Linux companies set to launch Asianux 2.0

Backers in China, South Korea and Japan are ready to go with a regional variation on the open-source operating system.

Software companies in China and South Korea are expected this week to release Asianux 2.0, an Asian Linux distribution.

The server operating system, developed by China's Red Flag Software, Japan's Miracle Linux and South Korea's HaanSoft, is due to be launched in Korea and China on Thursday, according to a statement on the Asianux Web site. The distribution will not be released in Japan until October.

The three companies plan to package Asianux 2.0 and sell it under their individual brand names. They also hope to get Linux vendors from other Asian companies involved in the distribution, which is already being used in the National Education Information System project in South Korea.

Andrea DiMaio, a research vice president for Gartner, said Wednesday that the Asianux standard could promote the uptake of Linux in Asia, particularly if it is used for large government projects around the continent. Any increase would probably be at the expense of Linux's rival operating system, Microsoft Windows.

The creation of a pan-Asian standard could also encourage software and hardware companies to certify their products on Linux, as they will not need to support multiple versions of the open-source operating system. As application availability and hardware compatibility are key factors in operating system usage, this could further tip the balance against Windows in the region.

Red Flag and Miracle Linux initially announced plans for the Asianux distribution in January 2004. At the time, Miracle Linux president Takeshi Sato said the group hoped Asianux would be prevalent in server systems for regional businesses and governments within three years, according to Australian newspaper The Age.

In October 2004, the Chinese and Japanese companies chose HaanSoft as their Korean partner. The Asianux 2.0 release was originally planned for September 2005, although earlier this year it was reported that the companies were running two months ahead of schedule.

Ingrid Marson of ZDNet UK reported from London.

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