linux OS market only represented a small portion of the total operating system and subsystem market in China, Linux OS will maintain above-average growth compared to the overall OS growth rate in China," Jenny Jin, software analyst for IDC China wrote in a July 2004 report titled, "China Linux 2004-2008 Forecast and Analysis."

"IDC predicts that the development of Linux in China will have strong growth starting in 2004. The Linux market will continue to grow at a faster rate than the rest of operating environments industry, including Windows, for the next few years," the IDC analyst wrote.

Statistics cited by the OSDL from Chinese IT research firm CCID Consulting show that the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the Linux server software market will grow to 49.3 percent over the next five years.

Linux vendor, Turbolinux claimed in a recent press release that it is the primary distributor of Linux server operating systems in China based on IDC statistics. The Japanese-based software vendor said in 2003 Turbolinux held a 60.8 percent share of Linux server revenue and a 60.7 percent of Linux OS shipments. Nearly 40 percent of Turbolinux's direct sales shipments were made to the government of the People's Republic of China. In June, Turbolinux inked a deal with the China Ministry of Railways to deploy its Linux OS.

The Chinese government is also working on expanding Linux adoption through its involvement with Red Flag Software and the nascent Asianux distribution, which was originally announced in January of this year. Oracle's China Development Center in Beijing is handling the Asianux effort, which is a joint effort between Red Flag Software and Japan's Miracle Linux. At its Shanghai OpenWorld Conference last month, Oracle announced that it was the first to be certified on the Asianux platform and also bumped it up to its top tier world-class Linux support program.