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Friday, November 07, 2003

Linux for Pandas

Zoo station's Reuben Abraham has a useful piece about Linux in China:

In a seeming blow to Microsoft's attempts to capture the enormous and growing Chinese market, the Chinese govt seems determined to come up with a national standard for Linux to counter MS's dominance of the desktop software market. The ostensible reason is that open standards help China keep better control of "sensitive state information."

China would build a domestic software industry around Linux -- a cheaper software standard that can copied and modified freely -- said Gou Zhongwen, a vice minister at the powerful Ministry of Information Industry. "Linux is an opportunity for us to make a breakthrough in developing software," he was quoted as saying on the ministry Web site www.mii.gov.cn. "But the market cannot be developed on a large scale without government support."

Gou did not give details on the amount of planned government investment in Linux. China's information technology market is growing at 20 percent a year, with software sales expected to reach $30.5 billion in 2005, according to research house International Data Corp.

Will be interesting to see how much political pressure MS will bring to bear on this one, given the blame-it-all-on-China mentality in the U.S. today. China, for it's part, has been trying to mollify the U.S. govt somewhat. The $2 billion deal struck with Boeing (rather than Airbus) is a case in point.

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