OSDL Waves Red Flag in China

UPDATED: Officials at the Open Source Development Lab (OSDL) announced one of China’s
top Linux shops will support their efforts in the burgeoning East.

Beijing-based Red Flag Software joined OSDL Monday and plans to participate
in the research organization’s desktop Linux, carrier grade Linux and data
center Linux working groups.

Red Flag develops several enterprise Linux offerings, including: Red Flag
Linux Server, Embedded Linux OS, Security Server and desktop Linux.

“Linux is a huge success in China and there is enormous potential for
widespread Linux adoption across all market sectors,” Chris Zhao, Red Flag
executive president, said in a statement. “Red Flag is joining the
internationally recognized OSDL organization so that our contributions to
Linux and open source development can benefit the global Linux community.
Together with OSDL and its members, we intend to share our expertise and
technology to further promote Linux in China, in Asia, and around the
world.”

The announcement comes five months after the OSDL, a group dedicated to
accelerating the operating system’s incorporation in business, set up
shop
in the country to promote Linux. The office, also in Beijing, is
intended as the hub for all OSDL efforts in the Asia-Pacific region, and has
the backing of China’s Ministry of Information Industry (MII) and Ministry
of Science and Technology (MOST).

According to Chinese IT research firm CCID Consulting, the Linux server
market in the country is expected to grow at a 50 percent compound annual
growth rate for the next five years.

Stuart Cohen, OSDL CEO, said Linux vendors from the Asia-Pacific region make
up about one-third of its membership, and the addition of one of the largest
Linux distributors in China is a welcome addition.

“There’s a tremendous amount of interest in Linux, and there’s a tremendous
amount of opportunity for Linux in China,” he said. “Because of the
computing revenue growth rates and people getting PCs either for the first
time, and just the population explosion, it’s a tremendous opportunity for
Linux and open source.”

Dealings between the two are nothing new, Cohen said. When the OSDL opened
in Beijing, the lab had several discussions with Red Flag executives.
Though the two have been working together for more than a year and a half,
he said changes in Red Flag management in the past have kept the company
from joining, much less assigning resources in the various OSDL working
groups.

For the past year, Red Flag has been working with a Japanese Linux vendor,
Miracle Linux, to create a Linux standard in the region. Their
collaboration effort, called Asianux,
is an effort to develop and standardize software and hardware around a
common Asian Linux kernel, its libraries and packages, with a certification
track to ensure its compatibility in the region.

When Asianux launched
its beta in April 2004, the group already had 40 certified vendors — including
Hitachi, NEC, Computer Associates, and Toshiba — on board.

The Asianux coalition is second high-profile move for the company. In May
2003, Red Flag joined
Turbolinux to support Oracle’s Unbreakable initiative, a compatibility
program to marry Oracle’s software packages with Red Flag’s operating system
software. Oracle is big backer in the Asia-Pacific region, notably through
its 54 percent stake in Miracle Linux.

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