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Novell Claims China Linux Lead (Again)

Linux leadership in China is up for discussion again.

Novell is claiming again that it is the Linux leader in China. This time the data comes from China-based analyst firm CCID Consulting, which reported that Novell holds a 25.1 percent revenue share of the China Linux market.

In August, Novell cited data from IDC, which gave Novell a 32.9 percent market share.

Novell spokesperson Bruce Lowry commented that different analyst houses have different methodologies and different info sources, which can produce different outcomes.

"We don't believe we've lost market share," Lowry told internetnews.com. "In fact, we've improved in the CCID Consulting rankings. I'm told that in their last ranking (not sure of timing), we barely cracked the top five of Linux players in China."

Novell's success in China has come on the heels of its new research and development center, new support facility and the launch of the openSUSE.org.cn site.

OpenSUSE is Novell's open Linux development effort and is currently on the verge of its 10.1 release.

"We certainly see China as a country of opportunity for the full range of Novell's offerings, whether Linux, identity management or resource management," Lowry said. "We've definitely made a strong commitment in China."

Not to be outdone, Red Hat is also claiming strong growth in China.

"We have strong alliances with education, government and private enterprise and have spent a great deal of care establishing a strong relationship with the Chinese market," Leigh Cantrell Day, Red Hat director of global corporate communications, told internetnews.com.

"Fedora launched in China back in November and has been downloaded by hundreds of thousands of users. We continue to have great success with the adoption of Red Hat Enterprise Linux."

Asian-based Linux distributions should not be counted out, either. Debian-based Sun Wah Linux claimed last October the largest Linux desktop rollout in China.

Sun Wah's CEO Alex Banh last year told internetnews.com that his goal was to be the leading distribution in China.

Turbolinux is also a player to be reckoned with as well. In a recent press release, Turbolinux cited 2004 IDC data that reportedly give them a nearly 25 percent market share of the Chinese desktop OS market. In April, they signed China's biggest bank representing over 100 million customers.

Turbolinux has also recently obtained "high-tech innovation funding" from the Chinese government and expanded availability of Linux in southwest China's Sichuan Province.

Then there's the Oracle-backed Asianux effort, which debuted in August, though it's currently unclear as to how widespread its deployment has been to date.