China chooses Ubuntu for a national reference OS coming in April

China's government and people have historically been friendly toward Linux, although not quite on the level of a new deal with Canonical. The country's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is teaming with Canonical to create Ubuntu Kylin, a variant of the regular Linux distribution that would serve as a reference point for local hardware and software developers. A Raring Ringtail-based build due this April should bring Chinese calendars, character input methods and quick access to relevant music services. Later Kylin releases should integrate Baidu mapping, mass transit information, Taobao shopping and a common slate of photo editing and system tools from WPS. The hope is to foster open source development in China as part of a five-year government growth plan -- and, we suspect, get away from closed operating systems that Americans control.

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Canonical and Chinese standards body announce Ubuntu collaboration

* Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology defines a new reference architecture for standard operating systems in China

* CSIP, Canonical and NUDT for the CCN Open Source Innovation Joint Lab to further that standard

* CCN Joint Lab will produce Ubuntu Kylin, with first release expected in conjunction with Ubuntu 13.04 in April 2013.

London and Beijing, 21 March 2013: The China Software and Integrated Chip Promotions Centre (CSIP) today announced a new reference architecture for Chinese operating systems. CSIP, which is a part of the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MII), has selected Canonical's Ubuntu as the basis for that reference architecture in order to provide a flexible, open, widely-used and standardised operating system. 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.

Additionally, CSIP, Canonical and the National University of Defense Technology (NUDT) have formed the CCN Open Source Innovation Joint Lab in Beijing. The Joint Lab hosts engineers from each organisation who will accelerate the development of a China-focused version of Ubuntu for desktop and cloud.

"CSIP, Canonical and NUDT share the goal of widespread adoption of high quality Linux on personal devices and in the cloud," said Jane Silber, CEO of Canonical. "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."

The initial work of the CCN Joint Lab is focused on the development of an enhanced version of the Ubuntu desktop with features specific to the Chinese market. The new version is called Ubuntu Kylin and the first version will be released in April 2013 in conjunction with Ubuntu's global release schedule. Future work will extend beyond the desktop to other platforms.

Ubuntu Kylin goes beyond language localisation and includes features and applications that cater for the Chinese market. In the 13.04 release, Chinese input methods and Chinese calendars are supported, there is a new weather indicator, and users can quickly search across the most popular Chinese music services from the Dash. Future releases will include integration with Baidu maps and leading shopping service Taobao, payment processing for Chinese banks, and real-time train and flight information. 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 flavours of Ubuntu worldwide.

"The release of Ubuntu Kylin brings the Chinese open source community into the global Ubuntu community," said 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."

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China chooses Ubuntu for a national reference OS coming in April